Can you set one "master" bulb that the rest will copy?

Hi! Total Noob here, but I’ve been unable to Google an adequate solution to my problem. Here’s the situation: I would like to be able to use my old school on/off wall switch to turn a single basement smart bulb on/off. I then need all the other basement smart bulbs to mimic exactly what that master bulb is doing.

Basically I want all of the basement lights to turn on/off together as a group using smart bulbs, rather than rewiring the entire basement. I don’t even know if this requires a hub? I am decent with the SmartThings app, but I don’t want to have to use the app to operate my basement lights. I want to set up all the basement lights once in the app to mimic the one smart bulb that I turn on/off with the light switch at the top of the stairs.

Am I crazy? Is this even possible? My apologies if there is already a thread that discusses this!

Thank you!


This is a very common use case, and it is done by “synching” or “mirroring” the bulbs, so that when one changes the others change to match it. (Smartthings has changed the terminology used in the app to describe this from time to time, so you can find forum threads using both terms.)

I believe right now the easiest way is using the official smartlighting feature. However, this is not available in all regions so we do need to ask two questions:

  1. what country are you in?
  2. what’s the brand and model of the bulbs?

Thank you so much for the quick reply! I am in the USA, and I am willing to purchase any brand that works well with Samsung SmartThings.

Do you mean you want to switch the power to the first, “master” smart bulb using the existing switch at the top of the stairs? That bulb will need to remain powered all the time in order to work with a hub that synchronizes it to all the other bulbs to the master.

Another way to do this would be to put in a smart switch at the top of the stairs that controls a standard, non-smart bulb. The state of that switch is then mirrored to the other, smart bulbs in the basement.


OK, in the USA is easy. You just need to make sure that the “smartapp“ “smartlighting“ is installed in your app and then you can use it to “sync with switch” (even though you are actually syncing with the master bulb, it’s the same feature).

I’m tired today and the smartthings app is hard for me to use (I use voice navigation, and the app just doesn’t work very well for that), so I’m going to leave it for other people to explain the details. But it should be pretty easy. :sunglasses::bulb::bulb::bulb:


In addition to what others have asked, do you already have a hub and if so, which one?

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And yet a third way is to use a smart switch at the top of the stairs which is smart enough to also work with smart bulbs. There are quite a few of these choices in the US now. Some replace the existing dumb switch, so require wiring. Other models are battery powered devices that fit over the top of the existing dumb switch, so no rewiring is required. Lots of options now. :sunglasses:

The main point is that with the correct device selection, this should certainly be a solvable use case.


I think I see what you mean… So if I install a smart SWITCH at the top of the stairs, it essentially acts as the “brain” for all the smart bulbs? Is a hub always necessary with smart bulbs? I was thinking the app itself could integrate and control them, but wanted to setup a condition for the group of bulbs in which all the other smart bulbs will mirror/mimic/sync to a single smart bulb, so that when the master bulb receives power and turns on, the rest will too, and vice versa for turning off.

You don’t have to have a smartthings/Aeotec hub if you use all Wi-Fi devices.

Or you could skip the smartthings/Aeotec Hub if you get smart bulbs that have their own hub, like the Philips hue system. That will still work with smartthings.

What you DONT want are bulbs that only work with the app on a specific phone, because then that phone has to be present or the lights won’t work! That might be OK for a college student living in a dorm who doesn’t need to do any away from home actions with the bulbs and is only worried about things happening when they themselves are present. But it’s not what most people want. (These are usually Bluetooth bulbs, btw)

So again, lots of options. :sunglasses:


Sorry, I do not yet have any smart bulbs or a hub. Hoping this community can help recommend a clever, sensible, efficient and budget conscious way of achieving the goal, so I don’t have to spend $1k or more on an electrician to rewire everything :joy:


When power to a smart bulb is turned off, the bulb goes offline, not just turning off the LED in the bulb. So, as noted in the earlier post, a smart switch with a dumb bulb will work fine, but a dumb switch with a smart bulb will not work correctly.


We should also say that most smart bulbs are designed to always have power available to them, so you don’t cut power with a regular switch. That’s true of all the brands that work with the Philips hue hub, including hue themselves, INNR, IKEA, etc. So that’s when we start looking at smart switches so that we still have a switch on the wall that also controls the bulbs. The two issues with using a regular dumb switch with a smart bulb is that when the switch is off, you can’t use the app or voice to turn the bulbs on, and the bulbs are manufactured in such a way that it can actually cause damage to them if they get turned on and off too often.

There is an exception: sengled. They make both Wi-Fi and zigbee models, which are OK with being turned on and off a lot. But you still have the issue that if the power is cut, you can’t turn the bulb on by voice or time schedule or other automation, so even with those people do tend to eventually add some kind of smart switch.


Are all the lights in the basement on independent switches? If so, I’d replace each of them with smart switches and use ST to manage the synchronization.

With no hub, it will have to be a cloud-> cloud integration. If you’re willing to spend a little bit, I’d say get an Aeotec or ST Station hub, then purchase Matter over Wi-Fi smart switches.

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Definitely. :sunglasses: I myself retired on disability some years ago (i use a wheelchair and have limited hand function), so I budget pretty carefully for everything.

If you want to use it with smartthings, I would recommend a hue bridge and ikea Tradfri or Innr bulbs as a budget choice. No smartthings/Aeotec hub is needed for this option. It should be simple, reliable, and at the low end of budget costs without going to no name brands bought on a Chinese website. :wink:

Note that in this configuration, the hue bridge uses Wi-Fi, but the bulbs use Zigbee to talk to the hub. That reduces the number of Wi-Fi slots your home automation is taking up and it’s a nice reliable system.

The integration to Smartthings will require an active internet connection since you don’t have a hub, but the lights will still work with the hue bridge even if the Internet goes out. So that just gives you some “Plan B” options for If The smartthings cloud is unavailable.

You can always add a smartthings/Aeotec hub later if you find there are additional features that you want to add.


Thank you so much for your budget conscious recommendations, this community is great! I definitely have a better understanding about all this thanks to your insights… My thanks!!!


Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and insights into all of this, what a great community for support!


Is it possible to buy a smart switch I can install at the top of the basement stairs which will then tell all the smart bulbs linked to it to turn on/off with the switch paddle rocker? Could I avoid buying a hub in this case?


Smart bulbs need power to receive their instructions. If the bulbs are on independent switches, another option would be to remove the existing switches and hot wire all the bulb locations and then use a single smart switch to turn smart bulbs on/off.

Although I suppose you could leave the existing switches turned on and put covers on them so nobody turns them off.


It’s possible using Philips hue devices, but the individual bulbs are more expensive and then it won’t work with the smartthings app.

That is, Philips Hue allows you to set up a direct connection between its smart battery powered switch and its bulbs (I think it’s up to 10 bulbs per switch), but that becomes a purely standalone system. No voice control, no SmartThings app integration.

But add the hue bridge, and then you have integration with the smartthings app, Apple home, Alexa, Google assistant, out of home control, all kinds of stuff. So I definitely think that’s worth it.

Plus, once you have the hue bridge, you can choose bulbs from less expensive manufacturers, like IKEA, or INNR. So the total cost of the project may end up being very similar, since the hue bridge itself costs less than $50.

But it’s your choice, :sunglasses:

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I see! Thank you for all your patience with these questions. I definitely want a physical switch to turn all basement lights on/off, so I think I would need the Hue switch plate regardless, but if I ALSO bought the Hue bridge, would I be able to buy the more affordable bulbs, and have the Hue switch integrated to the Bridge, allowing me to use the switch to turn the less expensive smart bulbs from INNR or IKEA on/off? Or is that not possible?

OR MAYBE there’s a cheaper smart switch that integrates with the Philips Hue Bridge that can be programmed to turn the basement smart lights on/off? Any recommendations?