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The Best Smart Light Switches for 2021

todayMarch 5, 2021 17

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Do you love the idea of saying, “Alexa, turn off the lights,” and having the lights go off without you getting up from the couch? If so, a smart light switch might just be right for you. Smart light switches allow you to turn your lights on and off using an app on your phone or a voice assistant like Alexa. Relatively easy to install, there are hundreds of different types and brands to choose from. In this piece, we break down our picks for the best smart light switches.

Further reading

Lutron Caseta wireless dimmer

As far as smart lighting systems go, this switch 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 can 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 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 Lutron Smart Bridge in order to use all the features with any Lutron products, including the Caseta. 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

best smart light switches wemo 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 WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer 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 GE C-Start Smart 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, the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch allows for detailed schedule settings via the Kasa Smart app.

The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch is 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.

iDevices Instinct

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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.

Leviton Decora smart wall switch

best smart light switches leviton in-wall

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 the Leviton Decora smart wall switch with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or IFTTT for a smarter, more connected home.

Gosund Smart Light Switch (4-Pack)

If you’re looking to update your home with smart light switches everywhere, it’s best to have them match. This way, you get an aesthetically pleasing look, as the switches all look the same. Having the same switches also makes it easier to control you lights on the same companion app.

Gosund’s four pack of smart light switches is an excellent value, and each switch only costs around 10 bucks. You can outfit your entire home with smart switches for less than the cost of one switch from other brands. They don’t require any hub, and they work with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control. You will need neutral wires to install these switches, and they only work on a 2.4 Ghz network (not 5 Ghz), but installation isn’t too bad. These Gosund switches have a surprisingly good build quality too, with anti-surge, fire, and UV plastics, and a high gain antenna.

Research and buying tips

What is a smart light switch?

A typical smart light switch has a regular on/off switch, giving it the ability to turn on and off like a regular switch. But, smart light switches also offer additional benefits because they connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a companion app that allows you to control the switch from a distance. Most smart light switches also allow you to create schedules, scenes, and voice control them using an assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant, which makes them even more convenient.

Do smart light switches need a hub?

Most modern smart light switches don’t require a hub, but some switches need a hub to gain full access to the switch’s features. Hubs are becoming less common, and you can find a number of affordable smart light switches that don’t require a hub.

Can you make a smart light switch?

Yes, there are a number of ways to make your non-smart lights into smart lights. You can make your lights smart using smart bulbs, smart plugs, or using instant products like Switchmate.

Can you dim lights with a smart light switch?

If your smart light switch and bulbs have dimmer capabilities, you’ll be able to dim your lights. However, you won’t be able to dim your lights if your hardware doesn’t support that feature.

Why are smart light switches so expensive?

Some smart light switches are pricier than others, but the cost has greatly reduced as more and more smart light switches have flooded the market. You can find a quality switch for less than $30.

Do smart light switches save you money?

Yes, smart light switches can save you money by helping to reduce energy consumption.

How do you install a smart light switch?

Most people can install a smart light switch in an afternoon. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most smart light switches require a neutral wire for installation. You should have neutral wires if your home was built after the 1980s. If you have an older home, you might need to find a smart light switch that doesn’t require a neutral wire, like the Lutron Caseta Switch.

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