The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip from TP-Link makes no compromises in providing six switched smart outlets and three always-on fast USB charging ports along with power-surge protection. From a sleek design that fits in with modern home décor, to integration with its well-designed app, to an array of voice-control assistant support and scheduling, TP-Link has managed to make the ideal device—a rare achievement in smart-home hardware or electronics of any kind.

The key feature you want in a smart power strip is robust scheduling. If the app is just a glorified per-outlet on/off switch, it might be slightly useful. But at four or five times the cost of a regular power strip, why bother? Scheduling lets you put the intelligence into each outlet, as if you’re combining (in this case) six separate smart plugs or smart switches into one.

What makes this smart strip so spectacular? The Kasa Smart app helps a lot. There are many smart-home ecosystems available, and the app that ties them all together is often the weakest point, even when the hardware offers robust features. This app is almost perfectly organized, and it has an excellent user interface coupled with graphical reinforcement of actions and behaviors to make it crystal clear what action you’re taking and which outlet you’ve scheduled.

kasa hs300 th 2 Glenn Fleishman

The three USB ports can’t be controlled in the current firmware iteration. They’re always on, providing 2.4 amps at 5 volts each, or a maximum of four amps across all three simultaneously.

The app divides control into three categories:

  • Set one or more one-time-only or repeating events to turn an outlet on or off. This can also be enabled or disabled separately.
  • Count down to turning an outlet on or off.
  • Switch the outlet on and off at random points during a specified interval, such as 6 am to 11 pm, to simulate activity in the home.

The only flaw with TP-Link’s scheduling features is that they apply to individual outlets, which are treated essentially like individual smart devices in the app. That’s too bad, because it means having to create schedules, away plans, or timer settings individually for each outlet—you can’t copy them or group them.

kasa hs300 create recurring schedule Glenn Fleishman

Scheduling when each outlet is on or off offers simplicity coupled with rich options.

A scenes feature, useful with voice control and the app, lets you group outlets together, but only in a simplified fashion. You need a Kasa Smart Home Router to accomplish more sophisticated scene schedules or triggers. The device works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana, but isn’t equipped with Apple’s HomeKit support.

The switch also includes three USB ports for charging, but these aren’t intelligent—they’re always on. They can provide up to 2.4 amps at 5 volts each, or a maximum of 4A across the three simultaneously. (Editors’ note: A TP-Link product manager at a recent tradeshow we attended said the company is considering releasing a firmware update to render the USB ports programmable if there’s sufficient user interest.) Each outlet has an LED light next to it to show if it’s live, and a separate physical switch, flush with the surface, so you don’t need the app for manual control.

This power strip doesn’t emphasize the fact that it’s also a surge protector, with 500 volts protection on each AC power leg. This is on the high side, but considered perfectly effective with modern hardware. TP-Link designed this unit to continue to provide power in the unlikely case the surge-protection circuits wear out from use. If you live somewhere that has regular surges that have burnt out other gear or surge protectors, you might opt for a surge protector that stops power flowing when protection ends.





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