Apple HomeKit-enabled smart plugs can be tough to find. Homekit-enabled smart plugs with built-in energy monitoring? Even harder. That’s where Elgato steps in with the Eve Energy. A smart plug and power meter rolled in to one.
Priced at $49.95, the Eve Energy is one of the more expensive smart plugs on the market. While Apple HomeKit support can often come with a higher sticker price, the fact it doesn’t support any other platform is eye-opening. Throw in the fact that you’ll need an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad at home to control remotely, you start to wonder how this justifies its price. We delved deeper to see what was inside.
Eve App Makes Setup a Breeze
At a time when smart plugs are downsizing, the Elgato Eve Energy stands out with its larger footprint. Despite measuring in at 2.6″ by 2.6″, the good news is it won’t block the adjacent socket on the wall. The bad news is you can’t use two of these units side by side. It will also block sockets on most power strips.
Aesthetically, it’s an attractive device. A glossy white exterior makes it feel a bit more sophisticated than it’s matte-finish competitors. This also has the benefit of blending in with a standard glossy faceplate. A tiny green LED power button appears below the 3-prong outlet.
When setting up, you’ll realize that the Elgato Eve Energy doesn’t use Wi-Fi. The plug instead uses wireless Bluetooth technology to communicate with other iOS devices in your home. This might make you a bit nervous, but it actually works out quite well in the Apple ecosystem.
Setup is incredibly simple. While you can just use the Home app, it’s recommended to install the Eve app from the App Store. This will guide you through the process which amounts to looking for the device, selecting it, and then scanning the associated barcode. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Works Like a Dream
The Eve Energy worked flawlessly with Apple HomeKit. Response times were instantaneous inside the Home app and there was not a single connectivity issue in the weeks it was tested. It outperformed the iHome iSP6X and iDevices Switch in that regard. Being part of your Apple ecosystem, the smart plug can interact with other HomeKit-enabled devices in your home using the Apple Home apps “scenes” function.
Brand specific apps are often a hassle, but not in this case. The Eve app has a terrific user interface. In fact, I preferred it to the Home app from Apple. All the same functionality exists from setting up “Rooms” or “Scenes” with other HomeKit-enabled devices. You can sort by “Type” and the “At a Glance” tab will display your most-used devices. It’s really intuitive and considerable energy went into creating it.
Perhaps the best feature in relation to the Eve Energy is the energy monitoring. Upon tapping the plugs name, you can access an extensive list of reports. It will cover your current consumption in watts. Your total consumption in kWh over the course of hours, days, weeks, or months. Entering your cost per kWh, it can tell you how much you’re paying to run an appliance. These are also laid out in easy to digest bar graphs. It’s the best energy monitoring system I’ve come across and I find myself using it as much to check power consumption on different items in my home as I do for home automation.
While it performed perfectly in the home, it’s Bluetooth connection requires you to own additional Apple products to operate the plug remotely. This can be done if you have an Apple TV, HomePod, or an iPad that is connected to your home’s wireless setup. Most people who are heavily invested in to the Apple ecosystem have this covered, but it’s worth noting since it’s one of the few plugs that doesn’t utilize your home’s WiFi.
If Money is No Object
There was some skepticism coming into this review. It’s larger size, hefty price tag, and Bluetooth-only connection had me concerned. But after using the Elgato Eve Energy Smart Plug & Power Meter, I can say it’s the best Apple HomeKit-enabled smart plug on the market. There were no connectivity issues that plague Wi-Fi connected plugs. The app is a thing of beauty. And the energy monitoring is terrific. Instead of pleasing everyone, perhaps focusing on one system is the way to go for these companies.
Now that doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy one of these. The price is still a big concern. It’s tough to justify spending almost $50 for a single smart plug. The Wemo Mini is almost as reliable, has a slimmer design, and offers more 3rd party support (Amazon Alexa, Google Home) for $20 less. The iDevices Switch plug will give you energy monitoring and a nightlight for the same price. But if you’re deep into Apple’s ecosystem and price is no object, the Elgato Eve Energy is the best HomeKit-enabled smart plug money can buy.