A smart switch can bring a lot of benefits to your home like turning the light off and on from your couch. Interested in buying a smart switch to make your life easier? Here are a few things to look for that may help you choose the right one.
After considering more than half a dozen smart switches and the TP Link Smart Switch Dimmer inched out the competition. First and foremost, the switch is reliable and still affordable. The app is simple and easy to use and it does not require a hub. It does require a neutral wire but that should not be an issue in most newer houses.
The TP Link supports Alexa and Google and comes in a pretty sleek design. Control it from anywhere with the app or voice control it. This switch allows you to create schedules that can be used as a form of security with an away mode type feature or to help save energy by scheduling lights to turn off when the sun comes up. Sounds pretty handy, right?
Now, if you need a switch that is compatible with Homekit, The Lutron Caseta In-wall Dimmer Switch was a very close second and will work for you. We will get more into this switch below.
Smart light switches are hard wired into to your existing light socket making them a semi permanent addition to your smart home. With that being said, you are gonna want to make sure to really do your due diligence when selecting a device. Maybe take a step back and ask if you really need a smart switch. If you are running smart bulbs in your house, the answer is probably no. Smart bulbs come with all of the same functionality, minus the ability to physically turn a light on or off.
So what should you consider when looking at a smart switch? Let’s dig in:
what to look for in a smart light switch
There are a lot of smart light switches on the market. You want a reliable product that meets all your expectations. Here a few things to keep in mind.
- Smart Home Compatibility. This should be one of the first things you are looking at, especially for smart switches. Always make sure the device or devices are compatible with your smart home ecosystem!
- Does it require a neutral wire? A lot, but not all, smart switches do require a neutral wire. The neutral wire completes the circuit in the smart switch giving it power and enabling it to stay in communication with your app. There are a few smart switches that do not require the neutral wire, like the Lutron Caseta, but it does require a hub. If you are in a newish house, chances are you have a neutral wire and this wont be an issue.
- Does it require a hub? Some smart light switches will require a hub which will more than likely be an added expense.
- Installation. We have found that most smart light switches a fairly simple to install and even come with step-by-step instructions on the app. But always be sure to do your due diligence with whatever switch you go with just in case. If you need assistance, get with your local electrician!
- Dimmer or no dimmer? Do you want the ability to control the brightness of your lights? How about some extra savings from lowering the lights when maximum brightness isn’t needed? If you answered yes to either of these questions, get the dimmer switch.
- How many switches will you need? Pretty simple, the more switches you plan to upgrade, the pricier it gets. Make sure to plan accordingly.
Top smart smart light switches to consider
Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit. This smart switch is great for those really taking their smart home seriously and could be billed as one of the best on the market. Now its design isn’t winning any awards anytime soon but the functionality is top shelf! It is packed with features like creating schedules, zones and even comes with a remote to control the switch. It is compatible with Alexa, Apple Homekit, Google, Nest and many more. It does require a hub but you can get the starter kit to bring the cost down a bit.
Wemo Dimmer. If the Lutron dimmer was a close second, the Wemo dimmer is an even closer third. This switch is compatible with Alexa, google, Homekit, Nest and many more. It offers all the functionality you would expect from a Wemo product and a few extra we thought were pretty cool like night mode. Night mode controls how bright the lights are when turned on between certain hours. No more blinding yourself when in the kitchen for that midnight snack. The Wemo dimmer does not require a hub as it connects through Wi-Fi and has the dimming feature to help curb energy costs. It does require a neutral wire.
Philips Hue Dimmer Switch. Are you team Phillips Hue all the way? Do you already have a home outfitted with Hue smart bulbs? Then you probably don’t need the traditional hardwired smart switch but instead the battery powered Phillips Hue dimmer switch. These can be attached anywhere and function as a traditional switch. The only difference being that you can remove the switch and use it as a remote. You can connect up to 10 bulbs to the switch but it will only work with the Phillips Hue.
- Perfect for those who are fully invested on the Phillips Hue ecosystem
- Convenient and can be placed anywhere without screws. It uses an adhesive
- Does require a hub (but you probably already have one if you are team Hue)
- Only works with Phillips Hue products
Switchmate. This is for those living in apartments who may not be able to hard wire in a new smart light switch but still want all the functionality. Installation could not be easier, simply snap it over an existing light switch, not tools or hub required. It is compatible with Google and can be controlled through an app. Switchmate also has a slim version too.