You can easily add smart functionality to floor or table lamps by using a simple smart plug, or a smart lightbulb like the Philips Hue. Smart light switches can offer even more flexibility, however, and are a great way to add voice or app-based control to lighting throughout your home. They require a bit more work to install, and the expense of an electrician if you’re not comfortable doing so yourself, but they can offer a ton of convenience and peace of mind—not to mention some potential energy savings.
What to Consider
Since smart light switches need to be hardwired and—for many—professionally installed, you’ll want to make sure that you get the right ones for your needs the first time around.
A key consideration is to choose light switches that will work seamlessly with your smart platform of choice, be it Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit. If you have other devices that rely on a specialized smart home platform like Z-Wave or ZigBee, you’ll want to make sure you pick a corresponding light switch to get the most out of your system.
It’s also important to ensure the switch you choose will work with your home wiring. Many smart light switches require what’s known as a neutral wire, which some older homes may not have. Some smart light switches may also be too big to fit in smaller switch boxes, which can also be common in older homes. As with anything involving home wiring, if you’re not sure, it’s always best to check with an electrician first.
How We Chose
To pick the products highlighted here, we turned to trusted sources like Wirecutter, TechHive, Tom’s Guide, and others that have tested and reviewed a wide range of smart light switches. We also took countless online customer reviews into account, focusing on products that are consistently rated at least four out of five stars or higher.
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Simple and Affordable
Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch
TP-Link’s Kasa HS220 smart dimer is a top pick of Wirecutter and consistently a best-seller on Amazon, both due largely to its combination of simplicity and affordability, making it a particularly good option if you’re looking to install a bunch of them throughout your home.
That’s not to say the switch is short on features, however—it’ll work with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and give you plenty of scheduling, timer, and customization options.
TechHive, however, does note in its review that the wall plate included with the switch is a tad on the large side, and some customer reviews have complained that the plate is difficult to remove and a bit tricky to align properly (although the switch itself will also fit in any other standard wall plate).
- Simple operation
- Clean, streamlined appearance
- Cover plate can be tricky to remove
Expandable Starter Kit
Lutron Caseta Smart Start Kit
If you have an older home with wiring that doesn’t include a neutral wire, your smart light switch options are more limited but you’re not entirely out of luck.
Lutron’s Caseta light switches rely on a separate hub to get around the neutral wire requirement, which can also help simplify the installation and improve reliability. iMore also singles out the Caseta as a particularly good option for anyone using Apple’s HomeKit for their smart home needs, while TechHive found the remote that comes with the starter kit to be a welcome addition.
- Hub system is easy to set up and expand
- Doesn’t require a neutral wire
- Comes with remote control
- Pricier than some other options
Packed with Features
GE C-Start Smart Switch Motion Sensing Dimmer
If you’re looking for a little more than voice- or app-based controls from your smart light switch, GE’s C-Start Smart Switch is a great option. It offers the usual Alexa and Google Assistant integration, but adds built-in motion and ambient light sensors that can automatically turn on the lights when you walk in a room or adjust the lighting based on natural light.
Tom’s Guide was also impressed with the switch’s range of features, although it wasn’t as big a fan of the smartphone app to manage all of them, a complaint that has been echoed by some customer reviews as well.
- Motion and ambient light sensors
- Loads of features and customization options
Built-In Smart Speaker
Leviton Decora Smart Voice Dimmer
A key feature of most smart light switches is voice control, but that usually involves using a separate device, be it your phone or a smart speaker. This switch from Leviton goes one big step further, however, and packs a built-in microphone and speaker that can eliminate the need for an Amazon Echo or Google Nest.
You will pay a premium for that convenience, however, and as TechHive notes in its review, the built-in speaker is unsurprisingly lacking in sound quality if you intend to use it to listen to a lot of music or podcasts.
- Works without a phone or smart speaker
- No hub required
- Built-in speaker won’t cut it for music listening
- Extra features come at added cost
No Wiring Required
Philips Hue Smart Dimmer
Philips Hue smart light bulbs are a convenient way of getting around the need for a smart light switch, but the company does also offer some switches of its own for those looking for a more complete smart home system.
Since it relies on Philips’s wireless Hue bulbs, the switch itself isn’t actually wired to anything, which means installation is as simple as sticking the switch on a wall. One switch can control up to 10 light bulbs, or you can add a Hue Bridge to control up to 50—other accessories like a motion sensor can also add additional functionality.
Just keep in mind that the cost of Hue bulbs can add up if you’re putting them throughout your home.
- Simple installation and setup
- Accessories offer easy expansion
- Cost of Hue bulbs can add up
For Smart Hub Users
GE Enbrighten In-Wall Z-Wave Smart Dimmer
While many smart lighting systems now simply rely on Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, a smart home hub like the Wink Hub or Samsung’s SmartThings can offer better reliability and even more functionality if you have a lot of different smart devices.
GE’s Enbrighten Smart Dimmer gets high marks from Wirecutter and will work with any hub based on the Z-Wave platform, which can in turn let you control the switch with Alexa, Google Assistant or your smart hub’s app. Unlike many smart light switches, which are only available in white, the Enbrighten comes in a range of different colors to suit any décor.
- Smart hub-based system offers better reliability and flexibility
- Available in a number of different colors
- Won’t work without a hub
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