Smart plugs are a game changer for smart technology. So many of our devices are not a part of the smart technology boom, but the smart plug is a way for us to bridge the gap.
Amazon makes one of the most popular lines of smart plugs. These devices can help you add basic smart features to lighting, electronics, and small appliances in your home. To handle all these electronics, the Amazon Smart Plug has a maximum wattage rating.
The maximum wattage of the Amazon Smart Plug is really straightforward. It’s just 1,800 watts. This should be strong enough to handle most home electronics barring larger appliances.
Your Introduction to the Amazon Smart Plug
Smart plugs are the Swiss Army Knife of the smart home world. They can instantly transform your old technology into a hyper-modern smart device.
How does this work?
The Amazon Smart Plug adds a smart interface between your devices and the wall socket. You can plug in lights or other electronics and be able to give them simple commands through Alexa.
One of the best examples of this is using an Amazon Smart Plug to voice control your coffee maker from the comfort of your own bed.
Because the Amazon Smart Plug interfaces between devices and the wall socket, it has to have a maximum wattage it can handle.
What Does “Max Wattage” Even Mean?
“Max Wattage” is more than just an action hero name, it’s the amount of total electrical work a given outlet can handle.
We’ll get into the specifics in just a bit, but for now it’s enough to say that watts are simply a measure of the electrical energy it takes for a device to get some work done. Most of today’s devices are energy-efficient and use less wattage than yesterday’s power-hungry tech. This means you’ll likely never run over the watt limit of the Amazon Smart Plug.
What is the Max Wattage of the Amazon Smart Plug?
Let’s get right down to it. The maximum wattage of the Amazon Smart Plug clocks in at 1,800 watts on a standard 120-volt US outlet.
Watts represent the amount of work your smart plug can do. If you have an 1,800-watt smart plug, then it can do 1,800 watts of work. That might sound a little cryptic, but if you look around your home, you should be able to find plenty of devices that are underneath 1,800 watts.
That’s the important thing about watts, you want your devices to be equal to or lower than the amount of watts your plug or socket can put out. The standard home microwave, for example, only uses about 800 watts. A blow-dryer, on the other hand, uses somewhere between 800 and 1,800 watts when heating air. Blowing cold air uses a paltry 70 watts!
This is why you might short a circuit when you try to run two appliances at once. Even though they are in different sockets, they are still connected back into the same circuit. This varies from building to building, but if your breaker shorts every time you microwave while using another appliance, now you know why.
Let’s take a closer look at the Amazon Smart Plug’s watt usage around the house.
Reasons Homeowners Should Care about the Amazon Smart Plug Max Wattage
You might be able to guess the big reason why homeowners should watch their watts with the Amazon Smart Plug: safety.
If your smart plug is overtaxed, it can short which might cause a fire. Since the Amazon Smart Plug was designed with such high wattage, you can safely use most home technology when plugged into this smart device.
Here’s a few of the home electronics you will likely never have to worry about using with an Amazon Smart Plug: (Unless you soup them up with an almost comical boost to their normal power, that is.)
- Blow Dryers
- TVs and Monitors
- Desktop Computers
- Drip Coffee Machine
You might be surprised to see microwaves on that list, but they actually use much less power than they used to. The same is true for television sets, but the dark days of 300-pound tube TV sets inflating our eclectic bills are a bit further in the past.
Now that we know a few devices that are in the clear, what should homeowners avoid plugging into their Amazon Smart Plugs?
- Washer / Dryer
- Dedicated Clothes Dryers
- Heavy-duty tools
- Extension cords—maybe
This list has a few obvious entries. Large appliances are going to have way too much draw for the Amazon Smart Plug. Dryers can come in at 5,000 watts which is well over what today’s smart plug is capable of.
So, what’s with that “maybe” by extension cords? One or two things plugged into an extension cord should work just fine with the Amazon Smart Plug. However, you can easily add too many watts to your extension and overload the plug. This is often the case when the same circuit that holds your desktop computer all of a sudden gets a vacuum cleaner.
These shorts are a safety hazard for sure, but they are also a financial hazard. Your high-end gaming PC is one bad short away from being a high-cost coaster. Even the cost of a shorted out microwave can be a serious setback.
Being aware of the wattage of your home electronics can help you make the most out of your smart technology. In order to figure this out, we need to be able to calculate wattage.
Calculating Max Wattage
What is a watt, anyway?
Well, one watt is the amount of work that can be done by one amp passing through one volt of potential difference. Easy.
Okay, maybe not so easy.
There’s an actually easy shortcut that can help you quickly calculate the watts used by any device. Here’s how it works:
- Wattage = Amps • Volts (i.e. Amps multiplied by Volts: A x V)
So in the case of the Amazon Smart Plug, it’s 15 amps in America, and America has 120 volts electric – giving the maximum wattage as: 15 x 120 = 1800 watts.
Now that’s easy. If you see the amps and volts of a device listed on the packaging or on the instruction manual, you can quickly calculate the amount of watts it will use.
The fun doesn’t stop here. There’s a little trick you can do with that calculation to find amps or volts. If watts equal the amps times the volts, then amps equal the watts divided by the volts! Here are some bonus equations you can use to calculate electrical usage or impressive friends at the next big party!
- Amps = Watts / Volts
- Volts = Watts / Amps
We’ve been diving deep into watts, amps, and volts, but what are they?
Wattage, Amps, and Voltage, Oh My!
Let’s start with wattage.
Watts are a measurement of the amount of work the volts and amps can get done. You can think about watts like the horsepower of the electricity world. A car with 800-horsepower is going to have devastating power while a 200-horsepower ride will be much more restrained. With great power, comes a whole lot of strength.
Amps, or amperes as they are more properly known, are a measurement of strength. To continue our car metaphor, you can think of amps as the total weight of the car. A massive truck would represent high amperage, while a smart car would have a more efficient amp footprint.
Rounding out our vehicular metaphors are volts. This is technically the pressure at which electricity flows through the line and into your outlet, but we can think of it as vehicle speed.
Let’s race on over to some of Amazon’s competitors to check out their maximum wattage.
Taking a Look at the Max Wattage of Other Smart Plug Brands
There are times when it can be tricky to figure out the exact differences between smart tech brands. Let’s see what the other smart plug companies have for their max wattage.
Philips Hue and Other Brands
The Philips Hue Smart Plug is rated at exactly the same, amps, volts, and watts as Amazon’s Smart Plug (15A) – 1,800 watts on a 120 volt input in America. In this respect, they are essentially the same.
In the UK it’s slightly different, at 13A and 220V giving around 2860W maximum:
In fact, it looks like everyone in the smart plug game is currently selling the same total wattage. TP-Link and Wemo are both clocking in at a maximum 1,800 watts too.
This makes a lot of sense, when you think about it. The voltage of standard American electrical outlets is locked in at 120 volts. All of these smart tech companies are working within building codes and North American infrastructure standards when they make their smart plugs.
Really, for most users 1,800 watts will be more than enough. Unless you plan on gaming while you vacuum, microwave, and dry your hair, hitting 1,800 watts is hard to accomplish. If you’re looking for a smart solution for bigger, watt-hungry appliances, you can always get a dedicated smart device like the LG Smart Dryer.
At least until Amazon or Philips come out with industrial smart plugs.