Eco4Life Smart 4 Outlet Extender Review
Have i got a cool piece of technology for you today, it’s a smart outlet expander from our good friends over at echo for life that’s, not just smarter than most of the other outlet. Expanders on the market in a lot of ways: it’s, brilliant and i’ll – get into the reasons that really separate this from a lot of other outlet expanders on the market in a minute. But i thought i’d start with an overview just to show you everything included with the kit and i’ll, take a closer look at the unit and point out what connections you can make to it and really what makes it special when you’re, comparing it to other outlet. Expanders and then i’ll show you how to use it because there’s some functions built into this that are really ahead of the curve as far as these type of outlet expanders go. So, for starters, if you’ve never heard of the company echo for life they’re, a company that makes a wide variety of home automation, products, including outlet expanders like this and cameras and other things and the reason i like a company like that that doesn’t just specialize in One product is when you download their application and you integrate it to something like amazon or google home. You can control all of their products a lot of times when you’re, looking at a device like this and you’re, basing it purely on price you’ll, buy one that’s less expensive and find out that the application only works with that product.
With echo for life that application that controls this controls, their cameras and all the other devices, so it makes it really easy for you to control those devices and, more importantly, integrate those into smart speakers in your home. Now, the product itself, when you open up the box, is really simply packed it’s not really got a lot inside the box outside of a quick start guide and the outlet – and i like that, because one of the things that drives me crazy is when i buy A product like this and the company wraps it in 14 layers of cardboard and plastic and i’ve got a big pile of stuff over here, that’s bigger than the actual device i’m using and that’s a waste i’ve got to throw that out. It’S going to end up in a landfill or in the ocean, i don’t like that. So echo for life is a company that’s aware of that and they build a really kind of a spartan packaging. If you will so when you open up the box, you’ll see this in the quick start guide now, the unit itself is really clever in a lot of different ways, and i always look at this as a nerd, because whenever i buy a product like this, i Think to myself boy: it was almost perfect. If they only did this, it would have made it perfect, and this one’s really got a lot of the things i’m. Looking for in an outlet, expander like this, so for starters, when you plug it in, you only need one connection on the back.
A lot of these units have two connections which makes it a little bit tricky to plug it into a standard outlet, because, if they’re off a little bit, you’ll wrestle with it for quite a while and there’s really no need for two outlets on the back. So i like this one because it makes it extremely flexible. It works with all of the standard outlet styles that are out there today and you can plug it in and work with it really easily. It’Ll handle 15 amps of current. Now most outlets in your home are at a 15 amp breaker, which means, if nothing else was plugged into that circuit. You could draw a full 15 amps out of that outlet. This provides that full 15 amps to all four of these outlets. Now you can’t, you can’t, draw 15 amps from each of the outlets, but you can draw a total of 15 amps out of all four outlets together, which means it’ll handle most of the things you’re going to plug in a fan, a tv, a lamp whatever. It is, of course, you can’t plug in four arc welders into it, because you can’t deliver that amount of current, but i like the fact that it’ll support four outlets, the other thing that’s, really cool, is they’ve spaced the outlets a lot further. Apart than a standard outlet, so when you plug this into a wall, outlet, you’ll see that these are a lot closer and that can be a bit of a hassle if you’re plugging in some of the larger chargers that are out there today, because they take up A little bit more room so that extra spacing really allows you to plug in bigger things to the outlets and not have to worry about them, bumping into each other or wasting an outlet that you can’t plug in because there’s a big charger hanging off the one.
On top of it, the other thing they did, which is pretty cool, is they built in four usba ports on either side and each of those usb a ports can supply a total of four amps of current now that’s divided between the four of them. So if you’re plugging in four thirsty devices they’re all gon na get about an amp of charge, but if you plug in one device, you can charge that up to pretty much a two and a half amp current. It doesn’t quick charge. It doesn’t bd charge, but really none of these outlets do that that’s an advanced feature that i’m sure will be coming down the road, but for me having the convenience of having four usb 8 ports on the side of this means i can plug in my tablet. My phone, my camera, whatever i need to charge and it’s great, because we have a lot of kids around the house and when i plug this in in the kitchen nobody’s fighting about a charger anymore. We have plenty of outlets to plug everything in and charge. Everything simultaneously all right, so now, some of the cool features a lot of times when you buy an outlet. Expander like this, especially one that’s smart. You have a button on the front that turns it on, and the problem with that for me is that when i push that button, everything comes alive at the same time. So all the outlets come on.
All the usb ports come on and that’s, okay because i’m not really wasting current, even though the usb ports are eating a little bit of current generating that dc voltage. I just don’t like the fact that i’ve got to turn everything on at the same time. So, for example, using one of these in my basement, i have one outlet where i plug in my sprinklers and a few other things and i live in an area where i’ve got a well. So when the wall comes on, i can take my shower and everything’s great, but if the sprinklers are on, i get no water pressure upstairs so i’m, using one of these in the basement to actually control just the outlet that handles the sprinklers. So, with this unit, you have individual control over all four of these ac outlets on the front, which means you can turn them all on and off individually, even better. You can turn the usb ports on individually. So i have complete control over the four ac ports on the front and all four usb ports on the side, and i think that’s just great, because it allows me to turn off some of those ports and redirect that current to the port, that’s left to really Fast charge, the device, if i plug it in another thing they built into it, which is something that’s lacking in a lot of other units – is they’ve, got three levels of surge protection built in.
So if you’re plugging in a computer, a tv, even some of the devices you’re charging surges, are a problem, especially when we get into summer, because a lightning strike doesn’t have to hit your house to actually cause problems. A lot of times lightning will hit the ground near your house, travel through the ground connection and come up through these kind of outlet expanders and can damage your electronics. So i’ll talk a little bit more about what they built into it. But there were three levels of surge protection built in up to 900 joules. Now, if you don’t know what that means, that’s a measurement of what kind of surge it can suppress inside the unit 900 joules is way higher than most other competing products on the market. Today, so if you compare it against another surge protection, you’ll find them in the four to five hundred six hundred range. But if you’re plugging in an expensive tv or something else, that’s really expensive, a computer or maybe a media device, you want to make sure you have a lot of protection built in against those surge protections and i’ll talk about that in a second. So i like the unit awful lot. I use it all over the house. I’Ve got a couple of them plugged in i’ve, been using it for a couple of weeks and i’ll. Tell you having control where i can on my phone turn on an outlet turn off an outlet individually.
It just expands the use case for that wall, outlet tremendously and being able to turn the usb a on and off individually as well is kind of nice. The best part is it really easily integrates with both the alexa products and with the google products at home. So once you name these individual ports, you can yell at your smart speaker and turn them on and that’s kind of cool too, because i’m, pretty lazy, so sitting on a couch and yelling at a smart speaker to turn on something in the other room. It’S. Just a cool thing: i just love home automation, especially when i can yell at it and have it happen. So if you stay tuned next, i’ll show you this in operation. I’Ll also show you a close up of the unit and point out all the connections and plugs and things just so. You have a better view of it and then i’ll come back with a few points that really you can use to compare this against. Other smart outlet expanders on the market because, if you’re searching for something like this, you want to make sure you have all the specifications. You need to judge this based on another unit to make the right decision for you and your budget so stay tuned. Next. I’Ll. Take a closer look at it and then i’ll show it in operation and i’ll. Come back with some final points on the front of the unit.
You’Ll find four full size, ac ports. These can handle 15 amps of current between them and they’re widely spaced here, so that you can plug a larger charger in the top or the bottom and not have to interfere with the other outlet. You’Ll also find a power button on the top. If you tap that that’ll turn on all four of these outlets simultaneously, as well as the four usb ports on the side, there’s also an indicator light right there, letting you know the current status of the product and as i’ve mentioned, the unit can support a full 15 amps of current across all four of these outlets on the front they’ll share that 15 amps of current and that’s off a single outlet on the sides. You’Ll find four full size, usb a ports. Those can be used with any standard cable. You have to charge your phone, your tablet, your camera, whatever charges off a standard usb port, those four ports together, can deliver four amps of current at five volts and that’s shared between the four outlets, so they’ll charge four devices at the same time. But if you disconnect one you’ll have more current for the surviving devices that are still plugged in on the rear of the unit is a single ac plug there, and they made that really clever, that they didn’t put two plugs on there, because a lot of times When there’s dual plugs it’s hard to plug those into certain outlets, having a single plug up here allows you to plug it into all modern outlets on the market.
Now i mentioned before that there’s a surge protection built into it of 900 joules, which is higher than you’ll, find on most of these outlet, expanders and there’s three levels of protection built into this. The first is called gdt, which is a gas discharge tube and that’s. A very serious way of protecting against large surges that are coming across that ac line. The next is called mov, which is a metal oxide, varistor and that’s another very sophisticated way of protecting against surges across the ac line, and the third is tds, which is transient, voltage, suppressor and that’s great for smaller ripples. That’Ll come across the line. That may not seem like that big a deal, but over time they can definitely damage a power supply and, if you’re plugging in an expensive tv and a computer, and maybe a camera over here, you want to make sure that that power coming out of this unit Is as clean as possible and it’s nice that they built in that surge protection into the outlet expander to give you that extra level of protection? Okay, now we’ll get into the demo. I’Ve got an outlet here to simulate the outlet in your home, and you basically plug this into the outlet, and you can see that it covers both outlets, but it expands it to four ac outlets. There now it’s going to take a second when you first plug it in to connect to your home network and to activate this product.
You’Ve got to download the echo for a life application you’ll create an account you’ll sign in, and then you can configure the device. It’S extremely easy to add this to the echo 4 application, so it’s just a matter of adding it and then you can actually rename all four of the outlets and all four of the usb ports. Now, in a second it’s going to come up, i’ve already got the application loaded. When you first bring up the application. It’Ll come up with all the devices you can see inside the application. I’Ve only got one set up right now: it’s the smart expander, and when i bring that up, i get a view of it right here, so i can see very clearly graphically what i’m looking at as far as the four outlets they’re all out right now and I’Ve got four usbs down the bottom, now i’ve relabeled, these edison bulb, which is this upper left one and i’ve relabeled the bottom one sort of plug four down here. So i can turn those on remotely i’ve, also relabeled the usbs. I think this is usb1 and usb2, so i thought, let me start with the ac. I’Ll show you how that works. Let me plug in the edison bulb to outlet number one which i’ve relabeled again in the application, as edison bulb and i’ve. Also synced it up with my amazon system at home and that’s very easy to do. You can download the skill and then enable it in the device, and you can rename them in amazon as well, so i’ve now connected it up.
All i have to do to turn it on is tap that it’ll turn on the light, so that’s pretty cool that i can control it from my phone, but for me again being a lazy guy. I don’t have my phone with me every day: i’m, not a 14 year old. That needs to have the phone at their hand so i’m on my couch, and i want to turn something on or off i’ll yell at my smart speaker. So, for example, echo turn on edison light there you go it’s just that quick. Now it does take a couple of seconds because the echoes got to talk to the network and talk to the switch but that’s a whole lot easier than me running across the room and flicking that light on echo turn off edison light now here’s the thing i Only turned on that one outlet, so all the other outlets at this point are off they’re, not on so it’s nice, because i can control individually, which outlet is on which one’s off. But if i want to turn that one on, i can hit the button and it turns on as well, so i have complete control over the ac portion of it. Now that i’ve shown you that, let me show you the usb side of it and i thought how can i demonstrate usb outlets? Turning on and off so i’ve got four individual little lights here that plug into usb. So let me plug those in real, quick, i’ll plug two in over here, and that way we can see these usb ports come on individually, so i’ll plug two more in over here now, i’ve already labeled, these led1 and led2.
So i’ve set that up on here. So here’s led1 i’ll turn that on there’s the light you can see it’s on here’s, the one on the other side that’s, the top one and the bottom two are off now i can turn those on as well there’s, all four of them on. Let me turn them all off real, quick now, here’s, the cool thing i’ve also integrated that to my alexa system. So if i say echo turn on led1 there you go echo turn on led to sorry i’m, not sure about that echo turn on led to. I probably could have picked a better name because led i should have called it lead or whatever, but anyway, it’s working just fine. So maybe you pick a better name when you’re naming it now here’s the other cool thing. If you want to turn everything off at one time, you can hit this button and that’ll turn them off, actually turns them on first and then it turns them off. And if i had the edison light plugged in over here – and maybe i had a lamp plugged in on the other side, let me plug a lamp in as well. I’Ll show you how that works. I’Ve got a lamp plugged in down here. If i want everything to be on, i just tap that bulb and everything comes on now. If i want it to go off, i tap the switch again and everything goes off, but what’s cool is.
I still have individual control, so i’ve got this lamp on that. One this lamp over here the edison lamp on that one i’ve got four leds connected up, and i love the fact that it’s smart enough, where it can discern between what i wanted to do and have individual control over all those ports to turn them on individually And that’s different than a lot of the smart expanders out there, you’ll find a lot of them that are 2. Port may have some control over those two ports, but they don’t turn off the usb portion of it or they turn off one of the usbs, but not both of them. So i love the fact that they’re thinking this through now. The other thing that i like a lot about this is the fact that it’s got surge protection built in so that’s, not such a big deal, if i’m plugging in lights, because that’s typically not something that gets damaged by a surge. But if i’m plugging a tv. A stereo computer, something high tech into it. That surge is going to come through the outlet expander in most cases right into your device, and if it doesn’t have enough surge protection in the device it could damage it. So knowing i’ve got 900 joules of surge protection built in here is a really big thing. Now, if you stay tuned, i’ll give you a few more things you can use to just basically compare this to other outlet expanders on the market, so you’re sure you’re going to get the right product for your needs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when comparing the echo 4 smart outlet expander against another one you may be considering the first has to do with the amount of current the product can support. As i mentioned, this can handle 15 amps of current across all four ports on the output. 15 amps is pretty much the standard current that most wall outlets provide, but you compare it against other products you may find they can only handle 10 amps, which means you’re not getting full use of that outlet. When you plug it in this, one can handle 15 amps across all four outlets, so you’re in good shape. The second is the type of surge protection. A lot of them will mention surge protection, but don’t actually give a measurement. Joules is the amount of surge protection? That’S, the measurement for surge protection, these products should be providing. This can handle 900 joules of surge protection. In addition to that, the type of surge protection is also very important, as i mentioned earlier, this has three levels of surge protection built in it. So you’ve got the ability to sort of handle the surges and, if they’re, in excess of 900 joules it’s got a sort of dead man switch where it’s going to shut off completely and not pass that current along to your devices. The other thing i love about this product is the amount of control they give you over all the ports that are connected up.
So the fact that i’ve got individual control against all four of the ac ports, as well as individual control for the usb ports means. I can turn them on and off individually and not have to turn everything on at one time, because, if i’m plugging in different devices, i really like to have control over the lamp versus the stereo versus the computer. And this gives me that ability – and the last thing i’ll mention – is the integration with your smart home systems. A lot of these are really tricky to get connected up to either the amazon or the google home or even the apple products, and you got to spend a lot of time trying to go through calisthenics to figure out how you can connect it or you’ve got To go to an outside application, this one is drop dead, simple to get the application working where you can, control it on your phone and the integration to the amazon ecosystem or the google or the apple ecosystem is incredibly easy, so it’s just easy to use. It’S inexpensive compared to a lot of other models on the market, and i love the amount of control and protection it provides so that’s pretty much all i had for today.