If you’ve ever pined for a light switch you can control with your phone, a smart light switch is right for you. Smart light switches are relatively easy to install, but there are hundreds of different switches to choose from, and not everyone gets the differences between the various models and what they can do.
In this piece, we break down a number of smart light switch options, including 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 a
is 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 commands 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
in order to use all the features with any Lutron products, including the switch. You can purchase
, 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 will calibrate itself to 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.
The WeMo app offers even more, 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
The C by GE is a powerful amalgam of minimalist design and easy performance. The plate’s casual design isn’t obtrusive or distracting, but is in fact pleasant to look at. Controls are simple touch and drag gestures, and the tiny rings of lights makes for an effective (but not overbearing) nightlight. 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 incredibly adaptive: 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 seek minimalist designs, or those who like TP-Link’s devices and want to keep all their devices linked and integrated. 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. With the iDevices Instinct, a smart light switch with built-in Alexa functionality, that’s precisely what you get. Since Alexa is behind the device, 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 does it all. There’s also a blue ring on the switch itself to indicate Alexa’s responses and other functions. The ring also doubles as a handy night light.
What we like about the iDevices Instinct is that it offers additional sensors in the package. For example, light and motion sensors can kick your lights on automatically at certain times of day (or when someone walks by). You can also receive notifications when events happen — like motion detection — even if you’re not home. In short, the Instinct can do double duty as a security system and voice assistant.