Light Up Your Home the Smart Way With the Best Smart Light Switch | IGN

Smart light switches are perhaps the underdogs of the smart home revolution. With the best smart bulbs changing colors, dimming, and generally doing much more than regular light switches, they’ve become almost an afterthought to many smart home aficionados.

However, these smart light switches still have an important place in the budget smart home market. After all, not everyone is prepared to spend ~$30 on each smart bulb. Smart switches offer a simpler way of adding light fixtures to your smart home. They also make for the best smart lighting solution for users who don’t want to manage dozens of IoT devices. These are the best smart light switches you can buy now.

TL;DR – These are the Best Smart Light Switches:

1. Lutron Caséta Smart Home Dimmer Switch

Best Smart Light Switch

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Switch type: 3-way ● Smart assistant compatible: Yes ● Hub required: No ● Professional installation: No

The Lutron Caséta Smart Home Dimmer Switch may be among the more expensive smart light switches out there, but you’re paying for premium quality and service here. This smart lighting solution is more than just a dimmer switch; it also boasts control flexibility as well as quite a roster of features.

In addition to Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant compatibility for hands-free control, you can also control it via Lutron’s Pico smart remote and the mobile app. And, much like the top smart light bulbs, it offers features like lighting scenes, lighting schedules and routines, geofencing, and Smart Away technology, which makes it look like you’re home even when away. With the use of a hub, one Caséta smart light switch can control multiple bulbs at the same time.

This dimmer switch works with your existing wiring as well as your LED (dimmable), CFL (dimmable), incandescent and halogen light bulbs, which saves you money. In fact, it works best with non-smart light bulbs. What else is money-saving? This unit is easy to install and Lutron even has instructional videos that take you through the step-by-step process. And, if the video isn’t enough, the company’s customer service is top-notch.

2. Kasa Smart Light Switch

Best Budget Smart Light Switch

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Switch type: Single pole, one way ● Smart assistant compatible: Yes ● Hub required: No ● Professional installation: No

Just because you’re on the budget doesn’t mean that you can’t smarten up some parts of your home. If Lutron Caséta Smart Home Dimmer Switch’s price tag is a bit out of your budget, then consider the Kasa Smart Light Switch. Kasa products are made by TP-Link, so you’re guaranteed quality without the extravagant price. It’s even more money saving considering that it works with all standard light switches.

This is a one-way switch, however, so if you have a multi-way switch setup – you have two switches controlling the same light, for example – there are other options out there. Otherwise, this is the most affordable solution if you want the convenience of smart lighting. It even works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana, and comes with its own app for several control options.

It may not have the dimmable option. However, if you’re a creature of habit, it offers scenes, schedules, timers and Away Mode, all of which you can set-up on the app. For $20 a pop, that’s not too bad a deal.

3. Philips Hue Smart Dimmer

Best Smart Light Switch for Philips Hue Users

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Switch type: Wireless ● Smart assistant compatible: Yes ● Hub required: No for up to 10 lights ● Professional installation: No

If you’re a Philips Hue smart lights convert – very few smart home owners aren’t – then adding the Philips Hue Smart Dimmer switch just sweetens the pot. This wall-mounted light switch also moonlights as a wireless remote control for your lights, which you can pop it off its mount and place it within arms reach.

What’s great about this switch is that it requires no wired installation at all; you simply need to connect it to the Hue app, your Hue light bulbs and the Hue hub, if you’ve got one. Apart from being effortless to install, it also offers a convenient alternative to controlling your lights that’s faster than unlocking your phone and opening the app. Or trying to remember the name of the light bulb or group of lights you want Alexa to switch off.The Philips Hue Smart Dimmer simply gives you that quick control option for your smart lights, if you need to dim the lights, switch between four of your favorite scenes, and toggle them on/off.

4. Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 Wall Dimmer Switch

Best for Z-wave smart home appliance users

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Switch type: 3-way, 4-way, 5-way ● Smart assistant compatible: Alexa, only with hub ● Hub required: Yes ● Professional installation: Recommended

Zooz’s dimmer switch is a bit more involved than the other smart light switches on this list, but that’s because it boasts a few other skills that most smart light switches don’t offer. If you have a multi-point control setup at home, this is the light switch for you. The Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 Wall Dimmer Switch will work with any 3-way, 4-way or 5-way setup, as well as the existing on/off switches in that setup.

It also uses the Z-Wave protocol, which utilizes low-energy radio waves to communicate, with other Z-Wave smart devices. It acts like a repeater, which means that it can extend your Z-Wave network’s range to the next room. Though this also means that it needs a certified Z-Wave hub to connect with Alexa.

Its other features include on/off notifications on your phone whenever someone taps the switch, a hacker-proof security protocol, and an optimized dimmer designed to eliminate dimmer-related flickering. Best of all, it uses what Zooz calls its Smart Tap technology, which lets users tap the switch to control their lights – like double tapping for full brightness.

5. Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch

Best affordable dimmer

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Switch type: Single pole ● Smart assistant compatible: Yes ● Hub required: No ● Professional installation: No

Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch might be $10 more than its switch version, you get the dimmer function and a whole lot more. Just like its cheaper counterpart, it works with smart assistants as well as the Kasa app for multi-control flexibility. Through the app, it also lets you set scenes, schedule lighting routines and keep intruders away with its Away Mode.

However, it also offers that dimmer function that lets you control your lights’ brightness to fit the right mood or ambience as well as set your lighting to fade so your lights gradually and gently turn off to help you fall asleep. Finally, it has the additional brightness indicator to serve as a visual guide.

What’s more, this dimmer switch is just as easy to install as its non-dimmable version, which means you don’t have to hire professional help to get it working.

6. WeMo 3-Way Light Switch

Best affordable 3-way switch

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Switch type: 3-way ● Smart assistant compatible: Yes ● Hub required: No ● Professional installation: No

If you’re looking for something that’s simpler to install than the Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 Wall Dimmer Switch, then the WeMo 3-Way Light Switch is a terrific solution for your 3-way setup. This not only works perfectly with smart assistants without the use of a hub, but its installation is easy enough to avoid hiring an electrician. You simply need to watch the instructional video the company provides, and follow the steps.

Whether it’s through voice, the physical switch or WeMo’s app, there’s flexibility in its controls as well. You can set lighting schedules, use Away Mode, and even group as well as control multiple WeMo lights (and ceiling fans). Best yet, because of its 3-way feature, it’s perfect for any 3-way setups you have in your home, just as it is with single pole setups.

It’s a bit more expensive than the Zooz light switch, but it’s not a bad price to pay for convenience.

7. Lutron Caséta Smart Home Plug-in Lamp Dimmer

Best for lamps

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Switch type: 3-way ● Smart assistant compatible: Yes ● Hub required: Smart bridge ● Professional installation: No

Just because you have lighting fixtures at home that are set up so that they cannot accommodate a smart light bulb or you’re renting an apartment that doesn’t allow modifications, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the benefits of smart home lighting devices. For those with really limited ways to upgrade their homes, the Lutron Caséta Smart Home Plug-in Lamp Dimmer might be the best solution.

This smart light switch has most of the features that its wall dimmer switch counterpart offers, including setting up schedules and routines, Smart Away, working with smart assistants and speakers, and selecting personalized lighting scenes. It can also replace existing 3 way switches and it works with Lutron’s Pico remote.

The biggest differences here are that this model is a like a smart plug for made specifically for lamps around your house, and it does require a smart bridge. However, it is cheaper than its in-wall counterpart, and allows you to control up to 2 plug-in lamps.

Choosing the best smart light switch for your home

If you haven’t done so before, don’t worry. Finding the best smart light switch for your home, whether you have your own house or you’re renting an apartment, isn’t a hard task best left to professionals. In fact, most of the smart light switches on the market are surprisingly effortless to set up, so you won’t need an electrician to help you, and they’re even easier to use.

However, as with all electronic products, you need to figure out a few things first before you scour the web for the most ideal light switch for you. Besides knowing what your budget is – these smart solutions can set you back anywhere from $20 to $80 – and how many you’ll need, there are a couple of other things you must know.

Type of switch

Like their traditional counterparts, a smart light switch can either be a single pole or 3-/4-/5-way switch. Without getting deep into the technical aspect, this simply means that it either has sole control of one light or group of lights or it shares that responsibility with another three-way switch.

A common three-way switch setup in homes is when you’ve got a switch at the bottom of the stairs and another at the top of the stairs, and both control the same lighting for the first floor hallway. Though quite a few 3-way smart light switches can function as a single pole switch, you need to figure out what kind of switch you’re trying to replace, before you look at any smart options.

Smart assistant connectivity

Some smart light switches require a hub or a bridge to work with smart assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant. Surprisingly, this connectivity isn’t readily available in a small number of smart switches. If voice control is particularly important to you, make sure you choose one that won’t make you go through hoops to have this functionality.

Smart bulbs

If you already have smart bulbs installed at home, and you’re planning on connecting them to a smart light switch, make sure that they are fully compatible to avoid issues. Some smart light switches actually work better with regular light bulbs, while a few others aren’t compatible at all with any smart light bulbs. On the other hand, the top smart light bulb manufacturers make their own smart light switches that work perfectly with their light bulbs.

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Michelle Rae Uy is a freelance tech and travel writer, part-time production editor, and a full-time traveler from Los Angeles, California. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles, London and the rest of the world. Follow her on Instagram @straywithRae.
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