Smart lighting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re planning to build your dream home, but this is the 21st century and you should join us. These days, it’s all about smart homes – whether it’s recently built or an upgrade – and we’ve all had our fun with a smart bulb, which begs the question: what’s next?
Speaking of upgrading your old home, smart switches should be on the top of your list – they work even when there is no Internet connection and won’t stand out. But first things first – let’s find out what’s what.
Smart lighting can be achieved in more ways than one, meaning that smart switches aren’t the only way to go. As such, you will have to make a smart choice: switches, bulbs, or plugs?
Smart switches are one of the most popular choices and smart bulbs will allow you to remotely control the lights or change color. Meanwhile, smart plugs allow you to transform an existing lamp into a smart lighting device. Simple, easy to implement, these solutions will make any home look cool.
Upon careful consideration, smart switches control the lights with the bonuses of dimming or a pop-out remote. Set to work alongside your existing light fixtures, these switches look like a good idea with each passing second. Of course, mixing all these smart lighting solutions is an option that’s always on the table.
How to Choose the Best Smart Switches
The ideal smart light might prove to be pretty difficult to find. There are plenty of smart light bulbs on the market, so why use a switch instead of your smartphone? Numerous ceiling lights seem to indicate a smart switch, especially since this solution might prove cost-effective – compared to adding multiple smart lights.
Smart plugs also prevent themselves as an intelligent idea, regardless if you’re using table lamps or something else. Smart plugs tend to be less expensive than in-wall switches and they’re way easier to set up since there is no wiring to be talked about.
Alexa, Google, or Siri?
Speaking of smart choices, having your light switch connect with such these impressive VAs will allow you to experience virtually endless possibilities. Telling a Google Home or Alexa-enabled speaker to turn on the lights is something cool, a move that’s definitely worth showing off to your friends.
It’s all about intelligent apps these days, why not use them to transform your home into a digitally-controlled environment?
First off, before bragging about your smart lighting options, you should make sure that the smart switch is compatible with the ‘digital assistants’ we mentioned earlier. Some companies make this information clear, from the get-go, others will have you looking for the truth in the dark. Either way, it might be in your best interest to find out what’s what.
Three-way switches are pretty common, which is why the best alternative to come to mind are Lutron Caseta remotes – all of the advantages, and little to almost no work required.
Talking about money and prices is inevitable, so let’s make it clear: smart switches are not too expensive, but having them make your evening – regardless of the room you find yourself in – will cost you a pretty penny. Don’t forget about installation efforts and cost; that should also be on your list as well.
ZigBee versus Z-Wave
Technologies such as Alexa, Google Home, and more are perfectly capable of handling a smart thermostat, a few smart bulbs, or locks – easy peasy. However, if you’re going all out, including smart switches, garage doors, and security options, you will be faced with this question: ZigBee or Z-Wave?
These radio protocols require a compatible hub before being able to communicate with a smartphone, but choosing between the two is what will have your neurons get all excited.
First off: ZigBee and Z-Wave aren’t compatible with one another, but smart speaker manufacturers – including products such as Alexa and Google Home – have been working on adding support for various standards, thus making customers’ experience more enjoyable and hassle-free.
Smart, energy-efficient, and cool, this solution presents the opportunity to improve upon any home and make any evening a worthy experience. Have you ever thought about connecting your lights remotely? Or, scheduling your lights to turn on and off at specific times?
While you consider that, allow us to reveal the best smart switches that you can buy right now.
The GE C-Start doesn’t look pretty, but the features it comes with certainly make up for it. Better yet, if you go all out and decide upon C by GE smart bulbs, the switch will allow you to exercise control despite them not being wired to the dimmer.
This Wi-Fi device will handle its business without the presence of a smart home hub being required. The built-in motion sensor will gladly turn the light switch on when people are around – but will not do so if enough daylight is there to keep you functioning.
The GE C-Start Smart Switch gets the job done and is packed with features; it has apps for iOS and Android backing it up and will work alongside Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit.
Following a straightforward installation process, you will be allowed to enjoy this product. Oh, we almost forgot: this smart switch responds to voice commands. How cool is that?
Leviton’s switch won’t win any design awards either, but and it seems that Leviton’s Z-Wave lighting controls are quite popular these days. What are we dealing with, here? You get a sizeable paddle switch, with dimming options, a row of LEDs that inform you about the brightness level, while a tiny LED will allow this switch to be found in the dark. So far, so good.
Leviton’s switch will establish a Wi-Fi connection, all the while a dedicated app allows for scheduled to be set, in reference to sunrise or sundown – feel free to come up with a personalized plan. The Leviton app will also allow users to decide how long the status LED and the dimming LEDs remain on, and even adjust the rate at which bulbs dim and brighten.
Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT are supported, while two-factor authentication comes in as a bonus. How does this look?
Designed to support plenty of technologies, including Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, Lutron’s Caséta ecosystem comprises much more than smart and dimmable switches. The company has developed its own line of motorized smart shades, ceiling fan controllers, and more devices meant to make your smart home act brilliant.
The Caséta kit packs elegant dimmer switches, with LEDs pointing towards the brightness level. Oh, and donțt you dare ignore the wireless remote controls, which will come in handy come movie night, pizza time, or when you just want to act all lazy.
The Caséta switches look high-tech and do not come cheap, yet geofencing features, the ability to schedule your lights to turn on or off at a specific moment of the day, and their ability to pair with a wide array of smart home platforms will most likely make up for that.
With no electrical installation needed, and voice controls allowing users to summon Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, it is almost impossible to say something bad about the Aurora. I said ‘almost’, since the fact that this switch only works with Philips Hue lights might just influence your decision, in a bad way.
You know those wall switches that control an outlet, the very same you seem to hit accidentally and turn off your alarm clock? That’s not funny, and so is not getting to the office on time – and we know it; which is where the Aurora comes in.
The simple and elegantly designed Lutron Aurora aims to be the solution to the aforementioned issue, by linking to Philips Hue lights, controlling them, and also keep the outlet powered at the same time. As we’ve already said, the fact that you will be needing Philips Hue lights could be considered a downside. Nonetheless, the Aurora is still worthy of attention.
As you might expect from the company, considering Aurora’s features and good collaboration with Philips Hue lights, their very own entry on the list is also interesting enough to be detailed. The brand also had it so that no electrical installation was to be required – which is not bad, and the fact that Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant can all be controlled via voice controls isn’t half bad, either.
The cool and original color themes will make your day, though, and that’s an understatement. If your home is packed with Philips Hue bulbs, this dimmer will take its place as a wireless remote without requiring any installation.
The Philips Hue app is fun, to say the least; it will put those bulbs to work, while the Philips dimmer will allow you the kind of atmosphere you were dreaming about. Users may also schedule their Hue bulbs, while voice controls ‘tell’ Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit what to do. Order me a pizza, Alexa!
The Legrand dimmer stands true to its name, although it’s worth mentioning that it is a bit more expensive than the previous solutions we talked about. But, how universal can you get? The Legrand switch can communicate to the more popular smart home systems; as such, it will control more than one type of bulb, thus aiming at justifying the high price tag.
Even better, the supposedly universal controller will most likely auto-detect almost any light bulb users will purchase, as powerful as they may be. You will encounter no issues there. The paddle switch might feel a bit smaller than ideal, while the dimmer switch and small LEDs providing you with the necessary information.
Showing off excellent design as well as a high-quality build, the WeMo has a lighting mode for any event or vibe. It looks all cool and shows off glowing LED status lights, but might get most people confused because each of those seven LEDs has its own meaning and purpose and no one will ever remember that.
This dimmer will, however, work alongside all kinds of light bulbs. The dedicated app supports a wide array of smart products and there are plenty of features to be enjoyed, such as light scheduling and different lighting modes. Feel free to have some fun, like dimming or brighten up the light the switch is hooked up to or, speaking of bright. a clever feature keeps you from blinding yourself with bright lights if walking around the house sleepy is your thing.
The Brilliant control panel is expensive, that has to be said from the start. Since most consider that a relative piece of info, the $299 price-tag will make everything clear. In the meantime, allow us to tell you that the Brilliant touch-screen will easily enable control of any smart home device, including cameras, speakers, and anything else you could think of.
The beautiful interface and large touchscreen have made this a success, although we should also mention it supports multiple lighting groups. The panel has built-in motion sensors, it will act as a video intercom thanks to a built-in camera, and will also support smart home systems, the likes of Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, and many others.
Good news first: Alexa comes built-in, there are motion and temperature sensors worth mentioning and the night light feature will most likely appeal to all. On the other hand, there are no dimming options, and you won’t be able to schedule thins thing to turn your lights on or off at specific times in the day – or night.
Don’t you worry, there are plenty of cool features about the Ecobee Switch+, such as a motion detector meant to automatically turn the lights on and off depending on your activity in said room.
Alexa has been built in, with a microphone and tiny speaker helping man and machine communicate in an optimal, efficient manner – forget about listening to music, will you? The Switch+ packs a temperature sensor, as well, designed to collaborate with the Ecobee thermostat for a more efficient control of your in-house climate. Are you feeling cool right now? You will, as you purchase this solution.
GE Enbrighten In-Wall
Introducing itself as an in-wall dimmer, slim, and intelligent enough to distinguish between the line wire and the load wire, this thing might just be your affordable best friend – but does not diminish its value, in any way.
This device’s name doesn’t usually pop up, and we dare not speculate about why; but, it is worth mentioning this solution is more than capable of making your day. Once you get your hands on an Amazon Echo Plus smart speaker, GE’s In Wall solution will prove its worthiness and be ready for a party. Who is in? Don’t forget the drinks, will you?
Noon Lighting System Starter Kit
Admit it: your current favorite smart lighting system is expensive, and might just only be available through professional installers. Nonetheless, this is the most sophisticated and stylish choice on the market, today. A Room Director dimmer works alongside a color OLED touchscreen display that allows for multiple lighting scenes able to be controlled from a single and most vital source.
Better yet, this system is fully capable of turning each light in the room at a preset brightness – talk about matching your mood. What shade will y our living room be featuring tonight?
TP-Link Kasa Smart Switch
This brand is most popular among gamers and home users of wireless routers for its affordable and dependable products. Nonetheless, the company went another way and has slowly, but steadily, invaded the smart home space with its Kasa Smart product line.
The HS-220 in-wall smart dimmer will establish a connection to your Wi-Fi network – no hub required – and once you get a glance at the $20 price-tag, you will most likely go crazy and head out to the nearest professional shop.
Although it cannot be used for a three-way configuration, don’t you dare cry about that, this concept might end up on people’s shopping list in no time. And, why not?
[…] in this list. If you’re interested in more smart home technology, check out our guides on the best smart switches and surge […]