• Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit

  • Martin Jerry WiFi Dimmer Switch

  • How We Tested

  • Do I Need Smart Bulbs or a Smart Switch?

  • Other Smart In-Wall Dimmer Switches We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Smart In-Wall Dimmer Switches of 2020

  1. Best Overall

    Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit

    Pros

    • Works with Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit

    • No neutral line requirement

    Cons

    • No three-way switch support

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    Martin Jerry WiFi Dimmer Switch

    Pros

    • Easy to install

    • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

    Cons

    • Not HomeKit compatible

    Skip to the full review below
Lutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer
Credit: Reviewed.com / Daniel Wroclawski
Best Overall
Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit

As it's been in previous tests, the best dimmer of the pack was once again Lutron's Caséta Wireless system. This dimmer really nails the software details, even responding to the scrubbing of the app's digital dim slider in real time. The app worked well across Android and iOS, and we were able to connect and control it easily with all three major smart home ecosystems—Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home.

Unlike every other smart dimmer switch we tested, Lutron also offers the only dimmer that doesn't require a neutral power line, something which isn't common in the electrical wiring of older homes. If your home's electrical system doesn't have a neutral line, we highly recommend this system over getting an electrician to add a neutral line to your home, as it can get very expensive.

While the Caséta Wireless starter kit is almost twice as expensive as the competition, it's well worth the money. And once you're up and running, additional Lutron dimmers and Lutron switches can be added on to your system.

The only downside to this system is that it doesn't truly support three-way switches (where you have multiple switches for the same light). Instead, the company offers Pico wireless remote kits to mount its remotes over additional switch boxes. It's not a perfect solution, as you'll have to replace the remote batteries every now and then, but it'll work.

Note: These dimmers fade on and off, instead of immediately turning on and off like regular light switches. Some smart dimmers offer the ability to customize these fade on and off rates, but Lutron dimmers do not. We liked the effect on these particular switches, but we know they aren't for everyone.

  • Works with: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home
  • Neutral wire requirement: No
  • Three-way switch compatibility: No
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: No

Pros

  • Works with Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit

  • No neutral line requirement

Cons

  • No three-way switch support

Martin Jerry Smart Dimmer Switch
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac
Best Value
Martin Jerry WiFi Dimmer Switch

The Martin Jerry dimmer was a pleasure to work with and install. While the appearance of this dimmer isn’t quite as sleek as some others we tested, the physical switch is sturdy, the installation directions were clearly written and easy to follow, and the Smart Life app Is intuitive and pleasant to use on both IOS and Android.

While this dimmer is not HomeKit compatible, it worked beautifully with Alexa and Google assistant. So as long as you have a neutral wire and you don’t need to integrate with HomeKit, it’s hard to beat the Martin Jerry dimmer for the price. As with many smart home devices, this dimmer requires a 2.4 GHz WiFi connection.

  • Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: No
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: No

Pros

  • Easy to install

  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Cons

  • Not HomeKit compatible

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, I'm Sarah Kovac. I'm the editor of our smart home section here at Reviewed. I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't low-key obsessed with tech, and as an adult, I've been fortunate enough to make a career out of it. I spent several years freelancing about tech for outlets such as Wirecutter and PCMag until I came on staff with Reviewed in 2018.

Related content

I work remotely from my home, which is loaded up with smarts that I test day in and day out in real-world conditions. I know how frustrating some of these "smart" devices can be, and I know which ones are worth your time and energy.

The Tests

In order to adequately test these dimmer switches, we built a custom lighting rig to house them for our tests and connected them to a regular home WiFi router. We evaluated their setup processes, apps, physical dimming performance, digital dimming performance, smart home ecosystem integrations, remote control capabilities, and how well they work with popular virtual assistants, including Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant.

As for Z-Wave dimmers, we standardized our tests by connecting them to the same Wink Hub 2. We then subsequently ran them through the same tests mentioned above. For more on how we test products, please visit our How We Test page.

Do I Need Smart Bulbs or a Smart Switch?

Replacing every light in your home with smart bulbs can get expensive quick (especially if you have lots of multi-bulb fixtures). That's one of the best things about buying smart dimmers and switches—you can convert an entire chandellier's-worth of "dumb" bulbs to smart ones with one switch. Depending on the smart dimmer switch you choose, the initial cost of installation may be slightly higher than it would be to simply install the cheapest smart bulbs, but your dimmer switch will never burn out or need to be replaced, which will save you money over time. Plus you will never run into the frustrating scenario where you are yelling at Alexa to turn on the light, but she can't because somebody turned the regular light switch off without thinking, and therefore your smart bulbs are off-line and there you are just screaming into the darkness for no reason. Not that we have ever experienced anything like that.

Lutron, the brand behind our favorite smart dimmer, offers a handy compatibility checker that will show you which dimmers are compatible with the brand and model of bulbs you already own.

Smart bulbs might be a more attractive starting point for those who want to ease their way into smart lighting slowly, one bulb at a time. The more expensive smart bulbs are also loaded with lots of options when it comes to color lighting and scenes. A smart dimmer won't offer you the same bells and whistles, but it's generally just less fussy—and tech that's less fussy is something we could all use a little more of.


Other Smart In-Wall Dimmer Switches We Tested

Meross Smart WiFi Dimmable Switch

The Meross Smart WiFi dimmer switch really excels when it comes to ease of installation and integration with Alexa and Google Assistant. The Meross app offers a wizard to guide DIYers through the installation of the switch itself, and in the app’s settings, there are in-depth instructions for connecting the switch to Alexa and Google. None of the other apps had such thorough and helpful instructions for using the product with voice assistants. The wires on the switch were clearly labeled, and the app (while simple) offers just enough options to get your lights operating on basic routines and schedules. This is just a solid little switch that isn’t loaded with potentially confusing bells and whistles.

  • Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: No
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: No

Pros

  • Easy installation

  • Intuitive app

  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Cons

  • None that we could find

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer (WiFi)

The Leviton Decora Smart WiFi Dimmer is our previous best value winner thanks to sporting a WiFi radio and not requiring proprietary chips (for Apple HomeKit) or extra hubs. This model performed very well in our tests and scored just behind the Caseta Wireless system. The My Leviton app was not as polished as Lutron's, but it came very close. The biggest thing holding it back was the quality of its digital dimming, which didn't change in real-time as you slide the digital dimmer.

Regardless, it still dimmed smoothly and worked flawlessly with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The only thing to be aware of is the fact that the smoothness of the digital dimming is tied to the adjustable fade on/off rate. So if you want your lights to turn on and off instantly, be prepared to see the brightness level pop from one setting to another, at least if you dim them from the app or your virtual assistant of choice. And unfortunately, it seems all smart dimmers with adjustable fade on/off rates act this way.

  • Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes

Pros

  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Cons

  • Choppy digital dimming

Best for Smart Home Hubs
Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer (Z-Wave)

From the exterior, you'd think this Leviton Decora Smart Z-Wave Dimmer is identical to its WiFi brother, and it essentially is, except it requires a smart home hub like the SmartThings Hub (third-generation) or Wink Hub 2. If you don't own a smart home hub, I'd recommend one of the above picks. But if you already own a smart home hub connected to multiple devices, these Z-Wave dimmers will likely be a better solution for you.

Unlike WiFi smart devices, which require an Internet connection to talk to other smart devices, these Z-Wave dimmers talk directly to your smart home hub without having to access the wider web. We tested this Leviton dimmer with the Wink Hub 2 and found it performed almost identically to its WiFi sibling. We didn't like the Wink app as much as the My Leviton app, but if you're already invested in that system, you won't be disappointed. And of course, you can control these dimmers via your hub's integration with Amazon Alexa and/or Google Home.

* Works with: SmartThings, Wink, Amazon Alexa (via hub), and Google Home (via hub)
* Neutral wire requirement: Yes
* Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
* Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes with hubs that support Z-Wave Advanced Configuration
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Pros

  • Three-way switch compatible

  • Works with Z-Wave

  • Works with Alexa and Google Home

Cons

  • Requires a hub

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer (Apple HomeKit)

Here's another member of the Leviton Decora Smart dimmer family that also works over WiFi, but packs the special chip necessary to work with Apple HomeKit. And for better or worse, it only works with Apple HomeKit and Apple devices.

Despite its compatibility limitations, the Decora Smart HomeKit dimmer actually had an easier setup process and a better, simpler, slicker app. And since it works over HomeKit, Siri was ready to control it as soon as setup was complete. The only downside to this dimmer is that it requires an Apple TV or iPad for remote control, whereas the Lutron Caséta Wireless system does not (unless you're trying to use Siri or the Apple Home app). But at $50 per switch, it's definitely a more affordable HomeKit option.

  • Works with: Apple HomeKit
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes

Pros

  • Easy setup

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Works only with HomeKit

GE Z-Wave Plus In-Wall Smart Dimmer

If you have already invested in smart home devices that use Z-Wave (you likely have a Samsung SmartThings hub or a Wink hub) you’ll probably want a Z-Wave compatible dimmer so it will integrate nicely with your current setup. GE’s Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Control Dimmer is one such product and a reasonable choice for anyone who is happy to stay with their Z-Wave smart stuff. That said, we weren’t terribly impressed with this dimmer’s installation process and app responsiveness.

All the other dimmers we tested came with caps to join wires during installation, but the GE smart dimmer switch just used screw terminals, which aren’t ideal if you’re working with wires that are on the shorter side. That’s a pretty small thing, and probably a personal preference, but the extremely sluggish response time is definitely an issue. After tapping to turn the light on in the Wink app, there was a marked delay (several seconds) before the light responded. This was the case on both iOS and Android platforms.

  • Works with: SmartThings, Wink,Amazon Alexa (via hub), and Google Home (via hub)
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes with hubs that support Z-Wave Advanced Configuration

Pros

  • Works with Z-Wave

  • Three-way switch compatible

Cons

  • Slow response time

  • Fiddly to install

Insteon 6-Button Dimmer Keypad

Insteon is unusual in that it's a proprietary DIY smart home system, which means it makes its own devices for just about every smart home category. And while Insteon's keypad dimmer itself works well, it's really hampered by Insteon's apps. The iPhone app is okay, but the Android app is atrocious and doesn't look like it's been updated in a long time. The app is very buggy, making the switch much less responsive to app commands compared to the competition. But if you've invested in Insteon and own an iPhone or iPad, you can get by okay with this dimmer.

  • Works with: Apple HomeKit (via Insteon HomeKit hub), Amazon Alexa (via Insteon hub), and Google Home (via Insteon hub)
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes

Pros

  • Works with Alexa, Google Home, HomeKit

Cons

  • Buggy apps

  • Slow response time

Leviton DWVAA-1BW

Leviton's Decora Smart WiFi Voice Dimmer with Amazon Alexa is the only dimmer switch we've tested with a smart assistant built into the switch itself. Overall, the switch is easy to use, works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and is easy to control using the My Leviton app. When using the My Leviton app, there’s hardly any delay in turning the lights on/off and adjusting the brightness. When using Alexa, it’s instantaneous.

For the most part, the setup was straightforward and syncing the device with WiFi was simple. However, if you’re installing this dimmer switch, make sure to select “Voice Dimmer” during set up in the My Leviton app and not “Fan / Switch / Dimmer.” We selected the latter the first time around and it took a couple of confusing minutes for us to figure out why it wouldn’t connect.

Setup aside, we hardly ran into any connectivity issues during our two weeks of testing. However, the Alexa dimmer switch did disconnect once from WiFi for no apparent reason, but it reconnected all by itself about 10 minutes later. The Decora’s microphone range isn’t quite as powerful as a standalone Echo speaker, so you need to be standing nearby the switch for Alexa to hear you correctly.

You may be wondering why you need a dimmer switch that houses Alexa, and the truth is, you probably don’t. But, if you’re installing the dimmer switch in an area of your home where you might not normally place an Echo speaker (like the dining room), it’s nice to have Alexa hidden in the switch, so you can easily control your lights without taking up any extra coffee table space with a smart speaker.

Like several other Leviton dimmer switches we've tested, this one relies on WiFi—not an external hub—to stay connected to your smart home.

  • Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes

Pros

  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

  • Responsive

  • App is easy to use

Cons

  • Setup can be tricky

Meet the testers

Daniel Wroclawski

Daniel Wroclawski

Former Managing Editor, News & Features

@danwroc

Daniel Wroclawski is a tech-obsessed editor and reporter. In his spare time, you can probably find him hurtling through the air in a tin can-sized airplane.

See all of Daniel Wroclawski's reviews
Sarah Kovac

Sarah Kovac

Editor, Smart Home

@sarahkovac

Sarah Kovac is an award-winning author and smart home editor for Reviewed. Previously, she worked with a multitude of outlets such as Wirecutter, TIME, PCMag, Prevention, The Atlantic, Reviews.com, CNN, GOOD, Upworthy, Mom.me, and SheKnows.

See all of Sarah Kovac's reviews
Rachel Murphy

Rachel Murphy

Staff Writer

@rachel_murphy

Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News' Good Morning America.

See all of Rachel Murphy's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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