Switch to control Outlet

Hey guys!

I need some help with wiring and selection of a switch.

I have an outlet where the top plug is always hot, and the bottom is controlled by a wall switch below it (vaulted ceilings).

Do I need a regular on/off, or a 3-way switch with a traveler?

A regular on/off will do it.

Just as an FYI, many z-wave switches (both on/off and dimmer) can operate as normal switches as well as three-way when an AUX switch is added.

Be sure you have a neutral wire (usually white) before buying the switch.

1 Like

Yes! Very good point. The majority of Z-wave switches require a neutral line. For those of us with older homes this can be a challenge at times.

1 Like

Below is a link to a NO NEUTRAL requiring z-wave switch for those with older homes.


1 Like

Important to note, though, that in the OP intended usage, s/he should NOT use a dimmer. You don’t want a dimmer controlling an outlet. While it would probably be okay if it was a standard table lamp plugged in to the outlet, anythings else like a radio or laptop or other small appliance could be VERY adversely effected by variable current levels caused by a dimmer switch.

@patelvtp Can I use this switch to just control on/off of the load? I do not want them to be dimmable, in fact they are CFL so it wouldn’t work right anyway. I have two switches so far with no neutral and no easy way to get one. I was thinking of using micro switches at the lights they control but I would rather a real on/off switch, that is controllable from the switch and phone my phone.

There is no way to make that switch JUST do on and off. Even if you never attempt to dim it, it still ramps up/down when turned on or off. When you tap it on, it “scrolls” from 0% to 99% over about 1 to 1.5 seconds. Likewise when tapping off it does the reverse… from 99% to 0% over a second or so.

Software wise there are some ways to force 0->99% (near) instantly, but this will only work inside an app, not when physically pressing the button.

here is a link I think you might find useful. It contains a comparison chart of all the on/off switches and also list some options for no neutral line homes. hope it helps.


Thanks for all the help guys!

I’ve got the neutral-less dimmers in a few of my switches for lights around the house and love them. (But I’d be very hesitant to use them for an outlet.)

I’ve got an electrician coming to fix a few other things in this house this weekend, I’ll ask and find out his thoughts.

Thanks for all the help again, this really is a great community!



I bought one of these from Lowes today to do some testing. It works great on an outside light, I just swapped out one of the CFL flood light bulbs to an incandescent. The ramp up and down is fine.

I tried it in another location that has 3 CFL’s it wasn’t so great there. I may do some research on LED’s that are dimmable and may work w/out a neutral on the dimmer for that location.

I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but am so glad I read this thread!

I’ll never use the dimming feature but at least I was able to easily add a smart switch where I wasn’t able to before.

1 Like