Best in-wall light switches?


(David Mc Allister) #1

In need ten or fifteen in-wall light switches for use with my SmartThings hub. I could go Z-Wave or Zigbee. Some need to be three-way, some single-pole, some dimming, some not. I’m wondering what brand you all would recommend? These will be controlling almost entirely LED lights.

I’m really a fan of Lutron lately. I like the Ms-Ops2H-Wh Maestro Occupancy sensor switches. They are relay-based so they work great with LED and fluorescent and they learn my desired daylight threshold. However, Lutron doesn’t appear to have any Z-Wave or Zigbee light switches. They have Caseta, which seems to be incompatible. What technology does it use? Looks like it’s Apple HomeKit compatible. SmartThings hub is not. Any estimates on when or if it will be?

Thanks,
Noob


#2

Just this week, there was an announcement at CES 2017 that there will be an official integration between SmartThings and Lutron Caseta, with Lutron staff saying that they are expecting it before the end of February. So you might want to wait to see if that happens, those are excellent switches.

For consideration of other options, the following thread should be helpful. The discussion of switch features starts around post 40.

As far as zigbee versus Z wave, zigbee can get drowned out by very strong Wi-Fi, so it’s usually the less desirable choice for fixed location devices like light switches. That is, the more you do to strengthen Wi-Fi throughout your home, the more likely it is that you might interfere with some zigbee operation. With sensors you can usually work around this, often just by moving the device a foot or two in one direction, but since that’s not an option with light switches, zigbee light switches are usually less popular for DIY projects. (Professional installers have tools that can help them get around this issue.) there are of course many people using zigbee switches successfully, it’s just something to be aware of if you do have the choice to use other protocols.


(Chad) #3

Im new but the GE ones from lowes have been great and best price I can find. No issues yet but I literally just started I only have 5 dimmers and two slaves for the three ways. More to come when the wallet can handle it


#4

Everybody likes the GEs when they first put them in, as long as they don’t need some of the advanced features.

The main problem with that brand is that they have an unusually high failure rate about six months after they come out of warranty. Maybe 15% of the devices. Nothing to do with SmartThings, you can find the same reports on any home automation website.

They aren’t technically “defective” because they’re out of warranty. But it’s still annoying. You can find a number of reports in these forums, but only from people who’ve had the switches for two or three years. So no way to know yet whether the new Z wave plus switches suffer the same defects.

Again, this isn’t all the switches or every customer. And because the switches are so inexpensive, many people are fine with having to replace 10% of them or so two years in because they still save money on the overall project.


(John) #5

So is this information dated? Is it the same message being repeated for sake of repeating it? Have things changed?

Just curious, but if we always tag something with what happened and they keep that label even if things changed, should they be given a second chance? ST isn’t exactly reliable by your definition, but I’m pretty happy overall with how things are going. It’s not perfect, but I’m fine with it, and I’m fine with my GE switches too (I must have received a good batch I guess).


#6

Can’t say yet if the reliability issue with GE switches applies to the Z wave plus models, since they’re just hitting the market now. But it has remained true for the 12 series.

How long have yours been installed?


(John) #7

2 years. I have had more issues with ST than the switches. I just think your message is a bit negative and unfair. Based upon your standard of reliability (just look through this forum), and ST is (as you said) “reliable” since that’s exactly what they aren’t.

Edit: I have 54 of them and have replaced 0. I have one v2 hub and I had unfortunately had to replace it. 0% failure vs 100% failure (statistically liberties taken).


#8

I said the GE brand has been reported as less reliable than other brands of Z wave switches, which is just statistically true. I also said it wasn’t every switch or every customer. I’m glad yours have worked well for you and I hope that continues. :sunglasses:

( i’m not sure how SmartThings itself being “reliable” got into this conversation, I certainly haven’t used that word to describe it since August 2015.)


(DavidK) #9

I have higher failure rate with linear switches.
Also, linear switches have a 1 year warranty.

Ge switches have a 2 year warranty.


(John) #10

Just continued the comparison.


(Don) #11

To add to the discussion, I have all GE switches and dimmers. They have worked well so far but I have not been in it long enough for the long term comparison.

The thing I wish I would have known / considered. If the GE dimmers are already " on " smartthings can not see a switch toggle / push on. Would be nice to be able to use CORE or something to do another event upon light already on and I toggle the button on again. IE… be able to see switch physical events regardless of the switch load control position on or off.

I’m sure there are other brands of switches that can do this. That’s what I’ll go to if my GE switches ever fail.


(Ken) #12

I currently have 10 GE Zwave light switches and have been using 6 of them for over 2.5 years. I personally have not had to replace or have had any issues with them.


(Kevin O3826) #13

I have over 70 devices in my home now connected to my Samsung SmartThings hub V2… 16 switches plus the dumb switches for the 3 way switches. I used GE in all but 2 of the switch locations. Reason being is because I have installed smart houses since the early 90’s when only pretty much rich people could afford them and the structured wiring. I have not had any issues at all ever with the GE ZWave switches. For that matter any of the GE devices. My home is my experimental domain that I use to test devices before I recommend them to customers. So I put them through their paces. I would recommend them to anyone.


#14

Can the GE switches be used without neutral when only operating as remotes? I.e. our smart bulbs are wired ‘always on’ and dim themselves. I just need reliable physical in-wall controls to send signals simulating traditional operation. If not, are there alternatives? I prefer something without ‘cloud handlers’ so it still runs when the internet is off. Thanks.


(Devin Noel) #15

I ended up here looking for current recommendations for switches as well. I just finished replacing a GE ZW4005. It just went poof & disappeared out of SmartThings. As it was out in my shop a ways away re-adding is pretty iffy. I grabbed a used one out of a box (I vaguely recall pulling it because it has some issues a while back) paired it at my desk, then installed it. The bad one that started things seems to be working fine at my desk when I re-paired it. So ya, had some weird issues with GE as well that i’ve never had with my Levitons.

One thing I REALLY like about the GE’s that I didn’t think of when getting my original GE & Leviton switches… The GE’s are push up for on & push down for off. The Levitons are push (down is the only option) to toggle state. It’s surprisingly annoying to have a toggle rather than the traditional on/off paddle style.


(Will) #16

Anyone have suggestions for replacing a switch like this with a z-wave switch? I don’t want to convert to two z-wave switches — would prefer to find a single z-wave switch that controls the fan and light.


#17

There isn’t any Z wave switch that does that yet, although the Inovelli Company has said they are considering making one.

There is a Hampton Bay zigbee device That works well with smartthings that will do it, but you do have to install the fan controller in the fan canopy as well as put the remote on the wall.

@Eric_Inovelli


(C L Sanchez 1877) #18

A big disappointment in the HA arena IMO. I have GE Z-wave switches in my house and one thing I have thought about doing is using a GE Z-wave dimmer to control the light and then using the Double Tap feature to control the fan. This will require a GE Z-wave fan controller to be mounted somewhere between the switch and the fan, but it’s the only reliable way I have thought of so far to get both fan and light control in a single switch. The ST hub does not need to do anything to operate the light, but will have to intercept the double taps and take action (via Webcore) to operate the fan controller). The downside here is I will have to upgrade the fan wiring to 3-conductor as currently I have 2-conductor with a Hampton wired in remote.


(Ben Edwards) #19

Curious as to why you find this annoying. I think not having to choose up or down is one fewer thing to decide :slight_smile:


(Devin Noel) #20

Up & down operates like traditional light switches. Fighting years of training sucks, even worse when you have dumb switches in the house as well to bounce back & forth with. If you hit the wrong switch in a bank of several it’s less likely to cause an issue. If you are turning on an light you can’t see (outside light for example) that is already on, turning it on does nothing h you end up with the light the way you want it. If it’s a toggle rather than on or off command you may end up turning the light you want on off.