Carrying in an armful of groceries late at night? Feeling lazy and don’t want to get off the couch? Thanks to smart switches and in-wall smart dimmers, all you have to say is “Hey Siri, turn on the lights,” (or "dim the lights") and you’ll never fumble for another switch again. If that sounds like something you're interested in, take a look at our favorite smart switch, the Leviton Decora Smart Switch(available at Amazon), and our favorite dimmer, the Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit (available at Amazon).
However, while you’re trying to choose a smart switch or dimmer, know that certain ones are supported by HomeKit and others are not. Feeling overwhelmed by all of the options out there? Not to worry. We’ve done the legwork for you. Our editors tested the best smart switches and the best smart in-wall dimmers of 2019. Of those recommendations, we’ve whittled the list down to bring you the best smart switches and dimmers for Apple HomeKit.
These are the best smart in-wall switches and dimmers for Apple HomeKit we tested ranked, in order:
The Leviton Decora Smart HomeKit Switch works over Wi-Fi and packs a special chip that makes it compatible with Apple HomeKit. It connects to an app called Leviton Decora Smart Home that is only available for iPhone.
To set up the switch, Apple HomeKit uses special barcodes that you scan with your phone. We 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 the 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.
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 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 priced at almost double 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, Google Home
Hi, I’m Sarah Kovac, editor for our smart home section here at Reviewed. My lifelong passion for tech led to freelance coverage of smart home products for outlets like Wirecutter, PCMag, and of course Reviewed. I’ve tested just about every smart home thing you can imagine, but smart lighting is the category I most frequently interact within my own home. For this guide, I learned how to wire a light switch despite the fact that I’d never wired anything in my life. If I can do it, you can too.
In order to adequately test these switches, we built a custom lighting rig to house them for our tests and connected them to a regular home Wi-Fi router. We evaluated their setup processes, apps, physical and digital 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.
What You Should Know About Smart Switches and Dimmers
What is Apple HomeKit?
When it comes to the world of smart light switches and dimmers, there are lots of different options to choose from. If you’re buying new smart switches and dimmers for your home, first consider whether or not the switch or dimmer is compatible with your current smart home setup—especially if you use Apple’s HomeKit.
HomeKit is a popular voice-controlled platform that lets you manage your compatible smart home devices (like smart switches) using Siri, a virtual assistant embedded into Apple’s operating systems. This can be done using the HomeKit app on your mobile device or via the HomePod smart speaker, which functions similarly to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers. If you’re already an Apple user, you’ll find the integration of Siri to control your smart switches easy to use whether you’re away or at home. You can even use the switches to control bathroom fans, ceiling fans, humidifiers, garbage disposals, and outlets.
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 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 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.
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, and 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.
Things to Consider When Looking for a HomeKit-Compatible Smart Switch
As you shop for smart switches that work with HomeKit, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, remember to check the product to see if it is even compatible with HomeKit, as many smart home devices aren’t. To determine whether or not a smart switch is compatible with HomeKit, look for the words “works with Apple HomeKit” on the product’s packaging or in the product description.
2. Devices you already use
Check to make sure the smart switch is congruent with your mobile phone or tablet. For example, certain smart switches, like the Leviton Decora Smart Switch, are only compatible with iOS devices, while others are more compatible across various platforms. This is especially important if not everyone in your household uses iOS devices.
3. The right bulbs
You don’t need a smart bulb or smart lighting to make your smart switch work. Most smart switches work just fine with the fixtures and bulbs you already have installed in your home. But you do need a hub like the Apple HomeKit system to operate our top picks listed above.
The good news is that most smart switches, like these options listed above, function just like a traditional wall switch when you don’t want to use their high-tech capabilities. However, if you use the smart switches for their intended purpose, you'll find turning the lights on and off more convenient than ever before.
Privacy and Apple HomeKit
There’s always a security risk when using internet-connected devices at home, but there are ways you can protect your privacy when using HomeKit devices. Apple claims that all HomeKit user data is encrypted end-to-end locally (meaning on your Home Hub) before being transmitted to the cloud so that no one has access to it but you. According to the company, HomeKit's infrastructure uses iCloud, iOS, iPadOs, and macOS to "protect and sync private data without exposing it" to others, including Apple employees. To secure your account further, turn on two-factor authentication and make sure your password is unique and hard to guess. You can read more about Apple's HomeKit data security policy.
One thing to know is that Apple, by default, keeps your Siri voice interactions (one of the primary ways to control HomeKit accessories) and may review the audio clips to help improve Siri’s accuracy. You can opt-out of this by turning off Siri and Diction in the Settings > Privacy > Analytics & Improvement > turning off Improve Siri & Dictation. To delete your Siri voice history on a HomePod, open the Home app, press and hold the HomePod icon, select Siri History, tap Delete Siri History, and confirm the deletion. To delete your Siri voice history on an iPhone or iPad, open Settings > Siri & Search > Siri & Dictation History > Delete Siri & Dictation History. For more information, check out Apple’s Siri dictation and privacy disclaimer.
Other Smart Switches and Dimmers We Tested
Belkin Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Dimmer
The Belkin Wemo Wi-Fi smart dimmer is just all-around solid. The included instructions made installation a breeze, the app is designed well, the switch itself is easy to use, and it looks attractive on the wall. During setup, you're guided through bulb calibration so the dimmer knows how far your bulb can smoothly dim, so you'll never end up with that weird flickering. It works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit. Connecting the Wemo dimmer with HomeKit was easier than with most: no numbers to enter or codes to scan. The dimmer's settings have links to all the integration options, and once you've tapped the HomeKit option, HomeKit detects the Wemo and guides you through the rest of the process.
Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
Neutral wire requirement: Yes
Three-way switch compatibility: No
Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
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 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.
Works with: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home
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 set up 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 third member of the Leviton Decora Smart dimmer family, this version also works over Wi-Fi, 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 the 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 about $50 per switch, it's definitely a more affordable HomeKit option.
Insteon is unusual in that its 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.
The Ecobee Switch + was a pleasure to use… once it was set up. The setup process, however, was extremely frustrating on iOS. The app kept stalling out on one of the steps, and even after resetting the phone and hard resetting the switch, it just wouldn't complete. When we switched gears to test on Android, it worked without a hitch. The switch responded quickly over both data and Wi-Fi, the app was easy to use, and the switch itself walked us through much of the setup via its built-in speaker. If you're an Android user looking for a smart switch with Alexa integration, the Ecobee Switch + is right up your alley. But, if you're drawn to this switch for its HomeKit compatibility, you might have better luck elsewhere.
Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
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.
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.
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