Etekcity Outdoor Review
Pros: Rated for outdoor use, many different functions including energy usage monitoring
Cons: Only works with Alexa and no other voice assistants, setup process is slightly more involved than average
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Etekcity Outdoor works well for Alexa users that require an outdoor plug with energy usage monitoring.
Analysis and Test Results
Ease of Setup
No smart plug that we've tested is particularly difficult to set up, but the process required to get the Etekcity Outdoor up and running checks more of the annoyance boxes than most. First off, you have to download the corresponding app and make a new account with Etekcity, no using a pre-existing FaceBook or Google account here. Then you need to jump out of the app and confirm the account via your email. Finally, if you want to connect the plug to your Alexa network, you have to do so manually within the Alexa app.
If you end up needing to change the plug to a different WiFi network, either because you moved or got a new WiFi router, this process is similarly annoying. You must completely remove the plug from your app, then reset the plug by holding its button down. Luckily it did automatically reconnect to Alexa when we did this.
Once the Etekcity Outdoor is set up, using it is quite intuitive, and it offers a number of features. The app makes it quite easy to set basic schedules, letting you have lights automatically turn on and off at certain times of the day. You can also set an away mode, which will organically turn the outlet on and off within time periods of your choosing, creating the illusion that someone is home when you're actually on vacation. There are also scenes that can be programmed. For instance, you could set a "deck party" scene that would turn on the string lights above your deck and turn off the annoying sounding water pump in the adjacent garden, all with a single gesture in the app or Alexa voice command. Finally, there is an energy tracking feature, which allows you to examine how much electricity your outdoor appliances are using.
This is one area where the Etekcity Outdoor feels a bit constrained. It is only compatible with Alexa, meaning those who favor Google Assistant or Siri are you of luck. Additionally, it is not compatible with the If This Then That (IFTTT) system, a third-party program that allows for the construction of more advanced, complicated, and interconnected smart plug triggers.
Here the Etekcity Outdoor put in a standard performance in our testing. Like most smart plugs on the market, it was able to instantly recover from a WiFi or power outage if the socket was turned on when the outage occurred. If it was turned off it took a couple of minutes to regain functionality, but it was able to do so without us having to reset it or open the corresponding app.
The Etekcity Outdoor sells at a fairly reasonable price, and offers energy usage monitoring to boot. However, its lack of Google Assistant, Siri, and IFTTT support may be deal breakers for some. Still, if you're an Alexa user already, it is a decent value.
The Etekcity Outdoor offers some initial setup hurdles and is only really compatible with Alexa smart home systems, but offers an overall reliable and fully-featured user experience.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell