SmartThings Community

Recommended wall switch (most of the posts I see are getting old)

What wall switch does the community recommend for wall switch? All the posts I searched for were a year or two old, and prices and technology change so fast, I wanted to know what everyone was using these days.
What’s the best bang for the buck? My first application will be for foyer lights. Thanks.

The switch tech hasn’t really changed too much and there are a lots of discussions around about switches. Unfortunately they always seem to end up in a fight about whatever people think is the best.

Might help to mention the part of the world you are in in case you need special switches.

Some of the more popular switches I always see mentioned

TP-Link and Wemo are WiFi. People are always fighting about which are the best. I personally have a bunch (15+) of Wemo switches and they work nice but you will also see people say the opposite. If you go this route make sure you have a good wifi setup. Wemo has no 3way and I think TPLink just introduced one.

GE, Zooz, Homeseer are popular Z-Wave switches. My neighbour has GE and works great for him. I also see a lot of good things about Zooz. These switches also offer 3way and dimming options if you need.

There were a few announcements at CES but you will have to wait until later this year for them.

I’m sure there are more but those stick out to me.

Also something to consider is the feel of the switch. This also is a personal preference that differs for each person. Some switches are like a toggle (can press top or bottom) and some are not (just a single press). Some have a light that people either hate or like. That you will also need to take into consideration.

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I can’t recommend Lutron Caseta switches and dimmers enough. The build quality is superb, and they are super easy to install in any location. The dimmers do not need neutrals. 3-ways are wireless, so there’s no fussing with crazy wiring.

It does require another hub, but the starter packs are decently priced. The cloud-to-cloud integration with ST is reliable and fast. Since I switched to Caseta, I have not had a single Caseta device drop off my network.

Pro tip: find an electrical wholesaler who can sell you switches for less than amazon.

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I have had good luck with the Leviton ones. My brother is a licensed union electrician and that brand is his favorite, too. He saw my SmartThings and has started making his home smart.

Since you are talking about a foyer, I would recommend a dimmer, instead of a switch, if you can if you think the ability to dim the lights is something you might like in your home. I have been getting a lot of use from the scenes function so dimming, brightening and on/off is something I really like. The price is very close and you have a lot more flexibility.

With the Leviton ones, you can tell the dimmer what the load is (incandescent, CFL or LED). If you have CFLs, you can set it to not dim and if you end up changing to LED in the future, then you can tell them to dim. Also, you can set a minimum and maximum dim level. I have a overhead ceiling light in my kitchen that strobes at below 20%. I just told the dimmer 20% is the minimum and I do not have to worry about it.

I reserve switches for things that cannot dim, like florescent lights or my front yard outlet for Christmas lights. Those have internal relays that control the load.

In just about every smart dimmer or switch out there, you are going to want to make sure you have a neutral in the box. The neutral is used to run the radio inside the switch/dimmer. Most dumb switches and dimmers, even the ones with the LEDs (the LEDs are powered in series), do not require one so electricians did not run one when the house was wired. Code in some places, like St. Louis, now requires neutrals because of home automation. Check your codes.

Also, 3-way and 4-way wiring is different if ever you expand to a one of those.

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There’s no one best as different people are looking for different things. For some people, even the color of the indicator LED makes a big difference.

If you are in the US, the device class features FAQ should be useful. The light switches discussion starts around post 40. Although that thread was started in 2015, individual posts have been updated all along, most information there is still current as of this writing, January 2018. As others have mentioned, there really hasn’t been anything much new in SmartThings-compatible switch technology in the last couple of years except for some new Zooz models which you may also want to look at.

Leviton are generally good switches, but there is a known issue with the most current generation where if you press the auxiliary switch at the wall, smartthings does not get notified when the lights come on, even though it should. These are the models which use the “digital” auxiliary switch.

Leviton is aware of the problem and has said they hope to issue an eventual Firmware update, but since Smartthings itself doesn’t do zwave over the air updates it’s unclear how smartthings customers could apply a fix even when one does become available.

So if you are going to set up three-way operations, this is just something to be aware of with the newest model of Leviton switches. It will be an issue for some people and not for others depending on specific use cases.

Very good point about the need for a neutral with most Z wave or zigbee smart switches. As i5 happens, most models in the Lutron Caseta line do not require a neutral at the switchbox, due to some patented technology, one of the reasons they are so popular for retrofits. :sunglasses:

Any tips for how I’d go about finding a good electrical wholesaler? I live in Indianapolis, IN. I did search google maps for “electrical wholesale” but nothing looked to promising.

Casta switches are going for $50 on Amazon. How much better than that do you think a wholesaler could do?

There is a thread in the deals section in this forum that lists online home automation retailers and quite a few of those will be less expensive than Amazon, and some offer bulk discounts.

Thanks @JDRoberts! You are most helpful. How much better than $50 do you think they could do?

Unfortunately Not a lot, Caseta switches are not often discounted. Sometimes your best bet is just when Home Depot or Lowes has a storewide coupon, since they are widely carried. You can see from Camel Camel Camel that they are not on sale often.

That said, if you need three-way set ups their auxiliary is quite inexpensive so you can save some money that way. But they definitely aren’t a bargain brand.

I used Ready Wholesale Electric. The price was in the low-$40’s for small quantities of dimmers, (lower for large quantities, I’m sure), and since they are in CA, they don’t collect sales tax on out of state sales. I had a great experience.

Another thing to know (and this is probably info for a dedicated lutron thread): there are many many options for both the dimmers and the Pico remotes (button layout, colors, etc). Amazon and Home Depot/Lowes don’t cary most of them. You need to order from a wholesaler to get them. Research part numbers on lutron’s website.

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Cool. Just emailed them for a price quote.

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Yeah. I love the simplicity of their 3 way setup. Those pico remotes are cheap and easy to setup.

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Anybody ever tried these wifi switches. They are really cheap.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0788N7865/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It is WiFi so it will not directly interact with SmartThings without a third party in the cloud.

See the FAQ for Wi-Fi switches which work with the smartlife app

I really like the GE z-wave switches. I have a few of them setup around the house, work great.

A couple of things that concerned me. The app asks permission for camera access. Huh?
The app then makes you enter your wifi password. That doesn’t seem safe to me from a Chinese app. I don’t remember any other smart app asking for my wifi password. Is this safe, or do I need to send it back?

Pretty much any app which is setting up Home automation devices which use your Wi-Fi network will ask for your Wi-Fi password. That includes the Amazon Alexa app, Logitech Harmony app, Phillips hue app, WeMo app, Wink app, Google Home app, etc.

I’m not saying it’s safe, I’m just saying that if you want to use Wi-Fi devices for home automation, you’re going to have to give them your Wi-Fi password at some point. :sunglasses:

As I’ve mentioned before, I personally have my home automation devices on a different Wi-Fi network then my laptop/tablets. That’s mostly to protect each from denial of service attacks that might occur on the other. Most people don’t do that, but it is an option.