Control from the switch or the bulb?

So I have a ton of downlights that need to be replaced (halogen) so I am already going to be replacing the bulds anyway, but is it better to control lighting from a switch on/off/dim or is it better to wire pretty much everything open and control from the bulb, on/off/dim/color? I have a couple of hue lights, which seemed really cool, but I never used them to their pinnacle.

Should I just concentrate on the switches?

This discussion has been going on from the beginning of the forums and will probably continue for a very long time. :sunglasses: There are people who are very passionate on both sides, but the real answer is that it just depends on the exact use case and your own particular preferences.

If you have multiple bulbs controlled by one switch, it will generally be less expensive to use a smart switch with dumb bulbs.

The main reasons to use smart bulbs are if you want changeable colors (including from cool white to warm white), if you want to create zones in a group of bulbs that are all controlled by one switch, or if you don’t want to do any rewiring. Otherwise a smart switch with dumb bulbs is probably easier and less expensive.

At our house, we use some smart bulbs in areas where we want color or zones, and some smart switches elsewhere.

Both can be good, it just depends on what you need in each place. :sunglasses:

We should also note that it used to be true that it was quite difficult to have a wall switch and smart bulbs, but that is no longer true. There are now a number of options for putting a switch on the wall that can effectively control smart bulbs, including most recently the introduction of smart switch covers which fit over the existing switch. So if you come across any old discussions in the forums that say “but we really need to have a switch on the wall,” you can do that now with smart bulbs, but it does usually meaning adding yet another device, so even more cost on the smart bulb side.

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JDR, Thanks for the links I will read through them, but I can see a holy war brewing, but I was coming to the same conclusions as I was typing. Your thoughts I think laid it out a little bit more succinctly than my own thought process.

So it sounds like cost and function are the main things along with “what is the likelihood that the switch will be used versus the app…” I.E. common spaces where my kids without phones can still turn things on and of regularly. I think the only place right now for the hues I think will be my office where I can bask in 3500K during the day (no window or skylight)

Has anybody had luck with the strip lights?

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My personal opinion is automation is at a point that it enhances your home but not necessarily replace systems. When planning things I operate under the assumption that my mother should be able to come over and still be able to turn lights or fans on, adjust the thermostat, etc. For me that lends to switch control. Only accent lights are via outlet.

Of course, your use may vary but think of this… if your hub fails what can you live without? If you must have the item there should be a local physical control.


There is always physical control of smart bulbs, at least all the ones I currently own. If you turn off a switch and then turn it on, the bulb will come on. So when guests come over, you can tell them “if you flip a switch and the bulb does not come on, flip it again”.