We’ve come a long way since “the clapper,” haven’t we? Now you can shop for smart light switches that give you even more control over lighting in your home. But not everyone understands how these new smart light switches work.
For that matter, not everyone gets the differences between the various models and what these new features mean. In this article, we discuss DIY setups, connectivity with Alexa or Apple HomeKit, and WI-FI-ready dimming options.
Philips Hue Dimmer
Already got a set of Philips Hue bulbs? Make them even more powerful with the Philips Hue Dimmer, which can be used wirelessly as a remote control or attached to your wall as a switch. The neat thing about this dimmer is that there’s no installation process, unless you count peeling off the adhesive covering. Setup is so easy that all you have to do is turn on the lights where your Philips Hue bulbs are installed, then immediately start using the Dimmer. There’s absolutely no interference between the Dimmer and your traditional wall switch.
With the Philips Hue Dimmer, you can get creative with your lighting and play around with all the interesting controls that it offers. You can also set schedules that let your home know exactly when you want to turn the lights on or off. Got Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit? You can control the lights with voice commands. Keep in mind that ais required for anyone who uses a Philips Hue lighting system.
Leviton Decora smart wall switch
The no-frills design of the Leviton Decora smart wall switch makes it perfect for someone who is just beginning the process of upgrading their home to “smart” status. The large paddle switch is no-nonsense and straightforward, and the small toggle on the right-hand side makes it easy to adjust the brightness in increments. Thanks to a row of LEDs, you’ll know how much dimmer or brighter you can go. There’s also a small LED on the bottom of the switch, so you’ll be able to find it in the dark — although it’s not so bright as to disturb your sleep.
Got a large room where you want to add a smart light switch? This one by Leviton supports three-way switches, and since it connects straight to your Wi-Fi, you won’t need a bridge. As for the compatible app, you can use it to set how long the dimming LEDs and bottom LED (the one that stays on in the dark) remain on. You can also create schedules for when the lights should automatically turn off or on, meaning you can even use your lighting to wake you up in the morning. Integrate this Leviton switch with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or IFTTT for a smarter, more connected home.
Lutron Caseta wireless dimmer
As far as smart lighting systems go, this one by Lutron is one of the easiest to install and most feature-heavy on the market. This smart light switch doesn’t require a neutral wire. Plus, it offers geofencing capabilities, which means your lights will automatically turn on when you arrive home and turn off when you leave. You can also schedule them to turn on or off by themselves at certain times of the day. The switch itself is also highly functional, with different buttons indicating exactly what your options are, whether you want to turn out the lights or adjust the brightness. Want to use voice command to control the lights? Integrate the Lutron switch with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to get started.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to get the Lutron Smart Bridge in order to use all the features with any Lutron products, including the switch. You can purchase a starter kit, which includes the bridge and a remote control. The bridge must be plugged into your home’s router in order for you to control the lights from your electronic device, such as a smartphone.
WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer
Looking for a dimmer that doesn’t require you to buy a whole new set of bulbs for the house? This one by WeMo calibrates to integrate with any type of light bulb. The switch also has some interesting design touches that place it ahead of the competition. For example, you can use a finger to control the brightness by running it along the gutter in the center of the switch. Whatever light the switch is associated with will then dim or brighten accordingly. The switch also offers a night mode that gives you just enough lighting to find the bathroom in the middle of the night — without blinding yourself with ultra-bright lights when you’re half asleep.
The WeMo app also offers extensive features, including the ability to review your home’s electricity consumption and control multiple WeMo devices. The switch is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, and HomeKit. Plus, you don’t need a hub, so you can get your smart light switches set up for a low upfront cost.
GE C-Start Smart Switch
We especially like the design of this switch, which makes it easy to casually use by touch while also providing a nice little halo of light that can function as a nightlight or just help you find the switch in the dark. Scheduling and remote control are handled by the GE C App, but the switch is also compatible with voice commands via Google Assistant or Alexa, giving you many different ways to control it, including options to dim. On its own, the switch is also very smart: It can automatically dim or brighten lights based on the natural light that it detects in the space or if it senses movement in the area.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch
As part of the Kasa family of smart devices, this light switch allows for detailed schedule settings via the Kasa Smart app. It’s a simpler switch than some on our list, but an excellent pick for those who want a minimalistic model or those who like TP-Link’s devices and want to keep it all in the family. It also has great voice control options, offering compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Cortana. The Kasa app has a walk-through specifically designed to help homeowners install this switch themselves, which is really something that more smart switches should offer.
There’s nothing better than having a virtual assistant at your disposal, and that’s exactly what you can expect with the iDevices Instinct, a smart light switch with built-in Alexa functionality and much more. Since it’s powered by Alexa, it essentially functions like any other smart speaker using Alexa. From being able to turn on/off various lights connected to the Amazon Alexa ecosystem to checking up on your future calendar appointments, the Instinct has you covered. There’s also a blue ring on the switch itself to indicate Alexa’s responses and other functions, which also doubles as a handy night light.
What sets the iDevices Instinct apart is that it also incorporates a couple more sensors into its package. Particularly, there are light and motion sensors that you can leverage to perform functions such as automatically turning on the lights when the sun sets, as well as receiving notifications when you’re away from home and motion is detected. You could say that the Instinct can double as a security system with its motion sensor.
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