Smart light switches can light up the house with a voice command or turn the lights off from bed when we’re too lazy to take another step (we’ve all been there). But among the top options, Lutron Caseta stands out.
It works with the three dominant smart home platforms: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant,† and Apple HomeKit, making it a flexible option for smart home beginners and veterans alike.
We also like its switches with distinct buttons since they’re easier to learn for people who aren’t familiar with smart switches. Lutron Caseta might be more expensive than the competition, but it earns high praise from users—more than any other brand.
Check out our full comparison of the best smart light switches to see how Lutron Caseta stands up to popular brands.
*Amazon.com list price as of 07/31/2020 at 9:34 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer. †This feature depends on the model of the smart switch you purchase.
Although smart light switches might seem simple on paper, a lot went into choosing our top five. We considered installation and switch types to select switches with different strengths.
We also looked at smart home compatibility. While you can expect all our top picks to work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, some brands go the extra mile by offering more smart home connections.
Lastly, we researched online reviews—especially those from customers—to gauge how well each switch works independently and as part of a larger smart home. You can learn more about our ranking practices in our full methodology.
Lutron’s long history with light switches culminates in Lutron Caseta. The switches have a distinctive design with multiple buttons that can control power, dimming, and lighting scenes.
Many rivals perform similar tasks with fewer buttons, but we’re not mad about Lutron Caseta’s approach. It’s more natural to learn thanks to helpful icons showing what each button does.
We also like that the Lutron Caseta dimmer doesn’t require a neutral wire to install. Most smart light switches need a neutral wire (neutral wires power the smart features when the lights aren’t on), limiting the number of homes in which they work. Neutral wires are standard in newer homes, but you don’t typically find them in older homes from the early- to mid-20th century.
Hardwired Caseta switches don’t work as three-way switches (when two or more switches control the same set of lights). But Lutron gets around this problem with the Pico remote that links to the Caseta bridge. The remote even has a nifty mounting plate you install in place of an existing switch.
Lutron Caseta smart home compatibility
Caseta works with all three major voice control platforms: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri (HomeKit). It's also compatible with many other smart devices and platforms like Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT. Visit the Lutron Caseta website to find other compatible brands.
Unlike other brands, Lutron switches don’t work without a hub, but the hub has a big leg up by keeping a whole house’s worth of switches, smart plugs, and remotes off your Wi-Fi network. Fewer devices on your wireless network means more bandwidth for your favorite action movies. There’s also less clutter, making network maintenance easier.
The hub also handles the smart functions for Caseta switches so they work without a neutral wire. It comes in a starter kit, making Lutron more expensive than stand-alone brands.
Even with the added expense of a hub, we think Lutron Caseta is the best smart switch for most people thanks to its handy buttons. If you want a more traditional design, check out Leviton Decora Smart below.
The Wemo Smart Light Switch (2nd Gen) strikes a balance between quality and price as our pick for the best value. While it’s not as affordable as Kasa and Gosund, it has an overall higher build quality and a longer warranty.
But its best feature is that it works with Apple HomeKit, making it one of the most affordable smart switches for that platform. It also works with IFTTT, Google, and Alexa for a well-rounded suite of smart home devices.
We like that the Wemo app is easy to use. It allows you to set timers, schedule lights, and even activate lights on a randomized schedule when you use its Away Mode. Away Mode is a convenient feature to deter burglars. It’s a good way to help supplement—but isn’t a replacement for—smart home security systems.
This light switch has a simple on/off design, but if your inner geek craves more, you can group multiple Wemo switches in the app. That way, one device can control others with a long press. Managing multiple rooms at once means you can create a path between the garage and the kitchen after a grocery run.
Wemo sells a separate smart dimmer switch and 3-way lighting control for folks with those needs. These models cost about the same as comparable ones from Lutron and Leviton, so they won’t save you as much money as the on/off switch.
In the end, we think the Wemo light switch has a lot to offer, especially if you use the Apple Home app.
Leviton Decora Smart light switches have a massive advantage over the other brands on our list: selection. You can choose from Wi-Fi dimmers, ceiling fan controllers, standard switches, a remote control, and even a switch with a built-in Alexa smart speaker.
We also like that these switches come with two interchangeable colors to match your existing trim: white and almond.
For more color options, you can get a color change kit with black, gray, brown, or ivory faceplates. This is a welcome change from white switches of most brands. Building a custom smart home doesn’t have to mean compromising on style.
Leviton Decora smart home compatibility
Decora Smart also sells switches that use Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and HomeKit, so you have plenty of smart home choices. Check out the Decora Smart website for more information about these smart home options.
Even with as many options as Leviton offers, it isn’t nearly as expensive as its closest rival, Lutron. You can expect switches from Leviton to cost around $50 on average, though the switch with Alexa built in costs around $100.
While Lutron Caseta switches cost about the same, Lutron’s required hub raises its overall price.
Although Leviton has many advantages over Lutron, it doesn’t hold up in user reviews. Leviton Decora Smart Switches still earn high ratings, but Lutron is consistently higher. Leviton requires a neutral wire, so it’s not a match for homes with older wiring.
Overall, Leviton Decora Smart is a good alternative to Lutron, especially if you have a newer home and want a variety of switches and colors.
Kasa Smart sells three smart light switch models for under $30, making it the most affordable brand in our top five. Its base model, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch, usually costs $20 or less but lacks a dimmer feature and compatibility with 3-way switches.
Fortunately, Kasa Smart sells dimmer and 3-way variants if you want those for your home. Even with fewer features, this switch is ideal for controlling lights with a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa.
We also like that the Kasa Smart app allows you to schedule lights, but the best feature of this switch is its away mode. When you set your devices to away mode, they randomly toggle lights to give the appearance that someone’s home.
As with most budget brands, these switches can feel cheap and fail unexpectedly in some cases. If you have a problem with your light switch, you can take advantage of Kasa Smart’s two-year warranty.
Unfortunately, the company has less-than-stellar customer service according to some user reviews, so using the warranty to its fullest can involve jumping through hoops.
Don’t forget that Kasa Smart requires a neutral wire, meaning it doesn’t play nice with older homes. Overall, Kasa Smart is a great way to add smart light switches to an Alexa- or Google-controlled smart home without busting your budget.
Doesn't require hub
Away mode security feature
Poor customer service
Requires neutral wire
Kasa Smart also works with Microsoft Cortana
It's not often that we come across a smart device that works with Microsoft's voice assistant, but it's a nice addition to Kasa Smart's resume.
The C by GE 3-Wire Motion-Sensor + Dimmer Switch is one of the precious few smart light switches with built-in sensors. These sensors can detect motion and ambient light levels so the light can automatically activate when needed.
We like that the motion detector gives you hands-free lighting—like your kitchen reacting as you wander in for a midnight snack.
Even more impressive is the ambient light sensor, which can dim the lights based on how bright a room is. This is a great feature for saving energy and helps you take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible.
Another nice feature of this smart light switch is that it comes in three- and four-wire versions, with the three-wire version not requiring a neutral wire. This allows you to choose the configuration that best fits your home’s wiring.
Even with its sensors and wiring options, this smart switch isn’t perfect. Many user reviews report that its sensors sometimes activate the lights without a clear cause (probably not a ghost).
It can also be difficult to set up using the mobile app. The problems seem to affect a small percentage of customers but can be deal-breakers for an expensive light switch like this, especially when the sensors are the main attraction.
Overall, we think this switch has a lot of potential for folks that want to automate their lights in a hands-off way.
Built-in motion sensor
Detects ambient light levels
Options with and without a neutral wire
Occasional sensor problems
More brands we considered
Philips Hue is the king of smart lighting, but its smart light switches aren’t handy unless you have Hue smart bulbs. We like that the Philips Hue Smart Button is affordable, battery powered, and comes with a wall mounting plate. But its limited compatibility with other brands holds it back from taking over the smart home.
Lutron dimmer for Philips Hue
The innovative Lutron Aurora dimmer switch can instantly convert toggle-style light switches (not rocker switches) into a smart dimmer without wiring. It even solves a big problem with smart bulbs: people turning off the light switch accidentally. The only downside is that it's exclusive to Philips Hue.
We want to like the Ecobee Switch+ with its built-in Alexa voice controls and presence detection, but online reviews can’t decide if it’s worth $80. The smart switch also misses out on a big opportunity by not integrating with Ecobee’s excellent smart thermostats. Compared to the Leviton Decora Alexa Voice Dimmer, Ecobee’s a slightly more affordable option that gets the job done for most Alexa megafans.
Gosund is a budget smart home brand that’s popular on Amazon. While its Gosund Smart Wall Switch is slightly cheaper than Kasa Smart, its 30-day warranty pales compared to Kasa’s two-year coverage. As a budget brand, its tech can sometimes break or perform less reliably than more expensive competitors.
Lutron Caseta tries something new with buttons instead of putting smart technology into a traditional design, which pays off handsomely with easy controls and a unique look.
While it’s more expensive than anything else in our top five, we think the design and positive user reviews prove its worth. If you’re looking for an alternative to smart switches, check out our favorite smart light bulbs.
Smart light switch FAQ
Are smart light switches worth it?
Yes. It’s true that smart light switches are more expensive than traditional ones by a wide margin. But you get added convenience and more ways to control your lights.
What’s the biggest drawback of smart switches?
The biggest risk from smart light switches is if a manufacturer decides to end software support for a device so you can’t control it with a smartphone. This is especially true for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth smart switches. Switches using Z-Wave and Zigbee are more future proof since a compatible smart hub controls everything.
Physical switches keep working, even without software
Even without software to control them, most smart switches still work as regular light switches and retain features that don't rely on software (like dimming).
Do smart light switches need a hub?
It depends on the wireless technology the switch uses:
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: these smart switches don’t use a hub since they can directly connect to your smartphone.
Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Lutron Clear Connect: you need a compatible smart hub to use these smart devices.
Can you install a smart light switch without a neutral wire?
Yes, some brands sell switches that don’t require neutral wires. Neutral wires are common in newer homes (1980s or later), but many older homes don’t have them.
What’s better, smart bulbs or smart switches?
Both types of smart devices may perform similar tasks but have different advantages:
Smart bulbs are simpler to install since there’s no additional wiring but are much more expensive in large rooms where you want to control more than a few lights. You can also control an individual smart bulb within a light fixture, and plenty of models can change color.
Smart switches control normal light bulbs from a central location, making them ideal for large rooms. Replacing individual light bulbs in this setup is much cheaper since you can use any compatible product.
*Amazon.com list price as of 07/31/2020 at 9:34 a.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.
†Google Assistant, Google, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.
Written by John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist with over seven years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech. Before joining SafeWise in 2020, John was an editor for Top Ten Reviews specializing in home security and the smart home. Learn more