A smart plug is an adapter that can wirelessly control when something is turned on or off.
For example, using a smart plug with a lamp will allow you to turn it on even if you’re on vacation, saving on your electricity bills and adding the illusion that someone is home.
But is it safe to use a smart plug with a power strip?
You can plug a smart plug into a power strip with low-energy devices, like lamps or toasters, as long as you don’t exceed the wattage limits of either device. Check the wattage allowance of the smart plug, the appliance being used, and the power strip to ensure nothing will become overloaded.
This article will discuss what kind of devices are recommended for use with smart plugs and power strips, along with when you should use caution.
We’ll also discuss how to safely use this combination and if you can plug a power strip into a smart plug.
When To Use a Smart Plug With a Power Strip
Before plugging a smart plug into a power strip, be sure to check the wattage and energy allowances for each.
This information will be clearly marked on the boxes or can be found in the user manual.
It is also a good idea to check the wattage of your home, as some outlets may have higher outputs than others.
Once you’ve checked the wattage rating for your power strip and smart plug, you can safely use the 2 together.
When using a smart plug with a power strip, it is best to do so with appliances that don’t need to safely shut down before turning them off.
For example, with most desktop computers, a proper shutdown routine is required to ensure the battery and files remain safe.
With that in mind, most owners of smart plugs use them for appliances that they might forget to turn off before they leave their homes, such as:
- Coffee makers
- Slow cookers
- Gaming consoles
- Hair straighteners or curling irons
Since smart plugs can be turned on and off through a mobile app provided by their manufacturer or Amazon’s Alexa, this feature is highly desirable in lesser-used appliances that are not in continuous use.
When To Be Cautious About Using Smart Plugs With Power Strips
During the Christmas season, it’s common to attach decorations like Christmas lights to a smart plug set on a timer to prevent higher bills in the event the lights are left on.
If you use smart plugs for outdoor lighting, it’s usually a good idea to make sure that they’re rated for outdoor use.
This includes all climates, from humid to rainy to extreme heat.
Makers of power strips usually recommend that the user avoid “daisy-chaining” or plugging 1 power strip into another.
Hazards can include overwhelming 1 of the power strips and causing an electrical failure if too much wattage flows through.
Smart plugs typically aren’t rated for surge protection, making them unsuitable for use by themselves if the goal is to provide a buffer against damage from power surges.
Many higher quality power strips come with surge protectors included, though when they don’t, it’s not uncommon to see smart plugs first attached to a separate surge protector before being plugged into the power strip.
This does, however, come with the risk of exceeding the wattage rating of the power strip, primarily if you use them with devices that require a high wattage.
For this reason, it’s usually recommended to err on the side of caution and only add smart plugs to a power strip for use with lower-wattage appliances like a coffee maker, toaster, alarm clock, or lamp.
Further reading: Are Smart Plugs a Fire Hazard? 4 Safety Facts Revealed
How To Protect Against Power Surges With Your Smart Plug
If your goal is to add surge protection for your most valuable devices and you worry about the risk of exceeding maximum wattage ratings, you do have a few options besides daisy-chaining devices.
Consider adding a device that can provide surge protection for your entire house.
Whole house surge protectors are designed to handle power surges that are most likely to impact an entire house.
Let’s take a look at some popular options.
This Ultimate Surge Protection model is rated for 120 volts, which is suitable for an average home and retails for about $115.
While they may not be rated to survive a direct lightning strike (those are somewhat rare), they can handle typical power surges, such as those you might experience in a storm that impacts the local electrical grid.
If your goal is simply to add more plugins for devices you use most frequently or if you would like to charge multiple devices overnight, it’s safer to choose one with a higher wattage rating, such as this surge protector from Witeem.
It can provide surge protection of up to 4360 joules and has a built-in circuit breaker to protect both itself and any devices attached to it.
The high wattage rating and excellent surge protection of this model make it possible to more safely use smart plugs with a power strip.
Some manufacturers have combined “smart plug” technology with their surge protectors.
This smart power strip is a smart plug, surge protector, and power strip all in one, making it a great option for people looking to safely plug in multiple devices.
Gosund makes several “smart plug” wall outlet extenders that remove the risks involved in daisy-chaining power strips, surge protectors, and smart plugs.
While it is still advisable to pay attention to the wattage rating when using them, you can worry less about the risk of electrical fire when you take advantage of the convenience of combining smart plugs and surge protectors.
You may also wonder: Do smart plugs use electricity when turned off?
Can You Use a Power Strip with a Smart Plug?
You can use a power strip with a smart plug provided the overall power of each appliance does not exceed the recommended guidelines laid out by the smart plug manufacturer. Remember to consider the wattage rating of the smart plug itself and don’t plug too many devices into the power strip at once.
A quality power strip will usually have a higher wattage rating because it’s specifically designed to have multiple electronic devices plugged into it.
This option is especially popular with people who frequently forget to turn their appliances off before they leave the house.
In this case, you can turn off multiple appliances at once, using just 1 smart plug.
When plugging a power strip into a smart plug, never go on to set up multiple power strips in a “daisy-chain.”
Doing so may cause or exacerbate hidden electrical issues in your home or fry the attached power strips and smart plugs.
In addition, letting electrical problems caused by exceeding the wattage rating fester can lead to electrical fires in your home.
Plugging multiple smart plugs into a power strip is often safer than plugging a power strip into a smart plug, especially if you plan to use the combination with devices that require higher energy usage.
It is possible to use smart plugs and power strips together if proper caution is used.
Before using them together, read the manuals, which will usually include warnings and instructions for safe use.
The critical thing to remember is that these devices have a maximum power rating that should not be exceeded.
If the safety instructions are followed, you can use this combination with devices that you frequently use but may wish to have a more convenient way to turn them off.