UK Light switches – My experiences (2021)

When I was at SmartThings I created this topic and thought I would port it over to Hubitat now I've settled in.

I know that in the UK we are not very flush with smart light switches, when some come along they are generally expensive or require some kind of hot fix to make them work because of there being no neutral. I originally wrote this topic in 2020 and actually this is starting to change in 2021.

This is my personal experience of light switches in the UK and which ones I have finally stuck with.

Energenie:

The very first smart light switches I had was from ‘Energenie’ when I first got them they felt super stylish and worked wirelessly. The price wasn’t all that bad and eventually as I moved over to the Smartthings system I managed to get them to integrate with the ‘MiHome’ app which pullet through all the devices, unfortunately ‘MiHome’ app has not yet been ported over to Hubitat. I found that the MiHome smart hub would sometimes go offline so routines wouldn’t run which is pointless, also there would be a delay of around 2-5 seconds (I know its not much!) the smart plug sockets would work almost instantly with no delay. They also provide no feedback from the switch to the hub so you cannot tell in the app if they have been turned on by the switch. You’re looking at around £15.00+ per switch. Own hub required and would struggle to work with LifX bulbs.

Pros: Easy installation, pairing is easy, the most varied designs, some of the cheapest (if plain white), does integrate with smartthings through MiHome app but not Hubitat, good first step into smart home, great double wall sockets, provides switches capable of two way switching.

Cons: Has its own hub, cloud based service which does go down sometimes, support is slow, radio not zigbee or zwave so lights turn off one at a time, delay in turning on/off, doesn't provide feedback to own app, struggles to work with lifx bulbs when dimmed, loud clicking noise when changing state.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Energenie-MIHO026-Smart-Single-Switch/dp/B01EY60ASW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=MIHO026&qid=1620717724&s=diy&sr=1-1

energenie

Aqara:

My second smart switches were the ‘Aqara’ firewire switches, they worked with Hubitat locally (Something which was only a dream in SmartThings). I never had any issues with these apart from really struggling to get the right version sent to me. Regularly the incorrect one would be sent and given that these take 4-6 weeks to be delivered it was a pain in the backside. These were slightly more expensive coming in at around £19.00 but provide feedback to the app from the switch and work almost instantly. You do get a loud clicking noise when they turn on and off.

Pros: Easy installation, instant on/off, provides in app feedback of switches current state.

Cons: Nightmare to try and get hold of a firewire version, loud clicking noise when changing on/off state, no two way operation.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/QBKG12LM-Intelligent-Switching-Control-Version/dp/B07XKHGWP4/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=aqara+switch&qid=1591183468&s=diy&sr=1-5

xiaomi

Yagusmart

My third and final switches are the ‘Yagusmart Zigbee switch’ which you can purchase off amazon for around £18.99. They look similar to the Aqara switches with the only visual difference being a small red light which turns on when the light switch is ‘ON’. There is no clicking sound when the light turns on and off and appears in amazon as a light straight away, there is no delay in turning on and off. Available in one, two or three gang versions.

Pros: Easy installation, instant on/off, provides in app feedback of switches current state, silent switching, indicator light is not overpowering.

Cons: Does not look like a conventional UK switch (Same as all the others really) but its hardly worth even mentioning!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZM3CBHP?pf_rd_r=BDWBPJRQ8XNPFBZGG4Z8&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

yagu

My personal favourite is the Yagusmart switches, namely over the simple pairing, work direct with the hub locally and are available in one, two or three gang versions. Also there is no loud clicking sound every time. Yes they are relatively pricey but I’ve come to a realization that most smart switches just are. I would be interested in knowing what other UK switches people have installed in their home. Hope you are all well. Joe

Edit 11/05/2021 - Changed formatting of cons and spelling corrections.

3 Likes

A great article thanks.

I’m in the UK, and I don’t use wall switches at all.

All the lightbulbs are Hue.

99% of my lighting is automated, either using motion sensors, the only place not 100% automated are bedrooms, where I use tuya 4 scene switch on each bedside table.

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I started with bulbs but then got annoyed when people kept turning off the actual switch and didn’t like the Hue covers with the remotes. I know there are work arounds but found switches to be my personal preference. Friend of mine has the Remote covers for their switches and it works well.

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I went really cheap, bought some totally transparent sellotape, and put a strip along the switch.

You can’t see the sellotape and stops most people from messing with the switch.

Unless you are my 96 year old mother, who will fight the tape……. :frowning:

2 Likes

Getting this part of home automation right has always been a pain - and I think the common consensus on Hubitat is to pay up and for for Lutron if you want an easy life.

I'm also in the UK and went for a more complex solution but I think it was worth it:

All room lights are LIFX - on perma live circuits with no switches in the walls
All Bathroom / WC lights are Hue GU10, connected directly to Hubitat without the Hub also on perma live circuits with no switches in the walls

Most are automated in some way (motion, ambient light, timing etc) but there is also manual control in 3 ways:

  1. All rooms have a wall which does have a button controller on them that look like exactly like a wall switch - but the advantage is that they can be mapped to work however we like and are not actually wired in so you can take them off and change the placement without damaging the wall and installing additional wiring. We use enOcean ones so that they are battery/powerless (they use kinetic energy from the action of pushing the switch to send the signal) - so that there is never the pain of replacing a battery
  2. We also have 2 tablet dashboards installed in the walls which can control lots of stuff including the lights
  3. We also have a dashboard app for the phone which controls everything including the lights

When we go on vacation I have a heavy duty switch at the fuse box that turns off all the perma live circuits and activates when everyone in the house has been out for more than 36 hours

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I've also gone "all in" on the Yagusmart switches. I decided to switch away from smart bulbs because I wanted all lights to be operable even if the home automation system was down. Also I didn't want the lights coming on after a power outage which some of the smart bulbs do.

I now have 13 Yagusmarts - some single, some double and they have been excellent so far.

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People who have completely disabled their old fashioned switches - what do you do when you need to change a bulb? Turn off at the fusebox?

Same here.

2 Likes

Just a quick couple of questions if you dont mind.
Are you using neutral or non-neutral switches?
Just to clarify. Do you mean 2 way (master and slave) or 2 gang?
Where did you find the best place to get them from?
Thanks.

Yes I like the Yagusmart (the battery one), but I wish the driver author would add Held, at the moment we only have Release.

Non-Neutral

Yes, should have been clearer - 2 Gang not 2 Way.

Amazon UK

The price seems to fluctuate (maybe depending on if they have UK stock or not) so worth keeping an eye on

2 Likes

Ah battery one, yeah these are wired so don't have the Release, although its very odd to have Release if you don't have hold?

I know. The device does have Hold, because it shows you when you've held by its Press indicator light going out. Apparently the author (or a member of the staff at least) thought it wasn't useful as the Hold can take between 2 and 4 seconds.

2 Likes

Thanks for the answers @Geoff_T.
:+1:

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Yes - but I have z wave switches at the fusebox so I can turn off each circuit to replace a bulb quite easily.... also - all of the lights are LEDs (Hue & LIFX) so I've actually never needed to change a bulb

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Zwave in the fuse box? That sounds very cool! Can you link me please :+1:

There are 2 ways of doing this - you should probably get an electrician to do the install:

  1. The way I did it (probably not the best but it's been a journey of learning over the last 6 years of home automation!) - just use either standard Z-wave switches wired into the fuse box (if the circuit is low Amps), or for circuits which are high amps use a heavy duty switch like the one from Aeon Labs.
  2. The way it probably should be done - use dedicated DIN rail switches, like the DIN rail enclosure range, or DIN rail multi switches from Haseman

I use retractive switches plus a fibaro dimmer. Works ace. Operates as a normal switch, plus as smart.

I also have a shelly wifi dimmer which is loads cheaper, and I'm going to try the same approach when I get a chance. Still sat in the box. Bah - kids! =P

Anyone have these Rotary Switches in their house? I think I saw someone post about these the other day but cannot find it now?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Candeo-Zigbee-Rotary-compatible-Philips/dp/B091HP42S8

zigbee

I've just bought a fair few yagusmart switches to replace all mine in my house.

House is 1980's and just gone to replace a 2 gang switch which is for a pantry and garage light.

Not sure if anyone can help me with this but from the link to the pics below can anyone tell me how I'd wire this up please as I'm a little confused.

Many thanks

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