How to give easy access to Grandma to control one light?

I have some lights that are controlled with SmartThings. One of them is between our house and Grandma’s house, which is next to ours. I would like to give her the ability to turn on that light. However installing the SmartThings app phone is way too much for her. Is there any way to put a simple widget / button on her phone, or a physical button that could turn on and off the light?

What kind of phone does she have? The phone widget options are different for different operating systems.

There are lots of physical buttons that can work but the question is finding one that will reach far enough.

What exact model device is the light? Is it a smart bulb, and if so which brand and model? Is it controlled by A switch in your house, and if so which brand and model?

You could also use action tiles for this, which can run in any browser, including her phone browser, but that might be overkill for this situation. :sunglasses:


Maybe sharp tools app on Android. Or a wifi button controller through ifttt?

Sharp tools home screen widget.


The lights are regular LEDs (dumb), controlled thru a Zooz Z-Wave switch, which is controlled by a SmartThings v3 hub. She has Pixel (1) Android phone. Her back door is quite close to the hub on our house, so Z-Wave should reach. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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If zwave will reach, there are lots of battery - controlled buttons you can use. :sunglasses: see the Buttons FAQ. Some of the devices there are battery-operated, some are mains power, so read carefully. Most posts have a link to a discussion thread about that device.

If you have any questions about a specific device, please post them in the discussion thread for that device or come back here and ask them. Don’t ask in the FAQ. We try to keep it to just one or two posts for each device or it becomes too hard to use. Thanks! :sunglasses:

FAQ: Full list of buttons and remotes confirmed to work with SmartThings

As far as the widget, since she has an android phone, as @Matt_Behnken suggested, SharpTools has an excellent widget feature for those. Unlike many other options, it has a toggle feature, so you can use the same widget for both on and off. It does have a license fee, but most people find it well worth it.

The developer, @joshua_lyon , is very active in this forum if you have any questions.


I know others have complained but I have had surprisingly good luck with the newer model SmartThings button. I also have a lot of zigbee devices outside the house with zigbee Outlet repeaters on outside walls. So far everything’s been stable. Depending on how far away the houses are from each other I would think you could put an outlet on the inside walls of each and then a button in her house.

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I also like the new ST little square buttons, mounted on the wall with the sticky back could be perfect. They’re $20 i think though.

I have 3 of the ST square buttons and find them unreliable. They get unpaired randomly - the fix is to open and close them to reset. Are others having this issue with them?

What about getting her an Echo dot and then one of those big Echo buttons? You won’t even need a hub - just tie a Smart bulb to Echo and setup a routine. For some ridiculous reason Amazon routines don’t include toggle - only on and off so you will need two buttons. One for on and one for off. I sure hope this oversight gets fixed soon. Another bonus of this option is she might also enjoy talking to Alexa.

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agree. Voice interface is easy and omnipresent without carrying the phone or finding the button. And Alexa conveys other benefits that are too numerous and yet to be discovered.

My concern with an echo for this particular use case is that she would have to be set up on the grandson’s echo account and if she misspeaks or is misunderstood, she might end up turning off lights over in his house and not even know it. There’s no way to lock the echo down to just one specific device.

So I’m just not sure that would be a good approach for this particular extended family.


true… Unless OP isn’t using (and doesn’t plan to use) Alexa.

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In fact I tried this suggestion today with our Google home, and when I try to turn the back light, it turns on the front porch light. So indeed this is a problem.

I am partial to Z-wave, so I also asked technical support at the Smartest House and this is what they recommended. I’ll probably give the second one a try:

If it’s primarily to activate just 1 scene / group of lights, the Hank 1-button controller may be enough:

If you’d like to add control for more devices / groups, the the 4-button may be a better fit: