Looking for a smart light switch / dimmer

First let me explain exactly what I want to do. A couple of rooms in my house currently have nightlights in them, really low power lights just enough to see at night without wrecking your night vision.

The plan is to replace the current nightlight & regular bulb solution with a single smart led bulb, and a dimmer switch. The trick is that the dimmer doesn't directly control the smart led, it would only talk to my Hubitat Elevation hub, which would take the input value 0 to 100, add 3 to it, clamp if above 100 and output a value between 3 and 100 to control the level of the smart bulb.

The idea being that if the dimmer is all the way down, the smart led is still on at nightlight level, but as you increase the dimmer, the smart led would become brighter.

I'm very much a beginner at smart home lighting. I've got a couple of TP Link Smart bulbs that are working just fine with the HE, and I suspect that I'll want a rule machine task to do the necessary level shift. However I'm not at all clear which would be the best dimmer switch to get.

What has me confused is that a lot of dimmer switches appear to allow a load (light bulb) to be attached, which makes me think they're solving the reverse problem: having a smart dimmer that can control a bulb, and also receive remote commands from the HE. I think I want the reverse: the dimmer doesn't directly control the load, it only communicates with HE which does the level adjustment and then controls the bulb from there.

So which dimmer would be a good one to start with, given the problem I'm trying to solve. Needless to say, bonus points are given for ones that integrate well with HE. I still have a slightly bitter taste in my mouth after a very bad experience with a Cree bulb that flat out reused to pair with anything, so needless to say I'm keen to avoid a repeat of that.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Zooz and Innovelli both make dimmers with smart bulb modes, where the switch never cuts power to the bulb, and just acts as a scene controller. If you don’t want to mess with wiring, you can also just put a cover over the real light switch and mount a button controller on the wall near it.

I think what you want could be easy. But before you go too far down the road be sure the smart bulb will go as dim as you need.

What I think may be your solution.

  1. Both you dimmer and smart bulb will be powered 100% of the time.

  2. find a dimmer and smartbulb that support association.

Excerpt from the Inovelli website:
Z-Wave devices can directly associate to one another. In other words, your smart switch can directly control your smart bulb without the need for a hub (NOTE: a hub is usually required to setup the association, but once it's setup, you're good to go).

  1. Setup your association of the dimmer and smartbulb. Set the dimmer minimum to "3".
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To expand on my earlier post, Once I had a smart switch set up. I would use the button controller app to configure what pressing the buttons would do.

Assuming that you are using modes, I would set up theswitch with different behaviors per mode: Pressing β€œon” would set the bulb to an appropriate brightness and color temperature for each mode (I.e. bright daylight for day mode, dimmer, warmer light in the evenings and at night.)

Pressing β€œoff” would also behave differently depending on mode. In night and evening modes, pressing off would set the bulb to the appropriate brightness and color temperature to function as a nightlight. During day mode, it would actually turn the light off.

I’d also use the mode & motion lighting app to turn on the nightlight bulbs at the appropriate brightness and color temperature when the mode changed from day to evening, but only if they were not already on.

Thank you both for your replies. I finally got a Zooz ZEN34 battery operated switch. At its basic level that's just a two button paddle switch, however I have already started work on an app that will detect "held" and "released" events, and use those to control the level.

I have the basic framework in place: I can select lights to control and the switch to control them. I'm subscribed to the events I care about: log.debug() correctly reports button presses from the event handlers in my app. However there are a few questions I'll need to get answers to before I can get this 100% working. I'll start another thread for that, since it's no longer related to my choice of device.