If you’re in an older home and want to upgrade to smart switches, I have good news. This week, lighting control company Leviton released two smart switches that don’t require a neutral wire. Decora Smart No-Neutral dimmer ($49.99) and converts ($44.99) Both work with the plugin Decora Smart WiFi Bridge ($19.99). Both are compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Amazon Alexa for smart homes and voice control, as is the entire Leviton Smart Wi-Fi line.
Most smart light switches require a neutral wire to operate. Because this wiring was not standard in homes until the mid-1980s, many homes have limited options to upgrade to smart switches. While there are options – the popular one being the Lutron Caseta – the selection is limited in terms of style and function. It can also be expensive. The bridge required for Lutron is $80 and his Dimmer switches are $60 all. More budget friendly options like These are from real estate Only switches – no dimmers.
Leviton’s entry into the market splits prices between the budget Aqara and the high-end Lutron and offers switch and dimming options. Plus, because Leviton invented the Decora switch style popular in homes today, its switches blend more easily with your existing lighting controls. Sync GE Lighting It has a wide range of non-neutral options that are inexpensive but with a mixed aesthetic design.
The new Leviton dimmer and switch is based on a junction bridge, which can handle up to 25 switches over a 2,500 square foot area. They communicate with the bridge over a low-power RF network to connect to a Wi-Fi network. This allows connectivity to the My Leviton app, where you can set schedules and scenes, and other supported smart platforms. The switches also work with Leviton Decora Smart Companions Anywhere Wireless remote controls for a wire-free setup design for 3-way lighting situations.
Leviton also announced that it has added a new motion sensor to the Decora Smart Wi-Fi suite — which already includes a smart dimmer and smart switch. The Decora Smart (2nd Gen) motion-sensing dimmer switch ($49.99) It has a number of great smart lighting functions, including ambient light sensing and an automatic night setting to turn the lights on low in the evening. The switch supports both occupancy (auto on and off) and vacant (auto off) modes and has a built-in headlight for illumination at night. There is also a motion snooze that temporarily disables the motion sensing, which comes in handy when watching a movie.
The new motion-sensing dimmer requires a neutral wire and works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home platforms. In the latter two, it appears as a dimmable, voice-controlled light, but with HomeKit, the motion sensor can also be used to trigger HomeKit scenes.
The smart dimmer also works with Leviton’s room occupancy response feature, which can turn on/off other Decora Wi-Fi smart devices in a room at the same time based on the motion sensor.
Finally, the company announced a new version of its smart outlet. Decora Smart 2nd Generation Tamper Resistant Port ($34.99) adds HomeKit support and compatibility Switch Anywhere Companion from LevitonWireless remote control for port control. The port supports loads of up to 15 amps, such as lamps, holiday lighting, electronics, and small appliances.
I asked Leviton about its plans for Matter to be compatible with these new products, which are based on Wi-Fi (through the bridge in the case of the non-neutral wiring options) and in theory will have an upgrade path to the new smart home standard. Scheduled to arrive later this year. While he wasn’t able to discuss future products, James Short, Leviton’s senior product manager, told me that the upgrade path to Matter “would make a lot of sense.”
“We are really excited about Mater and looking forward to its release,” he said. “We are a member of CSA and our engineering teams are involved in the development process. We are ready and looking forward to what Matter will mean for interoperability and ease of use.”
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