How do Smart Bulbs Work with Regular Switches?
When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
When I first considered getting a smart bulb, I wondered how it would work with my current switch. Would I need a new one? Will it work with my current one? It’s pretty simple.
How do Smart Bulbs work with Switches? Smart bulbs replace your regular bulbs and will still work with your traditional light switch. You can still use your light switch to turn your smart bulb on and off, but you probably will want to leave it on all the time.
This is because if you turn your switch off (that is powering your smart bulb), it will no longer allow you to use your app to tell it to turn on. Because the switch is off. It essentially makes your regular light switch redundant because you won’t ever use it again.
People also wonder if they should consider purchasing a smart switch to go along with their smart bulb and if it’ll work together. Another common question is if the switch is “on” all the time, won’t it waste energy? There is a lot of curiosity around these questions which is normal.
Don’t worry, we’ll break down everything important you need to know about energy consumption, smart bulbs and smart switches.
Should You Get a Smart Switch With Your Smart Bulbs?
For most people, getting a smart switch to pair with your smart bulb is a bad idea. There are two main reasons why this is a bad idea.
The first reason is because the idea of a smart switch is it’s supposed to control ordinary light bulbs in a room with multiple lighting. Maybe you have a kids’ room where you want to make sure all the lights are turned off. Perhaps, you have 5 lights in the kitchen and you want to turn them on all at once.
Smart switches are perfect for these situations where you want to turn off multiple lights on and off, at the same time.
The second reason is because smart bulbs are not meant to be turned on and off constantly by a switch. Smart Bulbs always need to be on, remember?
Smart bulbs were not built to be put through that. The smart bulb should dictate how much energy to draw, not a switch doing it all the time. If you do use a smart switch to control smart bulbs, it will reduce the life of your expensive smart bulb. That doesn’t sound smart to me.
Now, the occasional on and off moments are not going to break your smart bulb. This is fine. But if you are going to be constantly turning the switch on and off with a smart bulb connected, then that smart bulb needs to be placed elsewhere.
When Getting a Smart Bulb and Smart Switch Makes Sense
Now, if you are going to place your smart switches in one place of your house with regular LED bulbs, and another room with only smart bulbs – this will work. Because you have separated your smart switches and smart bulbs.
This is completely fine, just make sure you keep in mind the rooms and lights in your house.
Which rooms do I fully want to control all the lights? I’ll want a smart light switch in my kids’ room to make sure all their lights are off. Which rooms do I spend the most time in? I’ll probably want a smart bulb in my living room to help me set the mood for a movie.
It’s all up to preference so customize your smart lights and switches depending on your lifestyle.
Will My Smart Bulb Waste Energy Always Being on?
Smart bulbs are always drawing energy even if they are “off”. They draw an extremely small amount of energy. No worries, this isn’t as bad as it sounds. The amount of energy drawn is so small, you will barely notice.
The amount of power used is so tiny that it would take you 2-3 months for that single smart bulb to use 1 kWh of energy.
It comes out to less than 2 cents a month.
Plus, take into account the money you’ll be saving on your energy bill from switching from old traditional incandescent bulbs to an LED bulb. You’ll only see your energy bill drop!
If you want more information, check out our article on how smart bulbs can save you money and energy.
Alexa, Siri, and Google Home Assistant are huge players in the smart home world. This is a very important factor if you purchase a smart switch.
Do Smart Switches Work with Alexa, Google, or Apple’s Homekit? Almost all smart switches will work with either Alexa, Google, or Apple’s Homekit. The problem though is most of them only work for Alexa and Google OR they only work for Apple’s Homekit. Make sure you pay attention to this because if you are an entirely Apple device-centric household and you purchase the wrong switch, you are not going to be a happy camper.
The Kasa Smart Light Switch by TP-Link is great for users who want it to work with Alexa and Google. The Eve Light Switch is the better choice if you have a HomeKit at home and want to use Siri to communicate with your smart switch.
How to Change Your Light Switch Out for a Smart Switch? Changing your regular switch to a smart switch can seem really intimidating. I know it was for me. I am not a handy man, and I do not know a lot about electrical stuff. But trust me, it is easy.
We’ll cover briefly how to do a change for the Kasa Smart Light Switch by TP-Link, but all smart switches are really similar. If you want the full instructions, be sure to visit your specific smart switch brand or manufacturers website for accurate information and steps. Here is TP-Links instructions for example.
- Make sure your electrical line meets the correct requirements for the installation at the manufacturers website. Here is Tp-Links requirements. If you don’t know, just google it! (“XYZ Smart switch electrical requirements”)
- Turn off all the power at your circuit breaker that controls the light switch you intend on changing.
- Remove your current faceplate and figure out which lines are the Live/Load, Neutral, and Ground lines.
- Connect the switches with the provided wire connectors
- Mount the switch on the wall box using the screws provided and snap into place
- Turn your power back on and you’re done
The most important step is turning off the breakers before beginning the installation steps. We don’t want you to hurt yourself. Please call a professional electrician if you need help.
Are Smart Switches and Smart Dimmer Switches the Same Thing? A Smart Switch can come with a dimmer or it cannot. Just think of a Smart Dimmer Switch as the nicer version with more features. They are virtually both switches though so think of them as the same thing. Just one is a little better.
Usually, the cheaper smart switches are cheaper because they don’t have a dimmer such as Kasa smart light switch.
If you are thinking of getting a Smart Dimmer Switch like Levitons, just keep it mind they are a little more expensive because it can dim too. Not all dimmers cost that much, there are budget dimmer options that are only a few bucks more like the Martin Jerry’s Dimmer Switch.
Will Smart Dimmers Switches Work with Smart Bulbs? Yes, most smart bulbs will work with other smart dimmers. You just need to make sure you check their compatibility.
For example, the Philips Hue Dimmer Switch works with their smart bulbs. But it doesn’t work with other smart bulbs because its exclusive to only their Philips Hue Smart Bulbs.
You’ll need to make sure that the smart dimmer switch you’re interested in works with your smart devices.