Smart plugs seem to be popping up all over the place. Brands like WeMo and TP-Link dominate the indoor market while new competitors like Amazon have recently joined in. But when it comes to an outdoor smart plug, your options dry up quick. The iClever IC-BS06 Outdoor Smart Plug has filled that void and is currently the best all-around option among limited competitors.
Two Smart Plugs for the Price of One
For users of older remote control plugs, the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug has a familiar look. The device’s 3-prong plug dangles off the base on a short cord measuring around 6 inches. This is to allow it to fit inside outdoor outlet enclosures. The cord does unfortunately come off to the right which means it might block the adjacent outlet inside your enclosure. If the cord would come straight down, it would have been better.
Despite that minor issue, the IC-BS06 has two individually controlled outlets in it’s base with surge protection. This gives it a distinct advantage over the iHome Outdoor Smart Plug. The device can handle temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit all the way down to -4 degrees. That’s about 99% of the weather thrown at it in the United States.
When it comes to water, the iClever Outdoor Plug is IP44 certified. This means it can handle rain, melting snow, or an accidental splash from the hose. But it can’t be submerged, so you’ll want to make sure it’s not placed anywhere that rain or snow might accumulate.
No Frills App Gets Job Done
Setting up the outdoor smart plug could be better, but not a deal breaker. It requires installing and registering an account on the Smart Life app for either your Android or iOS phone. You’ll want to “Add a Device” in the app and it will walk you through the instruction process. It’s about a 5 minutes from start to finish if everything connects right.
With 50 feet and a brick wall separating it from my router, the iClever performed well. It consistently maintained a connection throughout the day and was responsive when actions were made in the app. There’s a slight delay of just under a second, which isn’t bad considering it’s placement is outside the home. Only the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network frequency is supported (that means you can’t use it on your 5GHz network).
While the Smart Life app has the basic features we wanted, it’s not that intuitive. Still, you’ll be able to turn on and off the device remotely as well as set schedules and timers. And as mentioned earlier, each outlet can be controlled independently. So you can set a schedule for your Christmas lights on one and your fountain on the other. You can look at it as two plugs for the price of one.
One of the interesting options in the Smart Life app is to control your plug using your location’s weather conditions. That means you can have the plug toggle on or off if the temperature, humidity, or wind speed reach a certain level. There’s unfortunately no energy monitoring functionality. The iHome iSP100 Outdoor Smart Plug is a better option if that is a must-have feature.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Voice Controls
The iClever Outdoor Plug offers basic voice controls with Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices. You’ll need to enable the Smart Life skill in the Google Home or Alexa app on your phone. Since you can “rename” each outlet in the Smart Life app, this allows for better voice control. Instead of saying “Alexa, turn on plug one”, you can now say “Alexa, turn on giant inflatable Santa”.
At this time, you can only use voice controls to turn on and off your plug. And when it’s working, it’s great. Being able to use your Echo Dot or Google Home Hub to turn off something outside is one of life’s creature comforts. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always a reliable feature. The plug would occasionally be unresponsive for a period of time before suddenly working again.
There is no support for Apple HomeKit right now. You’ll need to go with either the iDevices Outdoor Switch or iHome Outdoor Smart Plug to cover that. IFTTT however is offered with some nice functionality like being able to automatically trigger your plug at sunrise or sunset.
Low Price Gives Good Value
This is a market that just doesn’t have a lot of options right now. So while the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug didn’t blow us away, it still offers the best all-around value.
For $30 you’re getting an outdoor smart plug that can stand up to most weather conditions. Having two outlets that are independent from each other is great too. Voice controls can be spotty, but everything else works as intended. So if you’re just looking for a way to automate your Christmas lights over the holiday or turn off a fountain when it gets dark, this plug should be up to the task.