Wire Connection (Push/Screw) on Smart Switches/Outlets

As i was re-engineering some improperly working smart switch connections by going back to old school switches this weekend, it made realize how much i missed the guide/holder for wires in push-in terminals on dumb switches. I feel most smart switches have just a basic metal plate inside the switch used to hold the wire in place, which i always seem to have to adjust multiple times during installation, no matter how tight they are.

  1. Do most/other people use the push-in terminal connections when rewiring their switches, or do more people use the curl around the screw terminal connections?
  2. Do any smart switches have that guide/holder in their push in terminal connector? I'm probably not calling it right, but basically it's the simple guide/holder used to securely tighten and hold the wire when using the screw.

Now that you mention is I've not seen any smart thing with the push-in connection. Personally I'm not a fan of the push-in and have several fail. The screw + plate configuration seems solid to me. Just my opinion.


What I discovered was that the neutral jumper wires that came with the GE/Jasco switches I just installed were 14 gauge. I made up neutral (and ground) jumper wires to go between switches in a gang box, from 12 gauge stranded wire I had that matched the 12 gauge of the romex. I tinned the ends, like the original.

What I found was that the bar didn't clamp down enough on the 14 gauge wire. I had to replace them with my homemade jumpers.

1 Like

Same here. I’ve had plenty of switches break after 50 years of becoming brittle....


If you look at some of the standards here like inovelli/Zooz, they normally have both terminals (screw/push-in), with the push-ins normally having two spots per screw.

I have seen the tension mechanism on push in fail too many times and wire becomes loose and creates a hazard. Many electricians don’t prefer them and always use screw terminals. The big box stores carry switches and outlets that are little more expensive that have similar terminals as smart switches versus el cheapo sometimes labeled “commercial” grade.


I avoided the push-in on the Jasco switches at first, for that very reason. The old push-in terminals that just latched on to the wire were not reliable. Then I read the Jasco documentation. As I understand it now, their switches are .. as was said above .. a screw and plate which is better than the shepherd's hook around the screw. Although I cannot locate it now, I saw in some of their documentation that they recommended not putting the wire around the screw but to use the plate.

1 Like

I’ve changed out pretty much every switch in my house twice since 2014 when I bought my first ST hub. I’ve always used the side plates and never had an issue. But this said I tighten the heck out of them.

Above I was speaking to push in holes on dumb switches.


This :arrow_up:

I always buy these "commercial grade" ones over the $0.39 that are built like crap.

Very common issue. Especially on high current circuits, like coffee makers, vacuums, and similar. These are called "backstab" versus the better ones like most smart switch and "commercial" devices where it is called (confusingly enough) "backwire".


This is the screw and plate configuration I mentioned.

Inovelli wire attachment

They even caution you not to use them as a normal wrap around screw configuration. Not sure why.

Perfect description (and video) of what I am talking about. Even when using the plate, I still am wary of it staying connected.

Like I said, the dumb switches I have don't have a plate, but almost like a wire 'holder' instead of a plate , so when you tighten the screw, it tightens the holder around the wire forming a much tighter connection imo.

Maybe #2 is the best example I can find on this. I just think in those instances where you have to screw in multiple wires under one screw doesn't make me feel great either.


Here's a pic of what I think is a good setup