Smart switches are recommended by professionals when compared to smart bulbs considering the myriad of advantages that it poses. They are easy to use and install too. However, if you want to take advantage of your smart switch, you require a smart bulb that would render you the amazing feature of changing colors and shifting white lights.
We can debate the positive and negative features of the smart bulbs and smart switches, but we would not recommend you choose either of the ones. When combined, they both would combine and provide amazing color effects with the convenience of using smart switches.
Do you want to know how they can be used? Well, then this article will certainly help you.
Why are smart switches best for controlling smart bulbs?
- It must offer a constant flow of power
Compared to a standard switch, smart switches require more power to fix the light when it is switched off. Besides, you will find it a herculean task to operate the smart lights when connected with the fixtures. Moreover, when the power is gone, it cannot be easy to control smart lights in your smart home. They would turn dumber until you do not switch them on again.
When it comes to smart switches that can integrate with your smart light, you require a constant power flow from the fixture. Thus, we have enlisted a range of products that are useful in getting the desired output.
- It should not confuse the smart switch with the existing switch
The accessories utilized for smart switches do not require you to replace the old manual switchboard. Often the old switch tends to become a nuisance when you do not know how it must be switched off. Herein, you require a method to disable or cover the old switch, which can be done by using the accessories you get along with the package.
- Minimal delay when pressing the switch or turning on the light
A minor delay in the process is usually not trouble when it comes to automation. For example, if you command Alexa to open the garage door and it takes over 2 seconds for the operation to commence, the minor delay would not bother you much.
But it is quite different when it comes to automated lighting. It is imperative to turn on the lights as fast as possible. With traditional lighting, the overall operation was quite instant. However, even a minor delay in the process can make it seem inadequate. Well, none of us will like to walk into a room filled with darkness, switch on the lights and wait for 2 seconds for it to on.
- You can select the color of your choice (Optional)
We found that we just used the wall switches to turn on and off the controls and the voice controls for setting scenes and colors. Yet, the extra function is welcomed with open arms that offer an aesthetic option without compromising other features.
During the yesteryears, the product didn’t have many alluring commercial features for using switches and smart bulbs. However, if you are fond of DIY and have good knowledge of electronics, you can hack them together and get a good solution. Many individuals with smart bulbs offer us low-tech solutions which are fashionable and help in covering the switch with ease.
Accessory smart switches
Well, you do not require any major wiring for installing these switches. They are retrofit and work perfectly with your existing switch without replacing them with new ones.
Philips Hue dimmer switch
Philips Hue Dimmer Switch makes an ideal solution when it comes to integrating smart switches with smart lights. You can easily connect and control any of your Zigbee 3.0 lights and get the entire functionality. However, for that, you must connect it with your Hue hub. The overall response time is fast, and the entire setup is extremely foolproof.
The dimmer switch comprises 4 buttons which include ON, OFF, DIM Down, DIM up. However, the functionality hardly meets the eye of the user. Users can utilize the Philips Hue App to set up the entire scene, that is, 5 pre-programmed scenes within seconds for your smart lights. All you need to do is press the button located in the dimmer, and the lights will turn on in the default setting. When kept pressed for a longer period, you can change through each scene.
While the Philips Hue Bulbs does have a remote control, it is mounted on the wall and renders the appearance of a switch that is installed to the wall permanently.
The remote comprises magnets that can be removed with ease
These are best for locations where you do not have the best locations for the switches. Herein, you can add these without using any tools. You need to stick them on the wall properly merely. You can also use it for adding a switch where you already have another switch. Plug the smart bulb in the lamp and pair the Hue dimmer with it. Now you can place the Hue dimmer switch wherever you want.
If you do not have a switch for controlling your lights, it can be quite a hassle. The dimmer switch does not disable the existing switch; thus, you do not know how to turn it off or on. Thus, it can be difficult for you if you do not turn off the smart bulb.
Many people have built adapter cover plates that enable the Philips Hue Switches to mount the existing switches. It allows them to be intact while also hiding them by placing them behind the Hue Dimmer.
The Philips Hue switches protrude the plates to stick from the wall, thereby making it noticeable. However, when it comes to functionality, these smart bulbs work splendidly.
We can define Lutron Aurora as a friend of Hue’s product. Besides, if you are a Philips Hue user, you can make the most use of it. Similar to other Lutron products, these are extremely reliable and well crafted. Moreover, they resolve two of the main issues with the smart bulb products without compromising usability factors.
It offers easy installation wherein you do not require any wiring. Besides, you do not need to remove the cover plate of the switch too. You can mount it with the toggle part and switch it using a screwdriver.
Lutron Aurora installed on a standard switch
Besides, if you want to remove the Aurora dimmer, it is not a herculean task. Just lose the screw and pull it out. After it is mounted, it automatically locks the switches to the position without worrying about turning it off with your smart lights. Besides, you can install it on top of your existing switch. Thus, you do not require any extra switch for the same.
You can control the dimmer by pressing the toggle on and off the control button or turning the knob. Besides, you can also set the default color or scene using the Hue app by pressing the on button. But here, too, you are merely limited to one color or scene and thus doesn’t offer many functionalities like the Hue dimmer switch.
You can configure it directly with the Philips Hue Hub and lights. We could connect the Hue Hub with the Hue App within a few minutes.
Note: Hue bridge is the most compatible bridge for the smart switch. It would be best when using Zigbee 3.0 that enables connecting it directly with any of the Zigbee 3.0 certified lights.
It has an impeccable response time. On pressing the Aurora button, the light switches on instantly. Here too, the action of dimming is the same. It offers a responsive and smooth function, wherein the users can be fooled to consider it an analog dimmer switch.
It works wonders with the standard knob style of the dimmer switch. Herein, it can be used easily by any guest or family without any trouble.
It is expensive when compared to other Hue dimmer switches. But if you are fond of a cleaner look for your Aurora compared to Hue Switch, the extra money is all worth it.
You need to replace the old manual switches with smart switches. Herein, you require the assistance of a professional to carry out the entire wiring.
Inovelli Red Series
The Inovelli Red Series of smart switches allows you to disable the relay used for controlling the power in the light fixture. It allows the power to pass continuously through the switch into the light fixture. Thus, you will never find smart bulbs short of power. This feature makes the Inovelli Red series the best pick for controlling smart bulbs using smart switches.
You can enable the option by switching on and off the paddle rather than directly switching off the power from the bulb. Herein, a message is relayed to the hub to turn on and off the smart bulbs.
These are smart switches with Z-Wave that require a compatible hub for performing smart automation. The dimmer, however, works best with no neutral wire.
After connecting the switch with the hub, you can explore the power of the switches. It includes multiple taps for various automation triggers. For example, we have an overhead light and lamps on either side of the bed in the bedroom. A tap can let me switch on and off the lights and two taps to turn on and off all three lights.
The dimmers are extremely good but have one con where you require to double or triple tap on the switches to get it working. This often leads to delay. For example, when you tap on the paddle to switch off the lights, it instantly sends them messages. Rather it takes a split second to ensure you double or triple-tap it.
It thereby leads to a delay of half a second. While it is not much yet is can down flag the opinion of a user based on experience.
Moreover, the responsiveness also depends on the hub and lights you want to control. Each step starts a chain of communication. We use the Smart Things v3 hub that is cloud-based. Its automation provides a delay of either 1 or 2 seconds. However, we recommend you to use local hubs like Hubitat or Home assistant to avoid even minor delays in cloud communication.
You can connect the switches with Z-Wave bulbs with the help of the Z-Wave association. We tried to control the Illumin bulbs, an Inovelli product, directly and were disappointed with the overall performance.
We looked out for a bulb that would reduce the delay in connecting it. However, it doesn’t offer much assistance. While it did work whenever I pressed the paddle, other times, it didn’t work at all.
We are yet to connect with Inovelli with the issue. However, with Illumin bulbs and switches not available much, we need to shell little more money to get the connections with our smart bulb proper. Inovelli is known for its outstanding user support; thus, we hope the issues are well addressed by the customer service and corrected with a firmware update.
These switches are powerfully smart when it comes to home automation. However, they do lack the response time as the Philips Hue solutions.
You can install this sleek device in the place of any standard wall switch. Besides, these are the only ones that comprise RGBW color controls. The controller allows you to pass the power through the light fixture to light the smart bulb even when it is switched on or off. Compared to Inovelli, the pass-through feature here is optional, wherein you can use them only with your smart lights.
Moreover, the RGB Genie Controllers are only available with Z-Wave or Zigbee wireless protocols. We use the Philips Hue hub for our smart bulbs and hence decided to use Zigbee. Herein, the touch panel usually covers the buttons and comprises a funky colorful ring. We have not seen anything similar in a switch that can control colors so splendidly.
Another alluring feature is its intuitive buttons that work with immense precision. While it does look fancy and contemporary, all its features are exciting that allow easy usability. We are habituated to walking into a room and flipping or tapping the switches. With these switches, we do not require viewing the switches too. However, we need to wait for a minute and locate which button to press exactly with a touch panel.
You can select colors and scenes in the wall that render you greater flexibility to control voices and easier to open apps.
If you are looking for perfect lighting in your home, it is imperative to check on the basics. A smart switch should be responsive, can be easily used, and be good in appearance. When all three parameters are met, you can add a few extra features to your home automation.
When compared to other switches, the Philips Hue Dimmer Switch is cost-effective and provides good functionality. However, it is only possible until you use Philips Hue lights that are also hue compatible. Herein, you can mount the dimmer anywhere, and it will enable you to control the cycle to 5 pre-programmed scenes.
On the other hand, the Lutron Aurora Dimmer comprises basic features to On, Off, and Dim the lights. It is easy to install and is foolproof as it works splendidly with standard dimmer switches. However, the main con is that it is limited only to Zigbee 3.0 Philips Hue lights.
If you are looking for a smart switch with little more functionality, the Innoveli Red Series Switch is the best pick. These are Z-wave switches that can be connected with any smart light using a compatible hub.
On the other hand, the RGB Genie switches include excellent lighting features. They render you complete RGBW controls and options to group or select a scene.