Smart switch with dumb switch appearance?

(travis steinke) #1

Hello- We just bought new house and plan to convert our switches to smart switches. We have around 50 switches in the house. Many of these are multi-way switches. They are all stand toggle switches and many are in multi-gang boxes. Only around half of these switches need to be smart switches. Are there any smart switches out there that resemble standard toggle switches? I would go nuts having each switch look different.


Two come to mind right away… From GE: From Inovelli: Available as dimmers and on/off, also paddles or toggles. One note though, all these switches return to the center position when switched. Turn the switch on by pushing up, but it will not remain up like a dumb switch. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.

(Dan) #3

Also, Decora style dumb switches are only a couple dollars, just in case you’d like to move to the more prevalent smart switch style, thereby giving you more options.

For example, 10 switches for $16 ($1.60 each)


I second ogiewon’s suggestion. If you are going to replace half of your switches anyway, now is a good time to modernize the rest of the switches to the paddle style. The dumb switch swap will be easy since it will not involve any wiring changes (well, subject to note below). To a future potential buyer of your house, toggle switches might invoke thoughts of an age filled with popcorn ceilings, shag carpet, and avocado appliances (just an opinion, I’ll stipulate others may feel differently).

For the sake of full information, though, it is likely your old toggle switches don’t have a ground connection. New dumb switches will have a terminal for ground, and technically you should connect to ground. Wouldn’t having new dumb switches not connected to ground be just as safe as old dumb switches not connected to ground? Just something to consider. Also, the dumb switches are inexpensive, but factor in cost of plates as well.

(travis steinke) #5

thanks for the quick responses. I will most likely just switch everything to the decora style switches, as long as my wife approves. The house is a little less than 2 years old so I would hope they have the ground wire.

How is the reputation of the inovelli brand? I have never heard of them. They offer a potential large cost savings since their switch can be used as a 3 way with any dumb switch. it seems like most other smart switches I have seen require a special slave switch to be used in a 3 way configuration.

Would it be worth spending a little more for the levitron smart switches? Do they have a closer external resemblance to their dumb switch?

(Ron Talley) #6

^^This is what I did until I finished installing about 40+ Smart Switches. So so glad I didn’t install the toggles because I have a couple of those and they are just fugly.


I have been replacing my old x10 switches with Inovelli. I have tested many Z-Wave switches, GE/Jasco, Zooz, etc and from a price and reliability perspective Inovelli won me over. Also working with Eric at Inovelli has been one of the best experiences I have had with a company. I even sent over a 4 way switch diagram to have it vetted and they responded almost immediately. I now have over 15 of their scene paddle switches installed and they are all working great.

(travis steinke) #8

sounds good to me. Is the inovelli switch ok to use with a ceiling fan? I couldn’t find that information listed on their website.

(Dan) #9

Here is what my switches look like. I have a combination of dumb Decora/Paddle switches, GE Z-Wave switches and dimmers, and Lutron Pico remotes.

This picture has two dumb Leviton switches on the left, and 1 GE Z-Wave Switch

This picture has a Lutron Pico remote on the left, a GE Z-Wave Switch in the middle, and a GE-Z-Wave Dimmer on the right.

If it is a true SWITCH (i.e. not a dimmer), it most likely can be used for a simple on/off for a fan motor. If you have another switch dedicated for the fan light fixture, you can use a dimmer for that one (assuming the ceiling fan isn’t some sort of fancy one with built-in electronics!)

Most people who want to control a fan motor use the GE Z-Wave Fan Switch, as it allows you to change speeds in addition to on/off.

[Update] On Amazon, the Inovelli Z-Wave Switch page clearly states the following:

IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ: Must have Neutral Wire for this to work – please check your wiring prior to purchasing. DO NOT USE FOR: Ceiling or Exhaust fans

(Daniel Ionescu) #10

Being only 2 years old you should have ground everywhere. The issue with smart switches is availability of a neutral at the box.
Also, Inovelli makes good products. Check them out at
Also, take a look here Innovelli Smart Switch vs GE Z-Wave 14292

(travis steinke) #11

with he inovelli dimmer and switches being the exact same price, is there any reason to not just buy a dimmer for every light I plan to control? Is there a noticeable delay with the dimmer that the switch does not have?

(Daniel Ionescu) #12

No real reason. Just that On/Off is always faster then dimming Up/Down and dimming LED lights are more expensive then non-dimming ones.

(Jared) #13

I replaced most of my switches with the Inovelli switches. They have been great, none have failed and they have more features than any other smart switch on the market. I am completely happy with them.

You would not want to use a dimmer if you are using it with most smart bulbs (exception is sengled element plus, which work fine with a dimmer).