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Belkin Wemo Smart Plug with Thread review: No place but HomeKit
This one's for Apple fans only.
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It may be niche, but the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread is a great pick for those in the HomeKit ecosystem.
I can't help but stan a well-made device with a singular purpose. Products that aren't trying to be all things to all people, but have a laser-sharp focus that makes them a must own for their target audience. Even if they're a bit niche.
Belkin's Wemo Smart Plug with Thread is one such gadget. It's a smart plug designed specifically for Apple's HomeKit ecosystem. It won't work with Alexa, it won't with Google Assistant, and it certainly doesn't work with Bixby. It's not even compatible with the Wemo app.
Being a HomeKit-only device already makes the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread a specialised accessory. So does Thread. Thread is a relatively new low-power connectivity smart home standard that creates a mesh network between devices. This results in a faster response time, improved reliability, and lower power consumption.
Thread, broadly speaking, is a good thing. It does however mean you need a Thread border router. In the Apple world, the HomePod mini and the latest Apple TV are your two choices. If you don't have either of those, the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread will fall back to Bluetooth. From my experience, Bluetooth smart home accessories are much less reliable.
In short, you shouldn't be considering the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread unless you're in a HomeKit household and have a HomePod mini or an A12 Apple TV. But if you qualify, the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread is easy to recommend.
Setup is painless. It supports NFC pairing via the Home app, or you can key in a pin to get it setup. After that, you can use any device with the Home app to turn the switch on or off, or alternatively, talk to Siri.
You can also use the Home app to create automations - to make the plug turn on or off at certain times, at the simplest level. If you have other smart devices, you can create automations that trigger based on motion sensors or temperature sensors if you want to get a bit fancier.
I've been using my Wemo Smart Plug with Thread to automate my heater. I have it set to turn on about an hour before I get up to warm the house and then turn off by the time I'm normally at the gym. I also have a fail safe setup that always switches it off after 11.30pm, just so the heater doesn't stay on overnight.
Notably, the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread is rated for 15A / 1800W, which is enough for me to run my heater at full strength. When testing other smart plugs, I found the maximum setting would overload the circuit.
I also really appreciate the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread's slimline design. When plugged into a power board or wall socket, it doesn't obscure any other outlets. There's also a physical power button if you want to manually toggle it.
One feature you won't find on the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread is energy monitoring. Many smart plugs include this functionality, but Wemo is a bit more basic.
Is the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread worth buying?
Ultimately, a product like a smart plug doesn't need to do too much to be good. As long as it can reliably turn a device on or off, it's doing the job. In the week or so I've been testing the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread, it's certainly delivered. "Hey Siri, turn on the heater" gets an instant response, and I've not had any connectivity issues.
And at $39.95, it's easy to recommend. There are cheaper HomeKit-ready switches available that also support Amazon and Google smart home ecosystems, but they're missing Thread connectivity and tend to have lower maximum power loads.
If you're part of the niche the Wemo Smart Plug for Thread has been designed for, it's a great buy.