Hue Vs Switches vs Duplex Outlets

(Jon Allsebrook) #1

Hi All,

Looking for some advice here as just getting into the Smartthings world and so far I am loving it.

So I can do a lot of what I want to do based on presence and security/monitoring I need to make a decision on how to control the lights in my apartment.

Right now I have 2 Wemo switches which work well for the most point but in some areas won’t work due to wifi range.

I have also installed an in wall GE Duplex which works great but with the caveat that the boxes in the house are not very deep and its a pain to fit these and we have no neutral so apart from GE Dimmer switches we are out of luck on wall mounted control options I think (and we

However I am at the point where I need to decide the best way (cost is a consideration but any ideas would be good!) to move forwards.

So I have the following choices but each have their pro’s and cons for my situation -

Go all Wemo
Go all duplex wall sockets (I will be usuing some for non lighting needs where I can easily anyway)
Buy the Hue system for all my lighting situations (this has the plus side of color control as well).

If anyone has any thoughts I would really appreciate it especially relating to the Hue and the range between the control hub for the hue and the bulbs.



(Ardenite) #2

Hi Jon,

I can’t speak to the Hue or wall socket options, but I have had a decent amount of experience with WeMo before and after Smartthings integration.

If accurate polling is important to you, do not go WeMo. Switches that are on consistently report as off, and only catch up to their actual state after numerous manual refreshes. Also, keep in mind that only the basic switch and motion are supported by SmartThings labs. No word yet on integration of the wall switches and WeMo insight.

You can back into accurate WeMo polling with virtual button tiles and IFTTT, but you might wait upwards of 15 minutes for the IFTTT trigger to fire depending on how IFTTT is feeling that morning. Seriously frustrating.


(Duncan) #3

Hue is nice, but the big downside is if someone comes along and turns off the light at the switch, the Hue bulb is no longer powered and it can’t be turned back on by SmartThings.

Wemo devices aren’t the most reliable. I think it’s worth going with the GE switches.

(Cory S) #4

I have some WiFi bulbs, and as Duncan said the issue is people turn them off at the switch. This really kills any kind of automation you try to do with them. I have regulated them to parts of the house where it is unlikely the switch will be turned off.

I’ve had good luck with the GE dimmers. However, I have only used them in parts of the house that I would be unlikely to convert to LED/CFL bulbs (bathroom uses fancy decorative shaped bulbs, etc) I have heard if you have a lot of LEDs on a switch a neutraless dimmer may work, but YMMV.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see a new switch come out to resolve this issue. I visualize something with a built in battery that charges whenever the lights are on and uses the battery to run the radio when they’re off.

(Chrisb) #5


Now that’s a pretty good idea Cory. That would be a SmartThing I’d be very tempted to buy!

(Joe Geiger) #6

@ Jon

If all you want are white bulbs then Wi-Fi bulbs are not the best way to go for reasons mentioned above. The other big issue with Wi-Fi bulbs is that you’ll have to purchase some other control if you want to access them without using your smartphone. This may be very important for the “Wife Approval Factor” (WAF).

I’m using the Hue bulbs in my bedroom because they have features that change the color temp and dim down slowly before bedtime to help me sleep better. This is all handled through the Hue app and I don’t mind accessing from there. I’ll control them with ST when I’m away to make it look like someone is home.

I think wall switches are best for controlling lights because they can be controlled both manually and remotely/automatically. People in the house can go about their business as usual (big WAF) and you can still automate them.

The wall outlets and plug-in controllers like WeMo (and ZigBee/Z-wave variants) are good for controlling lights, AC units or heaters but will still have the possibility of someone manually turning it off. Hopefully the WeMo switches will work better once they are out of Labs.

Hope this helps.

(Jon Allsebrook) #7

Thanks everyone for the advice and believe me I have had to take into consideration the WAF all the way through this process.

I actually went and bought some Hue’s last night just to see how they would work practically and if my wife will buy into the idea of controlling them via an app and not turning them off at the lamp itself.

The color aspect is actually great it really adds to a room but we will see if that novelty wears off and they become too impractical.

I will come back with some thoughts after a week but I suspect long term its going to be a mix of different things!



(Different Computers) #8

I would never buy Belkin and expect it to work. My survey of folks on reddit about their WeMo experience bears this out:

(Rich D) #9

The SmartThings app to control Hue lights isn’t ready for prime time. I have 10 bulbs, but I can’t really control them via the SmartThings app. It only works 2% of the time (if I’m lucky). I also have several GE Zwave switches and they work great. I love the Hue bulbs and recommend them, just don’t expect to be able to use them with your other SmartThings switches and sensors for awhile.

(Different Computers) #10

That’s interesting @Rich D. I only have 4 hue bulbs so far, but ST has never failed to turn them on or off.

Dimming isn’t supported, and color changing is barely supported though! There’s no way I can find to make ST change a bulb’s color. If you turn off a bulb with ST, when ST turns it on again it will be the same color (assuming you haven’t messed with the color in the Hue app in between.)

Right now, IFTTT does a good job as a stopgap measure for color control.

(Jon Allsebrook) #11

Hi All,

I am close to a week in with the Hue’s and I thought I would put up some of my thoughts.

Firstly I love the Hue Bulbs they work great and the color changing is something my wife has really bought into which makes things much easier all around. I don’t particularly like the Hue iOS App but its manageable for now and IFTTT is a great way to integrate with the Hues and control them.

However they just don’t want to play nicely with my Smartthings hub. The lights won’t switch on and off and if I have switched them on or off with the Hue App the Smartthings App doesn’t ever show the correct state. I am well aware the Hue Integration is in Beta so expect things not to work particularly well. But I love them and will be deploying a few more bulbs throughout the house as well as one of the Bloom lamps.

WeMo switch wise the one that does connect with Smartthings (the non insight switch as those don’t work yet) works flawlessly within the Smartthings app so no complaints there at all.

The Outlet also works flawlessly.

So overall I have a mix of devices that all work to a point right now with the Smartthings Hub and I am now at the point of building out a plan for where to use each type as I think I am going to be using a mix of the outlets and the Phillips Hue Bulbs moving forward.

I am still struggling with things such as the Sonos integration but thats another post.