Consumer Reports

How to Use Smart Lighting When Decorating for the Holidays

Technology can make your holiday lighting project easier and more fun

NBC Universal, Inc.

Whether you want to dim or dazzle with your holiday lights, a smart plug can help. Consumer Reports is sharing tips for using one and offering some safety reminders for this holiday season.

Smart plugs offer a simple way to control your holiday lights right from your smartphone. You can set them to turn on at sunset and off at sunrise.

Smart plugs are generally affordable, at about $15 to $65. You’ll want one that’s WiFi-capable. To set it up, just plug it into a wall outlet and then plug your lights into the device. Then you can control your lights right from your smartphone.

Consumer Reports also looked at several smart light kits that can change colors, create festive patterns and effects and even set your lights to music. But they require some tech skill, and they cost more than regular lights, about $60 to $200.

They’re a lot of fun and provide that whimsical effect that people could use right now. Consumer Reports says the Lumations Holiday Music Light Show is easy to set up.

Consumer Reports says any smart plug will do for indoor use. But for outdoor lighting, choose a smart plug specifically rated for outdoors. You’ll pay a bit more and most likely will need to purchase it online. Also, if you need an extension cord, make sure it’s rated for outdoor use.

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