If you grew up with adults telling you to unplug appliances to save electricity, it turns out, they weren't being dramatic — those appliances can continue to drain energy, even if you power them off. To save you from high utility costs, the best energy-saving power strips let you customize control to individual sockets, so you’re only paying for what you use. These smart gadgets come in a variety of styles with different levels of control — from Wi-Fi-enabled options to auto-sensing power strips — so here are a few things to consider.
When it comes to managing energy-conserving features, some options rely solely on manual on/off switches, while smart power strips have Wi-Fi capabilities that allow you to connect to a compatible app or your smart home assistant, so you can utilize voice commands or control electrical output remotely. (Other benefits of Wi-Fi-enabled power strips are the capability to set timers and schedules, and — in some cases — even monitor energy usage.) For more hands-off control, you can opt for a strip with automatic current-sensing technology. This option cuts power to peripheral electronics plugged into specified energy-saving sockets any time an appliance plugged into the “control” socket is turned off or goes into sleep mode. These are great for entertainment centers (power to speakers and game consoles will be cut when the TV is turned off) and work setups (power will be cut to printers and other electronics when your computer goes to sleep). You’ll also want to note whether the AC outlets can be controlled individually or collectively, and whether or not there are always-on sockets that ensure certain appliances get a steady stream of power, like routers and alarm clocks.
When shopping, you’ll have a choice between traditional power strips, tabletop cubes, and a 360-degree tower that can supply power to up to 14 appliances and devices. And for the most versatility, you may want to look for models that offer both AC outlets and USB ports. Whichever style you choose, the best energy-saving power strips are all surge-protected and provide dependable power — but only when you need it.
1. The best power strip tower
- The specs: 10 AC outlets, 4 USB ports, 6.5-foot retractable extension cord, power controlled by tier
- The ratings: 4.7-star overall rating, 13,000+ reviews
The details: Each level of this vertical three-tier power tower has its own independent circuit, so you can group devices together and control power to each individual level when they’re not in use. The circuits are controlled via a switch on each level, and each one has a green LED that glows to indicate when power is being drawn. The swiveling, 360-degree design of the tower makes it easy to access the 10 AC and four USB ports from a variety of directions, whether you place it on a tabletop, desk, or floor. A handle makes it easy to transport, and the strip’s heavy-duty 6.5-foot cord is retractable, allowing you to keep tabletops and floors clear of clutter and potential tripping hazards.
Helpful review: “We bought this to organize all our family devices, bluetooth speaker, and Fitbit chargers (We put our phones and tablets to bed every night out of our bedrooms in a central location.) I love that we can use less energy by turning off the outlet section that we aren't using. I also like that the tower has a retractable cord.”
2. The best smart power strip
- The specs: 6 AC outlets, 3 USB ports, 3.2-foot extension cord, app- and smart assistant-compatible, monitors energy usage, AC outlets can be individually controlled
- The ratings: 4.7-star overall rating, 3,400+ reviews
The details: Kasa’s Wi-Fi-enabled power strip connects to an accompanying app and/or your Alexa or Google smart assistant — that means you can control appliances remotely with your phone or via voice commands when you’re at home. The strip has three USB ports and six AC outlets, the latter of which can be individually powered on and off. For convenience, each socket can be named for the specific appliance plugged into it, which means you can tell your smart home assistant to “turn on the fan” or “turn off the TV” without having to remember which outlet it’s plugged in to. Besides controlling it at will, you can also set schedules and timers collectively or for one outlet at a time. The app also provides usage data that can help you learn about your energy consumption and see how much power certain electronics and appliances are using.
Helpful review: “This is an amazing smart power strip. Used this to set up a WiFi-controlled timer system for my reef tank. Each plug can be individually managed and controlled with the app. Wifi is very stable and easy to set up. Gives me the ability to monitor appliances connected to the power strip. You're able to label each connected item to easily identify it.”
3. The best with widely spaced outlets
- The specs: 8 AC outlets, compatible with bulkier plugs, 4-foot extension cord, AC outlets controlled as a group
- The ratings: 4.6-star overall rating, 3,700+ reviews
The details: The eight outlets on the Belkin energy-saving power strip are widely spaced to accommodate larger plugs and bulkier batteries, so you don’t have to let certain sockets go unused in order to get enough plug-in room. The strip is controlled by two separate circuits: two always-on outlets that never shut off and can be reserved for items that you use every day, such as alarm systems or Wi-Fi routers; and a bank of six outlets that can be controlled as a group using the included remote control or manual switch. Status lights let you know from a distance which outlets are active or not, and the wide, flat design can be placed on a flat surface or mounted to a wall.
Since this remote control power strip gives you less individual control than other options on the list, it may be best suited to particular scenarios, like work setups where you’re comfortable cutting the power to multiple devices once you wrap up the day (computer, printer, lamp, etc.), or home entertainment systems that include several items like a TV, game console, and speakers
Helpful review: “These are great for saving energy, keep your appliance plugged in, but no power is used until the switch is turned on. No more plugging and unplugging for energy savings.”
4. The best smart power block
- The specs: 3 AC outlets, 3 USB ports, 4-foot cord, app- and smart assistant-compatible, AC outlets can be individually controlled
- The ratings: 4.5-star overall rating, 13,900+ reviews
If you’re looking for a compact option, this Wi-Fi-enabled 4-inch power block has a small footprint that won’t take up a ton of space on your desk or nightstand — and it’s affordable, too. Power can be controlled using the connected app or by voice commands via smart home assistant, but keep in mind that the manual switch cuts power to the entire block. The three AC outlets can be controlled individually, while the three USB ports can be controlled as a group, and you can set schedules and countdowns on your phone. You can name each of the three outlets, which makes it easy to voice-control this option, but there’s no app feature to help you monitor energy usage.
Helpful review: “The best feature on this is the button. I have this device on my desk and use it to power my computer monitors and docking station at my work from home office. When I'm done for the day I use the button to turn on and off my devices. Also if I forget I can log into the application and turn them off remotely.”
5. The best auto-adjusting power strip
- The specs: 7 AC outlets, 3-foot extension cord, automatic current-sensing technology, energy-saving outlets controlled as a group
- The rating: 4.3-star overall rating, 850+ reviews
This seven-outlet power strip is a low-maintenance option that uses current-sensing technology to cut electricity to certain outlets when they’re not in use. The dedicated “control” outlet is ideal for main player electronics, like your TV or computer, while the four energy-saving outlets are designed for peripheral electronics, like a printer or speakers. Then, when you turn off your TV or computer (or allow it to go into sleep mode), the power supply to the peripheral electronics plugged into the energy-saving outlets is cut off. There’s an adjustable switching threshold that allows you to change the power value at which the four switched outlets turn off (low, medium, high), so you can customize it to the devices you have plugged in at any given moment. Last, there are two always-on outlets that can be used for items you want to keep in active use, like a router or alarm clock.
Helpful review: “This item works exactly as expected. I am using it in my office where I have two computer environments. The computer is in the control outlets and the peripherals in the switched ones. When the control items are powered down the peripherals are completely powered down. I recommend these highly and plan to get more to use in my entertainment center.”