Tiny WeMo smart plug makes trying HomeKit so easy [Review]

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Belkin Wemo WiFi Smart Plug review
The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug can be your ticket to easy home automation.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Home automation is convenient and even kind of fun. And a smart plug is the easiest way to get started. The redesigned Wemo WiFi Smart Plug from Belkin lets you find out if you really want to be able to control your lights or other appliances from your iPhone, without making a big investment.

A couple of weeks of testing this pint-size HomeKit accessory went into this review. Here’s what I found out.

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Belkin Wemo WiFi Smart Plug review

In 2020, it’s ridiculous that your best way of turning lights on and off is by walking over to a switch on the wall. Apple’s HomeKit home automation lets you control them with with Siri commands. Or set up a timer with the Home app built into iPhones and iPads.

The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug takes care of the hardware side. Simply insert it into any wall plug, then plug in a light, fan, A/C unit, heater etc. Voila, you now have remote control over that appliance.

And the latest version of Belkin’s accessory takes up far less space than its predecessors. It’s 2.1 inches by 1.8 inches by 1.3 inches, which makes it about half the size of the previous iteration.

The only option is white, but combined with the smaller size the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug isn’t overly obtrusive.

There’s a standard 3-prong socket on the front, and equivalent prongs on the back. This product handles up to 120V or 15A. That’s enough for a small space heater, but you still should be careful to not overload it.

Happily, you don’t always have to depend on HomeKit. A power button on the right side gives you manual control. And there’s Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, too.

Belkin Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is tiny but powerful.
The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug can be controlled with a button, too.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Belkin Wemo WiFi Smart Plug performance

Apple makes setting up HomeKit accessories like the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug a breeze. Obviously, the physical part is easy.

But connecting this plug-in smart outlet to your iPhone isn’t much harder. Go to Apple’s Home app, tell it you want to Add Accessory, scan a 3D barcode on the smart plug and you’re pretty much done.

Belkin’s newest smart outlet responds very quickly to commands. Tap on its button in the Home app and it’ll turn on or off nearly instantly.

Now, this may seem obvious, but just in case: this product needs Wi-Fi access. Specifically, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. Most home routers offer both this and 5GHz, so this warning is mostly to advanced users who manually turned off 2.4GHz.

HomeKit 101

HomeKit is built into iOS and iPadOS. With it, you can control accessories like the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug with Siri commands. It’s as simple as “Hey Siri, turn on lamp.”

But the real value is in controlling multiple lights and other appliances with a single command. For example, “Hey Siri, good night” can turn off every light in your home but your bedroom.

And HomeKit offers automation. Lights can turn themselves on at a specified time, or exactly at sunset/sunrise. Or lights, fans, etc. can turn themselves off when you leave the house (they’ll know to do this because you took your iPhone with you).

To find out more, read Cult of Mac’s guide on how to get started with HomeKit home automation.

WeMo

Belkin offers a WeMo app that does the same job as Apple’s Home app. It’s not as easy to use, though.

Still, it has a nice feature. HomeKit requires a hub. This can be an Apple TV or HomePod, or an older iPhone or iPad. Whichever the device is, it needs to stay at your home for you to remote-control your accessories. The WeMo app doesn’t have this limitation. It lets you control the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug from anywhere without a hub.

Wemo WiFi Smart Plug version 1 and version 2.
The newest Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is so much smaller than its predecessor.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Belkin Wemo WiFi Smart Plug final thoughts

Belkin’s smart outlet will help you realize that turning on a light the same way Thomas Edison did is ridiculously outdated. And the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is so easy to install and use.

It adds a bit of bulk to your wall outlet, but that’s a small price to pay.

Pricing

Speaking of paying, Belkin’s price for the Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is $24.99.

At the time of this writing, the accessory is so new that Amazon has a listing but no stock.

Don‘t confuse the the upcoming version with the earlier one. The older version is still available for $19.99 on Amazon. It offers the same functionality, just in a larger package.

Comparable products

The Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini has a design similar to Belkin’s, and is much cheaper. In fact, you can pick up a pair of these smart outlets on Amazon for $25.

Another good option is the Satechi Dual Smart Outlet, which doubles the number of plugs. Each is individually controllable. It’s HomeKit-only.

Belkin provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.