Smart Wall Switch Guide 2017

An important piece of equipment shared in every room in your home that ranges from bathrooms, closets, and rooms is a wall switch. Without this handy device, your home would be dark wherever there isn’t a window. They light up the dark corners of our house and help us brighten up our workspace when we need them. It’s a function that can’t be replaced by any other appliance to the same degree. So why not consider upgrading those neglected old switches you may have and replace them with the best smart wall switch? Why a smart wall switch? Well, let’s get into why a smart switch is right for you.

Here’s a preview of every Smart Wall Switch that will be discussed:

Smart Wall SwitchesAnkuoo NEOGE Z-Wave Smart Switch DimmerGE Z-Wave Smart SwitchInsteon SwitchLincLeviton Vizia RF +15ALutron CasetaTP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light SwitchWion Wi-Fi SwitchWemo Light Switch
Smart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall Switch<Best Smart Wall SwitchBest Smart Wall Switch
Wireless ControlYesYes
Z-Wave
YesYesYes
Z-Wave
YesYesYesYes
Bulb CompatibilityAllAllAllAllAllAllAllAllAll
Wattage LimitN/A500600600 WattsN/A150 LED/CFL
600 Incandescent/ Halogen
600 Incandescent/ Halogen
1000600 - Incandescent
1800 Resistive @120VAC
Dim CapableNoYesNoYesNo - Scene Switch
Yes - Universal dimmer
YesNoNoNo
UL/ETA CertificationYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Smart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall SwitchSmart Wall Switch

As you can see from the table, many of these smart wall switch have different features. Some features are Wi-Fi, long distance control, and dimming. Some of these wall switches are nice, but are not a must. In fact, some features have serious drawbacks that can ruin the experience with the smart wall switch. As such, we’ll talk about these new and exciting features, and what they mean to you.

Why a Smart Wall Switch?

Wondering why not just get smart bulbs? The one reason is that smart bulbs are very expensive. For each bulb, you’re looking at $30+ while a smart wall switch ranges from $30-$50 and can control multiple bulbs at once. Also, if you have more than one smart switch, they can be connected for full control of every light, unlike individual bulbs. This makes it less of a hassle turn on, off or dim your light bulbs

Some smart wall switches can also control ceiling fans, and there are even more expensive ones which can also control the speed of the fan. However, not all of the switches I’ve chosen to be on this list are compatible with ceiling fans, especially the dimmers. If you have a ceiling fan, do not connect it to your dimming switch, as they’re not compatible. You will need two switches, one to dim the lights, and another for the fan itself to work.

Now, the only potential drawback on a few of these smart wall switches is the need for a Smart home hub for some of these, such as the Wink, SmartThings, etc. Without these, the switches would become dumb switches, not smart switches. There is an exception of a few shining products. Luckily, these things are not super expensive, and can also be used to interconnect smart wall outlets and smart appliances, to give you full automation of your house.

Dimming

Smart wall switch

Some switches have lights for Indicators of dimming levels.

A few of these smart wall switches are not simple on/off switches. They come with an extra feature, called dimming, which many enjoy in bedrooms. What these smart wall switches allow you to do is lower the brightness of bulbs, while still keeping the bulbs on and their color (2000K etc). Dimming is useful when you do not want it to be extremely bright in a room, but still have light to see. Now, while some of you may argue that you should get lower lumen lights, it isn’t that simple. While you at one moment may want it bright to look for something, you may lower the brightness to relax, play games or read. Dimming is just that, convenience for different situations. After all, constantly changing the lights for a different atmosphere is annoying and tiring.

Timing

Another aspect which is becoming more apparent in today’s new smart wall switches is timers. Timers are just what they sound like, allowing you to preset timers to turn on or off lights in a room. If you’re a busy person, they’ll come in handy as you can use them to preset lights, fans and sometimes even A/C units. By doing this, you can come home to a fresh or warm home ready for you to take a much-needed break. Another neat feature of smart wall switches is setting daily timers for your porch lights, so you come back home to a well light driveway. This is my favorite feature as well, as the timers can offset weak minded robbers and making them think someone is home.

All in all, Timers are mostly convenience aspects on smart wall switches that are for the most part, secondary. But, for those of you interested, keep this in mind, as some switches on our list support this feature, and others do not.

Z-Wave

Now, here’s where some switches start getting separated. A lot of smart wall switches on our list boast Z-Wave or Wi-fi connectivity, but what’s the difference between them? And what is Z-Wave anyways?

Smart wall switch

The official Z-Wave Logo.

Z-Wave is a wireless connection protocol widely used in home automation products from HVACs, security systems, and many other automated home appliances, with smart wall switches also being one of them. Due to their wide use in the industry, Z-Wave appliances have a hold on the industry and are capable of being connected to one Z-wave box. This command center allows you, the user, to send actions to any and every device connected. Best of all, each device is able to talk to each other and can even jump signals from device to device. This means that while you’re too far away from device 5, device 1, which is right next to you, can send the signal to device 2 and onwards until it reaches device 5.

The Main drawback to these smart wall switches is the need of a hub in order to connect to your phone. Without this hub, the switch lacks this key functionality and simply becomes an overpriced switch.

Wifi

Smart wall switch

The Wi-fi signal we all know.

Wi-fi is the wireless connection protocol we all used to hook our phones, laptops and tablets to the internet. Some of these smart wall switches connect directly to your Wi-fi and hooking up to the internet. This is unlike Z-Wave products which require a special unit and is more costly due to this. By using the modem as the center unit, every application connected can be accessed from not only within Wi-fi range but from outside it as well.

Please keep in mind, that every Wi-fi smart wall switch here is only connectable to 2.4GHz Wi-fi frequency, not 5GHz. Many 5GHz modems do support 2.4GHz Wi-fi though, so please see your modem settings or consult your ISP for further questions if it is not enabled. Now, while many say you must stay on 2.4GHz to access your smart wall switch, this is not always true. Most modern modems have one subnet, and any action sent to the modem will be received and sent to any device, regardless of which frequency it’s on. Because of their ease of use and no need for a hub, I prefer Wi-fi over Z-wave.

Something to note: In order to control both types of protocols at once, you will need a hub, such as Samsung’s Smartthings. With the hub, you’ll have complete control regardless of protocol

Hubs

Smart wall switch

Samsung SmartThings, a popular Smart home Hub.

Some of these smart wall switches, particularly the Z-Wave units, will need a Smart home Hub to control wirelessly. Without it, they would be fancy, regular switches. The good thing though, is that hubs are not just for smart switches, but can also be paired with smart wall outlets or smart appliances such as TVs, refrigerators, and voice recognition applications such as Amazon Alexa. Wi-fi products do NOT need one to control wirelessly, but it’s a nice product to get and allows you to connect them together and set schedules. That is if the product doesn’t already have the feature.

If you’re looking for a device to make your house automated or easier to manage, this is something worth investing into. It’s mainly for convenience, making it easier to manage your household appliances, and keep track of anything on and its wattage consumption.

Smart Wall Switches

With all the other things out of the way, it’s safe to say we can start talking about the smart wall switches now. Also, they’re in alphabetical order, and not tiered by best/worst.

Please keep this in mind: ALL smart wall switches require neutral wires (white cable). If you do not have one, do NOT install the smart switch. There is no other way around this, as you either don’t install it or you contact a professional electrician.

 

Ankuoo NEO Smart Wall Switch

Ankuuo Neo Switch Review

First up are Ankuoo and their NEO smart wall switch. This switch has a rather simplistic push design. All you have to do is push it to turn the lights on or off, so no up or down movement is required. Also, it has two small LED lights inside, one to indicate a Wi-fi connection, and another for on/off lights.

This smart wall switch is a single pole switch, and should not be used in a 3 pole system. According to the manufacturer, do not use a metal plate cover, as it may interfere with Wi-fi. Luckily, this switch comes with a plastic cover, so you will only need one for 2 gang + setups.

For wireless control, you will need to do 2 things:

First, connect your phone to your 2.4 GHz Wi-fi. Remember, in order to control your switch and other Ankuoo devices you will need to stay on this network.

Next, download the free NEO app on your phone, which is on both the Apple App store, and the Google Play Store. This App is an all in one control and can control any Ankuoo device. It is also where you can set timers, and wirelessly control them.

There are some problems with this smart wall switch, however. Firstly, if your Wi-fi goes down, you can’t use your phone to control it. Secondly, it is not compatible with Alexa and other 3rd party apps/appliances. And Lastly, it can have a delay on timers you set.

GE Z-Wave Smart Wall Switch Dimmer

GE Z-Wave Smart Wall Switch Review

Next up is General Electric with a Z-Wave smart wall switch dimmer. The Model 12724 to be exact. Using the basic design for modern wall switches, the GE Smart Dimmer is a simple looking switch, with the added plus of being a dimmer. This is usable in 3 pole systems, so wire away!

In order to dim manually, you must push and hold the smart wall switch from the top or bottom for an extended amount of time. If you press the switch and quickly let go, it will simply turn off or on. After you find the dimming setting you want, if the light is turned off, after turning it back on, it will resume to the last setting it was at, and not 100% brightness.

Now, to control the smart switch wirelessly, you will need a smart home hub such as wink or SmartThings, so order these as well! Without them, there’s no difference between this and a $10 switch.

This smart switch does not come with a cover, so keep the dimensions in mind when searching for one.

GE Z-Wave Smart Wall Switch

GE Z-Wave Smart Wall Switch Review

For those of you who don’t care about dimming, this GE smart switch may interest you more than the last. As you can see, it’s virtually the same visually as the last, so it’s perfect for those of you who want consistency in their household switches. Something I don’t understand, however, is that this switch technically does less and has fewer features than the last, but doesn’t cost any less at all.

This smart wall switch can handle ceiling fans which consume up to 370 watts. If your fan uses more than that, do not wire it to this switch, else you’ll have two things to replace. This switch is also usable in 3 pole systems, so you could have this switch next to their dimmer for full control of both your fan and the dimming of your lights.

Just like the dimming version of this wall switch, you will need a hub to interact with it through your phone, and it also does not come with a cover.

Insteon SwitchLinc Smart Wall Switch Dimmer

Insteon Switchlinc review

The Insteon SwitchLinc is another smooth looking smart wall switch, sharing some similarities with the GE switch above. However, this switch provides LEDs on the side for showing dimming percentage.

As this smart wall switch is also a dimmer, in order to dim the light manually, you must first turn the light on, then hold the switch down. Once you reach your desired brightness level, you may save it by holding the set button below the switch itself. Now, every time you turn it on, it will automatically be set to your desired dim setting

This smart wall switch is not a Z-Wave product, but also not a 100% Wi-fi product either. The switch utilizes Insteon Dual-Band, allowing it to utilize both Wi-fi and home landlines to bounce signals from every Insteon product. Like a Z-Wave product, you do need a hub to control wirelessly, so make sure you have one after installing it!

This dimmer switch is sold in two versions, one with 600 watts and the other with 1000 watt capabilities. So it can easily handle multiple light fixtures with ease. Also, the wall switch comes with a cover, so you don’t need to buy one yourself unless you’re going for a 2+ gang setup.

Leviton Vizia RF + 15A Smart Wall Switch

Leiton Vizia Review

Up next is Leviton with their Vizia RF + 15A. While this smart wall switch looks similar to the others, a unique but sometimes annoying difference is that this switch can only be turned off/on by pressing the bottom button in. The top flat part simply looks pretty, and cannot be pressed. Because of this quirk, it can be annoying should you forget where to press, unless you always use the wireless control of course. This smart wall switch also has features such as Scene Control and Zone Control.

Scene control allows one to set a favorite brightness setting to multiple LED light bulbs in many rooms at once. Meanwhile, Zone Control is a feature that allows you to turn off many light sources at once. Both are great features and bring quality control over multiple areas, making this smart wall switch a great purchase.

As a Z-Wave product, this smart switch is compatible with all Z-Wave units. You will also need a hub to connect this switch to your phone. Through this hub, you may connect Alexa and other voice recognition applications.

This Smart Wall Switch is also available in a Universal Dimmer style, for those of you who like this switch but want the dimming setting. It will cost you 8 dollars, which isn’t too much of a price difference. With the dimmer, there’s a bar across the top part, which controls the dimming. Press the left side to decrease, and the right to increase.

Lutron Caseta Dimmer Smart Wall Switch

Lutron Caseta Review

My personal favorite, the Lutron Caseta Smart Wall Switch is up next. This smart switch is the perfect switch with or without a hub. Why? well, it comes with a remote anyways! This remote, while tiny, is better and faster than grabbing your phone, unlocking it, selecting the app and finally getting to the controls. On top of the included remote, you also get the face plate as well, so it’s an all in one package!

This smart wall switch is actually flush with the wall plate, making for a nice looking wall. When the switch is turned off, all LEDs on the left light up slightly, so you can see the switch in the dark. When turning on, it will light one LED depending on your brightness setting.

Something this smart wall switch has that others do not is that this smart switch can be “trimmed” depending on your bulb wattage. If flickering happens on dimming, press the On and lower buttons on the wall switch until the LEDs flicker. After that, raise until no flicker happens. Once happy with the setting, hold the off for 6 sec to save.

As this wall switch comes with a remote controller, you don’t need a hub or phone to control wirelessly. If you wish to pair with your Alexa or other devices, you will need a compatible hub, however. Also, this Smart Wall Switch can be used in a 3 pole system, so it’s nice for halls and such.

TP-Link Smart Wall Switch

Tp Link Smart Review

Next up is TP-Link with their Wi-fi Smart Wall Switch. This switch is next up in my favorites, as while it doesn’t have a remote like the Caseta, as it is a Wi-fi smart switch, you’ll only need your phone in hand. Keep in mind as well that this switch is a simple on-off wall switch. As such, it doesn’t have dimming capabilities. It does, however, have schedule settings.

When this smart wall switch is off, the blue-white circle below the Wi-Fi signal will be lit up for easier spotting in the dark. When it is turned on, whether, by remote or physical control, it will turn off.

In order to use wireless control, you’ll need to download the Kasa app, which is free luckily. So no need for a hub, unless you’re fully automating your house. This Smart Wall Switch may also be compatible with other 3rd party apps. However, I suggest you check the compatibility beforehand to make sure.

As per manufacturer’s instructions, do NOT use a metallic faceplate or any metals near the switch, as it may interfere with the Wi-fi.

Wion Wi-Fi Light Smart Wall Switch

Wion Wifi Switch Review

Another Wi-fi Smart Wall Switch, this time from Wion. This is my least favorite, due mainly because of the visual design, as this smart switch is easily the ugliest here. The switch has too many ridges, an ugly looking button and a blue LED for Wifi. On top of this, most face plates will leave a noticeable gap between it and the switch. Lastly, there’s too much green writing. Which isn’t bad if you happen to like the extra green.

This smart wall switch does support timers, and its saving grace is only if already have Belkin products. This is because they all share the same app, making it easy to control many aspects of your home from afar.

Just like some of the other wifi wall switches, This Smart Wall Switch doesn’t need a hub to control wirelessly. This switch is compatible with some 3rd party apps on your phone, but please double check compatibility to save time and maybe money. Moreover, keep in mind that this product is not compatible with Alexa and other voice recognition applications, adding to my dislike for this switch.

This smart wall switch does not come with a faceplate, so you will need to buy one for it. And don’t get one like shown in the picture. Open screws really don’t add to its aesthetics.

WeMo Light Smart Wall Switch

Wemo Light Switch Review

Last up is the WeMo Light Smart Wall Switch,  which is a nice and simple looking smart switch. It has two LEDs, with the most prominent being the green turn on button you see in the image. While off, it has another right below it for easy spotting at night.

The WeMo Light Smart Wall Switch is an alternative device to the GE if you’re on the market for a fan switch. Furthermore, this Smart Switch is rated at 600 watts per bulb with a maximum of a total of 1800 watts. What this means is you can hook up three 600 watt light bulbs, if you so desire, to this Smart Wall Switch. That also means it can easily handle any type of ceiling fan you may throw at it. It’s a great feature honestly, and it easily makes this the highest wattage rated switch out of all our picks.

This smart switch is also compatible with Alexa, without the need for a hub. As such, If you’re looking for products to turn your house into a smart house, WeMo is a great choice.

Lastly, this smart wall switch doesn’t come with a wall plate. That means if you’re interested in getting this little guy, make sure to order one with it!

On another note, Wemo, much like Belkin, sells many different products to help you fully automate your home.

Afterthoughts

Every smart wall switch (minus the Belkin Wion) look smooth and sleek. While my favorite is the Lutron Caseta due to its amazing small remote, every other switch is just as great. However, if I had to choose which smart switch is my least favorite, then it would be the Z-Wave units due to their incompatibility with Alexa and phones, making hubs a must. As you all have a nice variety to choose from, I think each wall switch here is worth every dollar. If anything, I would choose a Smart Wall Switch with exactly what I would want. And of course, I would choose one which would fit in with the wall, and not stick out like a sore thumb.

Featured Image by: Leemelina08

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Alastor

1 Comment

Bomber2

I bought the WeMo switch to use with Amazon Alexa. It’s absolutely love it since I can set the alarm clock and turn off the lights in my room at the same time before bed.

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