Cheapest Lightswitch

I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking around for a decent light switch that might have compatible technologies. I think we could all arge that cost of implementation is what has killed home automation up until this point. I sincerely hope that SmartThings releases their own light switch at the usual cost of a ‘thing’ or works with a company to subsidize large orders of compatible switches.

So far the Lowes Iris system looks like it might be the most easily obtainable and cost effective switch with any supporting technologies. Has anybody else found anything?

That’s the best priced one I’ve seen and the ones I plan to install in my home - should they prove to be on the compatibility list.


I just wish they made a version with the standard toggle switch… not the large rocker style. I already have all the face plates in the switches I will be putting the new switches in - it’ll be lame to get new ones… Especially since the spots they will go have multiple switches in them… I’ll have to get plates like this:
Not that big a deal… but I wish I could just have all uniform switches… not really fretting over the $3.30 and $0.88 plates I will need to get. Just want my switches to be consistent.

That would be fantastic if they did. This is the biggest cost I’ve found. My house has the need for over 20 switches and in Australia a company sell these: but they’re $100+ each. Very expensive. Not even sure if they’re compatible with Smartthings yet. Hopefully i’ll be able to  get confirmation (quite like the design) they are z-wave Aus Freq model.

These by Aeon Labs are a possibility if you want to keep your existing toggle and not have Decora.

They are a little module you put in the wall wired inline with the switch. I’m not quite sure how they detect and keep state change, but I would assume they work similar to Z-wave outlets, which will allow a lamp to be turned back on by its switch, even if it was turned off remotely via Z-wave.

I am considering installing the motor control version for fans in my home with my existing Homeseer system.

A side benefit these have (if supported by smartthings) is they can report energy consumption.

According to the resources page, the thingmodule will only cost $10.  That has several GPIO points on it which you will be able to control directly through the ST system.  Hook the switch of your choice to one of those points and there’s your cheap switch.

I got adventurous this past weekend and decided to give the GE Iris On/Off light switch (Model 45637) a try. At my local Lowes, they are priced at $35 each.

The short story is- IT WORKS. After much installation trial and error (more below), I finally got it hooked up correctly and the SmartThings hub immediately (and automatically) added a new tile to the App on my iPhone for control of the On/Off light switch. I can now turn my basement light on/off from the switch or the ST App on my phone! Nice.

The Long Story…

The biggest issue I had with the light switch installation has to do with the fact that I am not an electrician and most online tutorials you’ll find about “How to install a light switch” are dealing with passive switches- meaning that the switch itself simply closes or opens a connection on a single wire. In the case of these Z-Wave light switches, the switch itself is an active device, so the switch needs power to operate. To slightly complicate the matter, the electrical lines that you’re dealing with when installing a light switch are AC power lines. I’m much more accustomed to dealing with DC circuits, so the AC connections are still slightly mysterious to me.

When I pulled out the original passive light switch, it just had 2 wires connected to it. The original wiring my house is at least 75 years old, so most of what I found did not line up with current standards or tutorials. To make matters worse, the original power lines were so dust covered and discolored that all wires just looked grey- as opposed to the Black, White, Green wire color convention I expected to find.

I deduced that the 2 wire connections would have both been the “Black/Hot/Line/Load” wires. The passive switch simply opened or closed this wire to turn the lights on and off- and since it was a passive switch, it didn’t matter which wire was the “line” and which was the “load”. This is what led to most of my confusion issues when installing the Z-Wave switch.

    After turning the the main power to this light switch off at my circuit breaker

, the 1st step was to pull the original switch and the switch’s mounting box completely out of the wall. This revealed the “Neutral” wires that were conspicuously missing from the original switch, but where a part of every tutorial I found online. I also realized that since my house AC wiring was old, it did not have the “Green/Ground” wiring that current homes include. Fortunately for me, the Green/Ground wire is a safety feature, but not required for operation, so I’ll just forget that for now.

Original Switch and Mounting Box Removed

The GE Z-Wave light switch Manual has some connection circuit diagrams, which were helpful.

Once I had located the 2 loose Black/Hot wires and 2 loose White/Neutral wires (which I had now marked with Black and White electrical tape to help distinguish between the 4 drab Grey wires), I had all the connections I needed. I connected each Black wires to the “Load” and “Line” connectors on the GE Z-Wave light switch. For the White lines, I simply connected the 2 loose ends together and ran another connection (like a ‘T’ connection) out to the single “Neutral” connector on the GE Z-Wave light switch.

At this point, I was ready to test the switch. I flipped the circuit switch back on and ran back upstairs to test the On/Off switch… nothing. No response from the lights when pushing any buttons on the switch. No “power” LED indicator light on the switch either. Hmm. I ran back to my circuit breaker to turn the circuit back off again.

I looked through the manual again and started reasoning that since the switch itself IS ALSO AN ELECTRICAL DEVICE, that the “load” and “line” connectors on the switch may matter more than all the online tutorials had led me to believe- since they were dealing with passive switches. I had no way to know which of the 2 Black wires was the “line” and which was going to the “load”, so I just swapped them on the GE Z-Wave switch. I turned the circuit breaker back on and BAM! Success! The switch controlled the lights, the blue LED indicator on teh switch was on and when I opened my SmartThings App there was a new On/Off Tile Icon for the switch! (the default icon looked like an AC outlet, so I changed it to a light icon).

In Summary, these switches are relatively cheap at $35, readily available at your local Lowes (in case you feel like running out and just going for it one day), and most importantly, they work seamlessly with the SmartThings system. However- BEWARE - if you are not an electrician use EXTREME CAUTION because a mistake in dealing with this wiring could cause injury or death, especially in houses with old wiring. But if you ensure that the circuit the switch you’re replacing is OFF at the main circuit breaker box and you ensure that the loose wiring is well insulated (not shorted) when you turn the breaker back on, you can make it through a trial and error process without harming the Z-Wave Switch.

For various reasons, this single switch replacement took me 5 hours in 100 degree heat (my Fans and Air Conditioning are on the same circuit as the switch I was replacing) and my wife was not happy about that… but I learned A LOT and in the end I was successful. I’ll probably wait until my wife is out before I attempt to replace the next light switch though :wink:

I was working on editing my previous post, but now I don’t see the “edit” button anymore. So sorry if it’s a little wonky. Here are a few more pictures of the install process and product that I wanted to include in my previous post:

Back of GE Z-Wave On-Off Light switch

GE Z-Wave Light Switch Installed

It’s also worth noting that the GE Z-Wave Light switch does NOT come with a face plate. If you’re switching from a traditional switch, you may want to pick up a new face plate with the standard rectangular cut out for about $1. I also had to pick up a deeper mounting box for the Z-Wave switch because the one originally installed was just too shallow.

Thanks, this will come in handy.

Edit: I don’t see the pics?

Thanks for the heads up Rey M. I do apologize for this getting messy. This is my first attempt at a long post on the forum here and I obviously still have some learning to do on that.

Let’s try those pics again…
GE Z-Wave On-Off Switch Back
Original Switch Removed
GE Z-Wave On-Off Switch Installed

Yes, the Lowes branded version of the GE/Jasco switch is the lowest cost way to acquire the switch and they work just fine. Occasionally I’ve seen these under different labels show p on eBay but not consistently. I’m actually heading over to Lowes tomorrow (I called ahead and asked the guy to put 6 aside from me since its an hours drive) but the holy grail is the St unicorn, sorry I meant thingmodule - that opens up a whole range of possibilities for 10 bucks and will most definitely be a game changer, now if only the unicorn was actually available (hint, hint), adaptation would absolutely explode. I understand at this is all new and there’s allot of work that’s being done on the server/cloud side, the app side and frankly hardware development is a riyal PITA especially if, as I suspect, ST branded devices will be of Chinese origin. I know the Chinese manufacturing market all to well - I have a company that assist US and UK companies in dealing with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers with boots n the ground to manage the whole supplier life cycle to get products from concept to market - it’s not for the faint hearted. The thing module is exactly what is needed to take everything to the next level (the Arduino shield is a close second but different). I would implore the group at ST to put some projected dates on these. I’ll take a pallet of thingmodules - just send me the invoice. In the mean time, 35 bucks at Loews gets you a switch that works - just make sure, as pointed out, you have a neutral wire in the box. Still loving my ST but it drives me nuts that I can’t explore the system’s true potential.

Thanks for all the info guys! I wish I read this before ordering GE/Jasco switch off amazon for $50. I’ll try to install the one I got from amazon and lowes and provide feedback on this thread.

BTW, I think thats the same as:

Advantage to Amazon (if you have Prime) free shipping, no taxes. Probably ends up similar price if you are not able to pick these up locally…

Darryl- Yes, that does look to be the exact same switch. If you get one, take a look at the back of it and see if it matches the back of the switch I posted above. Depending on who’s reselling the item, the packaging model number varies, but the Model number printed on the back of the switch itself is “ZW4001”. You can see in the picture that I posted that it even says “Jasco Products”.

Sales tax in Philadelphia (where I am) is 8%, so my total cost for the switch was $37.80. Lowes still seems to be the cheapest way to get one of these, but if you don’t have a Lowes nearby, Darryl’s Amazon link looks like the next best thing.

It’s the same switch.

Finally got one of this switch installed! Stuffing the switch back into the box with all the other wires (2 gang) was a pain. I couldn’t get it flush to the wall, have a small gap but I can live with it for now until I get the time to tackle that again.

I have one more for install tomorrow, I agree with the previous posters that this is one of the more affordable switches around if you want to set up zwave.

Since you mentioned cheapest…i want to let y’all know @times, people post 30% off $150 lowes coupon on I was able to get these z-wave switches for a cheaper price…keep watching for that coupon…These are the price i got it for…

Item#:339577 | Model#:45637 $28.30 1 $28.30

Item#:339578 | Model#:45639 $32.35 1 $32.35

Item#:339582 | Model#:45636 $28.30 1 $28.30

Thanks for the tip, will keep an eye on it.

Wow, can’t believe I never noticed this. Cancelling my Amazon order and running to Lowe’s… :slight_smile:

Just a little bump to this thread, I just purchased a bunch of 45637 and 45638 switches (single pole and 3-way two switch pack) and so far the 45637 works great with ST (haven’t installed the 45638 yet). As an FYI, Lowes had buy four and get 10% off which dropped the single pole switch down to $31.49 each! The 3-way are $44.99 a pack.

That is a great deal. I plan to go pick some up today and try them out.