If you want to smarten up your home, one of the easiest ways to do it is through smart switches. You can use them for lights (although you might want smart dimmers for that), bathroom fans, ceiling fans, garbage disposals, outlets, heck, even electric fireplaces!
But unlike their dumb brethren invented in the 1800’s, not all smart switches are the same. While all of the switches we tested pass the basic test of turning things on and off (phew!), they do vary in how they perform thanks to their apps and integrations. So we put them to the test, comparing their setup processes, apps, and integrations with popular platforms like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home, to find you the very best switches you can buy.
Unfortunately, all of the smart switches currently on the market seem to require a neutral wire. If your home’s electrical system lacks a neutral line (and you don’t want an electrician to install one at great expense), we recommend the Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Starter Kit and it’s additional Caséta Wireless Switch. The Caséta Wireless system doesn’t require a neutral line and it still works with Alexa, HomeKit and more. If your home does have a neutral line, keep reading to see our winners!
If you want the very best smart switch, then you need to get Leviton’s Decora Smart WiFi Switch. It’s setup was a breeze and it was easy to get it connected to both Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. The companion My Leviton app wasn’t the most intuitive of the bunch, but it works reliably across both Android and iOS.
Aside from the app, the switch scored perfect marks for its responsiveness to app and voice commands (as most of the switches did) and its remote control capabilities. And since it works over WiFi, it doesn’t require any extra hubs or hardware to get started, making your startup cost only $45. Lastly, it also supports three-way switches, meaning you can have multiple smart switches control the same light, which isn’t something its competitors can do.
While it didn’t win Best Overall, the TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch came very close. And since it can be purchased for around $40, we decided to make it our Best Value pick. The TP-Link switch scored almost identically to Leviton’s, being just as easy to set up and just as responsive with app commands and voice control via Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant.
The only things holding it back are the app, as it’s a bit buggier (we couldn’t get the timer feature to work), and a lack of three-way switch compatibility. But if neither of those issues bother you, you won’t be disappointed in this highly affordable product.
Almost identical to our Best Overall winner, this Leviton Decora Smart HomeKit Switch also works over WiFi, but packs a special chip that makes it compatible with Apple HomeKit. It also connects to a different app called Leviton Decora Smart Home that is only available for iPhone.
The setup process is different, as Apple HomeKit uses special bar codes that you scan with your phone, but just as quick and easy as the other Leviton. We also preferred the Decora Smart Home app over the My Leviton app, finding it to be more polished and intuitive. And since it’s a HomeKit product, Siri is able to control it as soon as setup is complete.
The switch does have a few drawbacks though. First, you have to have an Apple TV or iPad in your home in order to control it remotely, making your initial investment much more expensive if you don’t happen to own one of those products already. Secondly, Leviton has not made this HomeKit switch compatible with Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. That means that if you want to go with Leviton switches, you’ll have to choose between support for Amazon Alexa or Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. You won’t get the flexibility of connecting to all three like you can with the Lutron Caseta Wireless system or the iDevices Wall Switch.
The Belkin Wemo Light Switch is another great option, and it looks eerily similar to TP-Link’s smart switch. In our tests, it actually performed just as well as the three switches above.
The only big drawbacks we noticed are that the Android version of the Wemo app is buggier than the iOS version and the switch seems to be more responsive to Alexa voice commands than Google Assistant voice commands.
The switch also doesn’t offer three-way switch compatibility, just like the TP-Link. In fact, the only reason the Belkin Wemo Light Switch lost out to the TP-Link as our Best Value pick is that it happens to cost more. But if you’re already invested in Wemo products, you’ll be very happy with this switch.
If you don’t own a smart home hub, I’d stick to one of the picks above. But for those of you that own a smart home hub like the Samsung SmartThings hub or Wink Hub, you’ll want a Z-Wave switch. Unlike WiFi switches, these switches connect directly to the hub, not having to access the internet to gain smart features.
Our pick for the best Z-Wave switch goes to the GE Z-Wave In-Wall Smart Switch, which beat out Leviton’s Decora Smart Z-Wave Switch thanks to an easier setup process. We tested both switches with a Wink Hub 2 and they both worked very well, actually performing the same in terms of responsiveness. And with a lower retail price of $40 versus the Leviton’s $57, you simply can’t go wrong with this switch.
The iDevices Wall Switch is a great product, but it’s hampered by an oddly designed setup process. If you want to control the switch from both Android and iOS devices, you have to use an easy, but obscure, additional setup process. This isn’t a big deal, but it does make it more difficult to share control of the switch with family members. And for some odd reason, likely due to HomeKit, the iOS app has to be the primary source of control for the switch, restricting scheduling control on the Android version.
Setup with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant is also held back by an additional step of having to connect your switch to an Amazon account and then using your Amazon credentials to connect to the assistants. The whole process would be a lot simpler if iDevices had you create an account, but instead it has you piggyback off of Amazon.
Despite the weird setup process, the app was decent, even if it’s not the most intuitive. However, the iDevices Wall Switch performed very well in terms of responsiveness and control, and worked flawlessly with Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant. The only other issue we discovered had to do with our reliability test where we simulated a power outage. Here the switch initially struggled to reliably reconnect and be controlled from the app.
Insteon makes a proprietary DIY smart home system along with most of the products that connect to it, and the Insteon switch is no exception. Unsurprisingly, the Insteon switch is very easy to setup with the Insteon hub, but it struggles due to the Insteon app.
The app isn’t very intuitive and the Android version specifically is very dated and buggy. In fact, the switch was actually less responsive to Android commands than iOS commands. But if you use the Insteon system and enjoy it, then you should be fine with this switch.
The Switchmate is kind of the odd duck of the bunch because its not actually a real switch. It’s more like a remote that you magnetically place over a switch and use to remote toggle a switch on and off. There are two versions of the Switchmate for rocker and toggle switches—we specifically tested the rocker version.
Unfortunately, we found the Switchmate to be lacking to due a very buggy app, and actually found it to work better with the Wink app. Since the Switchmate relies on Bluetooth, you also can’t control it remotely unless you own and use a Wink Hub 2. And to top it all off, we found that the rocker version didn’t work with all types of rocker switches that we tried.
At $25 on Amazon, it’s not a huge gamble to try Switchmate, and it’s really the only option for renters outside of just using smart bulbs. But if you own your home or have your landlord’s permission, we highly recommend you go with an actual smart switch.