Take (Remote) Control of Your Home with the ZAP 3LX

Gadgets Products Reviews
Images: Etekcity, Compiled by Rory Bristol
Images: Etekcity, Compiled by Rory Bristol

Consider a remote control that can manage most of your house: no phone app, no network or wi-fi dependence; just control. I have suffered too many scratches climbing behind the Christmas tree to plug in the lights. Similarly, I have stubbed too many toes after turning out the lights and heading for the stairs. It’s annoying to be restricted by analog switches, and poor home design. This year, I’ve changed things up. I introduced the ZAP remote control outlet system to our home earlier this month, and it has been magic.

We didn’t build our home, so we are stuck with a few oddities in design. These oddities mean that there is isufficient lighting for about half of our upper floor, and the switches for the existing lights are spread out in odd locations. Last Christmas, we hung up a large strand of Christmas lights to light areas which have been problematic.

Unfortunately, this introduced yet another lighting oddity. For a year, we have plugged and unplugged this strand of lights every day. We didn’t dare put it on our Wemo network, because we didn’t want the kids to need a phone to turn on a light.As Christmas came on this year, I wanted to find a solution for the itchy arms I’d get from reaching around the tree dozens of times to plug in the lights this season. Something had to give. I couldn’t do another year of odd lights, or another Christmas of avoiding the Christmas tree.

Image: Etekcity
Image: Etekcity

The ZAP series from Etekcity is a remote control outlet system with interchangeable outlets and remotes. Each outlet has its own ID, and can be programmed to any remote. The remotes even has convenient “all on” and “all off” switches. The 3LX comes with three outlets and two remotes, which can all be reprogrammed if you want to add more to your home at a later time. I plugged the Christmas tree in, and the extra string of lights that highlight our dining room. The third I used for a lamp by the stairs.

I keep one remote in our family office, and one next to the stair case. When the sun passes into the afternoon, I hit one button (all on), and the trio comes on. At the end of the night, the last person upstairs clicks a button (all off) button to turn off the lights, and nobody has to stumble through the dark to get to the stairs.

My wife loves the system, my kids love it, and I think I want to marry it. (Don’t tell my wife that, though!) The ZAP system is inexpensive, easy to use, and is a total game changer. It also makes a great gift, though it may be a gift that grows on the user over time. Christmas is over, so our tree will soon be stripped. I’m not-so-secretly excited to move the outlet to the lamp on the other end of our four-desk office. I’ll likely get more, though. It’s just too useful to leave out of my day.

My favorite Amazon review ( by Jon F) says it all:

Buy it. Just buy it. This company finally figured out how to design a remote for a set of lights! It’s small enough to not be bulky and large enough so it doesn’t get lost (think old Apple TV remote). I use this in my bedroom for my lamps because quite frankly, I’m too lazy to get up and turn the stupid light switch under the lamp shade off.

With the next kit, I’ll put our modem and router both on remotes, because our cable network is going through constant upgrades, and I reset both about three times a week. Climbing behind my desk to reach them is a pain, and turning off the outlet is just as good as unplugging them. Because the remote can handle four outlets, I’ll program one of the new outlets to the current remotes, and then it will be separate, no need to worry about using the “all off” to accidentally turn off the router! Of course, I may not be able to resist putting a few more things on this system, such as my bedroom lamps. Laziness is the heart of invention, of course!

Disclaimer: I received a ZAP unit for review purposes, but I love them enough to buy more for our home!

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