Our friends over at ConnectSense have been working for the past year or so on their latest new products: two in-wall smart outlets—including a 20-amp version—that work with HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
Previously known for its energy-monitoring double smart outlet, ConnectSense continues its practice of delivering well beyond the basic expectation for products in categories that might be considered commoditized. The new smart outlets come packed with features. These include NFC pairing for easy installation, plug detection, onboard capacitive buttons to control each outlet, dimmable indicator lights, and precise energy monitoring on both outlets.
It’s also nice to see that the Smart In-Wall Outlets work with the leading voice ecosystems—Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit. Many other manufacturers either ignore HomeKit or release a separate product for it (cough, Leviton, cough). ConnectSense has built that into its solution from the offset.
Big Features in a Big Box
The ConnectSense outlet is sizeable, and it will likely be a tight fit in your outlet box. The face of the outlet extrudes from a standard decora/GFCI faceplate by two or three millimeters, but that actually makes it easier to turn the outlets on and off with a quick double-tap near the side of each outlet. Terminal screws on the bottom of the device minimize the wires you have to pack back into your box.
The new In-Wall Outlet comes in two flavors: 15 amp and 20 amp. Both are white (only). As we teased in our headline, we’re most excited about the 20-amp version. This is, as best we can tell, the first 20-amp smart outlet. You can use it for appliances around the home like a washer, dishwasher, refrigerator, wall/window air conditioner, or dehumidifier. You may not want to necessarily control or turn off those devices, but energy monitoring could be very useful. It might even change some behaviors around your household.
Of course, you should only install a 20-amp outlet on a 20-amp circuit. You should verify the amperage on the circuit breaker you trip off before installing.
ConnectSense has wisely exposed the energy monitoring information. You can create rules/automations in HomeKit, for example, that monitor what’s going on around your house by looking for energy use on these outlets. We’re also hoping for some future way of seeing the wattage drop below a certain threshold. This would allow you to monitor duty cycles and notify, for example, when the washer finishes.
For More Information…
You can learn much more about the ConnectSense In-Wall Outlets on episode 175 of The Smart Home Show. The DMZ’s Richard Gunther and ConnectSense VP & General Manager Adam Justice discuss the new products. They go into great detail, treating the products as a case study for what goes into launching smart home hardware.