New construction: dimmer/ LED bulb choice


(Ken) #1

I have a clean slate. Building a new home, I have SmartThings and would like to test the dimmer / LED bulb combo for the many cans I have in the new home we are building. I will want “warm” *low kelvin) lighting except for task areas (kitchen).
We plan on going all LED except for some edison special bulbs.
I have been looking at many combos of switches and bulbs. It seems there is a new wave of cheaper, longer lasting LED bulbs (again for 5" cans) at least that is what the marketing says… I am looking for real world opinions.
Also I have seen horror stories about dimmers that don’t work with LEDs well… Lutron seems to have the best overall but they are expensive when you build a whole house. Zigbee vs. Zwave?

In general I am looking for recommendations of what will be the most cost efficient, WORKING solution for LED dimmers and bulbs that work with ST.

What are TODAY’s recommendations? (much of what I see seems dated)

Thanks again…


(Chris) #2

I think most, if not all, of the zwave dimmers are LED compatible. I’ve only seen a couple of specialty LED lights that don’t work well with dimmers, but if they won’t work with the zwave dimmers they likely won’t work with most of the smart or dumb dimmers out there. I’ve converted most of my house over to LED with GE dimmers and the only issues I’ve seen are with the Edison style LED bulbs I tried to install in my dining room chandelier, but they specified a Phase Cut dimmer, which I didn’t realize until I had them installed. The other LEDs in the house are made by Utilitech, Philips, GE, Sylvania, etc. I think most of the big brand stuff you won’t have a problem with.

(Smuts) #3

I’ve got the older Leviton dimmers with the horizontal dimmer, the newer Leviton with the dimmer on the side, Leviton non dimming switches, and GE dimmers. I hate the feel and the operation of the GE. The Leviton don’t feel so great either, though they aren’t bad.

I have a dumb Lutron timer for my main bathroom fan. It’s great. The Lutron quality seems so much better. I’m probably going to get a Lutron hub and a caseta dimmer for my next switch just to see. I’m not sure if you still need to run a local Raspi to bridge the two, but I don’t mind. I’d really like to have some nicer switches. (I use the Lutron screwless face plates on everything.)

All dimmers now days works with LEDs. It’s not an issue. The new Levitons have a way to configure the dimmer for LED, florescent, and incandescent. I didn’t bother. It works fine out of the box. All of my lights are LED, except one or two in weird fixtures. [Though you do need to make sure that your LEDs work with dimmers.]

(Chris) #4

Official ST/Caseta integration has been announced and last I saw was in the process of being implemented/rolled out.

(Smuts) #5

Ya. It looks like it should be integrated. That would be nice. . . . Earlier I ordered a Lutron dimmer (with pico remote) and hub combo for $99. I’ll see how it goes on Friday. If it doesn’t require neutral wires, as many say, this will be a big plus in my second story, where there are none. Until Friday. . .


I really like the Lutron switches and use them in my own home.

Lutron makes many different models, so you have to check the specs for each one.

Lutron Caseta is the line that will work with SmartThings. As of this writing, The regular “Lutron Caseta” Devices mostly don’t require a neutral. The “Lutron Caseta Pro” Devices mostly do.

Also be aware that the pico remotes will be invisible to the SmartThings hub through the official integration, so they will still work to turn the Lutron switches on and off, but you can’t use them to control any of your other smartthings devices.

There’s a community created unofficial integration that can use the pico’s with smartthings, but that one requires that you get the “Lutron smartbridge pro” model and set up an additional device, a raspberry pi, as a “man in the middle” server. That requires more technical skill than the official integration, plus the additional device, but it does let you use the pico’s if that’s important.

(BTW, Lutron uses neither zigbee nor zwave. They have their own proprietary communication protocol called Clear Connect. That’s why you need their smart bridge device to integrate with SmartThings. It’s actually a cloud to cloud connection.)


As far as comparing one zwave switch to another, there are some differences between different brand/models.

The following thread discusses the various features. Lightswitch discussion starts around post 40:

(Smuts) #8

Thanks for the info. I don’t mind setting up a pi in the middle. But I don’t really care to use the Picos for other ST stuff. I’m happy with the minimotes. I’ll just use the Pico to control the Lutron. . . . I have a caseta dimmer and the non pro bridge on the way.

(Smuts) #9

I just installed a Lutron caseta dimmer and setup the hub and a pico. The native Smartthings integration was smooth. The response is instantaneous. If this is a cloud to cloud integration, you’d never know.

The caseta (non pro) dimmer did not need a neutral. And it’s much smaller than the GE and Leviton dimmers. It was fatr easier to get into the box. I have a shallow box in another room. I think I’ll be able to get a caseta in there later.

It looks good and works nicely. The main switch doesn’t have the ability to store a dimmer setting. I don’t care.

I’m going to get several more. I don’t see replacing my Levitons. There’s no point and I don’t have that much money. But I’m going to put in some more Lutrons. It’s great that you don’t need a neutral. I have a few spots where I just wasn’t going to be able to fish a neutral. Problem solved. . . .