Benefits of Smart Light Switches
The modern smart home can work in numerous different ways. In fact, the possibilities of this technology are only now beginning to be fully realised by many homeowners who want to make their home a more technologically advanced place to live.
The basic idea is that many electrical appliances can now be controlled in a smart way, either from a central control unit – such as a smartphone – or by interacting with one another over a radio frequency communication system like Zigbee.
That said, one area where smart home technology has already really taken off is with smart lighting products. Nowadays, we supply lots of smart bulbs and smart light fittings to UK consumers. However, these products should not be confused with smart light switches.
Although the two product groups can work very well together and in various combinations, it is worth emphasising that smart light switches are not smart light fittings in their own right. They can work with conventional light fittings and light bulbs. Equally, they can also work with other smart lighting products.
So, is a smart light switch all that different to a conventional light switch, you may well ask? The answer is no – they are a high-tech alternative to normal light switches that mean you will have a lot more flexibility at your fingertips.
In this article, you will find out why many homeowners are choosing to upgrade their old light switches with modern smart ones and what the main benefits are of so doing. Firstly, however, it will be worth examining what a smart light switch is and the basic differences it has with a conventional one.
What Makes a Smart Light Switch?
To begin with, a smart light switch connects to a lighting ring main in just the same way that a conventional light switch would. They are commonly installed in just the same place on a wall as a normal light switch, by the door where you first come into a room.
Like a normal light switch, you can operate them manually. However, when you press the switch it just needs to be tapped and not clicked into place. This is in stark contrast to a conventional light switch which creates a physical break in the wiring that feeds the light on lights connected to the circuit.
As a result, a smart light switch is silent to operate, does not need any physical finger strength to turn on and off and has a lower profile on the wall since no part of it is ever standing out. Like conventional light switches, you can operate more than one light fitting, or a combination of fittings, with them.
Our Sonoff single-sized smart light switches, for example, can run one, two or three circuits – more than enough for many homes. What’s more, they are available in two attractive finishes, black or white.
However, it is not just their smoother appearance that makes them so remarkable when compared to conventional light switches. When you have a smart one operating a lighting circuit you don’t have to touch it to turn your lights on and off. You can also do so from a smart app, such as eWeLink, or talk to your smart voice-command system and instruct the switch to dim, turn on or turn off.
Importantly, you will be able to operate your entire home’s lighting set up without having to get up. You can set parameters to turn your lights on when it gets dark or when you arrive home or to switch them on and off when you are out to make it look like somebody is in. In short, the possibilities are endless.
Why Not Use Smart Light Bulbs Instead?
Some people ask us why they cannot get all of this smart functionality by fitting smart bulbs into their light fittings rather than wiring in new switches. The truth is that you can achieve similar results either way. That said, smart light switches offer two distinct advantages.
Firstly, they will be fitted inside your home whereas your light fitting might be outside of it, potentially out of range of your Wi-Fi. With a smart light switch, you can still control the entire lighting circuit even if the fitting it is connected to is not within the scope of your wireless network.
Secondly, some lighting circuits might include two dozen, or more, lights on them. Think of a circuit controlling a series of ceiling-mounted downlighters in a large room, for example. With a smart light switch, you can control them all in one fell swoop. If you were to replace them all with smart bulbs instead, then the cost would be higher and you’d also need to program them individually. In such cases, smart light switches often make more sense.