The Best Smart Switches for a High-Tech Home

The Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Dimmer Starter Kit is our top choice

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A person tapping a smart light switch panel.

Emilija Randjelovic / Getty Images

Replacing a wall switch with an internet-connected smart switch calls for a bit of installation and electrical work, but it's one of the simplest ways to enjoy the convenience and potential energy savings of smart home living. 

We consulted a smart switch installation expert and researched the most reliable, cost-effective, and easy-to-install options. Our favorite is the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Dimmer Starter Kit, an excellent starting point for many homes because it comes with its own smart hub, is easily expandable with additional switches, and is compatible with most smart platforms.

Here are the best smart switches.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Kit with Dimmer Switch and Remote

Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Kit with Dimmer Switch and Remote

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Easily install multiple dimmers 

  • Wide compatibility 

  • Neutral wire not needed

What We Don't Like
  • Must use Caseta hub

  • Pricey 

While it costs more than the typical individual smart switch, Lutron's Caseta Smart Dimmer Starter Kit provides an ideal entry point for homeowners upgrading to smart lighting. The included Caseta Smart Bridge hooks up to your Wi-Fi router and serves as the hub for any Caseta Wireless products you own. Setting up the Smart Bridge is straightforward, as is installing the in-wall dimmer switch that doesn't require neutral wiring, unlike most smart switches. 

The kit also comes with a Pico remote control that can be mounted to the wall with a mounting bracket (sold separately) to serve as a 3-way switch that controls your lights from a second location. Purchasing and pairing additional smart remotes can give you more points of control in the room or around the house. 

Once you set up your hardware, the free Lutron app gives you the usual array of smart controls—remote dimming, timers and scheduling, location-based settings, and more. Like most smart switches, it supports voice commands through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and boasts rarer compatibility with Apple HomeKit and Siri. It can even integrate with Ring, Google Nest, Samsung SmartThings, and many other smart home devices, opening up nearly endless possibilities for automation. 

Connectivity: Lutron Clear Connect RF | Switch Style: Dimmer | Circuit Type: Three-way | Control Method: Smart remote, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant

Best Budget: Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch, Dimmer

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch, Dimmer

Kasa

What We Like
  • Simple installation

  • Remote dimming with gentle-off feature

  • Excellent value

What We Don't Like
  • No Apple HomeKit 

  • Neutral wire required 

  • Limited to three Smart Actions 

Many basic smart home products on the market can get the job done, but the company's Wi-Fi Light Switch with dimming is among the lowest-priced smart switches and can easily be more cost-effective than a set of smart light bulbs. Installation is relatively simple, with the common smart-switch requirement of a neutral wire, generally present in homes built after the 1980s. The switch includes an on/off button and a pair of up/down dimmer buttons. You can control the brightness from anywhere with the user-friendly Kasa Smart app or voice commands through Alexa or Google Assistant (but not Apple's Siri). 

Advanced settings in the app include a "gentle off" feature to fade the lights at a speed of your choosing and customizable actions for when you double-tap or long-press the button. If you have other Kasa Smart products, the switch can also use Smart Actions to turn those devices on or off simultaneously. It's capped at three Smart Actions, though, which can be limiting if your home is full of smart devices that you want to control all at once. 

Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi | Switch Style: Dimmer | Circuit Type: Single-pole | Control Method: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana 

Best Compatibility: Meross Smart Wi-Fi Wall Switch

Meross Smart Wi-Fi Wall Switch

Meross

What We Like
  • Wide compatibility, including Apple HomeKit 

  • Simple installation and use 

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Neutral wire required 

  • No three-way support 

Most smart switches support Amazon Alexa and Google Home by default, but those hoping to use Apple's HomeKit smart platform to control devices with iPhones and iPads and the Siri voice assistant are often out of luck. The Meross Smart Wi-Fi Wall Switch is conveniently compatible with all of the above while being a reliable, easy-to-use, and attractively priced product at the same time.  

You can install the single-pole switch within 15 minutes. Existing neutral wiring is required to keep them constantly powered, which is common with smart switches. The switch looks like a rocker- or paddle-style switch, but it's only a lower-half button with a small LED light. No additional hub is needed, though controlling it remotely through HomeKit requires an iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV set up as your "home hub." Otherwise, the Meross app gives you complete control through your mobile device, including timers, on/off schedules, and scenes to coordinate with other Meross smart gadgets.

Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi | Switch Style: Single button | Circuit Type: Single-pole | Control Method: Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant

Best 3-Way Switch: Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch, 3-Way

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch, 3-Way

Kasa

What We Like
  • Simple installation

  • Works with traditional three-way switches

  • Nice value for 1- or 2-pack

What We Don't Like
  • No Apple HomeKit 

  • No dimming 

  • Limited to three Smart Actions

After the single-pole switch, 3-way wall switches are the next most common type of switch in homes. They allow you to control a light (or set of lights) from two separate locations—think the top and bottom of a staircase or either end of a hallway. Upgrading that with smart features gives you even more flexibility in controlling your lights, and Kasa Smart's 3-Way Wi-Fi Light Switch is a simple, affordable, and effective way to do so. You only need one new 3-way smart switch, as it will still work in conjunction with a traditional, non-smart 3-way switch. 

Kasa Smart sells them in discounted packs of two if you want to place smart switches at both locations. Installation requires the presence of a neutral wire, but overall it isn't much harder than installing a single-pole switch (and the Kasa Smart 3-way switch can also function as a single-pole switch by itself). The smart features work smoothly and as expected, from Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands to customizable schedules through the Kasa Smart app. You can group the switch with other Kasa Smart gadgets through Smart Actions, but you're limited to just three of these.

Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi | Switch Style: Single button | Circuit Type: Three-way | Control Method: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Best Motion Sensor: GE Cync Dimmer + Motion Sensing Smart Switch

GE Cync Dimmer + Motion Sensing Smart Switch

GE

What We Like
  • Detects motion and ambient light 

  • Neutral wire not needed

What We Don't Like
  • No Apple HomeKit 

  • On the pricey side

Motion sensor light switches make your rooms "smarter" by turning lights on or off, depending on whether movement is detected. You can take it a step further by adding internet connectivity with a product like the GE Cync Dimmer + Motion Sensing Smart Switch. In addition to picking up motion, it also senses the room's natural ambient lighting to gauge whether to turn on lights. You can fine-tune all the related settings (such as motion sensitivity and when the motion detectors should kick in) within the Cync app, and voice commands are available through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. 

Another selling point for many homeowners is that Cync offers some of the few smart switches that don't require a neutral wire during installation. The Cync Dimmer + Motion Sensing Smart Switch does need a ground wire in addition to line and load wires, as is typical with single-pole switches.

Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi | Switch Style: Dimmer with motion sensor | Circuit Type: Single-pole | Control Method: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Best with a Display: Brilliant Smart Home Control

Brilliant Smart Home Control

Brilliant

What We Like
  • Full smart-home control via touchscreen 

  • Built-in motion-sensing camera and dimmers

  • Built-in Alexa, with support for many smart platforms

What We Don't Like
  • Much pricier than most smart switches 

  • Installation can be tricky 

  • Not all functions supported for all devices

If you don't mind paying a premium for it, the Brilliant Smart Home Control does much more than flip a single light switch. It serves as an all-in-one access point for the various smart products around your home, and many of today's leading platforms are compatible. Dim the connected lights or any smart lighting in the house, adjust your smart thermostat or sound system, or check your doorbell camera and use your smart lock to unlock the door. You can intuitively control all functions from the 5-inch touchscreen, which doubles as a digital photo frame when idle or a video intercom system thanks to the integrated camera.

Amazon Alexa also comes built into the panel, so you don't need your phone or another smart device nearby to give voice commands. Google Assistant and Siri are supported as well. Offering yet another control method is the Brilliant mobile app, which brings your connected smart gadgets together in one place. There are different models to match the size of the panel you're replacing, from a one-switch to a four-switch panel. The downside to the device's complexity is more wiring and increased potential for issues during installation, so less experienced users will possibly require help from an electrician.

Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi | Switch Style: Control panel with LCD touchscreen | Circuit Type: Single-pole | Control Method: Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant

Best Z-Wave: Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Dimmer

Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Dimmer

Enbrighten

What We Like
  • Designed for easy installation

  • Wide Z-Wave compatibility

  • Supports three-way switch expansion

What We Don't Like
  • Z-Wave hub required

  • No Apple HomeKit 

  • On the pricey side

Most smart switches work by connecting to your home Wi-Fi network, but if you already have a hub set up for a dedicated smart-home wireless protocol like Z-Wave, you'll want to opt for a smart switch that takes advantage of it, too. The Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Dimmer from Jasco is our top pick for the job. Once connected to your smart hub, you can fully control it through your mobile app and other Z-Wave devices around the house with Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. 

Assuming you're all set with a Z-Wave hub and a neutral wire, the Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Dimmer goes to extra lengths to make installation painless. Its QuickFit design provides a 20 percent shallower housing to make sure it fits even in smaller spaces. Its SimpleWire technology includes terminals that safely accept either the line or load wires interchangeably, saving DIY installers from the worry of mixing them up. It also comes ready for multi-switch configurations with the purchase of additional Enbrighten add-on switches. 

Connectivity: Z-Wave | Switch Style: Rocker dimmer | Circuit Type: Three-way | Control Method: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Best No Neutral: Moes Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch

Moes Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch

Moes

What We Like
  • Neutral wire not needed 

  • Simple installation

What We Don't Like
  • No Apple HomeKit 

  • No three-way support 

  • Pricier than neutral-wire models 

If you don't have access to neutral wiring at your switch's location—or in your house—there are still options for installing a smart switch without having an electrician bring in a new neutral wire. Many of these options are more complex and pricey, but the Moes Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch is simple and lower in price. 

With no neutral wire, installing the single-pole switch involves connecting only a hot wire, a load, and a ground. While this switch is costlier than neutral-wire options, you don't need a capacitor, unlike some no-neutral installations. Once installed, the switch connects to your Wi-Fi network and syncs to a mobile app for remote control, schedules, and timers. Voice commands are supported via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but not through Apple HomeKit and Siri.

Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi | Switch Style: Single button | Circuit Type: Single-pole | Control Method: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Final Verdict

The Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Dimmer Starter Kit is a stand-out pick for those new to smart switches, coming complete with its own hub, dimming features, wide compatibility, and no-neutral installation. For a simpler and more affordable option, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch Dimmer is as functional and usable as smart switches come, with some extra features to balance out its limitations. 

What to Look for in a Smart Switch

Switch Type

Choosing a type of smart switch often starts with what existing switch (or switches) you want to upgrade. The most basic is a single-pole switch at a single location. To replace 3-way switches that control a set of lights from two locations, you need a smart switch that supports that type of wiring—and some smart switches make it easy to expand to even more switches.

Beyond that, you can decide if you want something more than an on/off toggle, like a dimmer or motion sensors. If you already have a whole suite of smart home devices in play, you might consider a switch with a display that serves as a central control panel. 

For Justin Landeen, a smart home installation manager at Penco Electric, the ideal approach is for new users to sample the technology gradually. "We tell our customers to start small," he says. "I can't tell you how many people I've talked out of spending $20,000 on a smart lighting system. Before you get in too deep, start with a couple locations, like your porch light or back door or garage."  

Compatibility 

Compatibility is another aspect where it helps to take stock of what your home already uses. A common example is if you use Apple gadgets and the Siri voice assistant. While most smart switches support Amazon Alexa and Google Home, ones that work with Apple's HomeKit smart platform are less common. 

There is also a growing variety of broader smart home environments your switches may have to integrate into, such as Z-Wave wireless or brand-specific smart hubs. If you're already using a particular platform or app and are happy and familiar with it, you probably won't appreciate having to use something different just for your smart switches. 

"There is a technical side to these products, a user factor," says Landeen, who finds the Lutron brand most usable. Their devices are his company's primary smart home recommendation. "You have to understand and like the platform." 

Installation

One factor that may limit your smart switch choices is whether or not you have a neutral wire at the switch's location. Homes built before the 1980s were not required to use a neutral wire, and many in-wall smart devices require it. Adding neutral wiring for a smart switch can be more trouble than it's worth. You can find no-neutral smart switches that work with certain brands and products to avoid the hassle. 

Some smart switches try to make installation easier with simplified wiring or different electrical box sizing, but the installation process is already relatively simple for most products. It still involves electrical work and serious associated risks, so consider hiring an electrician if you're unsure about the process.

FAQ
  • How do smart switches work?

    Physically, smart switches may look or function the same as a standard light switch and use a similar installation process. The difference is that smart switches connect wirelessly to your home network, whether through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, radio frequency (RF), or other proprietary standards. This connectivity unlocks all the features that come with turning the switch on or off from wherever you want, whenever you want. 

    This capability also means smart switches can require more upkeep than traditional ones. "General maintenance is important," says Landeen, pointing to electrical considerations as well as network issues. "These aren't the old simple toggle switches from before. These switches are programmable and highly engineered, so they need to be treated with care."

  • Why do smart switches need a neutral wire?

    Neutral wiring (usually white in color) completes the circuit of your home's electrical system by bringing electrical currents back to the power source. It keeps the power flowing at all times, and that's what smart switches need. Even when the switch is turned off, a typical smart switch needs some amount of power to stay connected to your network and know when to turn back on. 

    Some smart switches function without a neutral wire, but there is often extra technology (like a specific smart hub) at play to bypass the requirement, making them generally more expensive and limited in options.

  • How much energy do smart switches use?

    In order to stay powered enough at all times to perform its functions when needed, smart switches connected to Wi-Fi typically use 1-2 watts of power while idle. If connected to a dedicated wireless home automation network like Z-Wave or Zigbee, a smart switch might use more like 0.5 watts. 

    For perspective, 2 watts amounts to 17.52 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per year, while the average U.S. residence uses over 10,000 kWh annually.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This roundup was researched and written by Anton Galang, a freelance contributor who began covering consumer technology in 2007. He has written about and tested a variety of tech-focused products for The Spruce and Lifewire, including digital picture frames, smart plugs, and other smart home devices. 

In forming this list of top smart switches, Anton considered about two dozen products and over 100 customer reviews, focusing on value, compatibility, usability, and installation concerns. He also consulted with Justin Landeen, Vice-President of Business Development and manager of the smart home installation division of Penco Electric in the Chicago area, for insights on the smart lighting landscape and product/installation considerations. 

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Frequently Asked Questions. U.S. Energy Information Administration.