High wattage switch

In my garage, I have 5 LED bulbs and 2 of these 60w led fixtures, for a total of around 165w of led going through a switch. Are there any smart switches that can handle this?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y46XHB4/ref=cm_sw_r_sm_apa_fabc_kXtQFbSFECMXE

Pretty much all smart switches, I would think.

165W isn’t that much power draw if one is still using incandescent bulbs. A ceiling fan with three or four bulbs in its light kit, for example, would easily exceed that wattage, and smart switches are still designed to accommodate that.

I think if you choose a switch based on other factors that are important to you, then confirm its max rated wattage just to be safe (always a good idea when dealing with your home’s electrical mains voltage), you’re more likely to find one that meets your needs.

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Correct. However, for reasons I'm uncertain off, many switches are rated at lower total wattage for LED (and CFL bulbs). CFL I can understand why. LED I can't.

For example, the Zooz 21 on/off switch is rated at 960W incandescent, but only 150W for LED/CFL:

https://www.support.getzooz.com/kb/article/277-zen21-ver-20-30-on-off-switch-specs/

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Same with Jasco/GE - 150w for LED loads.

EDIT: As pointed out below, the newer Enbrighten models are 300W for LED/CFL loads.

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I'm betting led lights have a high inrush current when they turn on, and that is the limiter.

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I'm using a GoControl/Linear FS20Z-1 "Isolated Contact Fixture Module" to control a beefy outdoor light. This may be what you are looking for. -Joel

https://www.gocontrol.com/detail.php?productId=1

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That seems like a reasonable explanation. I know CFL ballasts have high inrush current. Didn't realize LEDs did also.

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Unless you're in California. That's the first time I've seen a Proposition 65 warning on a smart home product.

:crazy_face:

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Agree that sounds like a likely explanation.

I was probably making assumptions from the caseta devices i actually use, which can still accommodate ~250-300W for CFL/LED loads IIRC. Thanks to all for clarifying.

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It's really great that people pay attention to the incandescent vs. LED wattage ratings. As stated above, the issue is inrush current that is significantly higher for LED lights.

Most manufacturers have improved their dimming/switching devices over time so that the LED ratings are about 50% of the incandescent rating. Older devices are regularly rated at about 25% of incandescent. This spec is in all device installation instructions.

The newer Enbrighten devices, both Z-Wave and ZigBee, appear to be 300w LED.

The other crucial thing to consider is how the devices are ganged. Mid-gang devices often require lowering the max wattage (derating).

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I go to Cali a lot for work.

Almost EVERYTHING has a Prop 65 sticker on it now. Bus stops, hotels, cars, restaurants, etc, etc. It is pointless.

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You are right! I only looked up the motion dimmer (since that is what I use in most applications). Thanks for correcting me!

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The most common Caséta dimmer, PD-6WCL, is 600w incandescent and 150w LED. The higher end PD-10NXD and PD-5NE are 250w LED.

Lutron has one of the more complex compatibility matrices due to the variety of devices that are available.

https://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/369987_ENG.pdf

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I was trying to find the specs on this, and I saw 960W on this spec, but it doesn't specifically call out LED. Can you point to where that LED callout is at?

I'm not an electrician, but I can do math.

For whatever reason, switches seem to be quoted more in amps than volts for LEDs. Amps are watts divided by volts. So that 960 watts is 8 amps at 120 volts.

Vendors seem to be inconsistent with amp ratings for LEDs. Some are at the full amp rating for an incandescent, some are a bit lower.

But that shouldn't be an issue for most home applications. A 12 watt LED (75 watt replacement) is 0.1 amps.

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I was looking at the specs for various LED drivers from about 7-8 years ago. The inrush current can be quite high - like 10-15 times the steady state draw. Maybe things have improved since then?

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Whether it's incandescent or LED or FluoCompact or whatever resistive load, what the bulbs draws is all the same for a switch. So having 5 bulbs that draw 9W and 2 fixtures that draw 60W will give you 165W as stated above and is what the switch will see. Most switches are around 960 W rated (about 8A at 120VAC), so pretty much all switches will work with your setup. So you still have headroom for a lot more of those fixtures if you want before having to use a relay or a second switch.

Take note that I did mention Resistive load, this is a lot different than an inductive load like motors, or fridges that have a motor to pump the Freon, etc.

Here is a link on the difference between the two. What Is the Difference Between Resistive & Inductive Loads? | Sciencing

This second question was about a switch, not a dimmer. Again, I'm not an electrician, but I believe that switches are less sensitive to inrush current. At least the specs would lead one to believe that. In any case, it would take a lot of LEDs to get more than a couple amps.

But relays can weld themselves closed with Arc and spark, hence the inrush current issue.

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Would this be the recommended high wattage switch available? Any other brands/suggestions?