Expert advice on smart light switches to put you at ease before you buy or install any
Table of Contents
What is a Smart Switch?
A Smart Switch is a light switch that looks somewhat like a regular switch; however, they have several advanced features that help with home automation. These features include smartphone app control, dimming, energy monitoring, scheduling, geofencing, and more. In addition, you can control your smart devices, such as smart bulbs, with home assistants; some examples are Google Home, Amazon Echo, Aeotec, and Apple Home Pod.
Smart Switches and Smart Bulbs are a great solution if you plan to upgrade your house lighting.
Types of smart switches
There are two types of smart switch, one that requires a neutral or “C” wire and one that doesn’t; here’s how Smart Switches with No Neutral wire work?
Replacing every switch in the house with smart switches doesn’t have to be expensive. However, there is a big difference in the pricing of smart switches; it’s worth noting that the most costly device from a well-known manufacturer may not provide more benefits for you than a cheaper device from an unknown vendor.
Have a look at the Smart Switch Reviews section to see a handful of smart switches; there, you should get an idea of the types available in smart switches. It’s a good idea to check out buyer ratings for features, manufacturers, and pricing on multiple legitimate retail websites to get a feel for which would be best. There is no guarantee that this method is the best way to assess smart devices in general, but at least you can make a more informed decision based on consumer experiences.
Smart Switches Frequently Asked Questions
A smart switch is a programmable wireless switch that provides the same functionality as traditional switches and control and automation of your smart devices. Smart switches connect to a Hub, so you to control your lights and other devices using an app, voice assistant, or pre-programmed automated schedule. In addition, many smart devices, including switches, have a feature called geofencing; a geofence is a virtual perimeter that uses your phone’s location data to trigger lights and other smart devices automatically; geofencing detects when you enter or leave that perimeter and acts according to its programming.
You will generally take these three steps no matter who manufactured the switch:
- Put your smart switch into discovery mode.
- Connect your mobile device to the smart switch
- Connect your smart switch to your wireless internet often via a Hub using the manufacturer’s app.
Each manufacturer has an app for you to download onto whichever device you choose for controlling your switches, such as a smartphone or tablet. Once you’ve downloaded the app, connecting it to your Wi-Fi should be straight; most manufacturers have websites with tutorials to guide you through the process.
Though an upfront cost is associated with installing smart switches, you get the benefit of automation, which saves you time and money in the long run. Smart switches are not just a switch; they can also be part of your network, repeating (spreading) your home’s Wi-Fi signal around your home and increasing its reliability. In addition, most smart switches go into a type of hibernation between use, so Smart switches don’t use a lot of energy; in fact, it would be unnoticeable on your utility bill.
Most smart switches are compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri (or some combination of the three), enabling voice commands and further integration with your smart home. Lutron has a Compatibility Tool that you can use to find out which light bulbs are compatible with its switches; many manufacturers have tools like this. In addition, the Matter protocol released in late 2022 makes connectivity between all devices easier, even if they are from different manufacturers using different wireless protocols.
Upgrading your current switches to smart switches will mean there is a very small power draw; this is so they can communicate with light bulbs and other smart devices in your house and continue to be remotely controlled.
This constant and necessary power draw is so minimal you wouldn’t notice it on your energy bills.
The key takeaway about Smart Switch
Smart switches are one of the first things people add to their homes along with smart bulbs; time spent exploring the many smart bulb options is time well spent. Don’t head out to the stores and collect up cool stuff, then get it all home to find that the devices are not fit for purpose. Use this website and others to find out as much information as possible, plan how you would like your smart home to be, then go for it!!
See all my articles about Smart Light Switches
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