As a lifelong Midwesterner, it’s no fun crawling behind a bush in 10 degree weather to plug in the Christmas lights each night. Remote control plugs seem hit or miss and you have to be within range to control them. So when I saw an outdoor smart plug advertised for the first time, I knew it was for me.
The iDevices Outdoor Switch is a smart plug designed to handle the rigors of the outdoors. Coming in at around $50, it’s one of the higher priced options on the market. But that price comes with an important feature almost impossible to find in the market, Apple HomeKit compatibility.
Dual Outlets Can’t Be Controlled Individually
The iDevices Outdoor Switch has a black base with two outlet receptacles packaged inside a rugged plastic exterior. There’s an LED light strip in front that is similar to their indoor smart plug (read our iDevices Switch review). Unlike the indoor model, you are not able to customize the light through the app. A 3-prong plug protrudes at the end of a 6 inch cord to fit into outlets with a protective cover. The plug will dangle downwards to avoid water from getting in. There are screws included so that you can mount it to your wall or fence.
Rain, snow, and temperature protection are always concerns with any outdoor electrical product. While iDevices states the product is rain-tested, they don’t offer up an Ingress Protection rating (IP). They also don’t state the temperature range that it’s usable in. While the plug has held up through my Chicago winter, you may want to give caution if using in more extreme conditions. In contrast, the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug provides an IP rating (IP44) and temperature range (-4 degrees F to 140 degrees F).
Having two outlets is a nice feature, especially if your outlet falls in the middle of your Christmas light chain. However, unlike the iClever, the iDevices Outdoor Switch doesn’t allow you to control each outlet individually. The plug is rated to handle 10 amps (1200 watts). This is a bit weaker than others but should be more than enough for your Christmas decorations unless you’re Clark Griswold.
Nice App with Custom Scheduling
Traditional Apple HomeKit setup is a breeze with the iDevices Outdoor Switch. Plug it in, scan the code, and you should be good to go in a few minutes. The iDevices app is a must though. It provides firmware updates, advanced features, and is necessary for connecting to other platforms (Amazon, Google). This does require creating an account and will only work on a 2.4GHz wireless network.
The iDevices Connected app is better than most of their competitors. It’s got an intuitive design that will also show other iDevices products you own. You can rename the plugs, take a photo for reference, and turn them on and off remotely. Scheduling is fairly straightforward and can provide some energy savings if you’re like me and forget to turn off the lights outside before bed. Unfortunately there isn’t an option in the app to time it based on your location’s sunrise and sunset (you’d think this would be a no-brainer for an outdoor plug).
One of the extra features inside the Outdoor Switch is energy monitoring. You can track uses over specific periods of time and can enter in your cost per kWh to see what you’ll be paying. While this is a great feature for indoor plugs to have, I didn’t see as much use for it outside. Your mileage may vary.
Performance overall was solid. It was able to maintain a connection outside about 30 feet from the router. Response times through Apple Home were almost instantaneous while there was a half second delay through the iDevices app. It followed my chosen schedule perfectly over the course of three weeks.
Besides controlling the plug through Siri, you can also connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. These require linking the iDevices Skill to your Amazon or Google account. The only voice commands it can handle are turning on and off. IFTTT support is also available and triggers based on your location’s temperature are available. This is handy if you’re using this with an engine block heater.
Best Apple HomeKit Outdoor Plug Available
If you’re an Apple HomeKit user, it’s between this and the iHome iSP100 Outdoor Smart Plug. The iDevices Outdoor Switch comes with the higher price but is also a better product. It was more reliable, has an additional outlet, and offers energy monitoring. But if you’re just using this for a month out of the year, maybe that’s not worth the extra $15.
For those without Apple HomeKit, you’re better off with the iClever Outdoor Smart Plug. It has better power specs and lets you control both outlets independently. Plug it’s $20 cheaper.