Who makes the BEST Z-Wave dimmer? (Leviton, GE, Linear, Cooper)


(Ash Raj) #1

Who makes the best Z-Wave dimmer? These are the two I’ve tried so far:

Leviton

  • Pro: Responds very quickly.
  • Pro: User configurable minimum brightness. This is extremely useful for LEDs like mine, since they do not turn on with less than 10% power.
  • Pro: User configurable default brightness. When the switch is turned on, it can return to the last brightness level or your selected default brightness level. Many people prefer their switches to start at 100% brightness.
  • Pro: Green leds on the switch indicate the current brightness level.
  • Con: The dimming buttons or “dim bar” (as they call it) is awful. It’s stiff, difficult to use, and feels cheap.
  • Con/Neutral: There are not separate on and off buttons. A single button is used to toggle on/off state.
  • Con: Expensive. $60 for the basic version, $80 if zone/scene keypads are desired.

GE

  • Pro: Turning the switch on and off is intuitive to anyone who has used a normal light switch.
  • Pro: Dimming is very easy.
  • Con: The lights respond slowly to physical button presses and holds. It actually feels faster to turn on the switch from SmartThings.
  • Con: No user selectable minimum brightness.
  • Con: No user selectable default brightness. When the dimmer is turned on it always returns to the last brightness level (which may not be enough to turn the lights on). There is a workaround using a SmartApp, but it’s not ideal.
  • Con: No indication of the current brightness level on the switch.
  • Pro: Relatively inexpensive. $45 isn’t much more than some of the “dumb” dimmers out there.

From what I’ve read, the Linear/Evolve dimmers have the same shortcomings as the GE, but they cost a little less and feel nicer.

Finally, what do you guys and gals think about Cooper? By all appearances, their dimmers have all of the pros as the Leviton, but with better dimming buttons.

Are there any other dimmers that I’ve forgotten about?


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(Gary D) #2

I think this is configurable via the configuration parameters.


(Mike Maxwell) #3

Yea, Aeon and Fibaro…


(Ash Raj) #4

The dim rate is configurable, and indeed I was able to speed that up. However that’s not the issue I’m referring to. When the physical switch is pressed (in either direction) there’s a weird delay before the lights start to do anything. This delay is non-existent or imperceptible on my Leviton and Lutron dimmers.


(Ash Raj) #5

I’m not able to find any wall dimmers made by Aeon or Fibaro. Are you referring to the micro dimmers that go behind existing wall switches?


(Mike Maxwell) #6

Yup… You didn’t specify only those with integrated switches!


(Ash Raj) #7

You’re right, I should have been more clear! Is there any micro-dimmer + wall-switch combination that would be better than a single integrated product? Capacitive touch dimmers would be cool, but idk if that’s even possible.


(Mike Maxwell) #8

Yea, they’re out there, AEON makes one, but only single gang.


(Ash Raj) #9

Very cool looking product! They plan on making a dual-gang version, but I wouldn’t be able to use it unless there is a micro-dimmer that supports fan speed control.

Are there any “Decora” style capacitive dimmers?


(Ken) #10

They aren’t capacitive, but we love our Lutron Maestro dimmers, fan controls and timers. I wonder how those micro switches would interact with them. Would love to integrate them into st.


(Ash Raj) #11

I’m a big fan of Lutron’s dimmers and remotes, but I had to take them out when I switched from Wink to SmartThings. I never thought about using micro-dimmers with these products before. Correct me if I’m wrong @Mike_Maxwell, but I think micro-dimmers only work with momentary buttons and switches, not other dimmers.

If this actually works, I would probably go with Lutron’s GRAFIK T— it’s clearly the best dimmer on the market. You can select any brightness with a single touch and it’s capacitive!

It’s funny, the high-ups at ST (@Alex Hawkinson, @Ben Edwards, and David Eun) have Lutron dimmers in their homes, so they can’t use their own product to control them. I imagine someone there is working on Lutron support, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.


(Mike Maxwell) #12

Yea, Lutron’s stuff is way nice. Nope can’t use a aeon or another micro with these bad boys…


(Ken) #13

@Mike_Maxwell, that’s what I was afraid of. Unfortunately the wife is not willing to give up the maestros for anything that will integrate with st.


(Ash Raj) #14

I haven’t found anyone who has tried this yet, but in theory you can control the Maestros from Lutron’s Smart Bridge Pro — control the Smart Bridge from Logitech’s Harmony Home — and control Harmony from SmartThings.

Else, some of Cooper’s Z-Wave dimmers might have a higher WAF since they look pretty similar to Maestros:


(Alex) #15

This setup is doomed to fail, you know that, right?


(Ash Raj) #16

It’s certainly not something I would do myself if that answers your question :stuck_out_tongue:. Too expensive, too many things that could go wrong, and (I imagine) too much latency. I’m not saying it’s a good solution—just that it’s possible.


(Gary D) #17

Wouldn’t it be less expensive, and much more reliable, to just hire a full time person to stand next to a basic (non-smart) switch with a mobile phone in hand? Then you could just send a text when you want the light level changed.


(Ash Raj) #18

LOL :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


(Bobby) #19

Why did I not see your post back in April, when I started my DIY project? Well, I can answer to that question myself. I probably would not have listened to you then either. Have my home set up pretty much like Ashwin mentioned. Lutron, harmony, hue add Wink plus ST and my nightmares won’t stop. Something breaks every day. Piece of advice for those crazies out there like me, If you think you can make it work, you better have lots of time and money becase it will take you several months before you realize that Alex is right!


(Ash Raj) #20

With your gear, just wait for HomeKit. Lutron’s new hub has HomeKit support, Hue is getting HomeKit support in the Fall, and SmartThings said Hub v2 will also support HomeKit (but maybe not at launch). By the end of the year you should be able to control all of those things from the same app.

Wink (and other Quirky stuff) has always been slow and unreliable for me — I just gave up on their platform.