SmartThings Community

Smart Bulbs or Smart Switch With Dumb Bulbs

Which option do you all prefer? I have a light fixture above my kitchen table with 6 bulbs. Should I get 6 smart bulbs or a smart switch such as the Wemo switch and just put regular LED bulbs in there?

Thoughts? Thanks.

Get the switch in my opinion. Higher WAF.

1 Like

That’s the way I was leaning. I will be going with the Wemo Switch, but what about suggestions for 3-way switches?

100% Correct! Smart switch, dumb bulbs whenever possible.

I’d stay away from WeMo, I sold my WeMo switches and switched to z-wave. They work great stand-a-lone but do not integrate well will ST. Some have good luck others not so good luck.

I agree with @mattjfrank I use Zwave, I have one Wemo Switch that I have on a very infrequently used switch. I had to remove it from the ST integration because it would just turn on and off at random times.

What Z-wave switches do you use?

I use the GE/Jasco switches from Lowes pretty much the best price you’ll find.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_339577-1353-45637_0__?productId=3707736&Ntt=ge+iris&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dge%2Biris&facetInfo=

Agreed with here. I too sold my Wemo’s on eBay and switched to zwave. Better integration with ST. I had a lot of issues with the Wemo’s and my wifi stability as well.

Most z wave switches have what is called a “remote” which is typically unpowered and used at the non load side of the 3 way.

I seem to be the Linear proponent these days around here! :smile:

I went with switches for the higher WAF and also for guests as well. Much easier. I installed Linear switches (they have a load and a three way switch). The beauty of the virtual three way they sell is that I can have as many of them as needed. I have a bunch of 4 way switches, so it was way easier to do it this way.

1 Like

Seems no one likes the Wemo switches. That’s too bad. I will probably pickup one or two to play with. By themselves they don’t need a SmartThings hubs (which I have yet to buy). I will be ordering one, but I have to strategically pick and choose what I order to best appease the misses.

Do any of these 3-way switches you guys recommend have any issues with distance between the switches. I am not an electrician, but I am a pretty decent “figure it out” kinda handyman. I recently installed new outlets to be placed behind wall-mounted flat screens without any issues. I’ve got to imagine replacing existing 3-way switches with smart 3-way switches in a relatively new house shouldn’t be too difficult.

I know I have the neutral wire, but one question I have is what is the traveler wire I have heard many speak of?

Ultimately my goal is to replace switches and outlets with smart ones.

The traveler is not used on the Linear, that is what is great about them. You may need to use it to get power to the switch itself, though. The “three way” switch just won’t control the load directly like a traditional setup. Basically, you need to determine which line is coming from the breaker panel, put the load switch there, and then put the three way switches in the other boxes.

From what you say, it sounds like I would have 3 switches to install? A load and then the 3-ways? Forgive me if I am misunderstanding this, but I want to make sure I fully understand it all.

Right now I have 2 switches that control a light fixture. I believe that is called a 3-way switch? My initial understanding was that if I wanted to replace them with smart 3-way switches that I would be replacing just those 2 switches. Is this incorrect? Is there an additional switched added into the mix in order to support “smart” (aka Z-Wave)?

Thanks for your patience.

No, you would just replace those two switches. If the traveler wire is there and you only have two switches to replace, there are kits (like the GE) that use the traveler wire and may be easier to install if you aren’t familiar. In my case, I had four way switches (one load and two remote), so I could not use the GE product below inside. However, I did use it in our garage and it works well.

Note - this is an on-off, not a dimmer.

This one is a dimmer.

Thanks. In the last hour I have watched a few videos on YouTube that have done an excellent job at explaining 3-way and 4-way circuitry. I have also found installation videos for both the GE and Linear solutions.

I’ve read some reviews that the GE’s are not that great. I am wondering if that is because the end user just didn’t know how to properly install them. So I guess now the question is GE or not GE? Any other brands anyone can recommend? Leviton?

What non 3-way Z-Wave switches are people using? Still GE?

Thanks again everyone. I am a software developer so once I get the SmartThings hub I will definitely be contributing back to the community in my area of “expertise”.

From my readings and research on here, people use GE for on/off switches and Linear for dimmer switches (one note about this is that Linear uses a green LED and GE uses blue, so if you mix and match, you’re wall switches may look inconsistent). The GE dimmers have had buzzing issues and trouble with low load LED lights, but the Linears are rock solid and usually cheaper. You can find Leviton versions, but personally the dimmer looks weird to me and they tend to be pricier.

For simple on/off 3-ways, the GE/Jasco kits are much less expensive than the Linear set. ($45 for the GE pair at lowes, Around 70 for the pair of Linear.) For single on/off, the GE is $35 (also Lowes.) The Linear is about the same price ($31 - $35) via Amazon. At that point, the differences would be:

GE/Jasco: blue LED, has normal wire screw terminals (or optional slots) similar to standard switches. Linear: green LED, has 3 wires hanging out the back that you need to use wire nuts with.

Jumping back to 3-ways, there are some things you should consider:

If you want dimming, I’d avoid the GE/Jasco switches as they don’t use the hot/neutral for powering the z-wave radio (and instead run power via the hot/load - which can cause issues with LED and/or CFL lighting.) (Oddly, the GE/Jasco on/off switches DO use the neutral.)

The Linear 3-ways can be much more flexible in terms of wiring as the remote switches don’t HAVE to be part of the same circuit as the primary switch. Basically, the remote switches need a hot and neutral, and just act like radio’s to the primary switch. (The GE remotes communicate with the primary via a traveler wire that you likely already have in place.)

In my own house, I use Linear for anything that has dimming, and GE/Jasco for anything with plain on/off. (My 3-ways are only on/off.) I’m 90% LED lighting, and have 0 issues (so far) with any of the switches.

Correction: The Linear on/off switches have FOUR wires coming out of the back: Hot/load/neutral/ground)

Gary

1 Like

Are any of the 3-way switches push button style switches? I kinda like that interface better in 3-way setups. Sometimes up is off and sometimes it’s on. I mean it’s not hard to understand or instantly know the state of the light (unless it is out of view from the switch’s location), but the push button concept seems to be more intuitive in this scenario. But that’s just my UI/UX side offering it’s 2 cents.

Thanks again to all who have replied.

And when I say push button, I mean just one button. I think how the Wemo switch functions (I haven’t actually seem one in person yet).