Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Emporia Smart Plug review: everything you’d want from a smart plug

Four Emporia Smart Plugs displayed on a wooden table.
Emporia Smart Plug review: everything you’d want from a smart plug
MSRP $35.00
“The Emporia Smart Plug is an easy recommendation for all but HomeKit enthusiasts.”
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Highly detailed energy reports
  • Easy-to-use smartphone app
Cons
  • No Apple HomeKit support

Smart plugs might not be the most exciting products to add to your connected smart home, but they bring surprising versatility to your setup. That’s especially true of the Emporia Smart Plug, which not only lets you remotely control anything plugged into it, but also gives you a robust suite of energy monitoring tools.

The lack of Apple HomeKit support is a bit of a letdown, but if you’re running a Google or Amazon-powered smart home, there’s little to complain about with Emporia’s offering. Sleek, easy to install, and with a powerful (yet intuitive) smartphone app, Emporia gives you everything you’d want from a smart plug.

Slick design, easy installation

A plug attached to an installed Emporia Smart Plug.
Jon Bitner / Digital Trends

Emporia didn’t cut any corners when designing this affordable product. Even though you can pick up a four-pack for just $35 ($8.75/unit), they’re remarkably sleek for such a budget-minded gadget. The oblong shape looks great plugged into an outlet, and it’s small enough that it doesn’t intrude into the space of its neighboring socket. It is a bit long — extending slightly beyond the edges of my electrical outlet’s faceplate — but that’s a minor complaint for an otherwise good-looking smart plug.

Considering this clocks in at one of the lowest prices in the class, it’s great to see that Emporia didn’t gut features.

Once you’ve plugged the device into an outlet, getting it connected to your smart home is simple. Just download the associated smartphone app, connect to your Wi-Fi, and you’re ready to set schedules, remotely control devices, and monitor your energy use, all from your phone.

Like most smart plugs, the Emporia Smart Plug doesn’t offer much functionality directly on the unit. You’ll get a small, multi-color LED indicator light to let you know whether it’s powered on or off, and a power button on the side that lets you manually control the unit without loading up your phone. The on-unit functionality is completely standard for smart plugs, but considering this clocks in at one of the lowest prices in the class, it’s great to see that Emporia didn’t gut features to reach that price tag.

Unprecedented energy tracking

A chart generated in the Emporia app showing data usage for a single outlet.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Gaining remote control of non-smart appliances is the main reason you’ll want to pick up a smart plug. Setting on/off schedules, remotely powering devices, and gaining voice controls are all things you’ll benefit from with the Emporia Smart Plug, but it’s the energy tracking capabilities that truly set this apart from other products in the price range. Eve Energy, for example, offers a similar lineup of energy monitoring features, but you’ll drop $70 on a two-pack — putting them in an entirely different price bracket.

If you’re familiar with Emporia, those energy monitoring chops shouldn’t come as a surprise. Beyond selling smart plugs, the company sells home batteries, EV chargers, and (most importantly) an energy monitoring device that connects directly to your electrical panel. That expertise has spilled over into the Emporia Smart Plug, giving the tiny gadget a surprisingly robust suite of energy monitoring capabilities.

The smartphone app can help you lower your energy usage by giving suggestions or automatically adjusting settings.

Using the Emporia smartphone app, you can head over to a section simply called Graphs. It’s here that you’ll be able to see how much energy each outlet is pulling per day, along with a detailed chart of usage for every second your device is online. There’s even an option to see your overall usage for the year — giving you a holistic view of your energy usage.

But the energy-related features don’t end there. Emporia offers another tab in its smartphone app (Management) that can help you lower your energy usage by giving suggestions or automatically adjusting consumption as your rate changes during the day. In other words, some users might simply pick these up to help track their energy usage, with the remote control functions coming as an added bonus.

Remarkably easy to use

The Emporia Smart Plug installed in an outlet.
Jon Bitner / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Regardless of why you pick up the Emporia Smart Plug, its smartphone app makes it easy to maximize its potential. Every connected smart plug is shown on the home screen of your app, letting you dive in and set schedules, enable a timer to turn off the device after a specified amount of time, or reset its data if you’re plugging in a new device to your smart plug.

If you’re monitoring energy use, things are even easier — just click on your smart plug of interest, and you’ll immediately be greeted with its power usage chart. If you want to do some elaborate data crunching, Emporia even lets you export all your values to a CSV file.

Both voice commands and a built-in power button give you ways to use the smart plug without your smartphone.

The ability to use voice commands when synced with your Google or Amazon ecosystem is another plus, giving you hands-free control of your lights, coffee maker, or other gadgets. So, if you’d rather not fiddle with a smartphone, you can use either voice commands or the built-in button on each smart plug to access some of its most basic functionality.

Too powerful to pass up

Emporia really left no stone unturned when it comes to designing this smart plug. The only downside is the lack of Apple HomeKit support. But aside from that omission, there’s little missing from this package. It can handle a continuous load of 10A (with a 15A Max Peak Load for up to an hour a day), comes with a one-year warranty, offers robust energy monitoring tools, and gives you plenty of ways to schedule and power your gadgets remotely.

If you need Apple HomeKit, consider picking up the ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2. It’s much larger than the Emporia Smart Plug, but offers many of the same features as Emporia. You’ll also want to check our list of the best smart plugs of 2022.

But beyond that, most people will be well-served adding the Emporia Smart Plug to their repertoire.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
The best outdoor smart plugs for 2023
Meross Smart Outdoor Plug

Have you experienced the thrill of connecting your favorite devices to a smart plug? Made for home essentials like lamps, security cameras, toasters, coffee makers, dehumidifiers, and more, these programmable outlets are amazing additions to any smart home. With a compatible app, you can even power the plugs on and off remotely and set schedules. This is all well and good for the devices inside our homes, but what about our outdoor gear? Fortunately, there are now durable and weather-resistant outdoor smart plugs that are just as good as their indoor brethren.

Read more
Emporia resolves issue with Smart Plugs that spurred recall
The Emporia Smart Plug with a cable attached.

Update (November 7, 2023): Emporia has resolved the issue with its Emporia Smart Plugs and they're once again available for sale. Keep in mind the previous recall still applies, and if you've purchased products between the dates listed below, you should look into returning your smart plugs.

Original story: If you purchased an Emporia Smart Plug between July 1, 2022, and August 1, 2023, there’s a good chance your product is defective. The company has issued a voluntary recall of smart plugs purchased from Amazon and the Emporia website during that period, as they may have a mechanical issue making them “potentially unsafe.”

Read more
Can smart plugs be used outside?
The Ring Outdoor Smart Plug installed outside.

While they may not be as exciting as robot vacuums or smart speakers, smart plugs are a great addition to any smart home. These nifty devices allow you to remotely control anything connected to them, like the lights around your home or your trusty coffee maker. And if you're thinking about using smart plugs to control your holiday lights or other exterior decorations, you'll be glad to know that some smart plugs can be used outside.

However, not all smart plugs are up to the task, and using the wrong ones outdoors could pose serious safety risks. Before you run out on your porch and start installing smart plugs, here's what you need to know about using smart plugs outside.
Not all smart plugs can be used outside

Read more