I apologise in advance if this has been asked before. I’m just starting to get into home automation. I’ve bought the SmartThings starter kit but haven’t really configured it as of yet. At present, I have some Hue bulbs around the home, controlled through either a dimmer switch, or through the app. Only 1 room has a dimmer switch while the rest are controlled via the app. This becomes a nuisance especially when visitors turn the lights off at the wall.
My question is that now that I have the SmartThings hub - do I need to stick to Hue? Are there any other cheaper switches out there that I could pursue instead of the expensive Hue dimmers?
Hue dimmers are among the least expensive smart switches you can buy. Most other brands are in the £35-£45 range.
An 8 Button Device can sometimes save money
If you have a need to control multiple table or floor lamps , there’s a very popular remotec battery operated device with eight buttons (each of which has tap, double tap, and long press) for around £45, so for the right use it can save you money. You will need custom code from the community to make it work, but it is available on both the UK and the US frequency.
Voice is another option
And our house, the most popular lighting control method is the Amazon Dot. At £39.99 , they can be an excellent value.
Ikea as a Budget Solution?
Some people have been able to get the newest IKEA Tradfri Button switches to pair to a hue bridge, and some people have been trying to get them to work with SmartThings. But it doesn’t seem to work for everyone and you do need to have the newest version of the IKEA firmware. However, if you can get that to work you can save about £10 over the Hue switches.
So this one may be a bit iffy, but ask in the following thread if you want to talk to people who are using it.
Really Cheap WiFi Options
There are also some less expensive Wi-Fi switches that you can look at. These will have to be mains-powered, but you will want to bypass control of the fitting itself and let the smart bulbs do the work. As long as they have an IFTTT channel, you should be able to get them to integrate with SmartThings to some extent, although there may be some additional lag and they may lack safety certifications. You also have the problem that they use up one of the Wi-Fi addresses and some routers are limited to about 32 devices. But there are some community members who use them.
So there are some options depending on exactly what you were looking for, but the Hue dimmer are already in the lower cost range of the reliable options for the U.K. The IKEA may be your best bet for the future, although getting them paired may be tricky and you have to get the very newest versions.
I should also mention the buttons FAQ. Each device post is marked US, UK, or both. This includes both battery-operated and mains powered devices. However, I think you’ll find that they’re all in the same general price range as the Hue dimmer or a even more. But it’s a good quick way to see some of the alternatives.
Different things work for different people, and sometimes in different parts of the house.
Smart bulbs are popular for people who like the colour changing options, If you want to create lighting zones in an area with only one switch, or if you are renting and are not allowed to do any rewiring.
Otherwise, it is generally less expensive to use a smart switch with dumb bulbs.
In the UK, there are not very many “all in one” smart switch options as those generally require a neutral wire, and many homes do not have those at the switchbox.
The alternative, which I think is probably the most popular for UK lighting, is to use an in wall micro which goes behind the physical switch. There are several models of these which do not require neutral wires. These again would be used with dumb bulbs, not smart bulbs. But you can get either dinner or on/off versions.
The following FAQ discusses all of these options for the UK. (This is a clickable link)