Do Smart Plugs Catch Fire? (6 Safety Tips)

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Smart devices make home surveillance, operationalization, and functionality, well, super simple. Interestingly, most smart home devices enhance home aesthetics on top of serving the purpose they were meant for.

Among the array of must-have smart home devices are smart plugs.

For the unacquainted, smart plugs are just like other plugs, only that they allow for remote operationalization. This means you can remotely turn on or off the plug to which a device is connected from a companion app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. These plugs can as well be scheduled to operate in a particular manner or after some time intervals.

However, like most devices that plug into a wall outlet, smart plugs come with risks. One of the most common smart plug risks is that they can catch fire. Knowing how an electric fire can be disastrous, you will not wish to have anything that has the potential to start a fire in your home. However, with appropriate care and precautions, you can still use your smart plugs for the longest time without having them catch fire. Keep reading for more insights.

How do Smart plugs work?

Smart plugs function just like other plugs, only that you can operate them remotely. They connect wirelessly to a router or a hub, allowing remote operationalization. Some models rely on gateway devices that enable the plug to connect to other portable devices, while others will connect directly to routers (do not require hubs).

Once your smart plug is properly set up, you can voice control your smart lights, fans, coffee makers, and more from your smartphone, smart speaker, tablet, or any Alexa-enabled device. You might be inerested to know: How To Control smart plugs when Away From Home

The load side of the circuit opens and shuts with respect to the user commands the plug receives. Basically, the plug opens to allow current flow and closes to stop the current flow as a response to the voice commands that it receives.

On average, most home and office outputs are 1800 watts, and smart plugs are designed for that rating or above. Your safety is guaranteed if the device plugged in a smart plug doesn’t require more power than the plug’s power supply rating.

However, when the plug has to strain and supply more power than it should, then there is a risk of plug fires. Thankfully, most smart plug models have overload protection, which protects them from catching fire even when supplying excess power than their rating.

Risk of Smart plug Catching Fire

risk of catching fire violates operational regulations

Smart plugs are only at the risk of catching fire when used in a way that violates their basic operational regulations. While most models come with overload protection, when you overload a smart plug consistently, the additional wattage protection will wear out and will eventually not be able to serve its purpose. This can easily result in plug fires.

Overloading a smart plug can also lead to electric discharges and short circuits.

In other scenarios, there might be fires from your smart plug due to errors made in the manufacturing process. In fact, some plugs are considered riskier than others. For instance, it was reported that the Hictkon smart plugs sold by Amazon and other major online retailers are considered more vulnerable. It is suspected that they come with a fake CE safety marking.

For knowledge purposes, the risk-prone Hictkon smart plug has two USB ports and a live connection that is too close to an energy monitoring chip. This increases electrical discharge that can easily start a fire. Thankfully, Amazon pulled out these plugs as investigations continued.

When shopping for a smart plug, it is imperative to ensure you purchase a reliable smart plug; otherwise, you run a big risk of setting your home on fire someday. Always check out the CE mark on the smart plug to confirm if it is certified to meet all the basic safety standards.

6 Safety Tips and Precautions When Using Smart Plugs

When using smart plugs, it is vital that you keep in mind all the safety measures to ensure that a simple plug doesn’t burn down your entire house or business. Here are some safety tips and precautions:

1. Proper installation

Proper installation is key when it comes to electrical appliances. A simple mistake in the installation process can lead to a high loss in your business or home. No matter how simple the installation seems, it is advisable that you call in an electrician to help with smart plug installation.

Otherwise, if you must DIY, make sure you do it properly. The smart plug should be flush with the wall outlet cover. It should also be properly fit to the outlet.

2. Directly plug your smart outlet into an existing wall outlet

Do not plug a smart outlet into an extension cord or any other type of power strip. Smart plugs are mainly designed for wall outlets, where they are tested and confirmed to perform effectively. Plugging it elsewhere in your home or office can cause fire risks.

3. Have the outlet you have chosen to use inspected

Call a local electrician to inspect the standard of the outlet that you want to use with a smart plug. For a new home, you might not need checking as most outlets are in good condition a few years after installation. The idea is to avoid installing smart plugs in damaged, old, or cracked wall outlets.

4. Check the maximum amp range of the device using the smart plugs

Before inserting any device or appliance in a smart plug, ensure the device’s wattage is within the plug’s range. If your device draws more than 1800 watts of power, it will strain the plug and can cause a fire.

5. Keep indoor plugs indoors

Indoor plugs are built quite differently from outdoor plugs. The outdoor smart plugs can withstand the elements that indoor plugs may not. If your smart plug is designed for indoor use, you should avoid taking it out because it will get damaged easily.

6. Check out for furniture clearance

Check the clearance from your furniture, as this is crucial in preventing fire spread. Ideally, you should keep flammable materials like clothes and sprays away from the smart plug. In case of fire, it will be easy to control it before it gets in contact with other flammable materials.


Like other plugs, smart plugs can catch fire and burn down your entire home or business. To prevent this, consider the safety tips in this post and also ensure you do not overload your plugs. If manufacturers make smart plugs with higher wattage ratings in the future, it could significantly help reduce plug fires. More advanced overload technology would also be of great help as far as preventing electric fires is concerned.

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About James Beetie

James - a self-confessed nerd - has owned smart home equipment for close to a decade, and he loves communicating the best ways of setting them up... and resolving the various bugs and issues that you'll no doubt come across!