Garage Lighting without SmartThings Hub?

I’ve read post after posts on here and haven’t come up with answers to my thought of lighting integrations with SmartThings app or my brain isn’t adding everything together. Some of the information I’ve read is based on 3+ years ago and hoping people have some updated information for this new aged area of hubless integration.

Environment in question: Detached garage, no garage door opener. Single 20ga light circuit. Connects to a wall switch at garage door that energizes a gfci outlet on ceiling and 6 rafter mounted light fixtures that currently has CFL bulbs. There is also a ring camera inside of garage.

Tried tue and tested: The house has LIFX outdoor floods, interor Phillips WiZ bulbs, and Ring cameras that all work with smartthings apps seemlessly.

Want: Ability to turn on all garage lights when motion in garage and increase lighting in garage, with ability to change light colors for those crazy garage nights. While using wifi connected products that do not require additional hubs.

Question to answer:

  1. Is there wifi connected bulbs for light hoods that are multicolored and work directly with smartthings app? Type of hood is illrelavent, as I’ll invest in the hood that supports the type of bulbs. If you can provide the hood spec with bulb recommendation is a plus.
  2. Are there wall switches that are wifi connected that could work in garage? Allowing it to register with smartthings app for lights to be triggered on/off based on routine or by motion detected from ring camera or lights on while switch is in on position and off when switch is in off position.
  3. Do I need to look at getting a wifi connected gfci breaker for lighting circuit? If yes, whats also a recommended 20a wifi connected gfci breaker that works with smartthings?

I already know that I could add 6 WiZ A21 bulbs and keep standard switch on, with a standard GFCI Breaker, and add a routine that integrates ring motion detection. But want to expand this to increase lighting, have some color options for the garage party times (which brings in color led hoods), and ability to know the breaker status.

Any ideas and theories the community can come up with is appreciated! Even warnings or concerns I’m not thinking of.

First, we do need to know which country you are in as the device selection does vary. But for now I’m going to assume that you’re in North America. Let us know if that’s not true

There are literally none of these because a GFCI device has to be able to cut power completely while a networked device always needs some power in order to hear the next network command.

There is one and only one GFCI smart outlet available that just came out in 2023 from Leviton, but it’s not a breaker. Just an outlet. So this part of the project is going to get tricky.

1 Like

This will require smart bulbs, not just smart switches, and that’s another tricky option In the set up you describe. So I’m going to suggest that instead you come up with one solution for the standard garage lights and then add some RGB LED light strips around the top of the walls for fancy party effects. Those can either be low-voltage or just plain plug-ins, and you’ll be able to do all kinds of things. you might want to just stick with LIFX for those, but there are other options as well.

1 Like

Wi-Fi switches is the easy part, and I would probably recommend the Leviton matter over Wi-Fi switches except there’s the question of the specifications and the fact that it’s a 20 amp circuit. Most North American lighting circuits are only 10 A and it gets tricky when you start going Above that load requirement . I’m going to have to look and see what might be available. It’s possible you would have to go for an in-line relay that can handle the 20 A and then the question of what to do about the switches gets complicated.

But you’re going to need that 20 A if you really intend to still keep the GFCI outlet in the ceiling. So give me a little time to check on some possibilities.

Meanwhile, if anybody else knows of something, hopefully they’ll post.

Also, can you give us an example of what you mean by “hood lights“, preferably the brand and model of what you’re currently using. I understand those are dumb lights and you’re willing to switch to something else, but I want to get a sense of what you have now.

All in all, I think, if you break this into two parts, the regular lighting, and the party lighting, it will be doable, but the specs are different than normal residential lighting, so there are going to be fewer candidates.

Also, my personal recommendation, although not everybody in the community agrees with this: take fire safety seriously, particularly since these are going to be wired into the mains and you have a fairly high load. So don’t just grab some inexpensive Chinese device that says it meets the specifications. Look for UL or ETL safety certifications.

FAQ: Does UL Certification matter?

1 Like

Yes, north america. Hood lights would be led lights that fit into hoods like

Or other types similar.

1 Like

How many lumens do you need per fixture and in total?

My own house was built in 1955 and had a lot of fluorescent fixtures which we’ve been replacing little by little.

In the kitchen, we now have three of these fixtures on the ceiling, very bright, only 40 W each, running off of a single regular 15 amp smart switch. Works great for us. I would note that these are not dimmable, and eventually you have to replace the whole fixture, the LED tubes are not replaceable. but they are great price to begin with, and we are really happy with them.

Note that these are sold in a bundle of three or four fixtures, so that’s the price you see, it’s not the price per fixture.

When we bought them, it was a pack of four 4 foot “flush mount puff lights“ for under $150. Of course, that’s just the fixtures, you still need to buy a smart switch.


I like this idea, however, this seems like it is a seperated circuit off of using existing light circuit. The circuit is ran with 20A, doesnt mean we can’t switch it to a 15a breaker and 15a outlets at hood connections.

1 Like

That’s awesome, and a definite option to just switch out existing porceline light fixtures to these. Just change to outlets or direct wired. Then run a different circuit to handle led light strips for party lights. Was hoping someone had an answer for shop light hoods thatd have wifi connected color bulbs. Thanks for the additional ideas and missed info!

1 Like

Yeah, if you change the circuit to 15 amp, then you could use the regular Leviton “decora smart“ Wi-Fi switch, and it will work well with SmartThings. You should get good range to be able to reach the garage And can tie it into automations without needing a hub.

(just realized that I mentioned “Wi-Fi over matter“ before, but smartthings does require that you have a hub to use any matter device, even the Wi-Fi ones. But there is a separate cloud to cloud Leviton integration that will work without a smartthings hub.)

1 Like

Some thoughts:

  1. Consider getting a ST hub it will increase your choices and possibly give you local control. You can get a SmartThings Station hub today on Amazon for $56. I got one last fall for $40 on sale. In addition to WiFi devices it will allow you to use ZigBee, Matter over Thread, and Matter over WiFi devices.

  2. Separate your lighting and outlets. A 15 amp rated switch will be adequate for most lighting. With LED lights you also have check what the LED rating of the smart switch, it might be as low as 150 watts which is only 1-1/4 amps. But 150 LED watts is a lot of light so that is not likely to be a problem.

  3. TP-Link Kasa and TP-Link Tapo both make smart WiFi switches that integrate with ST. Some are also Matter over WiFi which would give you local control if you had a ST hub. They are also UL or ETL listed for safety.

  4. If can’t get smart, color hood lights consider adding more Wiz A19 or A21 bulbs. That will get you automation, dimming, and color.

  5. If you use smart bulbs or lights you don’t want your smart switches to disconnect power to the bulbs. You only want your smart switch to systematically control the smart bulbs. And for that local automation is important so you still have some control during a Internet outage.

@Paul_Oliver thanks, that’s some helpful insight that i had not considered! Was hoping to stay away from hubs as they tend to fail or become outdated quickly. Maybe newer ones are more resilant to upgrades and I’ll look for at the smartthings hub options for matter controlled hood lighting. Sounds like it’ll open up options.

Thanks, guess I also neglected to mention that I do have a wifi mesh network and have a nest access point in the garage that easily supports my remote indoor ring camera. There is options to run fiber or cat6 to the garage and add a network switch if needed. But I believe the wireless network would handle IoT wireless network without issue.

That I’m not 100% sure of. I have 6 100w CFL pigtail bulbs right now. Its not always the best lighting until they warm up. We’re in northern United States. I do like the option of splitting the lighting circuit to 2 or 3 3’ light hoods per run and adding in multi color led light strips for party time. Propably need to run a seperate circuit for the led strips, to be able to shut off the bright shop lights and use multicolor lights…

1 Like

My primary location has had a SmartThings v2 hub which I bought new in 2017 and it is still chugging along. So far ST keeps updating the firmware on a regular basis. This replaced my ancient X10 system.

My 2nd location was originally WiFi only for a couple years, but it was very limiting. 1-1/2 years ago I broke down and bought a used ST v2 hub on eBay for $25 to $30 including shipping for that location. I still had problems extending Z-Wave and ZigBee to my outbuildings, but I had strong WiFi in the outbuildings using an old power line adapter. So last fall when the SmartThings Stations were on sale I bought one and installed it in the outbuildings and connected it to the WiFi. That solved my last problem area.

A big problem with WiFi is battery operated sensors (contact, motion, temperature, etc.). They really go through batteries especially in unheated areas.


If you already have florescent fixtures in place you could remove the tubes and ballasts and install LED strip lights in the housings. My preference is to be able to control each fixture individually.

1 Like

@JDRoberts on the certifications. That is definitely part of my concern. Right now the 20a wiring is ran to 6 20a supported porcelain lighting recepticals, with CFL pig tail bulbs. End to end its certified. The location is also residential not commercial and probably over gauged on lighting power, unless you talk about 4 to 6 tube RGBs hoods or strips being able to produce pure white or multi color. Where a 16’ strand of SMD5050 pure white can take what… i think some where in the area of 1.5A per meter? So a 1.5 car width garage and at least 3 runs of a 12v SMD5050 strip would be 20A draw on one circuit capable of 120v @ 20a. But SMD5050 strips are 12v…

I think what I’m likely looking at is two circuits. One for overhead normal lighting and switching to those units you mentioned with a leviton smart switch. Then a second circuit for party lights, use the phillips led strips that plugin to outlets, and set up 3 outlets. One for each strip. All on its own breaker and smart switch.

Otherwise probably looking at doing 12+ led smart can lights as there doesnt seem to be any 3’ wifi enabled hood light systems out there?

1 Like

@NickA thanks, the existing is single bulb porcelain fixtures. Can easily convert to an outlet and plug in long shop hood fixtures. I’m open to possible options if you have links to share?

If you go with Smart bulbs in the white fixtures, you need to think about what you want the wall switch to do.

You need a switch which doesn’t actually cut current to the Smart bulbs, or they will be unable to hear the next “on“ network command, including the ones you want triggered from the motion sensor reports.

The following WiFi scene controller from Leviton would be an option. The buttons can control a “scene“ rather than changing the current to the bulbs, so that the bulbs turn themselves on and off when they receive the command. (Again, no smartthings hub is required.)

I’m not sure if this shows up in the SmartThings app or not, but as long as the individual bulbs do you will have a lot of choices, and you can just use the wall switch as a parallel means of control.


Choice is good. :sunglasses:

That can work well if they match the required brightness. For example, that could be a great option for a finished basement which is now a family room where you want to set up different lighting zones. The question here is that garage lights that also serve as task lighting are typically really bright, often over 4,000 lm. (The ones I linked to are 4500 lm per 4 foot fixture.)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen smart RGB led strips for DIY residential use that are more than 1,000 lm for 4’.

LIFX strips are considered bright in this device class, and they are 700 lm for 40”. Certainly under 1,000 lm for 4 feet. 25% as bright as typical shop lighting.

So for a bedroom or living room, sure. But I’m not sure they fit this specific use case. Obviously the OP would know best, but it’s the reason I asked about the lumens requirement: the current setup is very bright. :sun_with_face::sun_with_face::sun_with_face::sun_with_face: