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If you are thinking of installing smart switches at your home, but your circuit doesn’t have a neutral wire, then no worries. These smart switches are designed to work without a neutral line, which will avoid you the cost of rewiring. From Lutron’s Casseta to Aeotec Nano Dimmer, we dive into the top ten smart switches that work without neutral. Let’s get into it.

Why do smart switches typically need a neutral?

As smart switches have to stay on all the time, they require the neutral wire, which completes the circuit.

So even if you turn off the switch, the neutral wire will keep giving power to the smart switch allowing it to respond to remote requests. Without the neutral wire at the switch, the smart switch won’t be able to stay functional when it’s turned off.

What to do if you don’t have a neutral at the switch

If you don’t have a neutral line at the switch then you can do one of the following things.

  1. You can hire an electrician to rewire the circuit and add the neutral line. Unfortunately this can be messy and costly.
  2. You can go for a smart switch that works without a neutral wire. See below for some options.
  3. You can get an in-wall micro-controller for your new or existing switches. Aeotec or Fibaro makes some of the best microcontrollers for this purpose.
  4. Last but not least, you can install smart bulbs instead, which you can control directly.

Important considerations when selecting a switch

After considering the above options, it’s clear that buying smart switches without neutral is a pretty decent option. So, here are the things which you must consider when buying smart switches.

  • LED or Incandescent Lights – Some older smart switches without neutral are only suitable for controlling incandescent lights. If you plan on controlling and potentially dimming low voltage LED lights, then you need to choose a modern, more expensive switch that supports that.
  • Additional Hubs – If you are going for a smart switch, then you also need to know that typically these devices work in tandem with a separate hub. There are some exceptions to this.

If your home already has a smart home system (e.g. Z-wave based), then you can integrate your smart switches with this system (Using an Aeotec dimmer for example)

9.6
Top Pick
A minimalistic smart switch

The Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch is one of the best smart switches in the market.

Top Features

  • It works flawlessly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, Serena Shades & Sonos

  • It can control multiple light bulbs at once

  • Automatically adjust the lights according to personalized schedules

Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch is one of the most popular smart switches available.

The official Lutron App allows you to create personalized schedules which the switch can use to automatically turn on, off, or dim the light.

The switch also works well with most smart home devices, including Alexa, Apple Home Kit & Google Assistant.

With an automatic light control system, when you are away, it can randomly turn on and off your lights, which gives the impression to an outsider that you are home. It’s a great feature to keep thieves away from your home.

If you are looking for a trustworthy smart switch with tons of great features, then you can’t go wrong with the Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch.

What we liked
  • Can be controlled both remotely & physically
  • No Neutral wire required for functionality.
  • It’s reliable & responsive, compared to other smart switches
  • Doesn’t make any noise while running
What we didn't like
  • Require the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge for working
  • The bridge doesn’t work with Wifi; it needs an Ethernet port.
9.5
Best Z-Wave Pick
An innovative smart switch

The Aeotec Nano Dimmer is a very powerful smart switch which is packed with tons of great features.

Top Features

  • It works flawlessly with Z-wave based Smart Home Systems

  • It can be controlled with physical buttons as well as from the App

  • It uses the phase control feature which smoothly dims LED lights

Aeotec Nano Dimmer is a feature-rich smart switch that can help you control your lights as well as fans.

It’s also completely compatible with Z-wave Smart Home System, and it’s also Z-wave plus certified so you can expect better response time & wireless range.

Aeotec Nano Dimmer can work without requiring any additional hub, but it requires the Aeotec Bypass, which solves flickering issues with LEDs. You will usually face this issue when controlling low voltage lights.

Power surges do happen which is why the Aeotec Nano Dimmer comes with built-in surge and overload protection to protect the switch.

With Aeotec Gen 5 Technology, it is more than 67% faster & more powerful than its predecessor. Also, with its extended wireless range, it can offer the ultimate control within the 150 meters.

What we liked
  • More responsive than most smart switches in the market.
  • Offers precise dimming control
  • It can be used to control your lights as well as ceiling fans.
  • It only uses up to 1.2 amps of power
What we didn't like
  • Relatively difficult to set up so you will probably need the help of a professional electrician.
  • Requires Aeotec Bypass load resistor
9.3
Best Value
A power-efficient smart switch

The C by GE smart switch offers a variety of great features at a great price.

Top Features

  • It works flawlessly with Amazon Alexa & Google Home without needing a Hub

  • Offers great control over your lights with features such as home controls & scheduling.

  • The premium version comes with motion sensors that automatically turn on the light when it detects any movement.

C by GE smart switch is one of the best smart switches without a neutral wire. It is equipped with wireless control & ambient light detection, which make it easier to use the switch.

On top of that, it also doesn’t require a hub if you use the smart switch with Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

What we liked
  • You can easily set it up with DIY guides on the official website
  • It doesn’t require a hub when you use it with Amazon Alexa & Google Smart Home
  • It offers extended control over the lighting of your home, and you can control it with the App.
What we didn't like
  • The design of the switch could be a little more appealing
9.1
Best Budget
A flexible smart switch

The Inovelli Z-Wave Dimmer Switch offers a great combination of function and value

Top Features

  • Easy to setup with instructions

  • Compatible with all major hubs including Z-Wave ones

  • Comes with programmable LEDs in the switch itself, and you can program different colors for different switches.

With its attractive design, the Inovelli Z-Wave Dimmer Switch is one of the best looking smart switches on this list.

It’s highly configurable, and it works well with many major hubs & gateways, including Z-Wave, Piper, Home Assistant, EZLO Atom, and many more.

The switch comes with a built-in LED, which is programmable, and you can assign colors for different notifications using the App.

As it’s a highly configurable smart switch, you might need the help of a professional electrician to set up the switch.

If you pick the premium version, which is the Red Series, you get additional features such as energy power monitoring and heads up notification.

What we liked
  • Requires no neutral wire for functionality
  • The switch comes with minimalistic design and great build quality
  • You can disable the physical switch from the App
What we didn't like
  • Comes with a lot of functions, so if you are not a tech-savvy person, perhaps a simple switch would suffice.
9.0
A reliable smart switch

The Aqara Smart Wall Switch is the best way to control the lights remotely without breaking the bank.

Top Features

  • Comes with a minimalistic design that can work with every type of interior.

  • It can be used to control your lights as well as other electronics in your smart home.

  • Supports voice control with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant & Apple Homekit

The Aqara smart switch is a very capable smart switch which you can use to automate your home.

With the App, you can automate the on/off process, or you can simply turn it on/off the process with the app. It offers signal reception of up to 20 meters, which will work for most people.

The switch is also equipped with an overheat protection mechanism, which automatically disconnects the power supply when it detects high temperatures.

It also works great with most smart home systems such as Amazon Alexa, Xiaomi Mi Home, Google Home, and Apple Home Kit.

What we liked
  • Can be automated with the official app
  • It comes with overheat protection
  • Offers a great combination of value & features
  • It features a minimalistic & attractive design
What we didn't like
  • Requires the Aqara Hub
  • It’s a complex smart switch, so you might need the help of a professional electrician for setup if you don’t have a certain level of knowledge about electrics.
8.8
Great Value
A Z-Wave plus smart switch

The Fibaro Dimmer 2 is a smart switch which constantly monitors power usage and helps you save money.

Top Features

  • It is a Z-Wave Plus certified smart switch which means it comes with a better range.

  • It comes with features such as overload and overheating protection.

  • Comes with installation videos & diagrams which make the setup process easier.

One of the best features of Fibaro Dimmer 2 is the real-time energy usage report of lights and connected devices on the circuit. 

On the protection side, Fibaro Dimmer 2 is equipped with overheating, overload and voltage drop protection. These are the three main ways damage can be typically caused to a switch. 

What we liked
  • Offers real-time energy usage on graphics charts
  • Works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Sonos, Philips, and HIKVision products.
  • Comes with an App which offers useful insights and complete control
What we didn't like
  • Requires the Fibaro Bypass 2, which will help you solve flickering problems with low-voltage LED lights.
  • Require a certain level of knowledge about electrical products to set it up.
8.5
A robust smart switch

The Yoswit Smart Light 2 Gang is one of the most robust smart switches out there.

Top Features

  • It can be controlled with physical buttons & App

  • The switch offers great control over your lights with features such as schedules, away detection & Voice control

  • It is compatible with IFTTT, and you can use it for programming actions on different conditions.

Yoswit Smart Light 2 Gang is a very capable smart switch that comes with some excellent features which make it easy to use.

It comes with features such as schedules & timers, which can prove super beneficial if you don’t want to manually control things and automate the process.

It’s also compatible with IFTTT, which is a web-based service, and you can use it to program different actions. For example, IF Morning, THEN Turn of Lights, etc.

The switch also comes with a feature-rich app that you can use to control the lights. You can also control lights with physical buttons on the switch.

What we liked
  • Minimalistic & Modern Design
  • It’s a highly configurable smart switch
  • Doesn’t need a hub for functionality
  • Comes with a built-in timer and scheduling features which make it easier to use
What we didn't like
  • It’s more expensive compared to other smart switches
  • It comes with a manual, but you should have a certain level of understanding about these products for setup.

Other Smart Switches

Top Features

  • Allow you to wirelessly control & schedule the lights in your home

  • It’s compatible with Z-wave certified hubs

  • Works well with Amazon Alexa, but it requires a separate hub

Jasco Z-Wave Dimmer is a capable smart switch that can help you control your lights wirelessly.

It also works flawlessly with the Amazon Alexa & Z-Wave certified hubs. The main issue with this smart switch is that it’s not compatible with LED and CFL Bulbs.

Top Features

  • Offers a full dimming range between 0 to 100%.

  • Fully compatible with Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant

  • Compatible with Z-Wave, and it needs a Z-Wave hub to function

GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Dimmer is a popular smart switch which you can use to automate the lights in your home.

It requires a Z-wave certified hub to function. Overall, it’s a decent option, but there are better options available that offer better value for money, and you can find them in our top picks.

Top Features

  • It’s a highly customizable smart switch, and you can switch the paddle colors according to the décor of your house.

  • It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant, but it requires Insteon Hub for functionality.

  • Does not require a neutral wire

Insteon Remote Control 2-Wire Dimmer Switch is one of the better smart switches which you can buy.

It offers great features such as remote control, ability to switch the paddle colors, and compatibility with Google Assistant & Alexa.

However, it only works with Incandescent bulbs.

Common Questions Relating to Smart Switches

What is a smart switch?

A smart switch is a smart home device with advanced features that you can use to control your lights, fans, and other electronic appliances, remotely.

Unlike regular switches, smart switches stay on all the time, and they can be controlled remotely with smartphone apps. You can also automate smart switches, and they act automatically according to schedule and pre-defined conditions.

How do smart switches work?

When you set up the smart switches, you provide them access to your home network, and they can also be connected with WiFi.

You can then use an app to turn on or off the lights and do other functions such as controlling brightness, setting schedules and timers. You can also connect your smart switches with other smart devices in your home.

What is a neutral line?

A circuit comes with three lines: live, earth (ground) & neutral.

The neutral line is the line that has the job to carry the current back to the source when you turn off the switch, and it completes the circuit.

How do you know if you have a neutral?

The best way to find out if your house has a neutral wire or not is to check the colors of the wires in the circuit. In the US, white-colored wire represents neutral wire, and if there’s any white color wire available in the circuit, then it means that your circuit has the neutral wire.

You can also determine it by establishing how old your house is. If it’s built before the 1980s, then there are great chances that your home doesn’t have the neutral wire in the lighting circuit switches. If it was built after the 1980s, then it should have the neutral wire in the switches.

As always, we recommend consulting a qualified electrician if you are unsure what you are doing.

What are Smart Bulbs?

Smart Bulbs are bulbs that are connected with a smart hub locally or on the internet. You can use a remote control or App to turn them on or off and complete other functions such as controlling brightness, colour and other customizations.

Just like smart switches, you can also connect smart bulbs with other smart home devices and automate them.

The Verdict

Smart switches are the best way to automate your home lights and other appliances. The Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch is our main recommendation and one of the most popular options available, while the Aeotec Nano Dimmer is our runner up with its Z-Wave compatibility.

9.6
Top Pick
A minimalistic smart switch

The Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch is one of the best smart switches in the market.

Top Features

  • It works flawlessly with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, Serena Shades & Sonos

  • It can control multiple light bulbs at once

  • Automatically adjust the lights according to personalized schedules

Sources

community.smartthings.com

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