GE Switch vs. Dimmer - Toggle Variety

I am automating the lights in my condo with the GE wall toggle switches. GE Z wave switches make both and on/off (12727) and a dimmer variety (12729). The dimmer model says it also has on/off capability as well as dimming. Since they are the same price, why would someone choose the on/off version instead of the dimmer version, even if you were not planning on dimming the lights (like a closet switch)? I have mostly incandescent bulbs, but would switch them out to probably Cree LED as they need to be replaced. Some applications would be nice to dim and others not so much.

Also assume the 12728 add-on switch works with either the 12727 or 12729 and acts however the master is configured?

I just bought three of the dimming variety and one add-on when Amazon had the 15% off sale and want to make sure my logic is OK before I install. Probably some issue here I am not aware of or there would not be a reason for GE to make two model. Its a new condo, so I do have a neutral wire in all my boxes.


Depends on what the switch is connected to, if it’s a fan, garbage disposal, or any other appliance you really want on/off only for those. From a lot of reading in the Vera forums the on/off only seam to have a lower failure rate, although it could simply be people wiring up dimmers to appliances. Other than that it just personal preference, not everyone is a fan of dimmers :slight_smile:

Well, of course a dimmer has on/off capability… It’s purpose is still to turn lights on and off, it just has options for a middle ground. I think you are reading into that incorrectly. It doesn’t mean it can behave exactly like an on/off switch in the sense that power is cut on/off instantly. The GE Zwave dimmers have a gradual increase and decrease of brightness as they go on or off. That would be terrible for things like @sidjohn1 mentioned i.e., anything that isn’t lights.

Everything I plan currently is lights. Some should be dimmed like ceiling lights, but no fans or appliances planned at this point. I would guess the gradual up and down could be annoying (I have GE smart bulbs in my bedroom lamps). I am doing my living room can lights (4 flood), kitchen pantry light, porch light, and one closet. Only the living room needs dimming, but since they are the same price, I thought the dimmer version was more flexible, but I see that flexibility can also be a limitation.

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One more thing I forgot… In the world of incandescent bulbs dimming was a universal feature, but for LED and fluorescent bulbs this is not the case. Accidentally dimming LED and fluorescent bulbs that don’t support dimming can damage the bulbs.

I think sidjohn1 is correct.

I have read that using a dimmer for old school florescent can cause a fire.

I would prefer to use dimmers everywhere in my house but there are some locations that have old school florescents.

Also, when we moved into our current house some lamps had first generation CFLs that were not rated for dimming. I then set them up to auto go on with motion using smartthings.

All the first generation CFLs failed shortly after I automated those lights with motion. Even though I had set the action to go on full, I would not be suprised if using the dimmers reduced the life of those first generation CFLs not rated for dimming…

The reason I went with GE switches instead of something like the Aeon switch was because they supported the LED dimming and the Aeon did not. I do plan to change my four BR30 flood lights out to LED as some point, but was not just going to throw four good bulbs away. Does anyone think the BR30 65w floods will not dim?

I just ordered three of the 12727 for the pantry, porch and closet and will return two of the 12729. I do plan to install the one 12729 and the 12728 add-on for the living room ceiling and dim the BR30 flood bulbs I have until I change them to LED.

All this sound OK?

the aeons support LED’s just fine, despite what aeon may say about it.
I have about 10 aeon dimmers running led’s, ok so I can’t dim below 20%, no biggie.

I use GE dimmers and regular GE on/off switches.

A couple of thoughts:

  • Dimmer switches have two actions: short press (=on/off) and long press (=dim up/down)
  • Dimmers remember the dim level when turned off. E.g. in the bedroom I keep the level 50%. so when I turn the dimmer off and on again it does not brighten more than 50% (or you can set the dimmer to turn on at a certain dim level using an app)
  • On/off switches also have two modes: single tap and double tap (2 taps within about 1 second). Single tap just turns on/off. For double tap, there is the “Double Tap” app that allows you to turn on multiple switches when you double tap. (the dimmer does not have the double-tap functionality)

Installed the three GE toggle switches in the kitchen pantry with a open/close ST switch, the master closet with a ST motion sensor (because we sometimes leave the door open) and the porch light which is triggered by sundown/sunrise.

All went great, all switches and sensors recognized by the hub first go around. Good project that took about two hours.

Going to install the dimmer and addon switch for the living room can lights later this week and let Alexa control them.

Just getting started, but going well. I just stuck with my V1 hub until all the bugs get out of the new one. I did use the new ST sensors.

I used the on/of switch to turn my porch light into a duck/dawn light; I never need this light to dim and would rather have it kick on/off right away. As for lights inside my house I have been using dimmers for the lights and on/off for the fans.