The Hue Smart Plug ($29.99) makes it possible to add non-smart lighting to your Philips Hue ecosystem. Designed for lights only, this Bluetooth-enabled single outlet smart plug is easy to install and uses the Hue mobile app to turn lights on and off, run routines, and interact with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice services. It can also interact with other smart devices via IFTTT applets, but you have to connect it to a Hue Bridge to do this and to control the plug remotely. It also lacks some of the features that you get with our Editors’ Choice, the $17.99 Samsung SmartThings Wifi Smart Plug, including power reporting and an embedded Wi-Fi radio.
The Hue Smart Plug is white, with a single three-prong outlet on the front and a three-prong plug on the back. At 2.0 by 1.0 by 3.0 inches (HWD), it's just a bit smaller than the SmartThings plug (1.5 by 2.6 by 2.1). It has an on/off button on the left side, and Bluetooth and Zigbee radios on the inside, but it lacks a Wi-Fi radio. Philips recommends that the plug only be used for lights and not for other devices such as coffee makers and fans.
You can turn the plug on and off using Alexa and Google voice commands as long as the plug is within Bluetooth range of your Alexa or Google device, but you’ll have to connect it to a Hue Bridge ($59.99) to control it from a distance and have it interact with other smart devices using IFTTT applets. Missing are the power usage reports that you get with many other models such as the SmartThings plug, the Currant WiFi Smart Outlet, and the ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2.
You can control the plug using the same Hue Bluetooth app (for Android and iOS) as the Hue Bluetooth White and Color Ambiance bulb, or if you’re adding it to an existing Hue system and Bridge, you can use the full-blown Hue app. Both apps offer Routines to have the plug turn on and off according to a schedule or when the sun rises and sets, but only the main Hue app and Bridge let you control it and have it work together with other Hue lights that are connected to the Bridge.
The app opens to a screen that displays all of your Hue rooms and the status of the lights in that room. You can turn an entire room on and off by tapping the tab for that room. At the bottom of the screen is a Routines button that takes you to a screen where you can use presets such as Home and Away, Wake Up, and Go To Sleep to have the plug turn on and off at specific times, or you can create your own Routines based on time of day, sunrise, and sunset. The Explore button opens a screen with information about Friends of Hue, Hue Entertainment, and partner apps, as well as links to how-to videos. The Settings button takes you to a screen where you can create rooms and zones, configure lights and accessories, create entertainment areas, and update software.
Installing the Hue plug was very easy. I connected the plug to my Hue Bridge, but installing it as a Bluetooth device is just as easy using the Hue Bluetooth app. To start, I plugged the device into an outlet, opened the Hue mobile app, tapped Settings, and selected Accessory Setup. Next, I tapped Add Accessory and selected the Hue Smart Plug from the list of devices. I tapped Search and the plug was discovered and added to my Hue account within seconds. It was also automatically identified by Alexa and added to my Alexa device list.
The Hue Smart Plug worked well in testing. It responded instantly to on/off commands using the manual button, as well as the on/off buttons in the Hue app. Alexa voice commands also worked without a hitch, as did my IFTTT applet to have the plug turn on when a Ring Stick Up Cam detected motion. I added the plug to my Go To Sleep and Wake Up routines and it never failed to turn off and on according to my schedules.
The Hue Smart Plug makes sense for anyone who already has a Philips Hue lighting system. It’s easy to install and lets you control non-smart lights with the Hue Bluetooth mobile app, but you’ll need a Hue Bridge to have it work with other smart devices using IFTTT applets and to control it with Alexa and Google voice commands when out of Bluetooth range. For around $10 less, the Samsung SmartThings Wifi Smart Plug is a much better value for everyone else. It can be used with many small appliances, has its own Wi-Fi radio, and will tell you how much power it’s using, so it remains our Editors’ Choice for smart plugs.