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5 Reasons To Buy A Smart Dimmer Switch Today (And Which Are Best)

5 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to a Smart Dimmer Switch

As lighting technology continues to evolve, more and more homeowners are discovering the benefits of smart dimmer switches. These high-tech switches offer capabilities that go far beyond the basic on/off or dimming functions of traditional light switches. If you‘re still on the fence about upgrading your home‘s lighting controls, here are five compelling reasons to make the switch to a smart dimmer.

  1. Unparalleled control and customization

The number one reason to install smart dimmer switches is the incredible level of control and customization they provide over your home‘s lighting. With a smart dimmer, you can fine-tune the brightness level precisely to your preferences, whether you want soft ambient lighting to relax or bright task lighting for focused work.

But the customization possibilities go much further. Most smart dimmer switches work with a companion mobile app, allowing you to create custom lighting "scenes" for different activities or times of day. For example, you could configure a "Movie Night" scene that automatically dims the lights in your living room to 40% with a single tap.

Smart dimmer apps also typically allow you to set lighting schedules, so your lights turn on and off automatically to match your daily routines. You‘ll never again have to stumble through a dark house late at night or worry if you left the lights on when you rushed out the door. With a smart dimmer, you can even create a randomized schedule to make it look like you‘re home when you‘re actually away on vacation.

Some advanced smart dimmer switches take customization even further with features like motion sensing, light sensing, or geofencing that adapts your lighting controls automatically to changing conditions. With a smart dimmer, you‘re in complete control of personalizing your home‘s lighting to match your unique lifestyle.

  1. Significant energy savings

Another major benefit of smart dimmer switches is their potential to lower your energy bills. Dimming lights, even slightly, can result in significant electricity savings over time. According to the US Department of Energy, dimming LEDs by just 10% can reduce energy consumption by 10%, while dimming them by 25% saves 20-25% on energy.

Of course, remembering to manually dim lights to an energy-saving level isn‘t always practical. That‘s where smart dimmer switches truly shine – by automating the dimming process on a schedule, they make saving energy effortless. Many smart switch apps will even track your energy usage over time and suggest more efficient schedules and settings.

For even greater savings, pair a smart dimmer with the newest generation of LED light bulbs. LEDs already use up to 90% less energy than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs while lasting up to 25 times longer. Combining the efficiency of LEDs with the energy-saving smarts of a dimmer switch is a surefire way to shrink your carbon footprint and your utility bills.

  1. Convenient remote control and automation

In our modern world, many of us have grown accustomed to the convenience of controlling smart devices remotely through our phones. Just as it‘s now possible to adjust our thermostats or lock our doors from anywhere in the world, a smart dimmer brings that same level of control to lighting.

With a smart dimmer‘s companion app, you can easily check the status of your lights, turn them on or off, or change the dimming level from anywhere you have an internet connection. This is especially handy when you‘re arriving home late and want to illuminate the house before you walk in the door, or if you think you may have forgotten to switch off lights after leaving.

Some smart dimmer switches also work with popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. This enables conveniences like switching off all your lights with a single voice command as you‘re going to bed. Hands-free voice control is also great in areas like kitchens where your hands are often occupied with cooking and cleaning tasks.

As mentioned, most smart dimmers also support setting automatic schedules for switching and dimming lights. Having lights turn on and off on their own is not only convenient, but can also bolster home security by creating a "lived-in" look even when you‘re not there. Schedules can also help create healthier sleep/wake lighting routines, promote better focus by matching natural daylight cycles, and automate safety lighting like illuminating dark stairways at night. The possibilities for useful lighting automation with a smart dimmer are practically endless.

  1. Longer bulb life for less frequent replacements

A lesser-known benefit of dimmer switches is their ability to extend the lifespan of your light bulbs. Most bulbs, especially LEDs, last significantly longer when run at lower power levels. For example, dimming LEDs by 25% can double or even triple their rated lifespan in some cases.

The latest smart dimmer switches are engineered to work optimally with dimmable LEDs, avoiding problems that can shorten bulb life like current spikes, overheating, or voltage fluctuations. By precisely controlling power delivery, they keep bulbs running in their sweet spot for peak efficiency and durability.

Considering that the average American home has around 45 light bulbs that need occasional replacing, using a dimmer to maximize bulb life can result in serious savings on replacement costs over the years. Fewer tedious bulb changes also means more convenience – your ladder can stay in storage for longer stretches when your bulbs keep going and going.

  1. Versatility to work with regular or smart bulbs

A common question people have about smart dimmer switches is whether they require using smart light bulbs as well. The simple answer is no – a high-quality smart dimmer will work just fine with regular dimmable LED, CFL, or incandescent bulbs. As long as the bulbs are labeled as "dimmable" (not all LEDs are), they‘ll be fully controllable with a smart dimmer.

But what about the reverse scenario – can smart bulbs be used with a regular dimmer switch? This is where things get a bit trickier. Some smart bulbs, like Philips Hue and LIFX, do offer dimming as one of their smart features and can technically work with a regular dimmer. However, the dimmer often needs to be kept at 100% brightness for the smart bulb to have its full dimming range, and even then some flickering or buzzing may occur.

In most cases, trying to control smart bulbs with a regular dimmer switch is an exercise in frustration and can even permanently damage the bulbs or switch. The electronics in smart bulbs simply aren‘t designed to play nicely with the voltage modulation that dimmers use. Using them together voids warranties and is a surefire path to subpar performance.

For the most reliable, trouble-free dimming of smart bulbs, the solution is simple – control them solely through their app or a compatible smart home system, not a physical dimmer. Alternatively, for the broadest compatibility, go with a smart dimmer paired with standard dimmable bulbs. This setup provides the most flexibility overall.

Choosing the Best Smart Dimmer Switch

If you‘re sold on the benefits of smart dimmers and ready to make the leap, it‘s important to choose your switch carefully. Not all smart dimmers are created equal in terms of features, bulb compatibility, and reliability. Here are a few key factors to consider when comparing options:

Neutral wire requirement: Some smart switches require a neutral power wire in the switch box to function, while others don‘t. If your house has older wiring, it may lack neutral wires, so a no-neutral smart switch is the way to go.

Platform compatibility: Make sure the smart dimmer you choose will play nicely with your preferred smart home ecosystem, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, etc.

Wattage and load type ratings: Check that the dimmer is rated for the wattage of the bulbs and fixture you‘ll be using. Most support 150W+ for LEDs, 300W+ for incandescents, 150W for CFLs, and 600W+ for MLV loads. Double-check before buying.

App features: Take a look at the switch‘s companion app and make sure it has the scheduling, automation, and control features you need. A well-designed app makes all the difference.

Wireless protocol: Smart dimmers may use various wireless technologies like WiFi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Bluetooth to connect to your home network. WiFi is the simplest overall, but Zigbee and Z-Wave offer longer range and more stability if you have a compatible hub.

Some of the best-reviewed smart dimmer switches on the market currently include:

Lutron Caséta: This sleek switch is loved for its reliable performance, wide compatibility (it even works with Alexa, Google, AND HomeKit – a rarity), and ability to function without a neutral wire.

Kasa Smart WiFi Dimmer: This affordable WiFi switch is incredibly easy to set up and use, with an intuitive app and no hub required.

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer: Available in both WiFi and Z-Wave versions, this paddle-style dimmer has a classy look and works with most smart home systems.

GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Dimmer: With a simple button interface and space-saving design, this dimmer is a great choice for a Z-wave smart home setup.

Any of the smart dimmer switches above would be an excellent choice for bringing your home‘s lighting into the modern age. With their powerful control, customization, and efficiency benefits, smart dimmers are a bright investment in your home‘s future. Once you experience the undeniable convenience of smart lighting control, you‘ll wonder what you ever did without it!