Make two single switches act as a 3-way

I have two light fixtures in a room controlled by individual single light switches. I’d like to have both fixtures configured as if they were on three way switches but have no way to get the wiring correct for an ‘actual’ three way switch.

If I were to purchase two smart switches (I’m looking at GE, Honeywell, and Zooz), I have a couple questions.

  1. Surely I’d be able to have this happen via logic in SmartThings correct?
  2. What kind of delay would be expected between the time I turn on one switch and the other activates?

Is there any way to minimize the delay?


Sure, this is called a “virtual 3 way” and is a very common use case. You can do this with the official features using the “smart lighting“ smart app and the “mirror“ option. If you choose this method, you can use pretty much any smart switch that you want that works with your SmartThings account. The switch sends a message to the hub, the hub sends a message to the other switch.

As far as lag… Normally that’s not an issue, although it depends in part on the strength of your overall network. The smart lighting feature does run locally without having to make a trip to the cloud, so using that it’s pretty fast. Certainly it should be under two seconds.

If you want it really fast, you should choose two Z wave plus switches that support Z wave direct association. that way switch A can tell switch B to turn on without even having to go to the hub. :sunglasses:

What country are you in? The device selection does vary. But from the brands you listed, I’m assuming you are in North America?

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Thanks for the reply. I’m in the USA.
I’ll definitely get something that’s Z-Wave Plus given your recommendation.
Selection is somewhat limited by hoping to keep to toggle switches instead of paddle so they don’t look out of place.
Any recommendations other than what I’ve listed?

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BTW, assuming you are in the US, I would go with the Zooz switches. GE and Honeywell are actually the same Physical device, just rebranded, With somewhat different firmware. They are made by Jasco. They are a popular choice because of the brand names, but technology is newer and in my opinion a little better in the Zooz. Zooz is the house brand for The Smartest House. They have staff who participate in this forum, so you can ask any questions you have. (I have no connection with the company, I just like the engineering. )

Tagging @TheSmartestHouse

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As far as paddle versus toggle, I understand the impulse, but it’s important to understand that smart switches are actually momentary switches. They don’t lock into place the way dumb switches do, because then they would get out of sync with the network commands. What that means is that although you flip them up for on and down for off, they then immediately Return to the center position and rest there.

This is generally not very noticeable on a paddle switch, but it’s really noticeable on a toggle, and it will drive a lot of people crazy, including guests. They will keep flicking the toggle trying to get it to stick in one position, which it is never going to do. So these switches actually tend to literally stick out in your home more than the paddle switches do. Everybody is going to notice them.

This is why the style is not as popular for smart switches. People normally choose the toggle style if they have someone for whom the toggle is physically easier to operate.


Otherwise paddles are more popular. But choice is good, and if you want toggles, Zooz does offer them.

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Thanks. I ordered two of the Zooz switches and will give it a shot.

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I wish I had known this one month ago… :slight_smile:

I went with the toggle and I can definitely see where this might be confusing for guests. Especially those not familiar with smart home technology.

From the Zooz product page…

SIMPLE DIRECT 3-WAY & 4-WAY: Use it with existing on/off switches (NO dimmers) in your 3-way, 4-way, or 5-way set-up, even if load and line are not in the same box. No need for add-on switches, no need to rewire the other boxes.

I wish I had researched a little more before I purchased the Honeywell primary switch and the Add-On switches.


With 2 single switches controlling 1 set of lights each, it’s better to create a group of lights and use scene control when each switch acts as a remote control and triggers the group so you don’t have to worry about keeping everything in sync all the time. If you send us your order number, we’ll be happy to create custom programming instructions for you to accomplish that on SmartThings.


Your use case is a little different than the OP on this thread. You’ve got a wired 3-way.

The Zooz switches and dimmers are very cost-effective when replacing 3-ways and I love them. There one thing you don’t get by only replacing one side, for dimmers, is the ability to adjust dim level from either side.

I’ve got two rooms that have two dimmers each next to two different doorways. I’m going to replace them with Leviton dimmers and their matching add-on to allow dimming from either side.

Would this require the use of the custom DTH for the switches? I’ve got about 20 Zooz devices and exclusively use the standard switch and dimmer DTHs to keep all processing local to the hub.

Using the Smart Lighting SmartApp, as @JDRoberts suggested, will keep everything in sync.

Scene control programming does require the custom handler but we found it produces less delays than the SmartLighting app. There are always many factors behind how fast things work but you can just use the custom handler to program the switch and then change the type back to generic switch or dimmer to have the devices work locally on a daily basis without losing the settings or rules you just created :slight_smile:

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Even better would be associating the switches together so they don’t even go through the hub. I have a few 3 and 4 way setups and recently got them directly associated and it’s pretty flipping awesome. I’m using Inovelli red dimmers and associating using their tool and adjusting the association parameters.

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I have done this. You can use a mechanical momentary paddle as the dumb side and a Zooz dimmer on the other.

The momentary switch you can dim by holding and just like the primary, double tap to full brightness.

Yes. Forgot that. But only for some models of Zooz dimmers. I asked them about using this with my ZEN27 dimmers and was told it would not work.

I also chose the Levitons for the two rooms I mentioned because they have separate mini-rockers for adjusting dim level.

There is a slight delay between activation. I’ll send you my info for the instructions. Install went well and they do work with Smart Lighting but it needed two automation (one for each switch). I wasn’t getting forum notifications or I’d have done this already.

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Yep. I meant to come back and mention that.

I have a new question. When using Smart Lighting, if someone turns on a switch and back off again (even by accident) before both loads are turned on, the lights go into a dance of on/off on/off over and over at varying timings.

Is there a way to delay accepting a second input once the first is triggered?

I’m admittedly early in my use of SmartThings but expected the ability to use more complex logic. I’m hoping to get to there at some point through IDE I guess. unless there’s some way to get that in the app. Perhaps that’s the kind of thing that @TheSmartestHouse was referring to.

We often say smartthings is very powerful, but not very discoverable. :wink: It can in fact handle much more complex logic than most of the competition, but you get there in a number of different ways. See the community FAQ:

How to Get Started Creating Complex Rules in SmartThings

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Are you using the mirroring rule here or scene control (so the switch working as a button)?

I’ve tried mirroring via smart lighting. Scene control I didn’t think worked quite right.