Review: Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi Enabled Insight Switch

Review: Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi Enabled Insight Switch

Last updated 8/31/2015

There’s a newer version of the Belkin WeMo
Click here to see the latest WeMo on Amazon.com

Our Belkin WeMo Insight Switch rating:
(4/5)

Belkin WeMo At a Glance

The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch is a smart plug that gives you remote control over your plugged-in electronics, easy energy usage monitoring and scheduling via the app, and compatibility with home automation hubs such as Amazon Echo.

Basically, you can keep an eye on whatever is plugged into it from anywhere – and turn it off from anywhere, too!

Belkin WeMo outlet unit

A little plug with a big brain! The WeMo lets you spy on energy usage and control your appliances from afar.

PROS

  • Turn on/off whatever’s plugged into it from anywhere
  • Monitor energy usage on a per-appliance basis
  • Set nuanced ON/OFF schedules, customizable by time of day and day of week
  • IFTTT support
  • Compatible with home automation hubs such as the enormously popular Amazon Echo
  • Checking the app to see your energy usage and figuring out which appliance is wasting energy is fun and addictive
  • Data export (manual and scheduled) lets you email yourself the last 45 days of energy usage
  • Does not require WeMo base station or any other peripherals – just plug it in
  • Doesn’t replace your appliance’s on/off button
  • Feel like a big geek with your remote control power outlet 😀

CONS

  • Bulky body design (1.5″ thick) may eat up some precious space behind appliances or furniture
  • Long start-up time (1-2 minutes) after moving it to a new outlet will probably make you think it’s not working (it is, it’s just slow to get itself online)
  • Doubles as a night light which you might not want in, say, your bedroom (pulling a black sock over it is an easy fix)

Our Rating

We think the Belkin WeMo is a smart little device and award it 4 stars out of 5.

At first glance the WeMo seemed like just a novelty: a fancy way to turn something on or off when you’re too lazy to get off the sofa. However, after a couple weeks with it, we wanted more! Many lights around our house are on old-school pin-based timers, so the WeMo felt like a step up with its day-by-day scheduling, remote control app, and built-in energy monitoring. The WeMo traveled all over the house for the first couple weeks we had it, tracking energy usage for a variety of appliances.

To earn that last star, we would want to more nuanced control over scheduling, a slimmer body design, and a way to turn off the WiFi indicator light (it’s really bright!).

See the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch on Amazon.com

Setting up WeMo

Setting up the WeMo was straightforward – plug it into an outlet, download the app on your smartphone or tablet, and then follow the instructions in the app. In setup mode (the app will guide you), WeMo makes its own local WiFi network which you connect to via your smartphone, which you then use to give WeMo access to your home’s WiFi network.

Some reviews say the setup can be difficult, but mine went fine even though my WeMo was on loan from a friend and we had to first wipe its old network settings. Once it was on my home’s network, it was time to plug something into it:

2015-08-23 22.16.40

At the other end of this cord is a toaster oven baking chocolate chip cookies. (The things we do for science…)

Easy to use app

The app is available for both Android (Google Play) and iOS (iTunes). The reviews are atrocious, but I’m not sure why – my friend is on Android, I’m on iOS, and neither of us had any trouble accessing the WeMo via our apps. Granted, we didn’t try to set up sophisticated schedules with multiple different kinds of WeMo family devices, but for controlling the smart outlet the app was just fine.

Here it is in action:

2015-08-24 08.27.51

Above: the WeMo tracked how long my bedroom’s box fan ran overnight and made an estimate of its monthly cost to run based on my own entered utility costs.

The app’s first screen contains a list of all of your WeMo devices. Tap a device to drill into its details: on/off status (tap the power icon to toggle it!), up time (how long the device plugged into it has been running), an estimated monthly cost for running this appliance, and average watt usage.

Tapping the power button to turn the plugged-in thing on/off really does work, but there’s a slight (maybe ~6 second) delay while the request gets relayed through your home’s network.

2015-08-23 22.06.03

Scheduling WeMo

If you’re used to putting lamps on pin timers, the WeMo is going to feel like a big step up. Each “rule” you add lets you add one “ON” and one “OFF” event and set the days the rule applies to. To make a sophisticated schedule, you’ll need to add several rules.

2015-09-01 18.36.25

Lights on in the morning, evening, and all day on the weekend. Sweet!

wemo_daily_on_off_schedule

You can even customize rules by days of the week!

Energy Monitoring with WeMo

Energy monitoring was my favorite part of playing with the WeMo! It’s fun to plug various appliances into the WeMo and see how much energy they eat up. Use a recent energy bill to get your $ per kilowatt hour and plug it into the app for more accurate cost prediction.

Some random things I learned about my energy usage:

  • My refrigerator constitutes a whopping 1/4th of my power bill!
  • Convection cook mode on my toaster oven uses 2x more energy than normal bake
  • The box fan I run in my bedroom while sleeping costs me about $6 a month
  • My decorative LED Christmas lights cost almost nothing 😀

Note: WeMo takes a good 1-2 minutes to get itself up and running and on your WiFi network after you plug it in somewhere new. During that connection time, you can’t turn on whatever’s plugged into it. The connection time is just long enough that, at first, I thought the WeMo wasn’t connecting – it was, there’s just not any visual feedback to tell you it’s “connecting”. So, if it looks like it’s not doing anything, give it a few minutes and it should eventually get on the network.

11880285_10207229692531107_1971548595_n

WeMo doing its thing.

The WeMo Family

wemo_iconThe WeMo Insight Switch belongs to a collection of smart home switches, plugs, and lightbulbs by Belkin. From the WeMo app itself, or via a home automation hub like the Amazon Echo (note: not all WeMo devices are compatible with Echo yet), you can set up sophisticated routines for your home’s appliances. Imagine coming home to a well-lit, cozy home after work, thanks to all your smart devices working together!

  • WeMo Light Switch – remote access and control over your home’s one-way lights (ie: set up your porch light to turn on at sunset)
  • WeMo LED Lightbulbs – smart LED lightbulbs can be scheduled and controlled from the WeMo app
  • WeMo Maker – turn ANY electronic device into a WeMo device! (electrical wiring knowledge required)
  • WeMo NetCam HD – watch your home remotely, set up motion detection triggers (ie: lights turn on when you walk in the door)

The WeMo family makes it easy to automate many lighting and power-related routines in your smart home. Alas, only some WeMo devices are compatible with Amazon Echo and IFTTT, but as home automation’s popularity continues to grow, we think we’ll see increased compatibility soon.

In the box

  • WeMo Insight Switch
  • Quick install guide

The Bottom Line

The WeMo Insight Switch is a fun toy with a surprising amount of practical uses. Hook it up to that thing you’re always worried you forgot to turn off before leaving home, program it to turn your lamps on as the sun sets (even if you aren’t home yet), or plug it in behind your fridge and find out just how much keeping those leftovers cool is costing you every month.

Check current WeMo Insight Switch stock and prices on Amazon.com

Note to readers: Some links on SmartThermostatGuide.com are affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Belkin WeMo Insight Switch
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

8.8

Ease of use

9.0/10

Integration with home automation systems

9.0/10

Scheduling options

8.0/10

Reliability

9.0/10

Pros

  • Control your appliances from anywhere
  • Set up daily on/off schedules
  • Monitor energy usage
  • Easy to use app

Cons

  • Kinda bulky
  • Slow to connect to WiFi after changing outlet
  • Needs more nuanced control over daily scheduling

 

4 Responses

  1. Ease of use

    8.50

    Integration with home automation systems

    10.00

    Scheduling options

    10.00

    Reliability

    8.00

    Great review! I agree that Insight is a high quality product and very easy to use. I also did a review and video tutorial about integrating Insight with Amazon Echo. Here is the link if anyone is interested: http://diyhomeautomationsystem.com/reviews/smartlights/5-ways-wemo-insight-switch-makes-your-life-easier/

  2. Greg says:

    Ease of use

    8.90

    Integration with home automation systems

    8.40

    Scheduling options

    7.90

    Reliability

    8.10

    In our in depth review w noticed, that the device sometimes lost its connection. Despite this fact it was easy to setup and awesome to use. Especially the IFTTT possibilities are great as you can read in our comprehensive IFTTT guide. Best, Greg

  3. […] way around. I use Alexa to turn my Philips Hue lights on/off every day, control devices that are hooked up through my WeMo plugs, access playlists that I set up on Amazon Prime Music (“free” if you have […]

  4. […] way around. I use Alexa to turn my Philips Hue lights on/off every day, control devices that are hooked up through my WeMo plugs, access playlists that I set up on Amazon Prime Music (“free” if you have […]

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