I’m a few weeks into my move from Google Home to Apple HomeKit and on the lookout for new smart devices. Most of my current smart outlets are old at this point. Needing a refresh, Stacey and I came across this two-outlet smart plug from Meross.
Since it’s HomeKit compatible and was only $ 21, we decided to splurge! Aside from an expected setup quirk, I like the versatility and responsiveness of the Meross Smart Plug Dual.
I should note upfront that Meross isn’t a brand I was familiar with. And also that while I’m using this dual-outlet with HomeKit, it also supports Amazon Alexa and Google Home systems. That’s mainly due to the device having a Wi-Fi radio, which generally adds a wider variety of smart home system support.
And that leads me to the setup challenge. Yes, it had to do with Wi-Fi.
The setup challenge of single-band wireless
Three times in a row, I used the Apple Home app to scan the HomeKit sticker on the Meross outlet. Three times in a row, the Home app churned for about a minute before throwing an error.
To be honest, I anticipated this. The user guide says the outlet needs a 2.4 GHz wireless network to connect to. Clearly, Meross uses one of the less expensive, single-band Wi-Fi radios inside this device. Maybe that’s why it only costs just over a Jackson.
Luckily, my smart home runs on the Eero 6 Pro routers, which provides a solution. In the Eero app, there’s a Troubleshooting option that temporarily disables 5 GHz Wi-Fi for just this purpose. I did that and attempted to add the outlet in Apple Home. It worked, as you’d expect.
Speedy and versatile
Being a Wi-Fi device, I found the response time to be near-instant, regardless of where I used this device around my home. It works equally fast when using Siri on my Apple Watch or HomePod mini as it does in the Home app on my iPhone. And you can the outlet, or outlets, to any HomeKit automation, schedule or scene.
Here’s where the product gets a little more interesting. Well, at least as interesting as a smart plug can be. Each outlet can be controlled in the Home app independently or together as one.
While I tested several lamps, speakers, and other devices with this device, my favorite use is with a reading lamp and my Google Nest Mini smart display. When I wind down for a little reading time in my office, I don’t like distractions. I do, however, like light to read by.
So I set up a “Reading time” scene that turns the lamp on and shuts my smart display off independently. It works perfectly with Siri or in the Home app. I don’t have to worry about any doorbell or broadcast notifications from the smart display; I can just read.
Of course, powering on the Google Nest Mini is either a tap or a shout away; once it fires up and gets reconnected to my network, I can play some relaxing music.
You may have different uses that require both outlets to be on or off in unison. That’s not a problem. There’s a specific setting in the Home app for this smart plug that lets you group the two outlets together. The Home interface then shows a single smart plug that controls both outlets simultaneously. I appreciate this flexibility.
Aside from the dual outlets, it’s no-frills
There aren’t any other bells and whistles here. You can’t, for example, monitor your energy usage. That’s something I could do with my old Wemo outlets. To be honest though? Having access to that data never caused me to change my usage habits. So I can live without that. In fact, I’ll gladly give that up to gain two connected outlets in a single device that can be set up with HomeKit automations, scenes or scheduled by a plug / the plugs.
While the outlet is a little chunky-looking, it doesn’t cover up a second wall outlet. Given that I’m not losing any outlets (I’m actually gaining one) and the flexibility this device offers, I think it’s a great addition to a HomeKit smart home if you want a smart outlet.
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