Smart Light and Smart Light Switch, which one should we choose?
by Penglight | Date: 23th-April 2023
Smart home technology has revolutionized the way we live and interact with our homes. From smart locks and thermostats to smart lighting and plugs, there are numerous products available that can enhance our home living experience. However, with the vast number of options available, it can be challenging to determine which smart device is the best fit for your needs.
Two popular smart home devices are smart lights and smart light switches. Both of these devices offer convenience and energy efficiency, and most importantly, they turn your regular lights into smart lights, but which one is the best choice for you? In this post, we’ll compare the features of both smart lights and smart light switches and share some tips so you know which one is the most suitable for you.
Smart Light and Smart Light Switch Reviews
|1. YEELIGHT Smart Light Bulbs
|2. Philips Hue A19 Smart Bulb
|3. Kasa Smart Light Switch HS200
|4. Lesim 2 Gang Smart Wall Switch
|√ Ease of use and setup: it took just a few minutes to connect the bulb to the Wi-Fi network.
√ Compatibility with voice control: such as Alexa and Google Assistant, enabling them to control the lighting with simple voice commands without the hassle of using a separate hub.
√ Customizable lighting options: allowing you to set the mood and atmosphere of a room for different occasions.
√ Energy-efficient: it reduces energy bills over time compared to traditional bulbs.
|√ Easy to connect to wifi and Echo Dot, has a quick response time,
√ Very bright, with 1100 lumens, and the white light is very crisp and clean,
√ Compatible with both Bluetooth and Zigbee, offer several options for controlling,
√ You can dim the light from 10% to 100% depending on your preference.
|√ Easy guided install: No need to understand complex switch wiring or master vs auxiliary switch configurations,
√ Control from anywhere: whether you are at home, in the office or on vacation,
√ Voice control: via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant; perfect for times when your hands are full or entering a dark room,
√ Away Mode: Set your smart light switch to turn connected fixtures on and off at random intervals to give the appearance you're home even while you're away.
|√ Touch Control: This wifi light switch is with capacitive touch control, turn on/off your light at a single touch,
√ Voice Control: Compatible with Amazon Alexa (Echo/Dot/Tap), Google Assistant.
√ Remote Control & Time Set: Custom schedules and set times, let your lights function automatically,
√ Group control: Create a group from the App, so you can trun on/off all the lights in the same group at the same time.
To start with, let’s introduce what is a smart light and what is a smart light switch.
Smart lights come with controllers and communication modules, and are often connected to the network via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other methods. They can generally control the on/off and brightness of the lights, and some products also have the ability to control color temperatures and colors, such as Philips and Yeelight’s smart light products. Some smart lights also come with remote controllers, which can be used to control them in addition to using a smartphone. Of course, as long as there is a compatible smart speaker, such as Echo Dot, voice control can also be used, such as Yeelight and Philips’s lights can be controlled using Alexa.
However, compared to ordinary lighting, smart lights are more expensive. For example, Yeelight smart bulbs cost one time more expensive than the same wattage LED bulbs, but it’s capable to control brightness, color temperatures, and various colors.
Smart Light Switch
Smart light switches are usually connected with Zigbee, radio frequency, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, etc. They’re mounted directly to the wall bottom box and control the On/Off of lighting. Some smart wall switches come with dimmable features, that can dim the light such as incandescent bulbs, dimmable LED bulbs, etc. But most of the smart light switch in the market is only capable of turning light on and off. Some work with Alexa and Google Assistant to add voice control, providing the hands-free convenience of controlling the lights in your home.
Smart wall light switches are divided into single wire and neutral wire switches according to whether a neutral wire is required.
Single wire switches use single wire power taking technology and do not require a neutral wire. They can directly replace existing ordinary wall switches. However, due to the limitation of single-wire technology, the power of the controlled lamps is greatly restricted. Generally, the minimum power cannot be lower than
10W, and the maximum cannot exceed 100W. Although some single wire switches claim to control light fixtures with power below 10W, there is usually occasional flickering of the lamps. At the same time, the price of single wire switches is higher than that of neutral wire switches. Therefore, single wire wall switches should only be used when a neutral wire cannot be introduced.
A neutral wire wall switch can be regarded as a smart socket, so there is no requirement for the lamps they control! Generally, wattage between 0 and 2000W can be fine, and devices such as bathroom heaters and ventilation fans within this power range can be controlled too. They are more stable in operation, and for
ZigBee technology neutral wire switches, they can also be used as routing nodes to expand network coverage. Usually, the price is lower, so it is important to choose a neutral wire switch if a neutral wire can
How to choose between a smart light and a smart light switch?
To achieve smart control of the lighting, use smart light with a regular wall switch, or connect a smart light switch with the regular light, both of these two methods can achieve smart control requirements. Of course, you can also use smart light + smart light switch together to fulfill the smart control function. The regular light mentioned here refers to the light that is controlled by the wall switch, not refers to those without smart features but can be controlled via a remote or dedicated switch.
These three control methods have their own advantage and disadvantage. Let’s take the single wire wall switch and Yeelight smart ceiling light as examples:
1. Smart Light + Regular Wall Switch.
This method can realize functions like adjusting the brightness and color temperature of the smart light, but the actual experience is poor because of several awkward issues:
- After the wall switch is turned off, unless the wall switch is turned back on, the remote control, mobile app, Alexa and other methods cannot control the light.
- If the light is turned off through the mobile app or Alexa, then the wall switch loses its control, whether it is turned on or off, the light will not turn on.
- It is easy to get confused about whether the light was turned off using the wall switch or the mobile app or Alexa. When both have been turned off, it is inconvenient to turn on the light. Therefore, this is not an ideal solution for smart lighting.
2. Smart light switch + ordinary light
This combination method is practical. Although the brightness and color temperature cannot be adjusted, there is no problem in controlling the On/Off of the lamp. For most ordinary lighting that does not need to be dimmed, such as spotlights, downlights, ceiling panel lights, light strips, under cabinet lights, etc, it is recommended to control the light in this way, and it’s cost-effective if you’re within budget. The price of an ordinary lamp is not high, and the price of smart wall switches is also low.
Of course, the disadvantage of this combination is that it is impossible to adjust the brightness and color temperature, but whether it’s the wall switch, mobile phone APP, Alexa, Google Home, etc, they can all be controlled, and there won’t be any conflicts or awkwardness like in scenario 1.
3. Smart Light + Smart Wall Switch
You may think that this smart lighting control solution is unnecessary, and doubt that there may be conflicts when both are intelligent. Actually, there won’t be any conflicts. You can understand it this way: the smart light switch controls the power supply of the smart light. Of course, in most cases, this smart wall switch is always on. As long as this switch is on, the smart light can be controlled directly through the APP, remote control, Alexa, and so on. So, we recommend using this smart control solution for the main lighting in the living room, dining room, bedroom, etc.
In daily use, the wall switch can be always kept on. Only in the Away mode, the smart wall switch can be used to turn off the power of the light, and then in the Home mode, turn on the power supply. At the same time, for Xiaomi’s intelligent wall switch, it can be directly converted into a wireless switch, and then set the function of this wireless switch to control the switch of the intelligent light instead of directly cutting off the power supply of the intelligent light like the switch itself. This way, the wall switch can also control the switch of the intelligent light, and the double-click, long press, and simultaneous press of this wireless switch can be set to change other functions such as brightness and color temperature.
Although this smart control solution has the most complete functionality and the best effect, it’s also the most expensive.
In summary, for a smart home lighting system, ordinary lighting fixtures with smart light wall switches can be used in areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, hallway, and entrance that does not require dimming, as well as spotlights, downlights, light strips, and other lighting fixtures that do not require dimming. For areas that require the dimming feature, such as the living room, dining room, and bedroom, the use of intelligent lights with intelligent wall switches is recommended. This approach delivers the best overall effect at the lowest cost.
Lighting Control Idea
In fact, most people’s control concept for lighting still revolves around using wall switches to control the corresponding lights or traditional needs such as dual control. If you have turned all the home lighting into smart control, then you can consider the following two lighting control ideas.
- Use automation where possible.
Areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, and hallway where lights can be automatically turned on when people enter and off when people leave can be achieved using motion sensors. Lights in these areas can be set to automatically turn on when the light levels get low and there is movement detected, and automatically turn off after a certain number of minutes (3-10mins) without any movement. In other words, these lights generally do not need to be controlled during everyday life and can function entirely automatically.
- Control all the lights in the room at the same time, instead of controlling them one by one.
Rooms such as the living room, dining room, bedroom, and study room often have multiple light sources. For instance, the living room will have main light, strip lights, ceiling spotlights, floor lamps (which can be controlled directly using smart plugs), and so on. The main light, light strips, and two-directional spotlights can be controlled using two two-gang smart wall switches. Here are a few recommended scenarios:
- Normal lighting scene: The main light is at medium brightness, light strips, and spotlights are all on, but the floor lamp is off.
- Brightest lighting scene: The main light is at its brightest, cove lights and spotlights are all on, and the floor lamp is on.
- Soft lighting scene: The main light is at one-third brightness, light strips are on, one way of the spotlights is on and the other is off, and the floor lamp is on.
- Dimmest lighting scene: The main light is at its lowest brightness, light strips are on, both directions of the spotlights are off, and the floor lamp is off.
- Turning off all the lights: The main light, light strips, spotlights, and floor lamp are all off.
In daily life, the idea is not to control lights separately but to use these lighting scenes to control all the lights in the living room directly. These scenes can be executed directly by Alexa, or the buttons on the wall switches can be set to execute the scenes. For example, we can use two two-way smart wall switches, so there’re four buttons that can be converted to wireless switches. After conversion, only two of these buttons are required to control all the lights. The functions can be set as follows:
- Button 1 single click: Execute normal lighting scene.
- Button 1 double click: Execute the brightest lighting scene.
- Button 2 single click: Execute soft lighting scene.
- Button 2 double click: Execute the dimmest lighting scene.
- Both button 1 and button 2 are pressed at the same time: Turn off all lights.
After this setting, whether it’s through Alexa or wall switches, you can simultaneously control the lighting in the entire room. If you add some light flashing prompts or color temperature changes during the lighting switch process, the lighting system of the whole room will feel very technical. Of course, you can also attach a Yeelight color light strip behind the sofa or TV, and adjust the color and color temperature of the light to create an even more stylish atmosphere. By the way, the intelligent wall switch panel from Green Rice is pure white and can be marked using laser engraving or other methods to prevent confusion of functions.
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