HomeKit Light Switches & Dimmers – Review

Published:
Last Updated: Oct 09, 2020

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For this article, I have reviewed the best Apple HomeKit-compatible light & dimmer switches. Since I didn’t want to compare apples with oranges, I have separated the review into two sections, starting with HomeKit Light Switches, and followed by HomeKit Dimmers.

Reviewed HomeKit Light Switches

Product
ecobee Switch+

Amazon*

Eve Light Switch

Amazon*

Leviton Decora Smart Switch (DH15S-1BZ)

Amazon*

Koogeek Smart WiFi 2-Gang Light Switch (KH02)

Amazon*

Koogeek Smart WiFi 1-Gang Light Switch (KH01)

Amazon*

ecobee Switch+

ecobee Switch+
ecobee Switch+
 Pros
  • Built-in far-field microphone & speaker for native Alexa support
  • Integrated temperature, occupancy, and ambient light sensors
  • Supports automatic line/load switching
 Cons
  • Doesn’t support 3-way installation

The ecobee Switch+ is much more than a HomeKit light switch because it includes numerous smart sensors that can bring your home automation game to the next level. For instance, the built-in temperature sensor can extend the reach of your ecobee4 smart thermostat and the occupancy, and ambient light sensors can turn a connected light on or off, based on your configuration.

Ecobee Switch+ Night Light
Ecobee Switch+ Night Light

While the ecobee Switch+ integrates perfectly with Apple HomeKit, it also has native support for Amazon Alexa. That’s why ecobee has added a far-field microphone and speakers to the Switch+, so you can summon Alexa by talking to the switch, even if you are far away. I decided to disable the built-in microphone because I don’t use Alexa, but it’s there if you need it.

Related: Review of the ecobee4 smart thermostat with HomeKit

Installing the Switch+ is incredibly easy because the Switch+ features automatic line/load switching, which reduces the chance of incorrect wiring. Read the full review!

Check Price on Amazon*

Eve Light Switch

Eve Light Switch
Eve Light Switch
 Pros
  • Integration with the Eve Home ecosystem
  • Uses Bluetooth LE instead of WiFi
  • Slick design
 Cons
  • Doesn’t support 3-way installation
  • No automatic line/load switching
  • Works only with HomeKit

Eve is one of the few HomeKit light switch manufacturers that use Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) instead of WiFi to connect its devices to Apple’s home automation platform. You can read more about the differences between Bluetooth and WiFi further down.

Eve Light Switch with mobile app
Eve Light Switch with mobile app

What I like about Eve, which used to be under the Elgato brand, is its slick and minimalistic design, and you can see that reflected in the Eve Light Switch. Like all HomeKit light switches in this review, the Eve works without a hub or central controller. The free Eve mobile app (iOS) provides support for firmware updates, and it gives you insight into the power consumption of the switch and connected devices.

Related: Eve Home Automation Platform Review

While the installation is straightforward, the Eve Light Switch does not support automatic line/load switching, so you have to connect the red and black wires correctly.

Check Price on Amazon*

Leviton Decora Smart Switch

Leviton Decora Smart Switch
Leviton Decora Smart Switch
 Pros
  • Also available for non-Apple platforms
  • 5-year warranty
  • Supports 3-way installation
 Cons
  • No automatic line/load switching

I own a couple of Leviton Decora Smart Switches and have been happy with their performance, even though they turn on or off the lights by themselves sometimes. What’s cool about Leviton is that they offer different models of their switches for a variety of home automation platforms, including the ones from Apple, Google, and others. Leviton also offers a 5-year limited warranty, which is longer than any of the other manufacturers in this review offer.

Leviton Decora Smart Switch with app
Leviton Decora Smart Switch with its mobile app

Additionally, Leviton’s switches support a 3-way installation so that you can control one light from two switches. I have gotten rid of most 3-way switches in our home to reduce switch-clutter, but others may appreciate such an option.

Related: Review of Best Home Security Cameras

Similar to the Eve switch, Leviton Decora smart switches do not support automatic line/load switching, which makes the installation a little less fool-proof.

Using the Decora Smart Home app (iOS), you can perform the following tasks:

  • Turn lights on/off
  • Turn the locator LED on/off
  • Change the brightness (with dimmers)
  • Upgrade the firmware
  • Change the name of the switch and assign it to pre-configured rooms
  • Identify the switch (via its locator LED)

Check Price on Amazon*

Koogeek Smart WiFi Light Switch

Koogeek Smart WiFi 2-Gang Light Switch - KH02
Koogeek Smart WiFi 2-Gang Light Switch – KH02
 Pros
  • Available as 1 or 2-gang switch
  • Additional versions available in Europe and Asia
  • Reasonably priced
 Cons
  • Unknown warranty
  • No automatic line/load switching
  • Doesn’t support 3-way installation

Koogeek is likely the lesser known brand in this lineup, but the company offers excellent products at reasonable price points. I have been using the Koogeek KH01; a 1-gang HomeKit light switch for the past few weeks and have zero complaints.

Related: Danalock V3 Smart Lock Review

The installation was straightforward, and so far, the switch has worked reliably and without any signs of the device having a life of its own. That means the lights have never turned on or off unexpectedly. One thing I noticed is that the Koogeek KH01 switch is a few millimeters thicker than, for example, Leviton Decora smart switches. So you may have to push the electrical wires out of the way to properly seat the switch.

Koogeek Smart WiFi Light Switch - KH01 dimensions
Koogeek Smart WiFi Light Switch – KH01 dimensions

If you live outside the United States, such as in Europe or Asia, Koogeek offers a variety of 1- and 2-gang switches that are different from the one I have reviewed.

Check Price on Amazon*

Comparison of HomeKit Light Switches

ecobee Eve Leviton Koogeek Koogeek
Model Switch+ Light Switch Decora Smart Switch KH02 KH01
Requires Hub
Alexa integration Built-in
Google Assistant integration
HomeKit integration
Samsung SmartThings integration
Built-in microphone Far-field
Built-in speaker
Optional remote
Requires neutral wire
Gang 1 1 1 2 1
Supports 3-way installation
Automatic line/load switching
Max rating 600W incandescent, 150W LED and CFL 1800W general purpose, 600W tungsten 1650 W 1200W 500W per gang
Wireless connection WiFi Bluetooth LE WiFi WiFi WiFi
Extra sensors Temperature, Occupancy, Ambient Light
Smart scheduling
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 5 Years N/A N/A
MSRP $99.00 $39.95 $44.95 $29.99 $45.99

To download a PDF copy of the two comparison tables in this review, click here.

Reviewed HomeKit Dimmers

Product
Koogeek Smart Dimmer (2-Pack)

Amazon*

Leviton Decora Smart HomeKit Dimmer (DH1KD-1BZ)

Amazon*

Leviton Decora Smart HomeKit Dimmer (DH1KD-1BZ)

Amazon*

Lutron Caséta Dimmer

Amazon*

Koogeek Smart WiFi Light Switch Dimmer

Koogeek KH03 Smart Dimmer - 2 Pack
Koogeek KH03 Smart Dimmer – 2 Pack
 Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Additional models available in Europe and Asia
 Cons
  • Doesn’t support 3-way installation
  • No automatic line/load switching

Much like the Koogeek’s smart switch lineup, the Koogeek KH03 dimmer switch doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it looks good, and it works incredibly reliably. When installing this dimmer, make sure to connect the load and line wires correctly, because it doesn’t support automatic load/line switching.

I have found the Koogeek Home mobile app (iOS) to be relatively useless, and I have only used it for firmware updates so far. Other than that, it doesn’t offer any functionality that the native Home app doesn’t have as well.

Check Price on Amazon*

Leviton Decora Smart HomeKit Dimmer

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer
Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer
 Pros
  • Available as 600W and 1000W model
  • Optional remote control
  • Includes a second button cover in “Light Almond”
 Cons
  • Requires a neutral wire
  • No automatic line/load switching

Leviton offers two versions of its HomeKit dimmer switch with a 600W and 1000W rating. Other than the power rating, both dimmers offer the same features and capabilities. We own one of the 600W Leviton Decora smart dimmers to control the lights of our family room fan.

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer Connections
Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer Connections

What’s nice about all Leviton Decora switches and dimmers is that they come with two button covers in white and light almond. Depending on what color switch plates you use, you can pick either one. The Leviton smart dimmers have a regular on/off “rocking switch” and a dimmer button/bar next to it, including an array of LEDs to reflect the current brightness settings.

What’s unique about the Leviton Decora dimmers is that they support a 3-way installation to control one light or fixture from multiple switches. Additionally, you can add up to four dimmer remotes* that look like a regular switch but allow you to dim your lights from multiple locations.

Check Price on Amazon*

Lutron Caséta Dimmer

Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer
Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer
 Pros
  • Doesn’t require a neutral wire
  • Supports 3-way installation
  • Automatic line/load switching
 Cons
  • Not as slick/minimalistic as others
  • 1-year limited warranty

The Lutron Caséta HomeKit Dimmer stands out from the competition because it’s the only one in this review to not require a neutral wire. Additionally, the Caséta Dimmer supports automatic load/line switching and a 3-way installation. The downside of these added benefits is the requirement of a hub to communicate with HomeKit.

Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer without cover
Lutron Caseta Smart Dimmer without cover

If the hub is not a show stopper for you, the Caséta HomeKit dimmer offers excellent value and broad support for other home automation platforms, including:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • Samsung SmartThings

Besides the requirement for a hub, I think Lutron overloaded this dimmer with too many buttons that other manufacturers have managed to consolidate into fewer. But that’s just a cosmetic issue that may or may not be relevant to you.

Check Price on Amazon*

HomeKit Dimmer Comparison

Koogeek Leviton Leviton Lutron
Model Smart WiFi Light Switch Dimmer Decora Decora Smart HomeKit Dimmer (DH6HD-1BZ) Decora Decora Smart HomeKit Dimmer (DH1KD-1BZ) Caséta Dimmer (PD-6WCL-WH)
Requires Hub
Alexa integration
Google Assistant integration
HomeKit integration
Samsung SmartThings integration
Gang 1 1 1 1
Optional remote
Max rating 200W LED, 400W Incandescent 300W LED, 600W Incandescent 400W LED, 1000W Incandescent 150W LED, 600W Incandescent
Requires neutral wire
Supports 3-way installation
Automatic line/load switching
Smart scheduling
Warranty N/A 5 Years 5 Years 1 Year
MSRP $41.95 $49.95 $54.95 $59.95

To download a PDF copy of the two comparison tables in this review, please enter your email address in the form below, and I’ll send you a download link.

What You Should Consider

Before jumping “head first” into replacing all of your light and dimmer switches with HomeKit-enabled models, below are some things to consider that can, hopefully, help you make a purchase decision.

WiFi vs. Bluetooth LE

Apple HomeKit supports two communication protocols, Bluetooth, and HTTP/TCP/IP. The latter supports both wired and wireless (WiFi) connections, but I have yet to see a HomeKit light switch with an Ethernet port :)

All devices I own communicate with HomeKit via WiFi, but there are some manufacturers out there that use Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) as their primary communications protocol. Eve is one such example, so the question is: What are the pros and cons of WiFi vs. Bluetooth LE?

From an end-user perspective there aren’t many differences, but in general, Bluetooth has a shorter range than WiFi, has a slightly higher latency, and supports only 128-bit symmetric encryption. WiFi, on the other hand, has a more extended range, lower latency, and support 256-bit encryption. Of course, many of these specifications are subject to change with newer versions of either standard.

Eve Aqua - Smart Water Controller
The limited range of Bluetooth could pose an issue for devices like the Eve Aqua

If you decide to invest in the Eve Home platform and add outdoor gadgets, such as Eve’s Smart Water Controller*, you may end up needing a range extender. Today, HomeKit can only use an Apple TV or an iPad in Home Hub Mode to act as a range extender. Before Eve became a separate company, Elgato had announced Eve Extend, its own range extender, but that product has not materialized yet.

Reliability

None of the HomeKit devices I have tested, be it HomeKit light switches or others, have had any major reliability issues. But I have experienced some minor glitches with some lights magically turning on or off for no discernible reason. Just the other day, we gave Siri the “Goodnight” command, which turns off most lights in the house, including the lamps on our nightstand. Approximately 30 seconds later, all the LIFX smart bulbs in our bedroom turned back on.

On other occasions, we have had the ceiling fan in our family room automatically turn off. These are merely nuisances, but it shows that there are still bugs to be ironed out in HomeKit. To be fair, my wife’s and my iPhone X run on iOS 12 Beta, and so does our Apple TV. The latter device acts as our central HomeKit hub. So the issues could well be related to bugs in the beta software.

Frankly, I consider these growing pains of home automation technology, which is still in its infancy. But it does beg the question if I would make critical infrastructure components of the house, such as a door lock or a garage door opener* part of HomeKit. Knowing that my door or garage could spontaneously open for no reason while I’m on vacation makes me a bit cautious.

3/4-Gang Switches

Combination of Smart and Dumb Switches in one Panel
Combination of Smart and Dumb Switches in one Panel

Koogeek is the only brand in this review that offers a 2-gang switch. But what if you have a 3- or 4-gang panel? If your goal is to replace all 3 or 4 switches, you can do so using multiple 1-gang HomeKit light or dimmer switches and then cover them with an appropriate switch plate cover.

But you don’t have to replace all dumb switches at once because the smart switches in this review have standardized dimension and fit behind your existing plate covers. That’s at least the case if you are using the more modern rocker switch as opposed to the older, and more traditional toggle design.

We had 100% toggle switches in our home, and when I started adding smart switches, I had to replace some of the older toggle switches with newer, albeit dumb, rocker switches. For instance, the switch panel in our family room has the following configuration:

  • Leviton Rocker Switch (just a regular, non-smart switch) [Amazon*]
  • Leviton Decora Smart Switch
  • Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer

I use a standard switch plate cover that perfectly fits over this combination of smart and dumb switches.

One disadvantage of installing multiple smart switches inside a single multi-gang switch box is the extra (neutral) wires you’ll have to accommodate. That often results in incredibly tight spaces, and it forces you to push the wires to the back or side to make enough space for the switches. To prevent accidents, I would recommend making sure that you have secured all wire nuts and also using electrical tape to cover any exposed contacts on the sides of your switches. That way, there is less of a chance of the wrong wires getting in contact with each other.

3-Way Installation

A 3-way installation allows you to control a fixture or power outlet from multiple switches. In our home, we had multiple 3-way switches. The result of that was a “switch clutter” that I started consolidating when we remodeled our kitchen. Especially with smart switches, there is little need to control a fixture or light from more than one location. In fact, I barely physically touch any of our HomeKit switches, and, instead, I use Siri or so-called HomeKit Scenes to control them.

Leviton Decora 3-Way Installation Diagram
Leviton Decora 3-Way Installation Diagram

That’s likely the reason why home automation newcomers, such as ecobee, Eve, and Koogeek don’t support 3-way installations. Lutron and Leviton have been around since long before home automation became a known term and their legacy switches support 3-way installations. I assume, they just carried that legacy forward, but they might eventually drop it too.

Neutral Wire

Most smart light switches and dimmers require a so-called Neutral wire, which carries current back to your electrical panel. If you look into a regular switch box, you can often see all the neutral (white) wires terminated using a wire nut. When I installed my first HomeKit light switch, I just grabbed one of the neutral wires and connected it to the switch, not realizing that by doing so, I was “breaking” the circuit.

The proper way to do it is to connect the smart switch to the existing neutral wires, without breaking the circuit. If your smart switch doesn’t have a neutral wire, get a piece of electrical cable and use it as a pigtail to connect the switch to the existing neutral wires.

Home app vs. Manufacturer’s app

Apple Home App
Apple Home App

You don’t need the manufacturer’s mobile app to “pair” a light or dimmer switch to HomeKit; you can do that using Apple’s native Home app. Of course, you can also use Siri or the Home app to control the switch, once you have connected it.

But you do need the manufacturer’s app for the following tasks:

  • Firmware updates – The Home app notifies you of available updates, but you’ll have to use the third-party app to download and install the update.
  • Tweak settings – If the switch supports proprietary settings that HomeKit doesn’t support, you’ll need the third-party app to adjust them.
  • Statistics & Reporting – If your switch keeps tabs on power consumption and other metrics, you’ll need the manufacturer’s app to display them.

Smart Switches & Dimmers vs. Smart Light Bulbs

Our LIFX Smart Bulbs
Our LIFX Smart Bulbs

I started my home automation journey with smart bulbs from LIFX by replacing the bulb of individual lamps, for example, the one on my nightstand. Only later did I realize that replacing the switch that controls the fixtures on both nightstands would have been an option as well.

So what’s the better option – replacing a light switch or a bulb? Ultimately, it boils down to what you are trying to achieve. If you want to automate turning the light on or off – or dimming it, a switch may be the better option, especially if you already use “dumb” LEDs. But if you want control over the color temperature and special effects, smart bulbs, such as the one from LIFX are the better option.

If you want to/Have… Use a…
Turn lights on/off only Smart Switch
Turn lights on/off or dim only Smart Switch/Dimmer
Not worry about someone accidentally turning off the switch Smart Switch
Change the color temperature or enable special effects Smart Bulb
Multiple bulbs in one fixture Smart Switch

It may also depend on how many bulbs you have in a given fixture. If it’s more than one, such as in a ceiling fan, a HomeKit light switch is a more economical option.

Also, keep in mind that if you use a regular switch in combination with smart LEDs, you won’t be able to control them if someone physically turns off the switch. A smart switch, on the other hand, is “always on” and you cannot physically turn it off in a manner that would prevent HomeKit from controlling it.

We use smart LEDs from LIFX in our house to change the color temperature of certain lights throughout the day. In the morning and evening, we use a warmer color temperature than during the day, to reflect the natural color of the light outside. That’s something you can’t do that with only a smart switch.

Review of HomeKit Light Switches & Dimmers

Home Automation is an exciting technology that adds convenience in numerous areas, some of which you may not have even thought about. In my opinion, light switches offer one of the most rewarding opportunities for automation. Every morning, I used to walk into our kitchen and flip three switches to turn on the main lights, the pendants over our island and the under-the-cabinet lights. At night, we would walk through the house to turn everything off. Those tasks take time without providing any value in return. These days, our kitchen pendants turn on automatically at 5 am, and they turn off at 10 pm or when we give Siri the “Goodnight” command. That’s so much more convenient and saves us a ton of time over the years.

But we are just getting started, and I’m continuously adding more HomeKit light switches and dimmers to replace frequently used switches in our home.

What experience have you made with home automation platforms? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

2 thoughts on “HomeKit Light Switches & Dimmers – Review”

  1. Michael, do you have thoughts on the most broadly compatible LED “dumb” bulbs? I have found a lot of inconsistency between manufacturers and ever within a given maker.

    Reply
    • Hi Erik,

      Not really – I don’t even know what brand of bulbs I have at home, but I agree, some are good and some are not. I’ll make it a point of paying more attention when I buy them again.

      Reply

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