Sunday, April 14, 2024

Best Smart Light Switch 2021: Light Up Your Home the Smart Way

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As cool as smart lightbulbs are, there’s no getting past the fact that they can be very expensive per bulb. Kitting out a single room can easily cost over $100, and let’s not even get into the cost of replacing all the lighting in your home with smart bulbs. But, with smart light switches, you can actually build out your smart home while using the standard (and much more affordable) light bulbs you already have.Let’s say you have a room with eight lights in it. If they’re all controlled by a single light switch, you can suddenly make them all work like smart lights by replacing that light switch with a smart one. That can give you scheduling, remote controller, and plenty more for the lights in a whole room for the same amount of money you might have paid just to get a single smart lightbulb. Combine a few of these with some smart plugs, and you can really build out a smart home without having to replace many actual appliances.

So, if you’re ready to make your home smarter with just the flip of a switch, check out our top picks.

TL;DR – These are the Best Smart Light Switches:

1. Lutron Caséta Smart Home Dimmer Switch

Best Smart Light Switch

Our Pick

Lutron Caséta Smart Home Dimmer Switch

On Amazon

The Lutron Caséta Smart Home Dimmer Switch may be among the more expensive smart light switches out there, but you’re paying for premium quality and service here. This smart lighting solution is more than just a dimmer switch; it also boasts control flexibility as well as quite a roster of features.

In addition to Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant compatibility for hands-free control, you can also control it via Lutron’s Pico smart remote and the mobile app. And, much like the top smart light bulbs, it offers features like lighting scenes, lighting schedules and routines, geofencing, and Smart Away technology, which makes it look like you’re home even when away. With the use of a hub, one Caséta smart light switch can control multiple bulbs at the same time.

This dimmer switch works with your existing wiring as well as your LED (dimmable), CFL (dimmable), incandescent and halogen light bulbs, which saves you money. In fact, it works best with non-smart light bulbs. What else is money-saving? This unit is easy to install and Lutron even has instructional videos that take you through the step-by-step process. And, if the video isn’t enough, the company’s customer service is top-notch.

2. Kasa Smart Light Switch

Best Budget Smart Light Switch

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Kasa Smart Light Switch

On Amazon

Just because you’re on the budget doesn’t mean that you can’t smarten up some parts of your home. If Lutron Caséta Smart Home Dimmer Switch’s price tag is a bit out of your budget, then consider the Kasa Smart Light Switch. Kasa products are made by TP-Link, so you’re guaranteed quality without the extravagant price. It’s even more money saving considering that it works with all standard light switches.

This is a one-way switch, however, so if you have a multi-way switch setup – you have two switches controlling the same light, for example – there are other options out there. Otherwise, this is the most affordable solution if you want the convenience of smart lighting. It even works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana, and comes with its own app for several control options.

It may not have the dimmable option. However, if you’re a creature of habit, it offers scenes, schedules, timers and Away Mode, all of which you can set-up on the app. For $20 a pop, that’s not too bad a deal.

3. Philips Hue Smart Dimmer

Best Smart Light Switch for Philips Hue Users

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Philips Hue Smart Dimmer

On Amazon

If you’re a Philips Hue smart lights convert – very few smart home owners aren’t – then adding the Philips Hue Smart Dimmer switch just sweetens the pot. This wall-mounted light switch also moonlights as a wireless remote control for your lights, which you can pop it off its mount and place it within arms reach.

What’s great about this switch is that it requires no wired installation at all; you simply need to connect it to the Hue app, your Hue light bulbs and the Hue hub, if you’ve got one. Apart from being effortless to install, it also offers a convenient alternative to controlling your lights that’s faster than unlocking your phone and opening the app. Or trying to remember the name of the light bulb or group of lights you want Alexa to switch off.The Philips Hue Smart Dimmer simply gives you that quick control option for your smart lights, if you need to dim the lights, switch between four of your favorite scenes, and toggle them on/off.

4. Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 Wall Dimmer Switch

Best for Z-wave smart home appliance users

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Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 Wall Dimmer Switch

On Amazon

Zooz’s dimmer switch is a bit more involved than the other smart light switches on this list, but that’s because it boasts a few other skills that most smart light switches don’t offer. If you have a multi-point control setup at home, this is the light switch for you. The Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 Wall Dimmer Switch will work with any 3-way, 4-way or 5-way setup, as well as the existing on/off switches in that setup.

It also uses the Z-Wave protocol, which utilizes low-energy radio waves to communicate, with other Z-Wave smart devices. It acts like a repeater, which means that it can extend your Z-Wave network’s range to the next room. Though this also means that it needs a certified Z-Wave hub to connect with Alexa.

Its other features include on/off notifications on your phone whenever someone taps the switch, a hacker-proof security protocol, and an optimized dimmer designed to eliminate dimmer-related flickering. Best of all, it uses what Zooz calls its Smart Tap technology, which lets users tap the switch to control their lights – like double tapping for full brightness.

5. GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus

Best Z-Wave Smart Light Switch

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GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus

On Amazon

Some of the best smart home gadgets rely on a special connectivity standard called Z-Wave. If you’ve invested in these products for their long-range and low-power connectivity, you’re not left out when It comes to light switches. The GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus smart light dimmer switch is ready to fit your smart home setup. And, thanks to the way Z-Wave works, adding this dimmer switch into your home will only further expand the signal strength throughout your home.

This smart light switch is simple to install thanks to a compact enclosure and its ability to automatically detect line and load wires to configure itself appropriately. You can also set the switch up next to three additional switches. With the switch, you’ll get full dimming control over your lights from completely off to full brightness. And, for voice control, the GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus switch supports Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

6. WeMo 3-Way Light Switch

Best affordable 3-way switch

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WeMo 3-Way Light Switch

On Amazon

If you’re looking for something that’s simpler to install than the Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 Wall Dimmer Switch, then the WeMo 3-Way Light Switch is a terrific solution for your 3-way setup. This not only works perfectly with smart assistants without the use of a hub, but its installation is easy enough to avoid hiring an electrician. You simply need to watch the instructional video the company provides, and follow the steps.

Whether it’s through voice, the physical switch or WeMo’s app, there’s flexibility in its controls as well. You can set lighting schedules, use Away Mode, and even group as well as control multiple WeMo lights (and ceiling fans). Best yet, because of its 3-way feature, it’s perfect for any 3-way setups you have in your home, just as it is with single pole setups.

It’s a bit more expensive than the Zooz light switch, but it’s not a bad price to pay for convenience.

7. Lutron Caséta Smart Home Plug-in Lamp Dimmer

Best for lamps

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Lutron Caséta Smart Home Plug-in Lamp Dimmer

On Amazon

Just because you have lighting fixtures at home that are set up so that they cannot accommodate a smart light bulb or you’re renting an apartment that doesn’t allow modifications, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the benefits of smart home lighting devices. For those with really limited ways to upgrade their homes, the Lutron Caséta Smart Home Plug-in Lamp Dimmer might be the best solution.

This smart light switch has most of the features that its wall dimmer switch counterpart offers, including setting up schedules and routines, Smart Away, working with smart assistants and speakers, and selecting personalized lighting scenes. It can also replace existing 3 way switches and it works with Lutron’s Pico remote.

The biggest differences here are that this model is a like a smart plug for made specifically for lamps around your house, and it does require a smart bridge. However, it is cheaper than its in-wall counterpart, and allows you to control up to 2 plug-in lamps.

8. Eve Light Switch

Best Smart Light Switch for Apple Homekit

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Eve Light Switch

On Amazon

The Eve Light Switch offers an easy way for you to turn your existing lights into smart lights that work with your Apple devices. The unit installs like a traditional light dimmer, but offers Bluetooth LE connectivity to link up with your mobile device. This gives you multiple ways to control the Eve Light Switch, including using Siri voice commands.

You can set the Eve Light Switch to run on a schedule, toggle lights on and off using the app, or just touch the slider to change the lighting in your house. And, you can control this device through HomeKit to easily integrate it with the rest of your smart home.

9. Lutron Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer

Best Smart Light Dimmer

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Lutron Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer

On Amazon

The Lutron Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer solves two problems at once. First, it prevents anyone from accidentally cutting power to your smart bulbs at the switch, as it directly covers a standard light switch and locks it in place. Second, it offers an easy-to-use method of dimming the lights for anyone in your house, not just the person who has the control app on their phone.

The dimmer works with Philips Hue smart bulbs, but it can also connect with the wide array of ZigBee 3.0-certified bulbs. Using a low-power connection, it can run on its CR2032 battery for up to three years, letting you set it and forget it.

10. C by GE Wire-Free Dimmer

Best Wire-Free Smart Light Switch

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C by GE Wire-Free Dimmer

On Amazon

The convenience of being able use your phone as a light switch after adding a bunch of hub-less smart bulbs is sometimes soured by the fact that you can’t control them as easily with a light switch anymore. While some support smart switches and dimmers like those found here, they often take a little more work to set up than the bulbs themselves, as you have to wired them into the wall. Not so with the C by GE Wire-Free Dimmer.

At first, this dimmer may look like it wires up to your wall, but it can actually be attached anywhere in your home with simple adhesive, and it’s powered by battery for up to two years. Once installed and set up, you can use the C by GE Wire-Free Dimmer to control your C by GE smart devices. You can control the brightness and color temperature of your bulbs, and you can use it to power on and off smart plugs, giving you full-room control.

Choosing the best smart light switch for your home

If you haven’t done so before, don’t worry. Finding the best smart light switch for your home, whether you have your own house or you’re renting an apartment, isn’t a hard task best left to professionals. In fact, most of the smart light switches on the market are surprisingly effortless to set up, so you won’t need an electrician to help you, and they’re even easier to use.

However, as with all electronic products, you need to figure out a few things first before you scour the web for the most ideal light switch for you. Besides knowing what your budget is – these smart solutions can set you back anywhere from $20 to $80 – and how many you’ll need, there are a couple of other things you must know.

Type of switch

Like their traditional counterparts, a smart light switch can either be a single pole or 3-/4-/5-way switch. Without getting deep into the technical aspect, this simply means that it either has sole control of one light or group of lights or it shares that responsibility with another three-way switch.

A common three-way switch setup in homes is when you’ve got a switch at the bottom of the stairs and another at the top of the stairs, and both control the same lighting for the first floor hallway. Though quite a few 3-way smart light switches can function as a single pole switch, you need to figure out what kind of switch you’re trying to replace, before you look at any smart options.

Smart assistant connectivity

Some smart light switches require a hub or a bridge to work with smart assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant. Surprisingly, this connectivity isn’t readily available in a small number of smart switches. If voice control is particularly important to you, make sure you choose one that won’t make you go through hoops to have this functionality.

Smart bulbs

If you already have smart bulbs installed at home, and you’re planning on connecting them to a smart light switch, make sure that they are fully compatible to avoid issues. Some smart light switches actually work better with regular light bulbs, while a few others aren’t compatible at all with any smart light bulbs. On the other hand, the top smart light bulb manufacturers make their own smart light switches that work perfectly with their light bulbs.

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Michelle Rae Uy is a freelance tech and travel writer, part-time production editor, and a full-time traveler from Los Angeles, California. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles, London and the rest of the world. Follow her on Instagram @straywithRae.


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