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Marcus Mears III is the Reviews Editor for How-To Geek and Review Geek. He’s a lifelong technology enthusiast with over three years of experience developing prose that keeps readers in the know. With hundreds of articles across a number of tech publications like MakeUseOf and iGeeksBlog, Mears’ work helps readers around the globe learn to make the most of their devices and software. Read more…
You can integrate any electrical appliance with an On/Off switch into your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant ecosystem—all it takes is the Shelly Plug US. Plug it into the wall, connect your lamp, curling iron, or TV, and gain access to power controls right from your smartphone or smart speaker.
This smart plug works well in turning appliances into smart devices, and it blends into most wall sockets, but this device isn’t a miracle worker. You can only perform the basic power On/Off task with it. If you’re looking to add a light switch to your smartphone or make sure you’re saving power where you can, check out the Shelly Plug US.
The Shelly Plug US doesn’t try to be the star of the show; it’s minimal in design, accommodating one type-B plug (two parallel prongs and a grounding pin). It looks natural and fairly low-profile, rather than like an eye sore hanging out of the wall.
You’ll need a free wall socket, and thankfully it won’t block the outlet above or below it—it fits comfortably below my Google Nest Mini’s DC power cord. The 1.97 x 1.46 x 3.27in size rests in your palm similar to a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer (or two 9V batteries). While not the smallest of smart plugs, it fits and looks reasonably well in most kitchen, office, or bedroom electrical receptacles.
The front-facing side also features a physical power button that you can use to manually turn the Shelly Plug US on or off. You can use the color of the LED indicator to determine the state of the device. A static blue LED means no power is traveling through to the connected appliance, whereas an orange LED signifies the opposite.
And while some concern about hooking a device up to another power adapter like the Shelly Plug US is valid, there are a few main protections in place that give me peace of mind while operating it. Namely, the max power, voltage, and current protections—there’s a maximum limit set by Shelly, but if you’d rather err on the side of caution, you can adjust them manually in the Shelly Cloud app.
Connecting your Shelly Plug US with your smartphone is fairly easy once you know how to navigate the UI (user interface). First, download the Shelly Cloud app (available for iPhone and Android). From there, open it up, tap the three lines to expand the navigation menu, and select Add device. Now, log into your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network.
You can then scroll through the list of nearby/detected Shelly devices, scan the QR code on the box, or search for nearby Bluetooth devices. Include the device in your local network and you’re all set up. You can now rename your Shelly Plug US, control the connected device, set up timers or schedules, sync up smart speakers, and more all from the app.
If you’re coming from something like a Wyze Plug, you may be surprised to note you can also monitor power consumption in Watts by device or room, and over selected time periods. I used the Shelly Plug US to power a wax warmer in my kitchen; it stays at a steady 20W to 22W while in use.
More importantly, with a connection range of over 100ft (30.48m) indoors and 165ft (50.92m) outdoors, it works flawlessly. I could call out, “Hey Google, turn off Shelly Plug,” and out it’d go. If I know guests are on the way and I want to spruce up my apartment’s entryway, I’ll use the app to turn on the Shelly Plug from my phone while continuing to tidy up before they arrive.
If you’d rather automate your lights (think outdoor lights in the winter), hook them up to a Shelly Plug and set a schedule. For instance, set them to turn on at 6:30PM and turn off at 11:00PM—never waste electricity forgetting to unplug all those lights again.
I admire the functionality the Shelly Cloud app brings to the table. It’s practical to set schedules and timers for various lights and appliances, but it should be easier to do so. The Shelly Cloud app comes with a learning curve, and the only way to gain a better understanding is by poking around and figuring things out yourself—a good methodology for soaking up knowledge, but rather inconvenient when you’re just trying to control your wax warmer.
$17.98 Save 12%
You should consider picking up the Shelly Plug US if the “appliances” section of your bill is starting to add up and you want to keep tabs on it, or if you’re in the process of converting your living space to a smart home-enabled area. At an affordable price of $19.25, you could automate much of your morning routine (lights, coffee machine, etc.) for under $100, even if they’re not smart devices.
If you’re less concerned with monitoring power usage, and more interested in lowering the price tag, consider some options in our roundup of the best smart plugs, like the BroadLink Smart Plug or Kasa Smart Plug HS103P2.
But for functionality and style in a small package, there are few superior alternatives to the Shelly Plug US.
- Lowkey design
- Shelly Cloud functionality
- Power, voltage, & current protections
- Affordable Price
- Only one plug
- Limited functionality
- Confusing app UI