Zigbee Smart Lights and how to switch them

Aloha, I am building a new home in Hawaii-USA, and am trying to sort out which wall switches will work best for me. I want them to turn my lights off/on even if there is an interruption to my Wifi, or SmartThings hub.

What I have already installed:
I have a large number of the SYLVANIA Smart+ Full Color Downlight LED Lamp RT56, bulbs that run Zigbee. I bought them before I really made my plan, so I need to work with them at this point. (bit.ly/3hyQMXy)

I need to figure out the best way to switch them in a normal wall switch style. I have the following scenarios:

  • Single Pole Switches / Dimmers
  • 3 Way Switches
  • 4 Way Switches
  • Fan Controllers

I have been considering the following switches:

  • [Single pole switch] GE Zigbee Smart Switch In-Wall (amzn.to/2OXRC43)
  • [Single pole dimmer] Enbrighten Zigbee Smart Light Dimmer (amzn.to/2BBaZNi)
  • [3 way] GE Enbrighten Add-On Switch (amzn.to/302bhX1)
  • [4 way] GE Enbrighten Add-On Switch (amzn.to/302bhX1)
  • [Fan Controller] Universal Smart Wi-Fi 4-Speed Ceiling Fan Remote (thd.co/3jIdmPt)

Here are some of my questions:

  1. Do my switches need to be Zigbee? Or can they be Zwave, or Wifi?
  2. Which switches will react the quickest? I would hate to have a long delay.
  3. Will smart switches allow for the lights to turn off/on even when the smartthings hub or the internet is down?
  4. Are there some smart switches available that are better than the ones I have listed?

Sounds like an exciting project! Congratulations on the new house. :sunglasses:

First things first: you do not want to use any smart switch which cuts the current to your smart bulb. If both are dimmers, you can burn out either the switch or the bulb. But even if the switch is just an on/off switch, each time the power is restored to the smart bulb there is an inrush current which overtime can significantly shorten the life of what are already expensive bulbs. Also, while the current is cut, the bulb cannot hear the next “on“ command.

So, if the switch is going to cut the current, then you want to use a smart switch with dumb bulbs.

So what do you use with smart bulbs? There are basically two choices.

  1. You can either use a battery operated or battery free switch specifically designed for smart bulbs. These will either be switch covers that fit over the top of the existing dumb switch or a switch which can go anywhere on the wall.

  2. Or you can use a smart switch which is connected to the mains but does not control the current branch to the bulbs themselves.

In both cases, the switch send a message to the hub and the hub sends a message to the Bulb, which adjusts the current for itself.

You can find all of these discussed in the short FAQ on switches and hue bulbs. Even though it says hue in the topIc title, it applies to all brands of smart bulbs. (The topic title is a clickable link)

However, most of those options just won’t work unless your smartthings hub is working. But as long as the hub is working, they can work even if your Internet is out as long as both the switch and the bulbs are using a local DTH. So just keep that in mind.

BTW, the Enbrighten add on switches are not actually smart. They are dumb switches that use a physical traveler wire to the smart master. That’s why the product description says “ NOT A STANDALONE SWITCH.” So you can’t use those at all for your use case unless they are just the auxiliary to a separate smart master. But take a look at that FAQ, it will give you a better idea of what you will be looking for. :sunglasses:


Thanks for your reply. I appreciate the detail.

  1. How can I tell if my switch and my bulbs are running on the local DTH? vs the cloud?

It will be marked in the web interface to your SmartThings account, which is called the IDE.

You can sign in using the universal sign on at:

The URL: https://account.smartthings.com

That will work no matter which “cloud shard“ your account is on.

From there you can see the details of all of your devices. :sunglasses:

If these are devices that you have not purchased yet, you just have to ask in the forum and somebody should know.

Thank you. The more I learn about switching smart bulbs, the more I am leaning on just using wireless relays like the Shelly 1. Have you ever tried that?


Unfortunately the inline modules have exactly the same issues as the smart switches when it comes to combining them with smart bulbs.

  1. if they control the current to the bulb, you get the same inrush current issue which can damage the bulbs.

  2. if they are dimmers instead of just on/off relays, you run into the same sync issue and again can burn out the module, the bulb, or both.

  3. if they do NOT control the current to the bulbs, then your home automation system must be operational or the switch won’t work.

Good quality modules with safety certifications like Aeotec, Fibaro, Sonoff, and Gledopto are all very popular additions to a SmartThings-based setup, but just like The regular smart switches you listed in your first post are best suited to control of dumb bulbs.