Getting it right the first time - purchasing lights / switches help


I'm about to make the big splurge and make every light in my home smart one way or another.
I am at a cross roads as to how to do this.

I already have my lounge, office and bedroom setup with philips hue. However I still have 16 lights I need to control outside of these areas.

I'm looking for confirmation that my logic is correct and I'm not making a costly mistake.

I want to be able to:

  • Control all main area lights individually
  • Areas like the garage can be controlled as one

My current options are:

  1. Buy philips hue bulbs and an extra bridge for the remaining lights
  2. Buy philips hue lights for areas I want to be able to dim lights and buy zigbee smart switches for areas I just need the lights to turn on and off i.e. the garage

Other problem:

  • I want to use hue ambient white lights so I can have the warm colours for evening, however the lumens on them are garbage.
  • The only hue lights that seem to be bright are white only. Are there any good zigbee alternatives for really bright like 1200+ lumens that are ambient white, not just straight white? I'm really struggling to find something.

Other other problem:

  • The smart dimmer switches online seem to all be dimmers - however the lights in areas like the garage I would use the switch to control, aren't dimmable lights. Is it ok to have a dimmer smart switch and just have it not dim?

Other other other problem:

  • I'm going to put motion detectors all over the place to have the lights automated. I notice that the hue motion detectors detect light, but don't detect temperature, humidity etc as well. Am I better off buying different sensors that are all in one, or going with the hue sensors for a more seamless / easy integration and then buying different temp/humidity sensors?

I've been scouring the internet for days and its hard to make a decision. Any input would be appreciated.

I would strongly recommend using Smart Switches and Dimmers instead of Smart Bulbs where possible. It makes using lights much simpler for the whole family.

No, it is not OK to use a dimmer for all types of lighting loads. Many lights are non-dimmable, and the Smart Dimmer may not be compatible. I use Smart "Switches" in these areas. There are many options available - ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Lutron Clear Connect FR (requires a Lutron SmartBridge Pro to work with Hubitat).

Motion detectors directly attached to the Hue bridge cannot be 'seen' by the Hubitat hub. Just wanted to make sure that was clear to you. The Hue motion sensors, indoor and outdoor models, can be paired to the Hubitat hub. You will need some ZigBee repeater devices, like the IKEA Tradfri outlets, to build a solid ZigBee mesh network.

I use a bunch of Lowes Iris v2 Motion, Contact, and Leak sensors directly paired to my Hubitat hub. These work great, although they are no longer made... :frowning: They can still be purchased on ebay, though.

To be honest, most of the 'all-in-one' style multi-sensors are problematic. I would personally avoid those devices.


But he wants color tunable light and that's not possible with smart switches.

Completely respect your point of view, but I'm totally the opposite. I started with Lutron Connected Bulb Remotes, but obviously two problems.

  1. Discontinued
  2. Controls the bulb and allows my Hue Bridge to still control them, but they're not customizable and HE isn't aware of their state. I only knows the bulb's state after a minute.

Now I use my Lutron Smart Bridge Pro and Picos to control my Hue Bridge and Hue Lights. I just removed the switches and permanently joined the hot and load in the switch box. Used the Pico mounting plates and the Pico control my bulbs and other functions. So much nicer to be able to control multiple lights from a single Pico or program the favorite button or holds to do whatever I want.

There was a time where my hub wasn't stable enough to do this everywhere, but those days are over. The hub is solid and you cannot tell the difference from a Pico and regular switch.

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Why not simply use switches that also support scenes. That like the simplest solution for the best of both worlds to allow color control at the switch level and use the hue bulbs. I think both ZooZ and Inovelli have them.

I think Inovelli switches can even be setup in a way that switch presses perform actions on the hub instead of controlling the power the the circut it is attached to. Basically it would leave the bul powered and the button presses would activate scenes or some action.

I know for a fact thay Inovelli and GE make switchs that don't do dimming. Just check out amazon

My color bulb experience is pretty limited, but i have had good experience with Sengled bulbs, and recently the Philips Wiz Connected Bulbs. They have a 100w equivalent color bulb that seems to get pretty bright. It is WiFi but allows local control with the cloud by default unless you disable it. So far they have worked pretty well have 4 of them now. They also have a Function that controls what color/temp they activate if you use a dumb wall switch at times.

Just take this opprotunity as a time to buld out your network of choice. Either with smart plugs or switches to buld your mesh and make it more robust.

Hi thanks for the detailed response.

To summarise your advice - just to make sure I'm on the same page, a good solution for me would be to:

  • Install smart switches where all normal light switches are - so that anyone coming into the house can use the lights like normal and easily.
  • If I'm going to use the hue motion detectors pair them to the hubitat hub, not the hue hub and create the rules / automations in hubitat rather than hue. Otherwise cheaper motion detectors that do the same thing can be used. It is no advantage to have a hue motion detector for my purpose - it would only be an advantage if I didn't have hubitat.
  • Avoid all-in-one multi-sensors and go for specific sensors that do their job well.

Because they are dog slow. I have two LZW36 with the light button configured to control Hue lights, but because they have to go through all the possibilities (It's been suggested this is the reason anyway) before they know which scene number to send to the hub, they result in a 2-3 second delay in controlling the Hue bulbs. Whereas a Pico or Zigbee button offers instant response and are just as flexible. If you want to control scenes with them, you certainly can so there's no reason you need a dedicated scene controller.

Thanks for the advice on the switches I'll check them out.

With regards to the colour bulbs and being WiFi - I've seen a lot of comments that WiFi is not the way to go, unreliable etc. Is it really that bad? Or is more people who have already poor/overloaded WiFi networks?

For example I'm getting 200+ mbps over 2.4 and 5Ghz on my phone in every corner of the house with a mesh system - will I really run into trouble with WiFi bulbs?

Lol. Yeah the fan switch is slow as hell. The red dimmers do not suffer the same defect.

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That sends me hope that they'll be able to resolve that issue in firmware. I like them in every other way, but that delay makes it feel like I'm using SmartThings again. :joy:

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Not all wifi is created equal. So it could be. I wouldn't by 100 wiz bulbs. But depending on the number you are getting it should be fine. A good modern mesh wifi system should be able to handle allot. One of the biggest issue with wifi is if you can't control it locally every on off command has to go to the cloud which can effect reliability. So far i have had a good experience. Prior to getting the Wiz bulbs i only had sengled white which are Zigbee. They have great as well just not color. The wiz connected bulbs also have a remote you can set to control the roon ib different ways for color or scenes.

Correct. This typically means using inexpensive ‘dumb’ bulbs. If you go this route, be sure to find ‘dimmable’ bulbs. Not all dumb bulbs are created equally.

I concur with this as well...however the Hue motion detectors are considered very good quality, and they have the flexibility of being paired with either the Hue Bridge OR the Hubitat Hub. These are the only motion sensors that I am aware of that have this flexibility.

Yep. Most of the “Swiss army knife” multi sensors seem to be Z-wave devices, and there are many posts in this community with dissatisfied users.

I run a bunch of tasmota wifi plugs with out any issues but I have been moving those to zigbee little by little.

My biggest beef is if you are using your cable moden as a dhcp, if you have issues and need to reset it (I had an ongoing issue with my provider recently for over a six week period) then your wifi stuff is offline until it comes back up. Not necessarily an issue until your wife complains that something isn’t listening to her.

I have since moved my dhcp to an edgerouter and am much happier.

Also, not an issue for most IoT stuff because most of it is 2.4g only. But stuff like nest/google/Alexa/etc. Keep it on your 2.4 so it doesn’t bog down your 5g.

What if I have a room where there are smart bulbs which are controlled by motion, dashboard, rules etc, but are also controlled by the smart switch / dimmer in the room? I've noticed that if a hue bulb is connected to a dumb dimmer switch, it goes ballastic if you use the physical dimmer (I've removed these now).

Would the smart dimmer dim the hue bulbs using Zigbee rather than changing the power going to them and also be able to dim dumb bulbs? Do you know what I'm trying to ask haha? Trying to find the words >.<

What you need is a smart switch thay can effectively act as a controlling device and not to turn the power on and off on the circut. Just tell hubitat when it has been pressed

I dont think all switches can do that

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I would never connect a smart bulb to a smart dimmer, or any dimmer for that matter. Smart bulbs are designed to have power applied to them at all times.

My advice to to use smart dimmers/switches, implies NOT using smart bulbs whatsoever.

I use Lutron Caseta Smart Switches, Dimmers, and Fan Controllers in all of my “in-wall” controlled applications (I.e. wall switch controlled, hardwired fixtures.)

I use smart bulbs only in table and floor lamp applications. For these, I use Lutron Pico remotes to control these bulbs via the Lutron SmartBridge Pro to Hubitat integration.

Just this morning I tried turning off the delay to see it any scene functions still work - I have double taps defined on each button. Nope all scene control is gone. At least the 700ms delay should be configurable but right now its just enabled or disabled.

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Some switches/dimmers - the more recent Zooz variants (dunno about Inovelli - but probably) have the ability to disable "manual control" for the purposes of controlling a smartbulb. It's kind of a cool idea.

edit: My recessed den lights are Sengled Color+ and my plan is to replace the current regular toggle switch with a Zen 23 V4. That way I will no longer need a switch blocker for wayward fingers.


That is exactly what i was refering to. I think i saw it on Inovelli on their red switches.

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Ah okay very cool. Yeah I like Inovelli as well but we have toggle style switches at our house and generally around our area - older homes etc. If you need the toggle style than Zooz is a good alternative. They are very active in these forums as is the Inovelli crew.

It is a cool idea, however not one that I would entertain personally. Now you’re dependent on a smart switch, a smart bulb, two different mesh networks, (possibly a Hue bridge + LAN) and a Hubitat hub to simply turn on and off a simple lighting fixture. For reliability, I prefer a switch that controls the load directly, and works regardless of the rest of my home automation system. Once I converted from Z-wave to Lutron, my wife stopped complaining about my home automation hobby, and starting asking for me to automate more lighting around the house. :wink: