Light switch recommendation (budget friendly yet reliable?) Canada

I am sure this has been discussed at length, and if somebody recalls a very similar thread, please redirect me to it.

What are the current recommendations for smart switches, which are a bit wallet friendly, yet work well with Hubitat, without the need for flashing with customer firmware etc. My needs are:

  • Looking for something which is not as expensive as lutron. I am fine to wait for long delivery dates.
  • I think I prefer Zigbee. I have a decent mesh now
  • I do not really need dimmer feature. Just on and off should work, I think. Any extra features are a plus..such as dimmer, double tap, though really not needed if that raises cost.
  • it will be nice the the switch feels simple enough for a random person to be able to use it casually, without having to ask for the manual :stuck_out_tongue:
  • I have not checked, but let us assume I will have neutral wires
  • I will have a mix of dumb bulbs, and smart bulbs (Sengled). Ideally the switch should work with both type of bulbs. This means, that I can add the switch in place of a dumb switch, to be able to control my bulb from hubitat.... or if the bulb is already a smart bulb(sengled), then the addition of this switch will mean that if somebody turns it off, it is just the toggle of state on Hubitat for that bulb. Is this even the right way to think/plan for switches?
  • I am in Canada, so that restricts some options :frowning: !
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Kind of. There are definitely some specific use cases where people want both a smart bulb and a switch, but in that case they generally use a switch that just triggers an HE event which then turns on or off the smart bulbs (or does whatever you want), but isn't actually connected to the AC circuit that powers the smart bulbs. The combination of a smart switch that disconnects power to a smart bulb has never really made sense to me, since once the switch disconnects power to the smart bulb the smart bulb is non responsive until power is restored.

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GE/Jasco, Sinopé, and Amaker make zigbee (ZHA 1.2) switches. At least the GE/Jasco ones definitely work with Hubitat. Don't see why the others wouldn't.

However, unlike z-wave switches from Zooz and iNovelli, I don't think there's any way to disengage the relay from the physical switch, i.e. use them as a button controller for smart bulbs.

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I also live in Canada. There are some zigbee options, but for whatever reason there seems to be more options with zwave when it comes to switches. (inovelli, GE/Enbrighten, zooz) come to mind. GE/Enbrighten do offer their switches in zigbee and one of them will cost you around $55 - $70 bucks.

You state that you would want some of your switches to provide constant power to the light fixture and simply turn the smart bulb on/off through commands sent to hubitat. Both inovelli and zooz (and possibly others) offer this option. But if this is the desired functionality for many of your switches I would seriously consider Lutron. There is nothing cheaper for this functionality. You simply remove your existing switch, wire it up so the light fixture has constant power and install a Lutron pico where the original light switch was. Having a lutron bridge in your system is a huge advantage as there are simply no button controllers that even come close to the elegance and low cost of a pico. In Canada, I found Montreal Lighting to have the best prices:
https://www.montreallighting.com/products/lutron-caseta-wireless-smart-bridge-pro?_pos=1&_sid=bad8bdeb3&_ss=r
https://www.montreallighting.com/search?type=product&q=lutron%20pico*

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@saurabh9 - I agree totally with @Stephan.J. Lutron is slightly more pricy, but their hardware is "bullet proof", integrates seamlessly with Hubitat (and other platforms, like Home Assistant), and Pico remotes are a very versatile button controller. They can also be mounted in a switch box.

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I just checked the aartech website, and they have the GE/Enbrighten Zigbee switch on sale for $46.00
https://www.aartech.ca/43076/enbrighten-zigbee-3-0-smart-wall-switch.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxJ3fqeD58gIVLz6tBh0UwA3bEAQYASABEgKRnvD_BwE
You would have to check, but I do not believe you could install this switch and have constant power to the light fixture while the switch simply sends commands to hubitat.

Compare the cost of 12 of these to the Lutron pico system I mentioned:
Enbrighten Zigbee switch - 12 x$46 = $552
Lutron Bridge and 12 Picos - 1 x $189 + 12 x $8.50 + 12 x $20.40 = $535.80

I included the lutron wall plate adapter in the above calculations ($8.50) and as you can see once you get to 12 picos you are saving money.

There are probably some switches where you would not want picos and want a caseta switch, simply add these as you can afford them. It took me years until I had every single switch in my house changed over to a smart switch. The reality is many of the switches are rarely involved in an automation, while a few others are automated many times each day. Start with the switches that will be automated frequently and as time goes by build out from there.

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I agree, and so i think we are in sync. For places where I have a Smart bulb, I do not want my smart switch to physically cut off the power. In this setup, my smart switch should just ensure that it sends the event back to Hubitat, so that Hubitat can correctly toggle the bulb state. In fact I want to ensure that if somebody turned off the bulb from switch, my Hubitat can still continue to control the bulb by turning on by rules, as needed.

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If the fixture has a smart bulb(Sengled), then wont I mandatorily need a switch which always keep the bulb power on, and hence connected to Hubitat? Consider this scenario - I have a smart bulb installed, and I put a smart switch, which physically cuts of power to the bulb. Then later if by Hubitat rule needs to turn on the bulb at say 10%, that will not be possible, as the bulb is no long in control of Hubitat. Is that correct understanding?

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Yes, I think we are talking about the same thing. Many smart switches, work like standard switches in the sense that they turn power on/off to the light fixture. They can either do this by physically pressing the paddle/toggle or by having a command sent to the switch by some hub or other smart device. Many people prefer this type of smart switch and never install any smart bulbs. This system has the advantage of not requiring a smart bulb and retaining the ability to turn the light on/off if the smart hub becomes dysfunctional.

The problem arises if you install a smart bulb with these switches. Smart bulbs like to have power constantly supplied to them. They turn on/off from smart commands sent from a hub or other smart devices. Obviously a smart switch is not ideal for this situation as it kills power to the light. In this case, the desired device you would want to install in the switch location is a "button device". This being a device that has buttons you push that simply send commands to your hub, at which point your hub decides what to do with these commands (typically turn on/off the smartbulb). This system has the disadvantage of requiring a functional hub to turn the light on/off. If your hub goes down you lose the ability to turn your light on/off.

Some (but not all) smart switch manufacturers have recognized this dilemma and they have a setting to turn their smart switch into a button device. In other words, when this setting is active, the switch always provides power to the light fixture and physically toggling the switch simply sends commands to the hub. I know zooz and inovelli have switches with this feature, I am not sure about other switches.

If you install a smart switch with this feature and activate it, you have really turned your smart switch into a button device. At this point, you might as well compare it to other button devices as this is what it has become. At this point, Lutron Picos are the clear winner. This is for several reasons, first once you get passed the purchase of the first ten or so, they are the cheapest (see post above). Second, they are ultra-reliable and look elegant (user discretion, people feel differently about this). Third, and not least, for the button controller to lose the ability to control your light the Lutron hub would have to go down (this depends on how you set things up, but this would be typical), and the Lutron hub and other Lutron products are rock solid.

Disclaimer, I have a strong zwave and zigbee mesh along with the Lutron system. My locks, outlets, and many sensors are zigbee. The majority of my light switches are zwave. And my button devices and some of my light switches are Lutron. I am not partial to any system.

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My vote is for Inovelli. If you are not in a hurry, they are working on a Zigbee version of their switch. Not sure when it will be available yet.

Throwing in a vote for inovelli. Looks like it would meet all your needs except zigbee. But I won't been too strict on that. Let the switches run on their own zwave mesh. If anything you will have an established mesh you can add more zwave devices too later on.

They have a smart bulb feature. And not sure if you have any 3 way requirements but they will also work.

All of my switches are the red series. I keep finding uses for the scenes. They really do come in handy.

Just chedked Aartech, looks like they are on backorder so that kind of sucks.

Lots of great suggestions on this thread. I think I might have to then consider mixing switches... For places where I know that I won't be putting a smart bulb, perhaps I can use a switch which actually cuts off power(any favorites for these types of switches?).... And for places where I think I'll put smart bulbs, I'll probably get switches witch are more smart buttons.

First off, almost every other suggestion in this thread is superior than the way I will mention.
I used Sonoff ZBMINI devices to make a couple of my switches "smart." None of my bulbs is smart, though. Also, these devices do not have ANY listing like UL or similar, and that is a deal breaker for many people. The main reason I chose them is the cost...I think I picked them up for less than $10 USD each. And although there is no UL listing, they are widely used and I've seen no reports of safety or quality issues.
An alternative might be the Shelly One. It's WiFi and a bit more expensive, but UL listed. Either of these might be made to work with your smart bulbs if you're willing to wire the bulb "hot" and just use the ZBMINI/Shelly as a monitor for the attached switch (nothing connected to the relay). I say might because the ZBMINI doesn't actually report the state of the connected switch... just the state of the internal relay. Toggle the switch and the relay toggles. It could be a challenge to get a rule to behave predictably if you can't directly monitor the status of the switch. Not sure if the Shelly would have this same issue or not.

For what it's worth I started out with half a dozen GE switches (Z-Wave) back in time ... had a couple of them fail within 6 months. So then I deployed Lutron Bridge along with a bunch of Pico's etc but I really disliked the idea of having a bridge specific to controlling light switches. I debated for a while and finally just went with these and in the past 5 years I have had to replace one of them - they work really well: https://www.amazon.ca/Leviton-DZ15S-1BZ-Decora-Z-Wave-Switch/dp/B01MZ0WVKH

Hello @saurabh9 and welcome to Hubitat!
I also live in Canada, and since most of the "easy" recommendations have been made, I will skip those.
I would like to remind you that September 21st is going to be a great day. (Besides being the day after an election), it's the day when the "powers that be" will probably re-open the American border. So, in all likelihood, if you are close to the border, you'll be able to order switches, outlets, etc. from a US supplier, and bring some of them back. (I'm not sure, but I think the limit is $800Can after 48 hours - consult the website for accuracy).
AArtech and Montreal Lighting are certainly preferred if time is of the essence, I've used both, and both are first rate distributers, with very reasonable prices.

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@saurabh9
I would also like to make a comment about your starting off with Zigbee.
I would strongly suggest that you take some time to do a small wifi survey around your property, with a small app called "wifi analyzer". (THere are a number in the android app store that call themselves that, but I think they all have the function that I'm about to describe.)
I believe that it's important to have a band for Zigbee that is relatively free from interference from neighbours. You should also make sure that you can set your 2.4Ghz frequency on your router.
In my humble opinion, it's important for you to make sure that there is minimal interference from neighbours on the 2.4Ghz band that you choose for Zigbee (even from yourself).
It's not that this is a "show stopper", it's just that this requires some thought and planning in advance.

I’ve chosen to standardize on one brand of switch/dimmer/outlet. Where possible I use Eaton devices.

https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/skuPage.RF9601DW.specifications.html

In the rare situation where I need functionality that Eaton doesn’t provide I use Zooz devices.

I have a couple of situations where I use both smart bulbs and smart switches. This will likely raise some hackles, but it works. To get the best of both worlds I direct wired the light fixtures without a switch and installed a smart switch without a load (properly capping the load lead). I create a rule in HE to signal the bulbs to turn on/off.

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No hackles. The hackles come when the switch physically cuts power to the bulb. You're just using the switch as a button controller, which makes total sense.

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