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Try a Wi-Fi smart plug for just $9

vodool-smart-plug

This Wi-Fi smart plug also has a USB port up top, so it doubles as a wall charger.


Vodool

Admit it: You’ve wanted to try a smart plug, but you figured they were price-prohibitive. Have you looked lately? Those things have gotten cheap.

For example, for a limited time, and while supplies last, the Vodool Wi-Fi Plug is just $9.34 when you apply promo code BESTPLUG at checkout. It normally sells for $17.

See it at Amazon

If you’ve never used one of these before, the plug connects to your home Wi-Fi network, thus allowing you to control it via an Android or iOS app. You can then set schedules and timers — great for things like lamps you want to switch on or off at designated times or a crock pot you want to kick on midway through the day.

The Vodool plug is notable for two things. First, it has a USB port, something I’ve rarely seen in one of these. That’s just a handy extra if you’re putting it someplace where you’d also like to, say, charge your phone.

Second, it’s compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, meaning you can say things like, “Alexa, turn on the lamp in the living room.”

The plug is UL-listed and comes with surge-protection circuitry. The warranty isn’t listed anywhere, but it’s most likely one year.

Because this is relatively new, it has only 18 user reviews at the moment. Both Fakespot and ReviewMeta say you should disregard most of them. So why am I recommending this? Because that’s not uncommon, and because questionable reviews don’t necessarily indicate a bad product.

Indeed, something like this, it either works or it doesn’t. You’ll know pretty quickly if it doesn’t, at which point you can easily return it.

And, hey, $9 is pretty low-risk investment if you’re looking to dip your toe into smart-plug waters. Your thoughts?

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Bonus deal: Still hunting for the ideal dashcam? If you don’t mind dealing with a little wiring, I’m partial to the ones that hook over your existing rearview mirror — and add a rear-mounted backup camera to the mix.

Like this one: For a limited time, you can snag the Auto-Vox X1 10-inch mirror-mount dashcam for $187. It normally runs $250. (FYI, that link will take you to my X1 write-up over at ZDNet, where I moonlight — cheap-light? — as the Business Bargain Hunter.)

auto-vox-x1

Auto-Vox

The X1 does all the things you’d expect a dashcam to do, and then some: It also provides lane-departure warnings and GPS data (speed, route and so on). I particularly like the full-screen view afforded by the rear camera. Oh, and speaking of the screen, it’s a full 10 inches wide — pretty sweet.

One thing I will note is that the instruction manual is pretty sparse, especially when it comes to installation. If you’re fairly auto savvy, you shouldn’t have any trouble — but be prepared to enlist some help.

z-grills-premium

This grill could be yours for free — eventually.


Z Grills

Bonus deal No. 2: And now for something completely different. The Z Grills Premium is an electric outdoor grill that relies not on charcoal or propane, but on wood pellets. It normally sells for $599, or $699 if you choose the model with the upgraded cart (which can be used for under-grill storage).

Here’s the interesting part: If you order one between now and the end of August, you’ll get a free cover and qualify for what is arguably the strangest rebate program I’ve ever seen. After five years, you recoup the entire cost of the grill. (Note: The site currently says the promotion expires Aug. 6, but I’ve been assured by a company spokesperson that it will be extended through August.)

See it at Z Grills

And that’s only one option. You can also opt for $499 after four years, $399 after three years, $299 after two years or $199 after one year. The longer you wait, the bigger the rebate.

Ah, but will the company still be in business after five years? Or even one, for that matter? That’s the gamble, I suppose. For what it’s worth, similar wood-pellet grills sell for anywhere from $425 to $900. Beyond that, I know zero about the product or the company. I’m just intrigued by the idea of a free $600 grill — even if it’s not free right away.


CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!



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