I have to spend 150€ to switch on a light on motion detection?

I’m totally new to smart things.

The other day I thought it’d be nice to make a light switch on in my hallway when I pass by during nighttime.

So… I started my research (because this is not as easy to get into as it might seem) and apparently I need:

  • A motion detection device ($39 Philips Hue looks good)
  • A smart switch ($20 Meross Switch, or a smart light, but I prefer the switch)
  • And a hub ($89 in this case Zigbee compatible)

So… all of that is around $148.

Isn’t there any simpler setup for this that works properly?
Sounds like a lot to just switch on a light while I pass by?

I was considering some Wifi motion sensor but there aren’t many and reviews are not amazing…

And then… if Smartthings is so expensive, I might just get Amazon Echo instead and at least enjoy a speaker + microphone on top of the Zegbee compatible hub?

There are two kinds of smart switches that can turn on with motion.

The old style are standalone devices that have a motion sensor built into them. They don’t talk to anything else. You can’t control them with Alexa or an app. you can’t schedule them for certain times of day. A few of them will have a light sensor so they won’t turn on if the room is already bright, but again that’s built into the switch and it’s not controllable.

So these kinds of smart switches just work every time. You walk past the switch, the light turns on (again, with the possible exception of a test for brightness.) these are normally called “occupancy sensor light switches“ in the UK. They should cost between 15 € and 25 €. Widely available from many different manufacturers, here’s just a typical one:

The other kind of smart switches are “networked switches.“ Those will probably work with Alexa, probably work with an app, and let you set different kinds of conditions. That’s where the sensor will typically be a separate device from the light switch. Those cost more, in part because you now have two devices, but also just because they are, well, smarter.

So it just comes down to the details of what you want to do.

I have both kinds in my own home. Anywhere I want voice control, I have a networked smart switch. But, for example, in the laundry area I just have an occupancy switch. Because I know that I want that light to turn on every time someone walks into that area. I don’t need voice control for either on or off.

Similarly, we have a utility closet with an occupancy switch. You open the door, the light comes on. After you close the door it eventually goes off again.

So it just comes down to the details of what you want.

Even in the networked switches, there are some less expensive options than the ones you discussed. But again, they have different features and it depends on exactly what you’re trying to do.

By the way, this particular forum is for people who are using the Samsung SmartThings™ Home automation platform. It’s not a general home automation discussion forum. So all of the questions and answers are assumed to be in the context of that particular system. Just so we’re all talking about the same thing.

For example, people using the Samsung platform who want to use Zigbee devices will likely get a SmartThings/WASH hub, or already have one. The cost is spread across all of the devices that they intend to use.

People who are not using that platform might just use an echo device with a built-in Zigbee hub in order to save money. Or look at one of the inexpensive systems like IKEA, Aqara, or Tuya. But that would be a discussion for a different forum, probably the Reddit home automation sub forum, which covers all platforms:

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Thanks for the elaborated response, I appreciate it!! :+1:

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I was unable to get the 4th gen Echo Dot to discover a Hue Outdoor Motion sensor (zigbee) but was able to connect it to SmartThings gen 3 hub successfully using an Edge driver.

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Only some Echo models have a Zigbee hub inside. As far as I know, none of the dot models do, and specifically the fourth generation Echo Dot does not. :thinking:

Note that the “echo fourth generation“ is a different device than the “echo dot fourth generation,“ which may be where the confusion was.

The following Echo devices have built-in smart home hubs that seamlessly connect and control Zigbee smart devices:
Echo 4th Generation
Echo Plus
Echo Show 10 (all models except 1stGeneration)
Echo Studio

Zigbee hub yes:

Zigbee hub no:

Both are good devices, but the larger one does have some additional features, including the Zigbee hub inside.


I was completely unaware of the difference. I see now that it is a larger size plus more speakers in the zigbee enabled one. That explains why the sensor wasn’t found. Thank you!

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There is another type where the sensor is at the light, when you walk pass, the light will turn on.

Yes, that’s why I said “typically.“ There are a few networked switch models which have a built-in sensor. GE has some in the US. These are more common in North America than in Europe/UK, though, because of the larger physical size of the switches.

By occupancy switch you mean something like this?

So, kind of what you find in some public toilets?
Nothing “smart”, but just an ON/OFF feature right?

Nothing “smart”, but just an ON/OFF feature right?

Yes, like that. It is “smart,” because it has the sensor and it turns itself on and off.

But it’s not “networked,“ so it can’t talk to anything else. You can’t use voice control with it, you probably can’t put it on a schedule, there’s no app.

There are lots of these from many different companies.

If you plan to motion- automate only one light.
I would go with no-brand lightbulbs with motion activation embedded. It was possible to find them cheaper than 15$.

But at some point, you will like the home automation and willing to grow your device list. and then you will waste a lot of money because you haven’t planned ahead.

you will trash most of the cheap lights because you want better quality and more features.
You will want a more flexible automation engine.
You will want to add more devices from various brands to your home.

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If you’re just looking for pathway lighting, one of the best non-“smart” purchases I’ve made were these:

$5US each and they work great - and 100% local! We have them in hallways and bathrooms.


I don’t use Alexa much but I haven’t seen

  • 3rd party apps that can run routines

  • the list of officially supported brands and devices is smaller.

  • community drivers. I can order a pack of 5 motion sensors from Aliexpress for $60 (before inflation)

  • not a part of the mobile OS, when you are watching TV you can’t just swipe down and turn off the light - you have to unlock the phone in the Alexa app and wait until it’s loaded, then switch to the devices menu. There is no smartness in the device list, no “recent” list, or even search you have to find that light

  • I believe Google Assistant is way better at intent recognition and overall as a personal assistant than Alexa

  • I got iOS Homekit working, so my wife can control the smartphone from her phone as well

In the US, the Alexa app has a “favourites” section in the Devices tab. And groups are shown here too (nested virtual rooms with devices placed in them), although those are ordered alphabetically.

the light I need is never in the “favorites”.

By smartness, I mean predicting which device I am looking for based on the data it has. like iOS has in the quick menu.
Or the application list on your phone there is a shortlist.

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Or look at one of the inexpensive systems like IKEA, Aqara,

Aquara E1 seems to be one of the cheapest with Zigbee 3.0 support:

Did anyone try it?

Yeah, that looks like a nice option for a small space where a single small light like those can be used to illuminate the room.

Otherwise, I’d need multiple plugs all around the hallway/room and that complicates things even more, doesn’t it?

Another disadvantage that I see is that the light is exactly on the same place where the sensor is. Which is not always ideal.

In any case, thanks! I’ll consider them after studying the position of the plugs in my hallways! :+1:

If you don’t want smart control ( routines, app control etc)

You can buy an IKEA motion sensor and bulb, and pair then directly together using touchlink, no hub required. They sometimes sell them in kits. You can always add a hub later ( smartthings, IKEA, Alexa etc)


We find that one in a hallway or bathroom lights things up plenty at night. And I think there are 2 brightness settings, we have it on the lowest. My only gripe is the cats set them off walking around at night.