Ring Outdoor Smart Plug review: A tough outdoor smart plug for Ring users
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Ring Outdoor Smart Plug (without Bridge)
The Ring smart home ecosystem continues to grow with the addition of this outdoor smart plug. It’s a capable but familiar product, offering two independently controllable outlets, a beefy and rugged design (IP66 when off, IP64 when in use; you can read all about IP codes in this other story), and the usual collection of smart features like scheduling and a detailed usage log.
The device is largely made of plastic and features a large, well-designed seal over each of its two three-prong outlets. Total power output is a solid 1,875 watts, with 15 amps or 1/2 horsepower of draw allowed. The top of the device features a blue LED that indicates whether the plug is connected wirelessly. Two small white LEDs on either side of this indicator tell you whether each outlet is powered on or off. These LEDs are affixed to a button that can be pressed to manually turn each outlet on or off.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart plugs, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
Naturally, this is a smart plug, but unlike most of these devices, Ring’s device doesn’t connect directly to Wi-Fi; you’ll need a Ring Bridge plugged into your router to use the plug’s smart features. You can buy both components in a bundle for about $50, but if you already own a Bridge, the smart plug by itself costs $30.
The Ring Bridge is also required to use any of Ring’s ever-growing collection of smart lighting products (TechHive has reviewed the A19 smart bulb, the Solar Steplight, the Solar Pathlight, the Wall Light Solar, and several other devices with mostly positive results). It’s worth noting that only one Ring Bridge can be deployed per household, and the Bridge is limited to controlling 50 Ring smart lights.
Setup and management is done within the standard Ring app; if you have a Ring doorbell product you probably know it well already. In my testing, the app choked a bit upon initial setup of the Ring Bridge, requiring me to power cycle it twice before everything began working properly. Aside from the occasional disconnect, the Bridge’s connection remained solid after setup, as did the plug’s connection to the Bridge.
You can control the smart plug with voice commands if you also have an Amazon Echo smart speaker or smart display, but it’s not compatible with the Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit ecosystems.
Options within the Ring app aren’t extensive, though the scheduling system is both powerful and easy to use. If you use other Ring devices, you’ll get more mileage out of it, as you can link various products together, activating lighting that’s attached to the plug if your Ring doorbell detects motion, for example. Lastly, a detailed event history gives you full visibility into every time each outlet is turned off or on. I had no trouble working with any of these features.
The Ring Outdoor Smart Plug makes the most sense for people who already in the Ring ecosystem, by way of a Ring Video Doorbell, Ring Alarm system, or the company’s extensive line of smart lighting products. If that’s not you, there are lots of more affordable outdoor smart plug options, including the $17 Wyze Plug Outdoor.
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Ring Outdoor Smart Plug (without Bridge)
Existing Ring users will find this outdoor plug an effective addition to their ecosystem, but this isn’t a gateway product for others.
- Reliable, independent control of each outlet
- Very rugged design
- Deep integration with other Ring smart home products
- Requires a bridge to connect to your Wi-Fi network and enable its smart features
- Expensive, especially if you don’t already have the required bridge
- No Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit support
Christopher Null is a veteran technology and business journalist. He contributes regularly to TechHive, PCWorld, and Wired, and operates the websites Drinkhacker and Film Racket.