Overwhelmed by Hundreds of Smart Switch Options

Hi folks,
I figure this community may be a good group to ask for advice of what direction to head in for smart switches. I’m sure many of you are aware of the hundreds of options out there, tons of brands, styles, platforms, etc.
I want to install a few switches throughout my house to control some lights. Existing smart home devices includes an EcoBee3 thermostat and some Nest Protects (smoke detectors). I have a Google Home mini, which is cool, I guess, but I’m not big on voice control.

If I were to stick with existing platforms in my home, the only option is EcoBee’s switch, which I don’t want mainly because of the Alexa integration. (Plus $80 ea adds up quick)

Another consideration, is that some of the switches I want to replace share a wall box with other switches, whether it’s a few switches in a 3-gand box, or 2 switches stacked in a 1 gang box, sort of like this. No dimmer required anywhere.

I guess another thing that would help is knowing what brands to avoid.
Thanks in advance!

Well, I’d highly recommend the ones that Sense is compatible with, but those cannot be mounted in the wall. That’d be the TP-Link HS110 and the Wemo Insight.

I haven’t been able to try any of the in-wall options unfortunately, because I rent :frowning:

Looking at TP Link vs WeMo light switches, the TP Link seems to have a much better price. Is Sense compatible with all of TP Link’s products, or specifically just that outlet? There’s only one place in my home I’d put that outlet, otherwise it’s all light switches.

Ah, you were talking about light switches and not plugs! I misunderstood.

At this time, we’re compatible with the HS110 and the HS300 smart power strip from TP-Link.

It is certainly convenient to have the Wemo/TP-Link switches appear in the Sense interface to switch things on/off BUT the main advantage and goal of the integration (correct me if I’m wrong @RyanAtSense) is so you can get usage data from those Smart Plugs that are actually energy monitors themselves vs. simple switched outlets or light switches. Only the Wemo Insight, HS110 and HS300 have energy monitoring and are currently integrated with Sense.

Meaning: If you are looking for a neat light switching interface it’s not really Sense’s forte. Using HomeKit or Wemo/TP-Link interfaces might be more functional.

Depending upon what BULBS you like/use you could also go down the Philips Hue route (potentially bypass the switching issue altogether and leave them alone). Hue integrates nicely with Sense and IFTTT so you can do cool stuff (eg fridge goes off, your house flashes red!). There’s even a cheap cover for an old style toggle switch I’ve seen that prevents the physical switch being used!

If you want built in I would recommend Lutron’s lines of switches. They are consumer oriented line (can get them at bestbuy and other retailers) but they are professional grade and are also meant to be used by electricians to add three way switches if hardwiring is not possible. If you get the pro version of the hub it can integrate with local automation systems but even their consumer hub has a lot of cloud based integration support.

The caseta line is the same technology at Lutron’s higher end line - ra2 - just with fewer options.

They seem to have a good reputation over at avsforums.com. They have an automation section there. That’s where I heard about them. I have a dimmer, switch, and remote in my house now. One hub is limited to 50 devices though.

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Agreed.

Lutron is the default lighting automation system where I am and will be around long after smaller players abandon their products.

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I’d say that’s our goal, but that data doesn’t necessarily help users in the short term. The main benefits for users now is immediate “detection” and remote control.

This was also recently announced. https://gizmodo.com/lutron-teamed-up-with-philips-to-solve-one-of-the-most-1834891146

I’ll eventually pick on or two up, but for now I mainly just control via a combo of motion sensors, the Sense app, and some other Hue switches. I put some ugly covers over the existing switches to prevent people from hitting them.

Indeed, thanks for the link. That was the product I was referring to … though I dumbed it down in my mind because I want it to be the price of a piece of duct tape.

Pushing back on Sense’s goals (ours) vs users (yours): as a Sense+Wemo/Kasa user I find the (Smart Plug) data extremely and immediately useful beyond what Sense-alone can provide right now. Being realistic, by the time Sense can do, as reliably, what the energy monitoring smart plugs are achieving now, I’ll be happy to simply use them as switches … and it seems that Sense will likely get their quicker (full autonomy) the more people use smart plugs.

Chickens & eggs.

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The Lutron systems look really awesome, and might be good for redoing my whole home in the future. For now, at least for the few rooms I want to control, I think I’ll try out the TP-Link HS200 switches.

As for the smart bulb option, that seems like it could be a good solution for people in apartments, but it doesn’t scale well. You can get 4 HS200’s for $90, or 20 bulbs for $225.

As for the fancy light switch covers, personally I find that solution appalling, but again, might be the way to go for someone renting.

My 2 cents - if looking at Lutron, check out RA2 Select.
It is significantly more than the Caseta line, but looks like regular switches and is able to be upgrade to full RA2 later in life with only a few parts being swapped out (main repeater) if you out size the system or want some of the more advanced features/ options . Casetta gear cannot be used in a full RA2 install and personally, I don’t like the keypads.

RA2 select is in the range of $200 for the main repeater. $120 ish for dimmers / switches and $40 for a companion switch (3 way)

https://www.prolighting.com/brands/lutrondimmers/lutron-ra2-select.html

Yeah I think they made the keypad look unique to not cannibalize their ra2 sales. I don’t mind the look. I can’t justify the cost difference. I’m in Canada so the cost is even higher.

Personally, using and liking the Lutron Caseta line of in wall switches. Needs the bridge but communication is rock solid. Lutron “Pico” wireless companion switches are one of the best kept secrets out there. Can use them to add a 2nd switch control anywhere. Can link the Pico to (1) or several Caseta switches to tun on multiple sets of lights at once.