Setting up your home as a smart home has been all the rage these past 5+ years. A smart home can control your lights, thermometer, music, and more.
Although many people have jumped on the Smart Home bandwagon, there are still are a number who have not due to a lack of understanding how to use it, a lack of technical ability, or a lack of funds.
Today’s technologies allow homeowners to add a piece of smart home tech one piece at a time so they can start out small and grow as they understand how to use it.
We call this al-la-carte home automation. Start with where you have the greatest need (or desire) and work your way to a smart home from there.
Controlling Lights in a Smart Home
Controlling lights in the home are one of the biggest desires homeowners have when creating a smart home. You have several choices to control the lighting in your home:
- Purchase a system that integrates them all together for you. This is the most costly option and you hire an installer to do this for you. It’s also the most technical, but your installer services it for you and takes care of issues/requests.
- You can purchase smart light bulbs and control those lights with an app. Works fine for table and floor lamps, but can be more work (and more expensive) to replace your indoor flood lights in the ceiling.
- You can change out your light switches for Z-wave or Zigbee switches. This is a DYI option but requires a hub and you will need to do the installation of the light switches and pair them with the hub.
- Place an automated light switch over your existing light switch to control it.
The easiest solution of all four of these options is to place an automated light switch over your current switches. We have been noticing a number of new products to help consumers do this.
Switchmate, who’s tagline is “smart home simplified,” created a switch that you place over your toggle or rocker light switch. Using strong magnets, the Switchmate switch easily clips onto your light switch, attaching to the little screws on your light switch plate.
No wiring. Just attach and you’re done. Next, download the Switchmate app and go through the steps to help your Switchmate connect to your app. It’s a pretty easy and straightforward process. In fact, I’ve never seen an easier process to get started with smart home technology so quickly.
Believe it or not, the Smartswitch uses a robotic switch to physically turn your light switch on and off! You actually hear the churning of the robotic device in the background as it turns your light on and off. Simplistic, yes, but also offers convenience and a wealth of ways to use it.
Ways to Use Switchmate Smart Home Lighting
The Switchmate app does more than turn on and turn off your lights. You can set up timers to have your lights turn on or off during the day or night.
You can even use the Welcome Home feature to have your lights turn on as soon as Switchmate senses the Bluetooth signal from your phone or tablet. Walk into a room and it automatically lights up for you.
Ideas for Using Switchmate
- Turn on the garage light when your car pulls into the garage.
- Turn on the porch light or light in entry hall as you approach your front door.
- Control your lights in your family room to turn them off during a movie or flip them on for a bathroom break.
- Turn on your ceiling fan from your couch or bed (if your fan turns on through a wall light switch).
- Turn or and off your lights at different times of the day while on vacation.
- Take while traveling to turn off the light in your hotel room!
- Use a timer to automatically turn off your child’s bedroom light after so many minutes.
- Use a timer to turn on lights automatically in the morning…like your child’s lights when it’s time to wake up.
- Turn on an outside light for security every night at a certain time and turn off at a certain time every night.
- Have a fireplace with a switch? Put Switchmate on it to now automate your fireplace!
Once you get a Switchmate, you’ll think of lots of additional ways to use it. Currently, Switchmate only works with Bluetooth, so you can only control your Switchmate light switch while being within 120-150 feet of it.
Switchmate in the past has only operated within its own ecosystem. But on February 3rd, Switchmate announced its integration with the Wink Hub 2. For those smart home enthusiasts who want to control more devices or have a number of different Z-Wave and Zigbee smart home devices, Wink Hub 2 will allow you to them. In addition, Wink Hub 2 brings along voice control, so you can
For those smart home enthusiasts who want to control more devices or have a number of different Z-Wave and Zigbee smart home devices, Wink Hub 2 will allow you connect to them. In addition, Wink Hub 2 brings along voice control, so you will be able to control your Switchmate by voice too. Cool!
- Works for both rocker and toggle switches in your home
- Comes in either white or almond to match your current light switch plates
- Two batteries included. Battery life lasts 8-12 months
- Easy to install, no wiring needed
- No WiFi needed
- Energy saving if you use timers or automatic shut-off’s
- Uses your smartphone or the wall switch to turn lights and other things on or off
- Virtually no installation other than adding batteries to Switchmate and sticking on top of current light switch
- Can move Switchmate to any light switch easily throughout your home
- Strong magnetic force that sticks to your existing light switch plate – won’t slip off
- Great way to begin using smart home technology for a small investment
- Can set timers for lights to go on or off at certain or different times throughout the week
- Switchmate light will automatically turn on after detecting you through Bluetooth and the app
- Switchmate can be taken with you when traveling to control your hotel room light switch too!
- When you move to another home, just take your Switchmate(s) with you!
- Has a thick profile, sticks out quite a bit from wall
- Does not work with WiFi, you cannot control lights from outside your home
- Bluetooth doesn’t allow for much more than 150 ft. Most likely you cannot turn off a light upstairs from downstairs with Switchmate
- Doesn’t work with a dimmer switch – either turns lights fully on or fully off
- Although Switchmate can fit on multi-gang plates, they are too wide to fit two Switchmates next to each other.
- Swtichmate is a bit noisy when turning a light switch
A Mom’s Perspective
Switchmate offers everyday consumers an easy, little effort way to automate their lights in an expensive, non-intrusive manner.
Just snap on the Switchmate on your light switch, download the app, connect to the Switchmate, and you’re ready to control that light, fireplace, fan, or whatever is attached to that light switch.
I cannot think of an easier way to dip your feet in the water to get a feel of whether smart home lighting technology will work for you and your family.
I myself have moved the Switchmate to a number of different places to get a feel of where I need it the most. I plan on mostly keeping it in my son’s room because his light switch is not easy to get to (due to having made a fort with all of his stuffed animals on the floor in direct path of the light switch).
But my daughter is dropped off from practice three times a week and rings our front door to be let in. I try to remember to turn the light on for her on those nights, but don’t always remember. Switchmate will ensure there’s always a light on for her.
And lastly, I cannot wait to travel with Switchmate…what a convenience to turn off the main hotel room light with my phone! Most hotels use the rocker switch, so I should be good to go!
How would you use a Switchmate in your home?
*I was given a Switchmate in exchange for my thoughtful and honest review. All opinions are my own.