Some smart home users are only on the lookout for a neat white plastic box, or an easy to connect gadget that improves their property. Yet, a growing number, especially those used to the more DIY approach of the Z-Wave and earlier eras, are more than happy to dig around in walls, run cable and fit switches to maintain a home’s natural look.
Replace a wall switch is pretty easy and adds smartness to your lighting, with a range of features on offer, from simple switches to dimmers, and if you want even LCD screens to control the smart home. These products that are the true sign of a smart home guru and with wide ranges from most sellers, we’re looking at a key product in each.
There are many such wall switch products that Z-Wave users can install to manage their smart home lighting, and connect to a Z-Wave controller, such as a Samsung SmartThings, VeraEdge to replace traditional mechanical switches. This guide highlights the breadth of products on the market, and some of the more interesting models from a buyer standpoint. They can control dimmable lights, on/off lighting or other features.
These wall switches might look old fashioned compared to many of the wireless buttons available or other methods of controlling smart home technology. However, they can still come with Alexa control, multiple features, including fan control, and more. Leading brands in this area include Leviton, GE and Enerwave, with a growing number of switch types and stylish finishes to make sure your smart home looks perfect all the way down the wall switches.
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Offering a range of in-wall switches for paddle controls, fan controls, dimmers and toggle switches, the GE Z-Wave allows users to take control of their home lighting or fans. Using any typical Z-Wave controller app, they can either remotely set a schedule, or use the switch to control or change the brightness of wired-in dimmable lights.
Available in white or light almond, these units can help the user create schedules, or take control remotely when not at home. The switches can be set as groups to create scenes or for wide-scale control. About the only issue may be the blue LED activity light that might distract if you want.
Swapping out an old wall switch for your GE model is straightforward, with a straight swap of the wires, and clear markings on the case of the new Z-Wave model. Once installation is finished, you pair it with the Z-Wave hub and can control it
Leviton’s Decora models come with a range of connectivity, offering Z-Wave, WiFi and hubless models that can be talked to directly from the likes of Amazon Alexa, with Apple HomeKit support coming soon. The Z-Wave range also functions with Amazon Alexa for voice control and Vizia RF+ systems, plus the usual Z-Wave hubs like SmartThings and Wink.
The Leviton DZ6HD-1BZ Decora Smart 600W Dimmer with Z-Wave Plus Technology at $49 is rated for both dimmable CFL and LED lights up to 300W and traditional incandescent lights up to 600W. Also available in white or light almond, if you have banks of lights in a room, then installing the DD00R-DLZ remote switches will give you greater control over three-way or multi-way circuits and lights.
Some users reported issues with the hub thinking a Leviton managed light is on or off, when the alternative case is true. But, since firmware updates are freely and regularly delivered over the air, this shouldn’t be an issue today.
With stylish rocker switches, the brand has a solid reputation, and if you want to up the smart factor, then the $69 Leviton VRMX1-1LZ offers scene capable, user pre-set ‘on levels’, for finer control.
Edging down the price range, the Linear WD500Z-1 is only $29.95 and is a more basic Z-Wave supporting switch for up to 500 watts of incandescent or LED bulb lighting. A direct replacement for your typical switch, it offers a dimmer that can be controlled by your hub or app, but there’s direct support for Alexa or other control, although it can probably be managed indirectly.
For more complex lighting, the LINEAR GoControl, WS15Z-1 supports three-way wiring and a greater 600w load. Since they are not two-way devices, they don’t report status directly to your hub, but for a simple low-cost solution, they do the job well enough for unfussy users. However, there are reports of high failure rates, and the design isn’t as clever as the GE and other models, with wires fitted to the back of the switch, making installation problematic for some.
Enerwave’s range includes this Z-Wave three-way switch, an add on switch, a dimmer and wall plugs to offer a reasonable range of Z-Wave connectivity and control to replace your existing switches. They come with white, light almond and black faceplates that are easy to switch over for those with different interior design styles.
For installation, it looks a little larger than most switches, so might be a tight fit in crowded recesses. It will happily accept commands from Alexa, and pair with HomeSeer, Vera and other Z-Wave hubs. In use it has trouble getting some LED bulbs to dim correctly, but try a new bulb or a different branded bulb before ripping the Enerwave out of the wall.
Best Z-Wave Switches – Round-up
|Product||Types/Pricing (via Amazon.com)||Wattage||Compatibility|
|GE Z-Wave Wireless Smart Lighting Control Dimmer Switch||Add-On Toggle Style Switch
In-Wall Paddle Fan Control
In-Wall Toggle Dimmer
Add-On Paddle Switch
In-Wall Paddle Switch
|1,000 watts||No neutral wire required for dimmers.
Not compatible with LED and CFL bulbs.
Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
|Leviton Decora Smart||DZ6HD- 600W In-Wall Dimmer
DZ1KD- 1000W In-Wall Dimmer
DZ15S- 15A In-Wall Switch
DZPD3- 300W Plug-In Dimmer
DZPA1- 15A Plug-In Dimmer
|300 to 1,000 watts||Requires a Neutral wire
Works with Alexa
|Linear WD500Z-1 Z-Wave 500-Watt Wall-Mount Dimmer Switch||Linear WD500Z-1 Z-Wave 500-Watt Wall-Mount Dimmer Switch||500 watts||Neutral required|
|Enerwave ZW15S||Enerwave Z-Wave ZW15S Wireless Lighting 3-Way Switch
Enerwave ZW3K 3-Way Add-On Switch
Enerwave ZW500D-W Z-Wave Wireless 3 Way Smart LED Light Dimmer Switch
|500 watts||Neutral required|
You should note, that most of these products require a neutral wire, so check your wiring before spending your money. Also, some are more sensitive to power outages, brownouts and so on, so if you’re planning on buying a lot of these devices, perhaps testing a couple of each would be a good first step to see how they work in your home.