Smart plugs really are the next frontier when it comes to living in a truly smart home. However, they do raise some serious concerns when the internet goes out, and you’re relying on Kasa smart plugs.
Your Kasa smart plug will still be able to use existing timer and schedule settings when the internet goes down. However, if the smart plug loses power it will forget those timers and schedule settings until the internet is back up. Zigbee and Z-Wave smart plugs are a little bit more resilient to internet outages than Wi-Fi smart plugs.
We should take a closer look at what makes the Kasa smart plug work and why it’s so susceptible to Wi-Fi outages.
How the Kasa Smart Plug Works
Before we jump into how the Kasa smart plug works without the internet, we have to talk about how the Kasa smart plug stays connected in the first place.
The Kasa smart plug is only connected via Wi-Fi. This means that it relies on the internet, but not as much as some cheaper smart plugs. (As a side note, the Kasa app does not allow you to change the Wi-Fi network – which is a source of frustration for many Kasa owners!).
The lowest budget smart plugs don’t have any internal storage. This means they have to remain connected to the internet 24/7 in order to get the information they need to run from their central servers.
While the Kasa smart plug relies on the internet, it does have internal storage which means it’s able to keep its basic functionality going even if it can’t get connected to other devices.
This means that you can rely on your TP-Link Kasa smart plug even if your internet’s gone down for a few days.
Let’s look at the features that eat to stay working even without the internet.
Which Kasa Smart Plug Features Work Without the Internet?
Your Kasa smart plug has a lot of cool features, but only two of them work without an internet connection.
You’ll be happy to know that all of your timers are going to keep on ticking while the internet is down.
This means that any timers that you said before the internet went out are still going to be conducted by your Kasa smart plug. The internet going out will not delete these timers as they’re saved on the smart plugs internal memory.
Your schedules are also going to stay active while your Kasa smart plug is disconnected from the internet. Technically, this can go on pretty indefinitely. Your Kasa smart plug will keep your schedule stored as long as it has power.
One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot change the timer or schedules until the internet comes back on. This means that if your internet went down and your Kasa smart plug has a vacation schedule, it’ll be stuck on that vacation schedule until you can get it reconnected to the internet.
There’s also one weird quirk with the Kasa smart plugs that you need to keep in mind while they’re disconnected from the internet.
An On/Off Quirk With Kasa Smart Plugs and Internet Connectivity
The last thing that we need to talk about isn’t really a feature, but it’s actually a bit of a quirk about how the Kasa smart plug works internally.
NB: If your Kasa smart plug loses power at the same time it gets disconnected from the internet, its internal memory will not be able to store any timers or schedules. This will reset all of its functionality.
Until it can get back online and turned on, it’ll just be a regular power outlet.
However, if you turn the smart plug off manually or using the app, it will lose its timers but retain any schedules.
This means that if you need to turn your smart plug off for any reason, you should manually deactivate the power or turn it off using the app. This will make sure that it keeps your schedules safe even if you have to disconnect the power for a short amount of time while the internet’s out.
What Features Won’t Work Without the Internet?
New Timers and Schedules
One feature you’re going to have to leave without until the internet comes back on is setting new timers and schedules.
While your old timers and schedules are going to work, you won’t be able to create anything new until the internet is back. This is simply because you won’t be able to communicate with your Kasa smart plug until the internet is running again.
Setting Up New Devices
Until your internet is back up and running, you’re not going to be able to set up any new devices with your Kasa smart plug:
If your smart plug is brand-new, this means you also won’t have access to any schedules or timers just yet. At some point you will need to have access to the internet in order to set up smart features like schedules and timers.
You also won’t be able to add any other devices. This means that your new smartphone, tablet, for your relatives coming to visit you’re going to have to wait until your internet’s back up before you can connect their devices to your smart plug.
Voice commands (for example, through an Echo or Google Nest device) are also not going to work until your internet comes back on. This might seem a little counterintuitive, so let’s explain how voice commands work in the first place.
A lot of people have a misconception that Kasa voice commands work by telling your device what to do, the device here’s your command, and then the device executes on your instructions.
However, there’s actually an in-between step that requires the internet. Your voice command has to first be processed by a server before it is then relayed back to your smart device. This happens in the blink of an eye when the internet is working, but it doesn’t happen at all when the internet is down.
This means that your Kasa smart plug will not be able to hear your voice commands until your internet is working again.
The most fun we have with smart home technology comes when we start to get a little DIY and add third-party Integrations into our smart home ecosystem – such as through a SmartThings Hub or Amazon Echo (touched upon above). This opens up the potential for more complicated scheduling as well as creating unique home automations and events.
If you want your lights to turn on the moment you walk in the door without having to press a button, you’re going to need some third-party integrations to really complete the smart home of your dreams.
However, the internet is often required for most of the third-party integrations that make the advanced, DIY smart home ecosystem functional. If your internet goes down, all of these features are going to go down with it.
The Kasa smart plug only works with an internet connection. This means any third party Integrations with other technology, such as Alexa, are going to stop working until your internet’s back up.
Note: One exception is offline ‘smart hubs’ such as Hubitat or Home Assistant. These aren’t as user friendly to setup as Alexa, Google Home or SmartThings, but they do offer pretty awesome local control options.
This one should go without saying, but we do need to talk about it.
You’re not going to be able to control your Kasa smart plug with your smartphone app until your internet’s back on. This even applies while you’re away on vacation or otherwise out of the house (since your Kasa devices will still be in your original house, expecting the internet to be on).
Your smartphone could have access to the fastest Wi-Fi on the planet, but if there’s no internet getting to your Kasa smart plug then you won’t be able to control it whether you’re at home or away.
What Other Smart Plugs Work Well Without the Internet?
There are a few brands of smart plugs that don’t necessarily need the internet in order to work. These use different modes of connection like ZigBee and Z-Wave that are less susceptible to internet outages.
If you’re looking to get a smart plug that can stand up to an internet outage, here are a few brands to consider.
You should keep in mind that although you will get more functionality out of the smart plugs while the internet is down, they’re still going to suffer some setbacks without an internet connection. It all depends on the specific brand as well as how it connects to a smart hub.
Hue Smart Plug
Philips Hue is probably best known for their smart lights. The smart LED lights from Philips Hue have been leading the world of smart lighting for years, but this brand has up to a few more things than lighting.
The Hue smart plug connects with ZigBee. This is a great choice for people who already have a ZigBee hub and who want a smart plug that won’t go down when the internet stops working.
Enbrighten Smart Outlet
Enbrighten is making some extremely interesting devices especially when we start looking at smart plugs. Unlike your normal smart plug, these are actual smart outlets that you can install directly into your wall.
Best of all, they were accusing Z-Wave. Z-Wave is similar to a ZigBee in that it’s an alternative to devices that connect with Wi-Fi.
This means that you’ll be able to use more of the features on your Enbrighten smart outlet when the internet goes down. Because it’s designed to be installed directly in a wall and replace a traditional outlet, you can bet that it’s going to function just fine as a normal outlet if your internet shuts off.
GE Zigbee Dimmer Plug-In Outlet
GE also makes a line of smart products that rely on the ZigBee connectivity protocol.
The ZigBee dimmer from GE is a great choice if you’re looking for a smart outlet that’s primarily going to be controlling a light. This is one of the best picks for lending some basic smart features to a vintage light fixture.
It does connect with ZigBee which means you’re going to need a smart hub in order to make the most of this device. However, it’s also one of the strongest options out there if you’ve got this very specific smart task in mind.