Looking for Recommendations on Smart Light Switch

lighting
echo
smartlighting
lights
smartlights

#1

I’ve been debating over whether to invest and setup smart light switches in my house. From a practical standpoint, smart light bulbs don’t make sense to me. But smart light switches do.

I’ve been doing a bunch of research and would like to get some recco from the folks here.

  1. Where did you install it in your house? (stairway, bedroom)
  2. What purpose do you use if for?
  3. What type of light bulbs did you use with it? Did you run into any issues during setup?
  4. Did you have the problem of having or not having a neutral wire? How do I know if I need a neutral required switch?
  5. I have the Amazon echo, has anyone integrated their lights with it?
  6. How many do you have in your house? I’m debating whether to try one out or go all in.

(Jason) #2

All the light switches in my home are smart, many of my bulbs are as well =)

They are all automated, It’s Extremely rare that we touch a lightswitch. it’s more common that we control them through Echo if the current programmed automation isn’t sufficient for the time.

I have a little of everything, pretty easy setup with most of them, with the exception of my Oomi branded Aeon bulbs (i’m not sure if the non oomi branded bulbs are as finicky)

I had neutrals at most of the areas I needed. In the two locations I didn’t I use dumb incandescent bulbs and GE dimmers that don’t require a neutral (they work great) - I my eventually switch these back to a dumb switch with smart bulbs and one of the smart buttons that place over the switch.

I think I can safely say 90% of everyone that has An Echo, SmartThings, and Smart bulbs/switches Integrates uses them in conjunction. I don’t know that I’ve ever read in the forum that someone doesn’t like the integration. If you have both, Combine them they work great. It is one of the best integrations they have.

Many, All of my light switches are GE [with the exception of two cooper dimmers that worked better with my recessed led’s in two rooms] Many of my bulbs are smart, all different brands. I wouldn’t buy any of the GE bulbs(mixed luck with these bulbs reliability wise), or Cree(these I had good luck with but I like the Osram and Hue bulbs better for about the same price now). I probably Still would have at least 4 Aeon bulbs (for use outside they are the only ones I know of that are rated for it)


(bob) #3

Now that I have ST (previously only had zwave) I am probably done with light switches. The Cree Connected bulb works great and is a lot cheaper than a dimmer switch. Wjhy would you rather have a switch than a bulb?


(Jason) #4

Me personally, I would rather have both… It creates redundancy, a point where automations have a chance to kick the system back to automatic from a manual override. Not everyone is technologically savvy, this allows guests and family members an standard/easy way to control devices in a manner they’re used to. I can throw a guest mode on and turn off all automations so that they can use lights however they please and turn it off when they leave.

Home automation is a rabbit hole, if you’re like me once you have control of something you didn’t before you quickly want to control of everything you possibly can in your home including your own usage data.

This depends on how many bulbs you have connected to one switch. Also it’s good to note that dimming multiple bulbs they don’t always dim at the exact same rate. For this reason I use smart dimmers in 3 areas of my house that are connected to dimmable leds[about 9 on each circuit]. It’s also good to note that the ge zwave switches have been available multiple times for less than 15/ea from lowes you just need to follow the deals category in the community.

If it were me, buying new connected bulbs… I would go with the hue white they’re almost the same price now and are a much better bulb.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #5

From a practical standpoint, the only devices (and i have plenty) that haven’t failed are my Hues. This is why I will always consider adding one of them rather than a smart switch.

There are places were I feel a switch is necessary, and I have deployed them, but in any circumstance where automation and timers are used, I prefer Hues. And if the two scenarios overlap, I hard wire the load at the switch location and just use the switch events to trigger the Hues.

This also allows the flexibility of having any switch in your house control any lights in your house, or even multiple scenes based on multiple switch presses, and easily change that up if you if you want.


#6

The following threads should be of interest:

And the following discussion is good for if you decided you do want smart bulbs but you also want light switches to go with them:


#7

Also, I would definitely buy one first and try it out and see how it works for you before outfitting an entire house. :wink:


(Fast, Good, Cheap...pick two.) #8
  1. Everywhere there was a switch I installed G.E. smart switches
  2. Daytime lighting. Evening lighting. Override automation of lights. Ceiling fan operation.
  3. Ecosmart dumb dimmable leds
  4. All of mine had neutral wires
  5. All the cool kids have Echo!
  6. 16-20…I can’t recall right off and it’s Friday beer-30 so no counting until Monday

I have around 7 G.E. link bulbs. They seem to do okay. Most are now in lamps with the exception of 2 in my Foyer which is a 4-way circuit. 3 switches vs. 2 bulbs so I went the cheap route and it’s the only place where I do not have smart switches.

For what I wanted it’s smart switches FTW! I just don’t care for the smart bulb don’t touch the switch mess. The smart switch / smart bulb setup gets too convoluted and confusing…especially if it’s a smart dimmer and a dimmable smart bulb (aren’t they all?).

Ultimately do it your way because what I say doesn’t matter for squat. I love not having to touch a light switch unless I want to for some reason. I also love voice control although I don’t use it that much. I also love being able to override it all and operate as if old school.

There’s mild, wild, and everything in between. You’ll get to what you want just go a switch at a time and think it through.


#9

I generally install them (or plan to install them) in areas where:
A) the switches are commonly used,
B) they are switches that generally get left on accidentally,
C) If I can’t decide between smart bulbs or switches, then the number of bulbs generally makes the decision for me

I have mine installed on the kitchen lights (switches 4 bulbs) and the driveway lights (switches 2 bulbs). I plan to get one for my bedroom lights (switches 4 bulbs) but I have not yet looked into Dimmer smart switches yet, and that’s what I’ll need.

Automation and general use. For my kitchen lights, (for now) I pretty much only use it to turn them on and off when I’m not home for the dogs when I’m getting home late. And the driveway lights are set on a timer. I also use it for security so I can make it look like someone is home by using a SmartApp that randomly turns the lights on and off.

My whole house is set up to use the same bulbs. I have some TCP LED bulbs. No issues, but I only have on/off switches, no dimmer switches. I have not yet had any issues during set up. Links right up no problems.

All of my gang boxes have had neutral wires, so I got lucky.

I have two Echo’s (one dot and one normal one), I use my Echo ALL the time to control the lights. When I go to bed I use it to turn off “Everything”, I also use it to control the SmartBulbs in the bedroom for setting the brightness in the room.

Just try one and if you like it, go all in. But to be honest, you may or may not need to. I mean, if you have the time and money, then by all means. haha. However, I personally only have a handful of switches in the entire house where I actually need them.


One nice thing about Smart Switches is if you can use SmartApps to link them together or link them to SmartBulbs. For example, for a while I had it set up so that when my Kichen Lights smart switch was turned on, it also turned on the living room lamp (smart bulbs) which was nice.


(Brian Custer) #10

Thanks to all the posters for these insights. I’m just starting out, for a ST hub and need stuff to control. At my house, the wife and 3 kids (2 to 8 yo) won’t deal with tech so I need to keep things simple for now. I don’t have any smart bulbs or switches. I do have several challenges. Several a rooms are 5-7 recessed lights on 2 or 3 way switches so bulbs sound expensive. Also, my family room has 2 stacked switches in one section of a 3 gang box, so I can’t fit smart switches on some lights. We have track lights in that room too that are halogen. Finally, it’s a 50’s house with crummy wiring and no ground in the kids rooms and dining room (4 of the places I want smart dimmers). Any further suggestions? Any realibilty or operation difference with different brands smart dimmers? I noticed that GE has both z wave and zigbee flavor a… Seems like they should be pretty much commodity pieces…


#11

A few thoughts:

  1. The device features topic has some discussion of reliability for different brands.
  1. You said some light switches don’t have a ground… It would be more common for them to not have a neutral. It’s not impossible that they don’t have a ground if they’re in a metal back box as in some mid century houses that was used for the ground, but it’s not what you usually see. It will make a difference which of these two configurations you have, no neutral or no ground.

If it’s no neutral, see the following:

  1. there is one SmartThings compatible zwave device which offers two button the switches in a single gang space. It’s most commonly used for bathrooms where one button operates the light and the other button operates in on/off fan. So you might look at that. ( it does need a neutral, though.)

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VRCS2-MRZ-2-Button-Controller-Multi-Location/dp/B0032ZB9HI?ie=UTF8&Version=1&entries=0

There are also a couple of multibutton wall panels which could handle multiple fixtures, but they don’t offer load control, so you would have to use smart bulbs in those fixtures. (Or in wall relays for each fixture) See the “which switches to use with smart bulbs” FAQ previously linked to for discussion of those if you think they might fit your needs.

  1. for the Z wave versus zigbee discussion, see the community created wiki:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Z-wave_versus_Zigbee


(Brian Custer) #12

Thanks JDRoberts!