What’s the difference between Active and Passive Smart Plugs?

What are Smart Plugs?

Smart Plugs are clever, little devices that you add to the socket of the gadget you want to monitor (or control) before you plug your appliance into the wall. Then all you need do is connect your appliance to the Smart Plug via either your energynote account or Cosy app – depending on which geo product you have.

Connected? Great! With your Smart Plug attached you can do a whole host of cool, energy controlling stuff with them.

Active vs passive Smart Plugs: what’s the difference?

Depending on the type of Smart Plug (either passive or active) that you have connected, you’ll be able to carry out a number of energy-savvy actions.

Both active and passive Smart Plugs let you see how much energy and money each appliance is costing you. Active Smart Plugs also let you turn your appliances on and off from wherever you are in the world.

What is an active Smart Plug?

If you have an Ensemble MonoEnsemble Colour or Solo II (in consumption mode) then this smarty-pants plug gives you complete control over your appliances. With the Smart Plug (Active) you’re able to see exactly how much energy your chosen product is using – not to mention how much Mr Kettle and Mrs TV are costing you by being switched on!

What’s more, once set up in energynote, this type of Smart Plug allows you to switch the appliance it’s connected to on or off remotely (from either your phone, tablet or PC) along with letting you schedule when you want your Smart Plug-connected kettle or lamp to come on, or turn off, during the day.

Smart tip!

Did you know that you can connect up to 6 Smart Plugs to your energynote account?

For Cosy users, you can schedule the appliance your Smart Plug II (Active) is connected to, to switch itself on/off when your heating turns on/off by enabling the Cosy Welcome Home feature.

We recommend hooking your hall lamp up to a Smart Plug II (Active) and using the Welcome Home feature so that you’ll never have to come home to a cold, dark house after work again!

Smart tip!

You can use the Cosy Welcome Home feature to turn your heating on, along with up to 5 separate appliances.

Which geo products is the active Smart Plug compatible with?

Our Smart Plug I (Active) works with the Ensemble Mono energy monitor whilst the Smart Plug II (Active) works with CosySolo II (in consumption mode only) and the Ensemble Colour. 

What is a passive Smart Plug?

Passive Smart Plugs are also great at monitoring energy consumption and helping you spot those electricity-guzzling appliances.

These, however, are best used for appliances that you don’t ever want to switch off (even by accident!) – like your fridge and freezer.

Which geo products is the passive Smart Plug compatible with?

Our Smart Plug II (Passive) works with the Ensemble Colour and Solo II (in consumption mode) energy monitor.

Now it’s over to you. What are your top tips for making the most of your Smart Plugs? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by popping your comments in the box below. For more info on Smart Plugs and details of how to buy them, please take a look at the accessories section of our web store.

Your comments

  • Could you make a smart plug for the Solo 3 that can be programmed to come on when there is spare solar power.

    Posted by: Dave on 11 May 2016 at 9:16 am

  • Thanks for the suggestion Dave – we like your thinking! It’s not something that’s in the pipeline at the moment but we’ve passed your suggestions onto out tech team. Have a great day! Michelle 🙂

    Posted by: Michelle Harrison on 13 May 2016 at 8:21 am

  • I was reading through the article looking for the exact same thing that Dave suggested. Being able to set appliances on timers and remotely control via apps has already been done. Having the appliances smart plugs work autonomously by monitoring unused PV capacity would give Geo the leading edge.

    Posted by: Mick Nelson on 28 May 2016 at 6:44 am

  • Hi Mick, thanks very much for your comments. Glad to hear there’s quite a bit of interest in this type of solar Smart Plug. I’ve flagged yours and Dave’s suggestions up to the tech team again to look into. Thanks 🙂 Michelle

    Posted by: Michelle Harrison on 31 May 2016 at 9:36 am

  • I have been using this type of smart plug for the last 18 months. It was developed along with the Wattson solar pv monitor. Unfortunately the company who developed this system have since ceased trading. The equipment does however continue to work.
    I find the smart plug very useful to use excess solar power. The only problem with it that it depends on the accuracy of the Wattson monitor which is not very good as it uses ct clamps to measure demand. A similar smart plug with the accuracy of the geo system would
    be ideal.

    Posted by: Dennis Morrison on 12 January 2017 at 4:49 pm

  • Hi Dennis. Glad to hear you’ve been getting on well with your Smart Plugs. Thanks for the product suggestion too. The only Smart Plugs we stock currently aren’t compatible with our solar monitoring systems but we’ve passed your feedback about a PV monitoring compatible plug to our tech team to bear in mind for future releases. Thanks again 🙂 Michelle

    Posted by: Michelle Harrison on 16 January 2017 at 1:44 pm