Any switches similar to an Insteon Keypad?

(Matt) #1

New to SmartThings but not home automation. In my current house I have Insteon and enjoy it a bunch. In my new house, will be switching over to zwave and zigbee due to doubts about where Insteon is going. Does anybody make a device similar to the Insteon keypads for controlling multiple devices and scenes? I would really like to have custom buttons made for the different buttons like with what I have with my current setup. Any advice and guidance is appreciated.


Nothing that works out of the box with identical functionality in a mains-operated device that also controls a single fixture manually, as the Insteon keypad on/off button does.

There are quite a few alternative devices which meet many of the same use cases, so it really depends on exactly what you were looking for.

The 21st century way to do this type of function is just with a “dashboard,” either on a tablet or an inexpensive WiFi phone. A lot of people use these.


There is a very popular third-party app, action tiles, which has a license fee of about $30 per hub (not per tablet). You can select exactly which devices you want to appear on each tablet.

And then a typical WiFi phone costs under $20 at Walmart. So that’s one popular option.

Then there are a couple of multibutton mains-powered Z wave devices that are also popular. These are very similar to the Insteon devices except they don’t have as many buttons and they don’t control an individual relay from the switchbox – – everything is wireless. And you have to print your own labels. They do replace an existing light switch, they just don’t physically control the relay that was there.


Then there are a number of different batterypowered multibutton devices. One of the most popular from remotec costs around $49, and has eight buttons, each of which can do tap, double tap, or long hold, giving you 24 total functions.


You can find all of the button devices, both battery powered and mains powered, described in the buttons FAQ ( this is a clickable link)

Finally, if you really want custom engraving, there is a way to get Lutron Picos to work with smartthings, but it requires using an additional device as a “man in the middle” server and you have to use a community integration, not the official one. But the picos themselves are very inexpensive, typically under $20, and come in several different styles. But this is technically the most difficult to set up because while there is an official SmartThings/Lutron integration, normally the Picos are invisible to smartthings.


So as you can see, there are a number of different options, but nothing which matches the features of the Insteon keypads exactly, so it just depends on what you need.

(Matt) #3

Thank you for the great info, JDRoberts. Lots of good stuff in here. Will have to look into Action Tiles as that looks pretty sweet. This is going to be our new residence and we are starting major demo, so want to do it right.


There’s a community thread where people share what kind of tablets and mounting methods they’ve used for their action tiles and other dashboard options. It might give you some more ideas. (The original version of action tiles was called smarttiles, but that’s no longer available.)

(Ron Talley) #5

With Tablet pricing being so low and the flexibility that you have with Action Tiles, I chose to go that route.

I have a tablet for rooms either mounted on the wall, on a dedicated base or just sitting on a standing with a low profile cable attached. All are cool.

Beauty is each tablet can become the dashboard for any room! The options for controlling your SmartThings Devices and Routines are countless.

(Matt) #6

Really appreciate all of the great info! Although I initially liked the Insteon Switches better, I see that this is incredibly and infinitely more flexible. This is pretty awesome stuff!