Turning your 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 complex, but are they worth investing in?
If you need more help setting up your smart home, we have more content for you. Check out the link below.
The best smart light switches:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best smart light switches regularly as new ones launch.
Pros and cons
Here are a few real advantages to buying smart light switches:
- Smart light switches replace a conventional wall switch and can be manually turned on or off, as well as controlled via an app or smart speaker.
- One smart light 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.
Smart light switches don't allow for dimming or switching colors.
Here’s the downside to smart light switches:
- These involve wiring, which makes them a no-no for renters, unless your landlord gives you permission.
- They typically don’t work in older homes due to the need for a neutral wire. There are a few workarounds for this, but they 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 getting one?
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 a small child or just a perfectionist 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 favorite smart switches. You can also check the link below if you have decided your best bet is to go with smart light bulbs.
Also read: The best smart light bulbs you can buy
1. Wemo Light Switch (2nd gen)
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 Dimmer Switch by TP-Link
Advanced light switches can include physical dimming controls. Such is the case with the TP-Link Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch. This makes a great smart home product at a low price. 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
The Wemo Dimmer Light Switch is another device with physical dimming controls. Similar to the other Wemo Light Switch, this product needs no hub, uses Wi-Fi, 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 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. You get more for what you pay, though. This device comes with built-in motion and ambient light sensors, making it a smarter gadget than most.
5. Lutron Caseta
The Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch is one of the most feature-rich devices in this list and it’s been fully updated for 2020. 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 in addition to 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.
If you do decide to go all-in on Lutron, it may be worth your while to invest in a bundle instead of a single switch. Luckily for you, Lutron sells a two-pack that comes with a smart bridge that keeps your Caseta setup off of your home wi-fi network. Even if your internet crashes, your lights won’t go down with it.
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’s very affordable, but requires a Hue Hub and works only with Hue light bulbs.
Alternatives: The best smart plugs you can buy
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.