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TP-Link’s new smart outlet is actually an outlet — and that’s why it’s smart

TP-Link’s new smart outlet is actually an outlet — and that’s why it’s smart


Not a brick that sticks out of your wall

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This summer, I replaced every single power outlet in my house with a tamper-resistant one. You do things like that when you’ve got a curious two-year-old.

But I kind of wish I’d waited — because TP-Link is quietly making a smart outlet that could let me control my wall sockets with a tap on my phone. Or with Alexa / Google Assistant voice controls, which I personally prefer.

I’m talking about the TP-Link Kasa KP200 Smart Wi-Fi Power Outlet, which just passed through the FCC’s certification database this morning. It hasn’t yet been formally announced, so we’re not sure when (or even if) it’ll arrive or what it’ll cost, but the user manual shows that it’s a genuine one-gang, two-socket, three-prong power outlet you can control with a smartphone or your voice.

That’s right, it’s a real smart outlet — not one of those chunky smart bricks you stick into your existing dumb outlets, which are often called “smart outlets” even though they’re kind of not. (I own a few such smart plugs as well.)

While you won’t need a special hub to set it up — a regular Wi-Fi router will do — it’s not great for renters because you’ll need permission (and a modicum of safety) to install a new outlet.

That said, I’m a big fan of TP-Link’s smart home products, of which I now own quite a few (one dimmer, four switches, and three smart plugs. I’ve considered the Kasa smart power strip as well). They’re easy to set up, turn on immediately when I ask them to, and have handy local buttons for on / off if you need a physical control. That familiarity is probably why I’d pick it over this already-existing iDevices alternative.

Of course, those buttons also mean they won’t necessarily protect a curious two-year-old. Maybe I’ll wait for another version I can completely disable from my phone.

Correction, 3:33 PM PT: In an earlier version of this post, I confused the neutral line that’s often not present in a switch box with the neutral line that should always be present in outlet boxes, which is super embarrassing for me considering I installed a ton of outlets in my house recently. Long story short, you probably don’t need to worry about whether you’ll have enough wires in your outlet box.