The ability to control the lights in your home remotely can give you more convenience. When it comes to smart lights, there are two main types you can choose from which are smart bulbs and smart switches. Smart bulbs replace your traditional light bulbs while smart switches replace your current light switches.
The installation of smart bulbs might be more straightforward compared to smart switches, but the challenge lies in ensuring they will work with your existing fixtures. They may not always match with existing light fixtures especially when your lights require a different design like candelabra lights for example, because the majority of smart bulbs are A-shaped with E-shaped bases.
This is the reason why smart switches can be more reliable because they go straight to your home’s electrical wiring. Their installation can be more complex, but they do not require you to change your light fixtures at home.
What is a Smart Switch?
A smart switch is a network-enabled smart device that will allow you to control hardwired lights as well as ceiling fans, bathroom fans, and switch-controlled fireplaces using an app from your phone or with your voice through a virtual assistant. They can add smart home features to anything you turn on or off with just a flip of a switch.
Smart switches, just like other smart devices, also connect to your home Wi-Fi network, allowing you to remotely control them through your phone or computer.
Advantages of Smart Switches
There are a lot of smart light bulbs on the market that you can control with your smartphone, so why would you want a smart switch instead? Well, replacing your traditional light switches with smart ones has a lot of benefits and here are some of them.
- They have user-friendly controls that can work directly with your home’s Wi-Fi network.
- It boosts your home’s security because you will be able to control them even when you’re away, giving the impression that there’s someone at home.
- You can program the lights to turn on only at certain time of the day and for a set period of time, helping you monitor and conserve energy.
- You can keep your existing light bulbs for you to maintain your existing light setup and design at home especially when you use custom or odd-shaped fixtures.
- Smart switches will still run your scheduled lighting program even when the switch is off so you won’t have to worry if you forget to turn the switch on.
- A smart switch can be more cost-effective compared to adding four or more smart lights, each of which can cost as much as a single switch.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Smart Switch
There are a lot of choices for smart switches on the market and looking for the right switch for your home can be challenging. For you to easily figure out the best smart switch for your home, here are some of the things you should look into.
Choosing a software or operating system is as important as the hardware. Most smart switches work on both Android and iOS device, but you still have to check when you choose one. There are some smart switches that work well with one operating system and sync well with existing devices such as Ecobee or Nest.
Some of the most commonly used protocols for smart switches are Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, in order to ensure seamless connectivity between all the devices in your home, you should make sure that you opt for the right protocol for wireless communication.
If you’re stylish when it comes to your home, then you should also choose a smart switch with a great design. There are some that come in multiple colors to best match your home’s décor.
Smart switches have their own app that you will use on your smartphone or tablet. Before purchasing a smart switch, you should also know how easy it is to use its app and what features do you get.
Some traditional light switches are three-way or four-way, meaning, there are multiple switches controlling a single light. If you have this type of light switches at home, you should know first if your chosen smart switch supports this kind of connection. It’s because some smart switches do not work with them.
Smart Home Compatibility
If you have a lot of smart devices at home and you want your smart switch to work with them, you should also know first the number of other smart devices and systems the switch can work with.
Installing Smart Home Switches
DO NOT attempt to do your own electrical work without proper guidance and training.
Installing a smart switch involves replacing your current in-wall switch. There are some products that include professional installation as part of the package, but if your chosen smart switch does not have that, you will need a basic understanding of electrical work, including turning the circuit breaker. If you want full wireless access to your smart switch, you should replace the entire existing unit with it by attaching all the wires to the new switch.
Smart switches can be bigger than traditional ones. Therefore, if they do not fit in your electrical box, there’s a need for you to get a new box which is a job for an electrician. Also, if you’re living in an older home, you might have different electrical wirings compared to what smart switches require, meaning, calling an electrician to install your smart switch is the best choice.
The Best Smart Switches for Your Home
If you’ve decided to replace the traditional switches at home with smart ones, we will be glad to help you pick the perfect one for your home. Here are some of the best smart home switches we can recommend.
Where to Buy
1. Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Switch
This is a smart starter kit that includes one in-wall switch, one wireless remote, and one smart bridge or hub that you can also use to control Lutron Caseta fans and shades.
This is a hi-tech looking switch that has several buttons laid out to control the numerous options that it offers. It has a dimmer which are the white and grey buttons on the center. Aside from that, it also offers impressive features such as geo-fencing, scheduling, and compatibility with a lot of smart home platforms.
This smart switch can also be controlled by voice commands through Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Its only downside is it should be linked to the Smart Hub for it to work. The hub is plugged directly to the router for you to control it from your smartphone.
This smart switch can be one of the most expensive among the options but it offers a lot of next-generation features. One of those is its motion detector which can automatically turn on and off as you enter or leave a room.
It can also activate a small night light to help you find your way in the dark. It has a built-in Alexa along with a microphone and speaker so you will be able to easily use Amazon’s assistant.
This smart switch also has a temperature sensor. Meaning, you can link it to the Ecobee thermostat to control the climate in your home better. However, you will not be able to use it in a three-way setup and it also requires a neutral wire.
This smart switch may not win any design awards but it offers great functionality and can be the best one you can find on the market. It connects directly to your home’s Wi-Fi network, meaning, there’s no need for a hub or bridge. Another great thing about it is it supports three-way switches, making it great for larger rooms.
Its app works well and comes with great features. It will enable you to set how long the status LED and the dimming LEDs remain on. You can also specify the type of bulbs you are using and adjust the rate at which they brighten and dim. Its app will also let you create schedules on when the lights will turn on or off, such as at sunrise or sunset.
This smart switch works with Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Amazon Alexa. It’s the only downside is the lack of a geo-fencing feature. But overall, it is one of the best smart switches on the market.
If you’re looking for an affordable light switch, then the Maxico Smart Light Switch is perfect for you. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant if you want a hands-free voice control. You also do not need a hub for it to function.
For this smart switch, all you need is a 118/120 type wall box with a neutral wire and a secure 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection. However, it only works with single-switch lights. You will be able to use your smartphone to turn it on and off and as well as to set a daily schedule.
You can also connect other devices to it and check them remotely for an added peace of mind when you’re not at home. You can even set up countdowns to turn them off making it a great smart switch for holiday lights and for a child’s night light as well. It also has a backlit LED switch plate for you to easily find it in the dark.
This smart light switch will allow you to turn your electronics on and off from anywhere with the touch of a button. You simply have to use its app on your smartphone and it is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
From the office, you will be able to turn the lights at your home on and off to create a welcoming environment after a long day. And when you’re on vacation, you can create an illusion that someone is at home. You can even set up daily schedules with this smart switch for connected devices.
You can also use Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Microsoft Cortana for voice commands to control the lights and other devices connected to this switch. It is very easy to install because it comes with a step-by-step installation process. You just need a neutral wire and a secured Wi-Fi network to set it up.
With this smart switch, you will be able to control three switches at once. It has a sleek touchscreen panel and it uses capacitive touch sense and sensitive touch control to optimize your power over your home’s lighting.
It is made with high-polish luxury crystal glass, making it look stylish and more functional at the same time. It is very easy to install and it connects directly to your home’s Wi-Fi network, enabling you to control it remotely.
It also features a red or blue backlit LED indicator which provides illumination for you to find it in the dark. These lights are also indicators of which switches are in use which is helpful if it is controlling an outlet or a device that is not visible.
This highly effective smart switch can replace almost all types of conventional light switches and can work with any kinds of one-way connection light. This smart switch can also connect to many small appliances. Its installation requires a neutral wire as most smart switches do.
It also works with Amazon Alexa for voice control. You will be able to control your lights and other small appliances from WeMo light switch on the wall, the WeMo app, and through voice commands. Its app works with Android 4.1 and higher as well as iOS 8 and higher.
This smart switch can be used to create an automated schedule for lighting and as well as for heating to give you a warm and welcoming home after your long day at work. You can also use this switch to set the ceiling fans to turn on automatically when a certain temperature is detected by your smart thermostat.
Installing smart home switches is another way to conveniently control your lights and other devices at home. If you want to keep the style and designs of your lights at home but want to control them remotely, a smart switch will work best for you. We hope this guide and the products we shared will help you find the best smart switch for your home.