SmartThings Community

Best light switches and best place to purchase them?

I’m new to this and plan on getting the Smartthings V3 hub this weekend. I’m going to add a smart lock and want to add some smart light switches to my rooms. (preferably toggle switches to fit my current boxes and switch covers) The first is a room with a 3 way switch and the others are regular single switches. I keep seeing GE, ZOOZ, Honeywell and Jasco on Amazon. Are these the ones to go with or am I missing a whole bunch of options elsewhere and is elsewhere the best place to purchase them? I’m usually the guy on forums giving advice and it feels funny to be the newbie again but you gotta start somewhere right?

Welcome! There’s no one “best” because different people are looking for different features and have different budget. You can start with the device class features FAQ and you’ll get information on how the models might differ from each other. But you’ll have to decide for yourself which one fits your own requirements best. ( The topic title is a clickable link. The light switch discussion start around post 40. )

As far as toggles, there are only a couple of companies that make those, and you’ve already listed them. It’s just important to understand that the main reason most smart switch companies make either rockers or touch panels is because Smart switches typically rest in the neutral position. They aren’t locked into up for on and down for off. So if you have a toggle, most of the time it sticks straight out, which bugs some people. It’s much less noticeable on a rocker. There’s a picture of this in the FAQ I just linked to.

You might also want to look at the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki . Down near the bottom of that page is a section for project report, and the first list there is the “get started“ list. Lots of topics that might be of interest as you move forward.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section

As far as where to shop: there’s an FAQ in the deals section of this forum on that. Members also post individual deals there as they become available. :sunglasses:

Thanks! I knew post like mine were probably all over and I was looking before I posted but just couldn’t locate them on this fourm. I’ll get to reading!

1 Like

Start with the “get started” quick browse list in the community – created wiki and you’ll probably find most everything you need to, you know, get started. :wink:

( oh, and the forum search sucks. That’s why the quick browse lists were created in the first place. So don’t worry about that, it happens to everybody.)

1 Like

One potential hang up with switches is that many houses do not have a neutral wire running to the switch. Before you start ordering, I’d recommend checking to see which wires you have at each switch location. Many smart switches require a neutral wire, some don’t.

4 Likes

I can recommend the GE switches, dimmers and fan control. I have about 10 of them and they all have worked flawlessly. They look great and the feel of pressing the switch is very nice. It gives a little haptic feedback click when you press up or down. They have an LED indicator light on the bottoms that help you see the switches at night, or quickly see which switches are on or off at a quick glance at a panel with multiple switches.
They have never dropped off the network since I’ve paired them.
They also have group associations, so that you can control multiple switches at once. They also have double tap feature that you can use to control different features, or use as a button to control a completely different action/routine/scene. I’m sure most of the switches have similar features, but I haven’t used any others.

Quick tip

If you find yourself comparing GE, Honeywell and Jasco, know that they’re all the same switch made by Jasco.

3 Likes

The US national electrical code for 2011 changed requirements to say that there should be a neutral at each light switch box. Prior to that it was optional in order to meet NEC requirements. It is still not required that you go back and add neutral to an existing switch box, it only applied to New construction.

Some states or cities make NEC recommendations their local law. Others only adopt it partially, or add specific variations. Or take several years before they get around to adopting new versions.

Right now, most houses built before the 1970s in the US probably don’t have neutrals at all light switches. Most houses built after 2000 probably do. In between it can just be a mix.

As far as SmartThings-compatible light switches that don’t require a neutral, as of 2018 there are a lot more choices than there used to be. Lutron Caseta is one of the more popular choices. Some Z wave manufacturers make some in wall micros that don’t require a neutral, in particular the Aeotec Nano dimmer and the Fibaro dimmer 2. There are also some smart switches that fit over the top of an existing switch, so the wiring is irrelevant. All of these options can work with either LEDs or incandescent bulbs.

There are also some older model switches that don’t require a neutral wire, but that will only work with incandescents. And one current model GE Zwave switch that works the same way.

So now this is much less of an issue than it was even in 2017. :sunglasses:

One of the advantages of the smartthings platform is that you don’t need zwave direct association to control multiple switches at once. In fact, Z wave direct association can only control other zwave devices, but the smart things platform method allows you to mix in devices of any protocol into your group, even virtual switches. But definitely you could include zigbee, Wi-Fi, and Z wave lighting devices all in one group by using the “mirror“ option of the official smart lighting feature.

The other limitation of zwave direct association is that once you set it up, it always happens. Turn on this light, that light comes on. But if you use the smart things platform features, you can condition the group on other events, like when I turn on the stairway light and it’s before midnight, also turn on these other four lights. But if it’s between midnight and sunrise, don’t turn on one of those lights, turn the second one on at only 25% , and just turn on the group of three.

Some people like to break up the group when the home is in away mode, arguing that they shouldn’t make it any easier for a burglar than it needs to be. other people do the opposite, so that if the home is in away mode and you turn on any one switch, other lights all over the house come on at the same time. Or even slightly staggered.

The point is that group Association was created for simple Z wave-only setups where doing A always caused B.

More modern multiprotocol systems, including smartthings, give you a lot more flexibility in which rules are applied when. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

1 Like

It’s rare that I find a neutral to a switch in our 1969 built house. The last time I looked at switches was a few years ago, and I ended up running new three wire where I could. Maybe I’ll take another look and see if the wife will agree that we need new switches in the kitchen. And the dining room. And the foyer… :wink:

1 Like

You’re right! But it is a feature :wink:

1 Like

I’ve had great luck with the GE switches and have bought them from Amazon. I agree with the poster who commented on the look and feel. They look and operate like normal light switches, but they are smart!

1 Like

Personally I could use either a paddle or a toggle but I have strange switch configurations like this that I think mandates toggle switches. My kitchen switches are even more strange and I’m not sure how to make any switch fit. I’ll take a picture tonight and see if anyone can recommend what to do.

Now that I’m looking at that pic I realize the two on the left are the same as my kitchen switches but they are turned 90 degrees. What can I do with switches like that?

They do make these switches, but they’re not smart.

https://smile.amazon.com/Leviton-5634-W-Single-Pole-Combination-Commercial/dp/B003AVLWGM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1548275375&sr=8-3&keywords=double+decora+switch

In wall relays may work if you have the room. You may also just be able to cut in a bigger gang box.

This is what I meant by cut in a new gang box.

https://smile.amazon.com/Carlon-B355R-5-72-Inch-2-79-Inch-3-69-Inch/dp/B000BQOXAG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1548275512&sr=8-3&keywords=old+work+3+gang+box

Two choices. Either use a dual micro relay in the wall behind the existing switches, or replace the switch with one of the euro style momentary button switches which will have two momentary buttons on it, one for one switch and one for the other. See the FAQ.

1 Like

" The Smartest House

Vision Z-Wave In-Wall 2-Relay Double Switch ZL 7432US

Control one or two switches with just a single click! Vision In-Wall Switch is super small and easy to install with pigtail wiring.

Control one or two switches with just a single click! Vision In-Wall Switch is super small and easy to install with pigtail wiring."

I’ve not had much luck with this switch. I tried to use it for a ceiling fan with a light kit. Since SmartThings can’t control both end points natively, you need a smart app that uses virtual switches. For me, they kept getting out of sync.

**Edit - No idea why I can’t quote the post above correctly.