What's the difference? (Appliance outlet vs Dimmer outlet vs SmartPower outlet)

(Lucas Robb) #1

Hello All,

I’m looking to setup some smart technology at my house and I wanted some help with picking the right parts. I’m a terribly forgetful person, and I have a tendency to rush out of the house in the morning so I wanted to put some smart at home so that I can turn it off later when I remember to check in at home. I want to control one room light with a “GE In-Wall Toggle Switch (Add-On)” and I want to control an oil filled heater however I’m wondering if it might be too much power rating at 1500W according to the sticker on the side. But in either case I want to know what the difference is between the following products:

  • GE Light & Appliance Plug-and-Control Power Outlet @ $52
  • GE Pluggable Light Dimmer Outlet @ $52
  • SmartPower Outlet @ $55

I know I would also have to get a smart hub but with one switch, one outlet, and the hub I could still automate the important parts of my house for Under $200. Can someone point me in the right direction?

Thank you,


First things first…the “add on” switch is what’s also called an auxiliary switch. It can’t work by itself, it also has to have a master switch. (One reason the add on is so cheap.) So you need the GE 12727 or GE 12722 master switch, not the “add on” switches, of which there are several models. (The add on switches are not load bearing, which is why they can’t be the only light switch.)

As far as the three plug ins (called “switches” or “modules” depending on manufacturer), it just depends what you want them for.

The “appliance” outlet is rated for more power. It will NOT dim a lamp. It has two outlets, but only one is networked (zwave), so that can be a bit deceptive. It’s rated high enough for the oil heater, but I don’t know for sure if it’s a good match. (I will caution you not to automate turning the heater on when you’re not around, generally they’re not UL rated for that.)

Maximum load for both outlets {together} 15 Amps, 1800W Resistive

The light dimmer, will dim a lamp. I’m pretty sure that’s the 45602 model. Also has two outlets, but again only one is networked. Basically rated at half the wattage of the appliance module. If it is the 45602 (check to be sure) it is NOT intended to control fluorescent lights. Or anything with a motor.

The smart power outlet is zigbee rather than zwave. That only becomes important if you’re going to have more zigbee devices and you want them to act as repeaters for each other. With SmartThings you can mix zigbee and zwave devices, it usually won’t matter. It only has the one networked outlet, not the extra “always on” one. Power load is in between the other two:

•Max General Purpose Load: 12 Amps
•Max Incandescent Load: 480 Watts

I would check with the retailer for all three before making a decision to make sure you could run the oil heater, I’m just not sure.

Most people would use the zigbee one if they needed a zigbee repeater on a lamp that didn’t dim or for a small appliance like a coffeemaker.

The dimmer is really only intended to run a dimmable lamp.

The appliance module is intended for items that draw more power, but again, I’m not sure it matches up with your space heater, you need to look further into that.

(Lucas Robb) #3

that makes so much sense! thank you!.. makes things a little more expensive but not unreasonable… do you have any direction for the outlet for the heater?


Yeah, I edited my first post to include that. :slight_smile:

BTW, another option is to add a single $15 GE link lightbulb. Unlike the Phillip Hues, you don’t need a “bridge” with that device, and it gives you a dimmable bulb that can go in most fixtures. The only thing is you do have to leave the power turned on to that fixture all the time so the bulb can hear your network.

But it’s a very inexpensive way to add one dimmable bulb in case you end up with a switch dedicated to just an appliance.

(Lucas Robb) #5

wow! that’s awesome! so… based on what you’ve said I think this is going to be my plan:

this would include the sensors for all the devices that I use, and would include the hub to control them all. as I understand i would still need that, correct?

also i wanted to add, moreso that my plan is to setup an IFTTT location trigger so that when I leave my house all of the devices turn off and when I return to the house things turn back on… alternatively I can turn it off manually in case I forget or get paranoid


Sounds like a plan, although I still can’t say for sure if your space heater is compatible with the appliance module, you need to verify that with one or both manufacturers.

That setup would give you networked Control over one dimmable smart bulb, whatever is plugged into the one networked outlet on the appliance module, and whatever the one wall switch controls.

And, yes, you still need The smartthings hub.

You could then use either IFTTT or the smartthings mobile app on your phone to turn everything off when you leave. :blush:

(One small technical note: these particular devices are all “networked switches,” none of them are “sensors.” Just a terminology thing. If you can turn it on and off with a command, it’s a “switch.” If it measures a value and reports that to the hub, it’s a “sensor.”)

(Kenneth C) #7

I use a Leviton Z-wave appliance plug (sorry don’t have the model number) with my space heater (mica board). The “virtual heater” smartapp turns the heater on and off based on the room temperature. A ST multisensor in the room monitors the temp. There is a few degree variance, but its been great through the winter… and seems to help the electric bill.

The Leviton plug was purchased from the local Home Depot. There are two types, one without the grounding prong is a dimmer and supports less load. The appliance version has the ground prong and is suitable for 15amp loads.

Here’s a link:

Hope that helps.