Multiple Light Switches For One Light Fixture - Which To Use?

Hi all,

I am completely new to SmartThings and have my hub and echo dot coming in tomorrow. First thing I want to do is of course my lights but I have a few questions.

  1. For my kitchen and living room there are multiple switches that control one light fixture (both are ceiling fans with 3 bulbs), for example in my kitchen there is a switch by the back door and one at the other end of the kitchen. I just want to ensure to order switches that will work with this type of configuration. I am wanting dimmer switches as well if that makes a difference.

  2. Are there bulbs that are an RGBW that I could use in the ceiling fans? I am wanting to be able to change the color and brightness of both lights if possible but also be able to have it set to a normal white light as well. I will verify tonight what style bulb they are.

Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions. I am pumped to start my home automation project!


Your project is complicated by the fact that these are fans. I’m assuming these are multi speed ceiling fans? If so, there are not any devices that are compatible directly with smart things that can give you a single switch control for both the lights and the fans. You basically have to treat those as two separate requirements.

(If by chance these are not multi speed ceiling fans but just single speed on/off exhaust fans similar to those that might be in a bathroom, then you will have some additional device options.)

Different community members have approach this in different ways depending on their specific requirements. Here are a few of the possibilities.

  1. get a fan specific switch to control the fan. Both Leviton and GE make zwave versions of these and they work well with SmartThings. This will give you high/medium/low control of the fans. You can either use the wall switch or automate the functions in any of many different ways.

(I will just note here that if you currently have multiple switches controlling the same fan it’s going to get more complicated, but that can be addressed later. It’s going to depend a lot on the specific details of the wiring.)

  1. now for the lights, you basically have two options.

A) use smart bulbs in the fan and control them from either a battery operated light switch on the wall, a handheld remote, or just by automation.

This can work extremely well if the light kit for your fan holds regular size A19 bulbs.

If it only holds chandelier style bulbs, there aren’t any smart bulbs of this dimension which currently work with SmartThings. Some people have gotten a socket adapter which allows them to use the larger base bulb with the fan light kit, but a lot of people don’t like the aesthetics of that.

There is one smart bulb of this shape from FEIT, but it’s a proprietary Bluetooth protocol and right now it only works with its own phone app. So that’s OK for some people, but not most people. We can hope that in the future some company will introduce a bulb of this shape that will work with smartthings, there just isn’t one yet.

2b) A more complicated option, but one which is still quite popular, is to put a micro controller in the ceiling near the fan that only controls the lights from the fan, not the fan motor.

Once you’ve done that, you have the same controller options as you do with the smart bulb: a battery operated switch on the wall or a handheld remote or just automation.

@dalec is one of the community members who has done this, so he may be able to say more.

So there are some options, but it’s going to depend on the exact set up and exactly what you want to accomplish. :sunglasses:

The following FAQ list the remotes and buttons that work with smartthings if you want to start thinking about those

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I forgot to mention as far as the living room set up where there are two switches controlling one light, there are several different brands that make “three-way” sets for these. There will be one master switch and then one or more auxiliary switches which can tell the master to turn on and off or set a dim level. You will have to replace all of the switches at the same time (you can’t just add a new master) and the auxiliaries have to be specifically made to work with that master as different models communicate in somewhat different ways.

The following thread discusses different options that the switches might have so you know what you’re looking for, but you’re going to have a lot of choices. GE, Cooper, Leviton, GoControl, Zooz, Homeseer, and Evolve all make Zwave switches that can be used in a three-way set up. :sunglasses::level_slider::bulb::level_slider:

The light switch feature discussion starts at post 35.

And more about auxiliary switches: