Smart light switches replace your existing on-the-wall switches with ones that provide “smart” features, such as voice control, trigger and scheduling options. As they replace your existing switches, you’ll want to be confident working with electricity or as we recommend – calling an electrician.
If replacing every-single-light in your home sounds tiring and expensive, then smart light switches are an excellent choice for you.
You can also find switches with in-built motion and light sensors, which adds to the quality of life improvements smart lights bring to your home. If you’re after switch recommendations, give our in-depth guide on smart lighting a read.
Aside from the fact they’ll provide you with more ways to control the lights in your home, they also have a few additional added benefits.
* not all smart light switches can dim the lights
The first point on this list can’t be stressed enough, replacing every light in your home with smart lights adds up quickly, in terms of time and money. If controlling the lights in your home is something you want to do, but don’t want to spend a small fortune doing, smart switches are a great alternative.
Likewise, being able to control your lights in more than one way is what really makes them a standout technology. For instance, it’s much quicker and simpler to say a single voice command to turn off all the lights in your home, than to physically go around and turn them off.
Also, it’s nice to have lights turn on when you enter the room. Some models are also capable of dimming the lights at set times, so no more bright lights waking you up when you visit the bathroom at midnight.
Just like smart lights, switches offer similar ways to control the lighting in your home. The biggest difference between smart light switches and bulbs is the ability to control individual lights.
This might not be an issue for you, with your current light switches working perfectly well – but lack the smart features you’re looking to introduce into your home.
Now you have multiple ways to control your lights, how and when is totally customisable to your home situation, for example people with pets might want to forgo motion sensors. By no means do you have to use every control option available, with a lot of people tending to stick to a few, such as using the physical switch and voice commands.
When deciding which switch to buy it’s important to understand the different types and features you’ll come across. To help out, we’ve listed the most important and common ones to look out for.
When it comes to light switches, like most products it’s best to do a bit of research before jumping in. Here’s some of the different parts that you should look for before making a purchase.
|Physical Control Type
|Button, Flip or Dial
|Neutral Wire Support
|Some models require this, make sure you check
|If the lights in your room can be controlled with 2 or more different switches
|Can vary by a fair amount, most are “standard” size
Once you know what type of switch you want, here’s some of the features you should also be look for.
Additional features include geofencing, have your lights turn on as you approach your house. Some switches also include a night mode – enabling you to set a brightness level based on the time of day (so you don’t blind yourself at night when going to the bathroom).
We really like switches with in-built motion sensors, as nothing really feels as futuristic as walking into a room and having the lights come on automatically, it honestly is a benefit we didn’t think much of until we had it.
Similar to smart lights, switches will either connect directly to your WiFi or to a hub – with the advantage of WiFi coming from the fact you don’t need an extra device (hub).
However, the more WiFi devices in your home the greater chance of interference, so if you’re going to install multiple smart switches, we’d recommend looking into ones that connect to a hub – which utilises a different kind of wireless connection (Zigbee/Z-wave/Bluetooth) that doesn’t interfere with WiFi.
This topic is quite large, so we’ll create a separate article on this.
Using your voice to control your lights isn’t a gimmick anymore, it can come in very handy when you know what to ask.
Be sure to check the smart switches you choose is compatible with your smart assistant. While some support Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri (HomeKit) others might support only one or two.
So, if voice control is important to you, make sure your smart switch also supports your chosen voice assistant.
While they can be very useful, it’s important to also look at some drawbacks you might experience with switches. We want to be as transparent as possible so here are the most common drawbacks people experience with smart switches.
You will also want to make sure the switch you buy can support the amount of power your lights consume in total, for example some switches can only support 450W total (~40-60 LED lights) or 700W (~11 incandescent lights) of power. Not a problem for many homes, and if you have LED lights already, shouldn’t be one you run into.
Following on from our discussion on why you would want to invest in smart switches, we’ve listed some more practical uses below. To give you a bit more of an idea on what they can do and ultimately decide if they’re a technology you want to invest in.
These certainly aren’t the only uses for smart switches, but hopefully give you some idea of what they are capable of. You could even setup some advance logic, such as having your whole house light up when the smoke alarm or home security system is triggered.
We’ll look to expand this list as we gather more feedback on what people are using their switches for in their day-to-day lives.
It can be hard figuring out which switch is right for you, as we talked about earlier there’s a lot of different types, meaning if you’re after one with a set of features and looks – it might not exist or you may need to compromise.
As a rough guide we’d recommend following the below steps before picking a smart switch
Brands to look at first
As for specific models, we can recommend;
Of course these aren’t the only brands out there, but they’re the ones that people keep recommending and for good reason. They’re excellent quality and reliable, which is what you want most in a product.
There’s also an argument to be made around how they’ll increase your home value, which requires a separate article to cover.
Not sure if you should be purchasing smart light switches or smart lights? You’ll find our comparison between switches, bulbs and plugs right here. You might not want to read another lengthy article so here’s our quick input.
Smart Light Bulbs are great if you want to control individual lights. Group lights to get the mood just right. While costly, they offer the most granular control.
Smart Light Switches are the best for anyone wanting to introduce smart features (voice control, automations) to their home without replacing every single light bulb. Switches are also more cost-effective to install (compared to bulbs).
Smart light switches are a great way to automate the lights in your home without spending copious amounts of money, the major drawback to this however is the increased effort required to install them.
Once installed, the benefits and uses of smart switches really shine, we hear a lot of people love having their lights turn on automatically, or on command, without physically touching a switch.
While it’s easier to recommend smart switches to people building a new home, anyone that’s planning to stay in their home for 2+ years will want to look into them as well.
Still not convinced? Look into installing a single switch in your main room (e.g. Kitchen or Lounge Room), to get a feel for how useful they are for you.