Hi! Dawn here. Thank you for joining us again!
Now that we have covered the fundamental points to look out for when purchasing lights, we can move on to the next topic that many of our clients would raise during their own smart home journey; should I choose Smart Lights, or are Smart Switches?
As always, visit us to learn more about lights and share this article with your friends that are embarking on their own home journey!
So let us get started!
What are smart switches?
Smart switches are essentially a direct replacement for your traditional switches, which allows for you to toggle your lights remotely (via an application / voice assistants). Since everything can be controlled from your smart device, most smart switches do not have an on/off function.
Generally, smart switches can be connected in three ways: WIFI Switches, Kinetic Switches or other Radio Frequencies (such as Zigbee / Z-Wave).
For WIFI and some Zigbee & Z-Wave connections, there will be likely a need to pull neutral wire from your home's DB box, an electrician will need to be engaged, however, do note that there is always a possibility that the electrician might find it impossible to lead the wire to the desired location due to onsite limitations. Additional costs for implementation and aesthetics compromise might be needed to be catered for, so always communicate your requirements to your electricians before work starts! This will allow you to understand the specific costs involved as well as potential wire casings that will be needed to be installed on the surface of the walls to facilitate the Neutral Wire connection.
If you are against Neutral Wiring, we do have good news for you! For specific Smart Switches, Neutral wiring can be omitted, but the homeowners will be required to procure corresponding accessories to enable the switches to control the lights. These accessories include but are not limited to; Gateways and Kinetic modules which would need to be installed.
*To note, Kinetic Switches will likely need false ceiling to hide the module.
With that in mind, do take note that there might be additional installation fee that homeowners can incur that might result in more costs than one has budgeted for, so take note and ensure that you have done your due diligence before embarking on such installations as you would need to purchase the switch, possible modules and the lights itself to achieve remote control capabilities for toggling On/Off, Scheduling and connectivity with voice assistants.
As always, communicate your requirements to your electricians before work starts!
So what are smart lights?
Similarly to smart switches, smart lights can also connect your lights to your mobile application for toggling. However, when it comes to lights, smart lights do have a slight edge on features and functionalities compared to smart switches, being that its toggling abilities allows you to change the temperature, colour, and the brightness of the lights.
Since the smart light will still be making use of your original light switch and the current available wires, there will be no need to cater for a Smart Switch and there is no need for any additional wiring works to make the light work, but do note, your light switch will need to be in the ‘ON’ position, for you to control the lights.
Smart Switches v Smart Lights
While smart lights give us the option of customising the colour, temperature and brightness of the lights, smart switches also have their own appeal because of their tactile usage and familiarity to many.
When you have guests over, they would unlikely know how your home is set up. Thus, the familiarity of toggling on/off on physical switches do allow guests to control the lights in your home with greater ease.
Smart Switches also allows non-smart appliances such as ceiling fans with last mode memory to be remotely controlled.
But what many do not know is that smart lights can also be connected to tactile portable switches, and this would still maintain the ease of usage while allowing you to enjoy the superior benefits that come with having smart lights.
Many times, such portable switches actually allow the user to switch between scenes (think of scenes like preset lighting shortcuts to lighting ambience settings such as: Movie mode, Guest Mode or Relaxation Mode). Best of all, you can control the lights individually or in your customised groupings across different lighting circuits! Now that’s flexibility and control!
Get our smart light strips here!
What about the power usage?
For both smart switches and smart lights they will need to be connected and remain powered to stay online and to be controlled via your smart devices, as such one might be concerned about its power consumption.
However, you can be assured that smart lights’ energy consumption is correlated with its light use, as such, if the light is not turned on, it will therefore only consume minimal power when on standby mode.
Weighing the options:
Smart lights are more flexible than smart switches in terms of customizability, since they have more features for the user to toggle compared to switches.
For smart switches, you would only be able to turn your lights on and off and set schedules for that set of lights that the switch controls.
For smart lights, its abilities go beyond the functions mentioned for Smart Switches. Smart Lights allow you to control more elements such as colours, temperatures, and brightness. It also allows lights across different areas of your home to work in unison in accordance to your whim and fancy.
With these functions, you can set different ambiences for different moods and times of the day such as simulating a sunset for a cosy and relaxing ambience or provide a more conducive environment for study/work.
Side note: did you know that lighting colours and temperatures can affect our moods? We will touch on this concept of Circadian Rhythm for our next article, so stay tuned!
Installation and removal
To install a smart switch, you would need to remove your original light switch and replace it with your smart switch. For this installation, engagement of an electrician to perform the replacement is highly recommended due to the complications.
The replacement of lights however, are generally simpler, and quicker. While it is important to note that installation methods for different lights may vary, at Yeelight, our smart ceiling lights and smart light bulbs are designed for quick and easy installation! Majority of our lights are also Dust and Insect Proof!
In scenarios such as rental homes or existing home renovations, installing smart switches would likely prove too much of a hassle to implement as hacking might be involved, but with installing a smart light, it would allow you to achieve your desired functionalities and more!
Ease of maintenance
In the event of WIFI router malfunctioning, your smart lights can still be controlled via your physical switches, allowing contingencies. In the case of the smart light malfunctioning, you would only be required to change that specific light while the other lights on the same circuit would still be functioning.
Unfortunately for most smart switches, if it malfunctions, the entire circuit of lights would not be usable for the user and would likely need to be replaced. For such a replacement, we highly recommend you to engage an electrician due to the complications.
Both solutions do have their respective benefits, ultimately, it would be how you would like your home to be set up, and no matter which option you find suitable for your home, we hope that this blog was helpful for your home journey!
At Yeelight Singapore by HOST SYSTEMS, we are able to assist in providing insights and advice on the correct solution for you. If you would like to know more about what we do and want to enquire more about our services, feel free to make an appointment with us here!