Home & Garden

Wifi enabled lightswitch

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 22nd, 2019 8:50 pm
Tags:
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 9, 2011
832 posts
335 upvotes
GTA

Wifi enabled lightswitch

Any recommendations for a wifi enable lightswitch that I can use to control my outside porch light?
1 x Zoomer Wireless $40.50 loyalty plan - 5 GB of data!
5 x Freedom Mobile plans
Ecobee 3 Lite courtesy of Green On (ie tax payers)
24 replies
Deal Addict
May 23, 2017
1546 posts
670 upvotes
not to thread crap, but I am interested in this as well. I saw some at costco. just looking for one for my basement/theatre room so I dont need to get up to turn the lights on and off
Got that Zoomer account!
Sr. Member
Jan 21, 2018
855 posts
724 upvotes
Vancouver
Most of them will work fine, so you probably want the cheapest one if you don't have any other equipment yet where you want commonality. But partly it depends on how you plan to control it. From your phone? Make sure it has an Android and/or iOS app as appropriate. From Google Home or Alexa voice control? Make sure it's supported. From an online service like IFTTT? Is it supported by that service?

Other things to consider:
- What's the capacity? Most of the electronic switches will handle 600 watts, which is fine for lighting (esp. LEDs), but not for appliances using up to 1600 watts.
- Does it have CSA approval? Technically it should to be sold in Canada or installed in your home electrical system, but many of the cheap ones don't.
- If you plan to buy any future smart-home stuff, you might want to consider compatibility. It gets to be a pain to have all different brands and different apps needed to control a diverse set of smart home devices.

The TP-Link switches are popular in Canada, like https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/tp ... h/13044491
But they do have their issues - the TP-Link HS200 drops out of contact more often than other switches in my experience.

The cheapest current option I'm aware of is this one from Primecables: https://www.primecables.ca/p-368972-lvs ... -120v500va
But note that this is a zigbee switch, and this $20 package includes an ethernet-connected zigbee hub.

On the high end the Lutron Caseta switches are top-of-the-line, and almost unique in being able to work without a neutral wire, something you will have to check on. Not every light switch box has a neutral wire, and all the others require it. But Lutron uses their own communications protocol, so for your first product you will have to buy a hub as well as a switch, making it a very expensive option.
https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/lu ... h/12926648
Newbie
User avatar
Feb 14, 2012
77 posts
43 upvotes
Woodbridge
+ one on the TP-Link switches, had good luck with those. Make sure you have a neutral wire in your box though, these require a neutral. I would recommend to stay away from Wemo switches, personally kept having issues with those ranging from dropouts to switch failure.
Member
Mar 15, 2005
483 posts
226 upvotes
I am extremely happy with Lutron Caseta light switches. Yes the barrier to entry is higher than the TP link kasa wifi since you need to first buy the kit that includes the bridge, but they have been flawless in the 18 months i have been running them.

some additional benefits for them:
- dimmable
- can setup 3 way switches without the need for 3 way wiring, since you can use the pico remote that the switches come with as a wall switch if you want.
- they do not use the regular 2.4 ghz wifi protocol and therefore will not cause extra noise cluttering your wifi network.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 9, 2011
832 posts
335 upvotes
GTA
Scote64 wrote:
Aug 14th, 2019 11:22 am

The TP-Link switches are popular in Canada, like https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/tp ... h/13044491
But they do have their issues - the TP-Link HS200 drops out of contact more often than other switches in my experience.
What happens when the switch drops out of contact with the wireless network aside from not being able to control it using the app? Will a preprogrammed on/off schedule still be followed?

My concern would be that it drops out when I have scheduled the timer to turn on the lights or if the lights are on, it fails to turn off the lights at the scheduled time.
1 x Zoomer Wireless $40.50 loyalty plan - 5 GB of data!
5 x Freedom Mobile plans
Ecobee 3 Lite courtesy of Green On (ie tax payers)
Newbie
User avatar
Feb 14, 2012
77 posts
43 upvotes
Woodbridge
dpw198 wrote:
Aug 15th, 2019 8:30 am
What happens when the switch drops out of contact with the wireless network aside from not being able to control it using the app? Will a preprogrammed on/off schedule still be followed?

My concern would be that it drops out when I have scheduled the timer to turn on the lights or if the lights are on, it fails to turn off the lights at the scheduled time.
So cannot say what will happen in all cases but generally the switch continues to do its thing when there is a drop out (provided the schedule is done through the switch app and not through IFTTT or something like that). The only time this does not happen is when the switch "freezes" and then you have to hit and hold the reset button on it. The freeze thing only happened to me a couple of times with the TP-links across two different switches (out of six) been using them for about a year.
Sr. Member
Jan 21, 2018
855 posts
724 upvotes
Vancouver
dpw198 wrote:
Aug 15th, 2019 8:30 am
What happens when the switch drops out of contact with the wireless network aside from not being able to control it using the app? Will a preprogrammed on/off schedule still be followed?

My concern would be that it drops out when I have scheduled the timer to turn on the lights or if the lights are on, it fails to turn off the lights at the scheduled time.
It's pretty much as @Megaxyu said - most of the switches support a built-in schedule that runs without needing an external connection once set up using their app. None of the current smart home gear could be called extremely reliable. There are lots of inexplicable failures and freeze-ups. But the built-in timer is probably the most reliable part.

If the TP-Link switches lose contact, they usually recover on their own after a while, but services like Google and Alexa and Home Assistant sometimes seem to mark them permanently offline after a while, and you need to reset the whole TP-Link chain of command to get them back in contact.

My Primecables zigbee dimmer switch would lose contact every few days at first, a problem that a lot of users complained about. I eventually moved the hub closer to the switch, although I didn't think it was very far away initially, and that seemed to solve the problem. But occasionally it still seems to have a communications freeze until the next time the manual switch is pressed.
Last edited by Scote64 on Aug 15th, 2019 9:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 9, 2011
832 posts
335 upvotes
GTA
Thanks for the feedback.

I ended up buying 2 TP-Link HS210 for $40 as opposed to 1 TP-Link HS200 for $30 since Amazon has a sale on right now. I'm sure I'll find a use for the second one somewhere.
1 x Zoomer Wireless $40.50 loyalty plan - 5 GB of data!
5 x Freedom Mobile plans
Ecobee 3 Lite courtesy of Green On (ie tax payers)
Newbie
User avatar
Feb 14, 2012
77 posts
43 upvotes
Woodbridge
Scote64 wrote:
Aug 15th, 2019 9:48 am
My Primecables zigbee dimmer switch would lose contact every few days at first, a problem that a lot of users complained about. I eventually moved the hub closer to the switch, although I didn't think it was very far away initially, and that seemed to solve the problem. But occasionally it still seems to have a communications freeze until the next time the manual switch is pressed.
Not to thread jack but how far away was the switch from any other zigbee device ? Was the hub the closest other zigbee device ? curious as I was thinking of moving over the HA and zigbee and was under the impression that zigbee should be less susceptible to dropouts and such as each device is a sort of repeater.
Sr. Member
Jan 21, 2018
855 posts
724 upvotes
Vancouver
Megaxyu wrote:
Aug 15th, 2019 11:10 am
Not to thread jack but how far away was the switch from any other zigbee device ? Was the hub the closest other zigbee device ? curious as I was thinking of moving over the HA and zigbee and was under the impression that zigbee should be less susceptible to dropouts and such as each device is a sort of repeater.
In general only devices connected to AC power act as repeaters for the Zigbee mesh network. The Primecables dimmer switch (actually made by Orvibo) is supposed to act as a repeater. The battery-powered sensors don't waste their power acting as a repeaters.

I initially had the hub in a different room from the dimmer switch, but it was only about 30' away. I soon found that neither the dimmer nor the other Zigbee sensors would register to the hub unless they were much closer - within about 10' max. That's easy for the mobile sensors - just move them close to the hub to register, then put them back in place - but it's a pain in the butt for a dimmer switch installed in the wall. I had to use a 25' ethernet cable to get the hub closer to register it. And then I found that the dimmer switch would tend to drop out of contact every couple of days, as other users complained. I ended up moving the hub to a new location within 10' of the dimmer, running a new ethernet cable to it, and since then it hasn't lost contact once. I checked the nominal transmit power spec of the Primecables (Orvibo) hub, and it's pretty standard for a Zigbee hub, so I don't know why it needs to be so close.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Oct 2, 2018
121 posts
76 upvotes
Toronto
Believe the Costco ones were two to a pack for $40, so $20 each which isn't a bad deal. They are also dim able.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
28556 posts
14332 upvotes
Ottawa
TP link works as a standalone or with Samsung Smartthings, if you choose to go with a home automation setup in the future.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 3, 2010
808 posts
206 upvotes
Richmond Hill
I want to ask...The TP Link Kasa switches and Samsung Smartthings Hub...is the connection through the TP Link cloud account, or does the Hub just see the switches because they are on the same network?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 12, 2007
3183 posts
418 upvotes
Waterloo
vkizzle wrote:
Aug 15th, 2019 8:09 pm
TP link works as a standalone or with Samsung Smartthings, if you choose to go with a home automation setup in the future.
Any wifi device will work without a hub.

I would recommend against choosing Wifi devices due to security issues. Instead I would recommend choose a zigbee / Zwave etc which do require a hub. So the only vulnerable point would be the single hub instead of having 20 vulnerable devices.
----

Top