Smart Home Wall Switch Comparison

In today’s episode we are going to compare GE, Leviton, and Lutron smart switches, both dimming and non-dimming. When selecting a wall switch for your smart home, it is important to know what type of switch you need and what look you want.

For example, for some applications you want a dimmer, and others you need a three-way switch. If you want a dimmer, you need to make sure that the device you are controlling will handle a dimmer. For example, if you are controlling a ceiling fan or a standard fluorescent shop light, don’t opt for the dimmer model. A dimmer could damage your device or the switch itself.

The second consideration is the look of the switches you have in your home already. For me, it is important that I achieve two things: 1) I want to have uniform switches types throughout my home, regardless of if they are smart switches or regular switches; 2) I want the switch color to match the other switches in my home. I have a total of 37 wall switches in my home. 15 of which are smart switches. I don’t plan to replace all of the remaining 22 switches, so I want the smart switches to match my existing switches as much as possible. So I use white paddle switches instead of toggle style.

I won’t be installing the switches in this video, so be sure to subscribe to my channel so that you don’t miss out on those videos once they’re posted in the next week or two.

The first two switches we are going to look at are the standard GE and Leviton Paddle Style Non-Dimming zwave smart switches. Both switches look like a normal paddle style switch.

The GE switch always rests in a neutral position, halfway between off and on. When you press the top of the switch, it turns the light on, and pressing the bottom turns the light off. In both cases, this is a spring loaded action and the switch always returns to the halfway, or, neutral position. You can’t look at the switch position and tell on or off, you must either look at the light you are controlling, or at the blue light on the switch.

 

The Lutron switch always rests in the on position. This is true regardless of if the light is on or off. Turning devices on or off is always performed by pressing the bottom of the switch, the action you would normally perform to turn the light off. And just like the GE switch, the only way to tell what state the switch is actually in is to This only matters if the light is burned out and you don’t know if the switch is on or off.

I don’t like this switch as much because my brain is conditioned to push up or on, and down for off. I only have one of these, and I am always pushing the wrong side of the switch when trying to turn on my laundry room light. I do believe however, that if you had these throughout your house, and not a mix like I have, you would quickly adjust to pushing the down-side all the time. But again, you would need all switches in your house to be the same. Since I probably won’t go beyond 50% of my switches, this doesn’t work for me.

 

Next we will look at the GE paddle dimmer and the Lutron Dimmer. One thing I like about the GE Dimmer switch is that it looks exactly like the non-dimming switch. So, again, in my house, all switches look the same. To dim or brighten the light, simply long press the switch to control the dim. Tapping the switch down or up turns the light off or on. And on is always to the last brightness setting of the switch.

The Lutron dimmer has a more robust set of features. I use this at my bar. You will notice that the switch has four push buttons and five lights. The switch is flat, unlike the GE switch. Two of the switches control the off and on, while the middle two increase and decrease the brightness. The small LED lights indicate the level of brightness. All in all an elegant switch.

I like both of these dimmers equally, and have each in their locations for a specific reason. The GE dimmer controls my entry light. I rarely operate this switch manually since my smart home setup controls on, off and brightness levels depending on what is happening during the day. For example, it always turns on at sunset to 50% brightness. When the front door is unlocked or opened, it instantly turns on bright. Locking the front door will turn the light back to 50% after 60 seconds. When I use my Amazon Echo to activate my Watch TV scene, this light reduces to 30% brightness. I have not touched the switch manually in months. So all I really care about here is the zwave function and the look of the switch on the wall.

My bar light dimmer on the other hand, is often manually controlled. And since my bar is a social area, it is used by people that are not familiar with my house. The layout of the switch is very leasy to understand and the icons and LED’s provide good instruction and feedback as to what is happening. Aside from that, the switch has a cool factor to it, unlike the GE switch.

All switches easily integrated with my Wink Hub and are all accessible to my Amazon Echo groups and voice commands through Alexa.

So, all in all, while I like all of the switches we talked about today, I am using the GE line for a majority of my house. I plan to remove the Leviton switch from my laundry room and replace it with a GE switch. And I will repurpose the Leviton into my garage to control a less frequently used light. This will keep the look and the experience of the switches in my house consistent.

Don’t forget to click like and be sure to subscribe so you can see the videos that install each of the switches we talked about today.