Power on, power off: Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug by TP-Link brings weatherproof smarts

Smart plugs are so hot right now. These smart home devices let you control the flow of power through them and make it easy to turn a “dumb” appliance into a connected device. The fact you can control power remotely means you’ll never have to worry if you left the iron plugged in or not. You can even schedule the plug to turn off power after a certain amount of time.

The smart home market has dozens of smart plugs to choose from, but the majority are geared toward indoor use. Kasa’s smart Wi-Fi outdoor Plug by TP-Link is designed to fit into covered outdoor outlets. We took a closer look to see how well it works.

Tech and Specs

The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug by TP-Link has an IP rating of 64. While not immune to total immersion, the device is resistant to dust and splashes of water. It comes with two outlet caps that should be attached anytime the outlet isn’t in use. The plug also has a Wi-Fi range of up to 300 feet, so it can be used even when the router is on the other side of the house.

The setup process is simple. Just plug in the smart plug and wait for the device to begin flashing orange and green. Once it does, you connect your phone to the proprietary Wi-Fi network that the smart plug creates. From there, the Kasa app lets you rename each of the two outlets on the smart plug to whatever you want.

You can set a specific schedule for each outlet, set a one-time-use timer for them, and even measure their total runtime. The “Away” mode is one of the coolest features. It randomly turns the plugged-in devices on and off to simulate the presence of someone in the home — a strong security feature.

The Kasa app also has different “Scenes” that users can access. The “Good Morning” scene turns on all the devices, while the “Good Night” scene does the opposite. “Movie Night” dims the lights. If none of those fit your needs, you can create your own custom scene.

What I Like

The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug has a lot going for it. The plug feels certainly looks durable. It’s heavier than expected, with a thick protective coating on the outside. More than the durability, I enjoyed the almost immediate response of the smart plug. When I asked Google Home to turn on the lights, I could hear the click of the plug powering on.

The smart plug has a physical button above each outlet. If your Wi-Fi goes down, you can still turn off individual devices without unplugging the entire setup. The peace of mind is great, too. My apartment doesn’t have the best heating, so when I use a small space heater, I keep it plugged into the Kasa so I can be sure it’s off when I leave the house.

Power on, power off: Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug by TP-Link brings weatherproof smarts

What I Didn’t Like

The Kasa doesn’t really have much wrong with it, but it also doesn’t have a ton of special functionality. While the Scene feature is great, I can do basically the same thing with the Philips Hue app or the Google Home app. It’s good that Kasa includes the function for users that do not have smart lights or a smart assistant, but for a well-stocked smart home, it’s a bit redundant.

One particularly odd feature is the overlap in names. One of the two outlets powers the lights in the living room, appropriately named “Living Room Lights.” However, this clashes with the setup in my Google Home app for my smart lights that is set up as “Living Room > Lights.”

When I ask Google to turn off the lights, she obliges — and shuts off the smart plug. When they come back on, the lights reset to their brightest setting rather than the settings I had them at before. While this isn’t a major problem and can easily be circumvented by renaming the plug, I found it strange.

Closing Thoughts

It seems like every company has thrown its hat into the smart plug ring. There are dozens of options to choose from, but the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor plug seems to hit the mark with just the right amount of bells and whistles. It strikes me as the type of product that would be particularly useful around the holidays when strings of lights and manger displays need reliable, secure power.

I would happily recommend the Kasa plug to friends. It gets the job done without any unnecessary steps or headache.

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