When you want to make your lights smarter without changing the bulbs, you’re likely looking at upgrading to a smart light switch. One of the more vital functions of a smart switch is its ability to set your lights on a timer. Lucky for us, there are plenty of smart switches that have built-in timers at the hardware level. Even when they aren’t on the hardware, smart switches typically have the function available through their app. Once set up, you can enjoy greater efficiency and convenience when managing your home lighting. Let’s go through your options for timers on smart lights.
It can be hard enough to upgrade your light switches, so why complicate it with Wi-Fi networks and mobile apps? The Honeywell Econoswitch lets you program a 7-day lighting schedule right from its front LCD interface. This schedule can be repeated on a daily basis, or you can set a unique schedule for every day of the week.
The real beauty with the Econoswitch is that you can punch in your location coordinates and build a lighting routine around your local solar schedule.
Intermatic Ascend Switch
The Intermatic Ascend smart light switch comes with Alexa compatibility, so you can tweak timers and lighting schedules with your voice. If you’re a bit more old-fashioned, the front face has a display that features controls to set up when and where you want your lights to toggle.
Once installed and paired to your home Wi-Fi network, you can manage the schedule from your phone without needing to install a separate hub on your network.
BN-Link In-Wall Timer
BN-Link’s In-Wall timer earns high marks for a blue blacklight that makes it easy to see at night without being overly bright. Though a neutral wire is required for power, a backup battery keeps the switch accessible in case of failure.
This switch is also compatible with three-way wiring setups, which can be helpful for main light sources that have a couple of switches controlling them. As for scheduling, you can pack up to 18 programs into this switch, each with its own 7-day schedule. With all that, you should be set for any contingency.
Kasa Smart Light Switch
For the seamless look, consider the Kasa Smart Light Switch. It needs a neutral wire for power and to be in range of your home’s 2.4-Ghz network, but once it’s in place, you can use Alexa to dim and schedule your lights.
A nice added bonus to the Kasa Smart Light Switch is the away mode, which will flick your lights off and on at random intervals to give outside observers the sense that someone is home and moving around.
MyTouchSmart Digital Timer
The MyTouchSmart digital timer packs a lot of functions into its front face. Eight physical buttons let you navigate a blue LED indicator and set up to 4 programs on each of the buttons — not to mention the manual override controls.
The schedule will run once you’ve flipped on a program. This feature lets you have multiple overlapping schedules that you can activate individually or disable with the press of a button.
Research and buying tips
What is a smart timer?
A smart timer replaces a light switch and connects to your home wireless network, allowing you to adjust the on and off schedule of your lights through your phone, either on the local network or while away.
Some smart timers include physical controls directly on the light switch, so you don’t have to use the mobile app to make adjustments. You’ll often find dimming capabilities included, so lights can turn on or off gradually.
Do smart light switches have timers?
Often enough, smart light switches have timer features built into them. Finding hardware controls for timers is rarer, since it adds quite a bit of complication. That said, some timers can bake that feature into the unit, making it exclusively hardware-controlled so you don’t have to worry about mobile apps or wireless connections. This may be preferable for remote set-ups that lack internet access or for people who haven’t embraced smart home tech.
Can you put a timer on lights?
Smart light switches are among the best ways to put a timer on a light. It requires a bit of work to install, but once done, you can set schedules, employ dimming, and pair with your phone for remote control.
Is it hard to install a smart timer?
Smart timers come with installation instructions, but if you’re uncomfortable working with electronics, you’re better off contacting a licensed electrician to do it for you. In short, you’ll need to turn off the power to the outlet at your breaker, disconnect the old light switch, and attach the new one with the same wiring. Many smart timers will require a common wire, or c-wire, for a consistent power supply. If your light switch doesn’t have one, you’ll need to shop around for an alternative. Check out our guide on how to install a light switch for more details.
Should I get a smart light switch or a smart bulb?
Picking a smart light switch or smart bulb will vary depending on your level of comfort with tech. Some folks prefer having real physical buttons, and the utility added by mobile apps and fancy color options isn’t worth the hassle introduced by smart bulbs. On the other hand, if you’re tech-savvy and comfortable using apps, then smart bulbs may be a more worthwhile investment. There can be steep cost differences between the two solutions, but again, that varies based on model. You can have some very cheap smart bulbs and some very expensive smart switches, and vice versa.
Hopefully, that provides all the guidance you need to pick and install smart timer switches in your home. Remember, though these are great for lights, the switches can be applied to a wide range of appliances. The outlet connected to your switch can work with any number of different home appliances, so get creative with your set-up!
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