Meross Makes the Best Smart Plugs
“Smart” applianced allow you to develop automations to make your life more efficient, create accessibility for those who need it, and make pedestrian tasks like doing laundry kind of fun. But what happens when you want to automate something...
“Smart” applianced allow you to develop automations to make your life more efficient, create accessibility for those who need it, and make pedestrian tasks like doing laundry kind of fun. But what happens when you want to automate something that isn’t smart? For this, you need a simple smart plug—a small device you plug into the wall that can turn a “dumb” product on or off.
After buying at least 30 of these tiny devices over the last five years, I can say with complete confidence that Meross makes the most consistent, reliable smart plugs on the market.
While I judge the aesthetics and function of any smart product, I place a lot of importance on three benchmarks:First, how easy is it to install the device—does it pair easily and quickly, and can I easily add it to my home hub? Second, does the device stay connected over time? So many products go “offline” or become unresponsive and have to be reset and repaired or reinstalled. Third, does it respond reliably every time I need to use it? This includes both tasks run through an automation and when I simply ask my home hub to turn it on or off.
On all three markers, the Meross smart plugs excel, and have done so for me consistently for the last few years. While the company updates the plugs yearly, including a few models that now support the Matter smart home device standard, I have found there’s little difference in performance across the brand’s various offerings. I’m currently using Meross’s single plugs, double plugs, and Matter plugs, and they all perform consistently and effectively, which is more than I can say for other brands I’ve tried.
Screenshot: Amanda Blum
Most smart plugs need to be installed using a native app, and Meross is generally no different—although I did find their newest plug, which uses the Matter standard, easy to install directly to my home hub, skipping the native app altogether. Either way, their smart plugs are ready to use out of the box and require no tools to install. You simply plug them in, open the Meross app, and tap to add a new device. I’ve never had any issue with the new plug pairing. You’ll need to enter your wifi password for the first device, but the Meross app stores those settings to reuse them for each new device afterward. (Other apps promise to do this, but the function rarely seems to work reliably.)
Once the item is paired, you can name it as you please. From there, you can operate it from within the Meross app, pairing it to scenes and automations, but I prefer to add it to my home hub. I use Google Home, and it pulls in new Meross devices without drama or delay. From there, I add them to automations or call them via Google Assistant. The same should hold true if you prefer to use Alexa or a different smart home hub.
A consistent problem I’ve experienced with other brands of plugs, particularly in the early days of smart tech, is unresponsive products—that is, devices going offline for seemingly no reason. Technologies like Z-Wave sometimes have methods to repair the connection, but they work inconsistently, which makes it harder to trust in your smart tech. I use smart plugs for essential operations around the house, like emptying plant drains and turning on humidifiers for my cheese cave. I rely on these plugs to turn on and off when automated to do so, every single time. Meross plugs just do their job. I don’t think I’ve had a single Meross plug go offline in the last five years. (I have had one simply stop working, and I returned it under warranty without issue.)
Smart plugs can be activated three ways: First, there’s usually a hardware button you can press as a fail safe and as a way to test the product. Meross plugs have a little green light to tell you the plug is working, and as I noted above, it’s rare a manual button stops working.
The second way is through automation—i.e. setting up a routine in either the native Meross app or via your home hub. When running an automation, the plug will turn on at a specific time or if a specific condition is met, and turn off at a separate time or when a different condition is met. For instance, you can set a lamp to turn on at sunrise and turn off at 11 p.m. Routines should be straightforward once set, but I’ve seen inconsistent results with some of my smart tech. Recently, for example, my B-hyve smart hose timer started working some days and not others, with no real reason I could determine. But my Meross plugs consistently respond to automations, and I can see the proof in the reports on my Meross app and on my smart hub.
Lastly, these devices will respond to Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri. (“Hey Google, turn on the humidifier.”) Some devices struggle a bit with these voice activations for a variety of reasons, but my Meross plugs never have.
Meross plugs are readily available on Amazon, and they range in price from about $11 to $15 for newer Matter-enabled plugs. My only complaint, and this is true of all smart plugs, is they take up a big footprint on your power strip, which is something to consider if you’re short on space. (You’ll likely need two spots if your power strip aligns your plugs horizontally.)
I wish this smart plug reliability extended to all Meross products, but I haven’t found that to be true. From bulbs to sensors, other Meross devices I’ve tried perform on par with gear from other companies—which is to say, inconsistently. My bathroom Meross bulbs go offline all the time. However, I can say that in a home running tons of automations, with at least 50 smart connections and one jerk who walks through the house constantly yelling orders into the air at various hubs, the Meross indoor plugs have never failed to work spectacularly.