Smart power strips are basically a combination of a power strip and a timer.
They’re a good solution to reduce “vampire” load from devices that use electricity even when they’re supposed to be off. The biggest vampire loads include cable boxes, TV and audio equipment and game consoles. (More here)
Smart power strips can also offer convenience. Some come complete with USB charger outlets. If you would like a more robust user interface, get a WiFi-enabled smart strip that pairs with a smartphone app like the USB-ready, WiFi-accessible Teckin ($28) or Yagala ($19). Or, if you’d like to monitor how much energy your devices actually are consuming, you’ll get that additional functionality with the WEMO Insight smart plug ($45). You’ll also need a conventional power strip to plug into the WEMO.
If wasting energy bothers you, smart power strips will make a difference. However, they may not be the best option to save you money. The truth is, vampire loads are often modest. Of course, you may have exceptions, particularly if TV and gaming equipment gets left on a lot.
If saving money is your goal, consider an option like the basic yet full-featured Century ($12).
If you’re really into saving money, and you already have a plain old power strip and a light timer, just plug the power strip into the timer and set the timer. That would be your grandfather’s “smart” power strip!