Turning your humble abode into a smart home can be a complicated and expensive affair if you go “all in”. For those new to the smart home game, there are a few products that make for an easy way to dip your toes into the smart home market without going full throttle. The most popular entry points tend to be smart speakers and smart light bulbs. Both require minimal setup and are apartment/rental friendly. Smart light switches are a bit more complicated, but are they worth investing in? Good question.
Best smart light switches
Pros and cons
Here are a few real advantages to buying a smart light switch:
- A smart light switch replaces a conventional wall switch and can be manually turned on or off, as well as controlled via an app or smart speaker.
- One switch can control many lights, which could actually end up saving you money over replacing every light bulb in your home with smart light bulbs.
- If a traditional wall switch is off, a smart bulb can’t be controlled. Smart switches eliminate this problem, which is particularly helpful if you have young people who are going to be flipping off your switches, or house guests that might not be accustomed to using voice/apps to turn lights on/off in your home.
Here’s the downside to smart switches:
- They involve wiring, which makes them a no-no for renters, unless your landlord gives you permission.
- Smart light switches typically don’t work in older homes due to the need for a neutral wire. There are a few workarounds for this, but they generally aren’t ideal.
- Smart switches just turn your lights on and off, they don’t allow for dimming or color changing – unless you have smart switches and smart bulbs. There are also dimmer smart switches, but you’ll need to make sure your existing light bulbs will play nice with it (or upgrade them).
If you want the best of both worlds, it is possible to configure your home with smart lighting and smart switches, though this adds complications of its own when it comes to organizing all your smart devices through apps, hubs, and so on. It also can get pretty expensive fast.
Should you bother with a smart light switch?
For most people, smart light bulbs are probably the best route. They do a lot more in most cases and are easier to install (you just screw them into a light socket!). But if you’re a parent of small child or just a completionist that wants the smartest possible home, you also might want look into a smart switch.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, there are a ton of options out there. Below you will find a list of our favorites.
1. Wemo Light Switch
The best smart light switch is arguably the Wemo Light Switch. It works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It works with any one-way connection light switch and requires a neutral wire. Features include remote manipulation, Away Mode (which turns lights on/off while you’re out of town), scheduling, and setting timers.
2. Kasa Smart Light Switch by TP-Link
TP-Link makes great smart home products at a low price. The Kasa Smart Light Switch is only $26.99 and offers basic light control features. It can be operated using the app, as well as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana. Actions can be scheduled too.
3. Wemo Dimmer Light Switch
More advanced light switches can include dimming functionality. Such is the case with the Wemo Dimmer Light Switch. Similar to the other Wemo Light Switch, this product needs no hub, uses WiFi, works with any one-way connection, and requires a neutral cable. It costs a bit more, but those who want dimming functionality will appreciate more control.
4. Ecobee Switch Plus
If the idea of Alexa built into a light switch sounds epic to you, we also highly recommend the Ecobee Switch Plus, just keep in mind it’s about double the price of other more basic smart light switches at $79. You get more for what you pay, though. This device comes with a built-in motion and ambient light sensors, making it a smarter gadget than most.
5. Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch
The Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch is one of the most feature-rich devices in this list. It includes a switch and a dimmer, which means you can control light intensity to your liking. It comes with a remote control you can use instead of the Android or iOS apps. Lights can automatically adjust to changing seasons and daylight savings time. Furthermore, it has support for most smart home brands, including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Nest, Serena shades, and Sonos.
6. Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch With Remote
Those who are already invested in the Philips Hue ecosystem might be better off buying the Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch With Remote. It costs only $24.95, but requires a Hue Hub and works only with Hue light bulbs. The advantage is that you won’t need to work on wiring, as you can simply attach it to any wall with screws or adhesive tape. The center part can also be detached to be used as a remote, which is a nice added feature.
We have included picks in multiple price ranges and with varying functionality levels. This means there is something in this list for everyone. Go enjoy the smart home life!