Selecting Smart switches and remotes for new home

The terminology still isn’t really what most people would use, but let’s see if we can just cut to the chase.

You can’t use just a remote with the fan because there has to be something that controls the fan motor for the remote to talk to. (Unless you were just talking about putting smart bulbs in the light kit for the fan and controlling those.)

If you want everything to look highly similar, if not exactly the same, just go for a plain rocker switch for everything. A master smart switch, an auxiliary switch, a wired switch which has been wired to not Control the load to smart bulbs, a wired switch with multiple scene options, even fan motor control.

Look at the following three brands: GE, Zooz, and homeseer. The features are a little different, but the look is very similar.

Fan switches

See the FAQ, but a lot of people Use two switches side-by-side, one for the lights on the fan and one for the fan motor. (Note that you have to get a model specifically designed to control a fan motor. You cannot use a light switch to control a fan motor.)


Wired switches or dimmers to Control Power to fixtures with dumb bulbs

You can choose any of the three brands, they look very similar, but do check the feature specs carefully.

Homeseer on/off Switch

Homeseer dimmer

GE Devices

Zooz Devices

Shop around on all of these as prices do vary.

The Homeseer are fancier and have more features, but they’re all fairly similar.

Scene management for smart bulbs ( Devices which will not control the load to the fixture)

The same homeseer devices above can do double tap and triple tap which are sending a code to the hub, not varying the current, so that’s a good way to handle controlling smart bulbs. Although maybe not so intuitive for guests.

Another alternative is to get the linear/go control auxiliary switch. Unlike the GE auxiliaries, this one does have its own radio so it can talk to the hub and then the hub can send a message to the bulbs. But it is not intended to control the load, so the wiring is simple.

Just remember that when you go this route, you cannot cut power to the bulbs with the switch, so they won’t work if your home automation system is not working. A lot of people just keep their original switch for that current branch and put a childlock on it to remind people not to use it unless it’s an emergency. See the threads I gave you before on hue switches for more discussion on that.

Battery operated device for smart bulbs

There’s really only one battery operated device that looks like a regular rocker, and it’s not a perfect match. But it is an option.

Otherwise if you’re OK with the battery powered ones looking different, the Hue dimmer switches you already have work well and are a good price.

There are a bunch of additional ones in the buttons FAQ, but they won’t look much like your other devices:

I personally like this one, but there are a lot of choices


Just remember that most of the battery operated devices have to be matched to an additional smart device, either a bulb or something else, in order to actually make something happen. By themselves all they do is send a message to the hub. That’s pretty much what “remote” means in a home automation context.