By Alan J. Pierce EdD
Providing Classroom Resources on New & Emerging Technologies
Currant Smart Outlet Review ($59.99)
Currant is a smart block, with two electrical outlets, that is designed to help you understand a part of your electric bill. You plug it into an electrical outlet in your home and then plug electrical devices into its outlets. It is designed to monitor how much electrical energy is being consumed by the items you plugged in. See photo 1.
After purchasing the device you need to download the Currant app from the Apple or Android Play stores. Please note when you go to download the app that the Currant app name is spelled with an “a” not an “e”; normal spelling of the current that runs your electrical devices. This app will walk you through the necessary steps to start monitoring the items that are plugged into Currant. During the setup process it will ask you to identify your electricity provider so it can provide insight not only into how much energy is being consumed but also how much that energy is costing you.
To test Currant I plugged it into the wall outlet near our living room entertainment center. Through the use of two power strips Currant was asked to monitor a DVD player, Optimum cable box, Optimum Internet/phone Router, Netgear Nighthawk X4S Wireless Router, an AT&T wireless phone charger, and a Samsung TV. On your smartphone the app’s Rules button allows you to schedule when you want the device that is plugged into the top or bottom outlet turned on or turned off. See photo 2.Dashboard button shows you how much energy is being consumed at any given moment from the items plugged into Currant’s top and bottom outlets. See photo 3. The Usage button shows you the total daily usage and here you can use its calendar to scroll to see how this usage changes each day. See photo 4. I did not test its voice control feature that could work with Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home unit because I can’t think of any electrical device that I would want monitored and also voice controlled.
If you use it at a location to control an air conditioner you could use the app to reduce the running time and thereby save you money. It certainly could tell you how much that old appliance is costing you to run and why replacing it with a new energy efficient model could save you money.
One negative is it can only supply you with information on electrical usage and cost. To save money you will need to use that information and any suggestions that come to you through the app to take action. I did not receive any suggestions during a month of testing.
Photo 1: Currant sends data to the Currant App to monitor your electrical energy use and provide you with the tools to save money..
Photo 2: The Rules button, in the app, lets you control the items that are plugged into Currant.
Photo 3: The Dashboard button shows how much energy is being consumed.
Photo 4: The Usage button shows you daily usage and how it changes from day to day.
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