5 of the Cheapest HomeKit Smart Switches
HomeKit is an excellent choice when it comes to smart home ecosystems. One of the common issues with anything involving Apple is the cost of using their products. Many HomeKit devices are indeed quite expensive, but that isn't the case for every available product. Here are 5 of the cheapest HomeKit compatible light switches and dimmers you can get!
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Sometimes you just want to turn a light on and off. Taking a look at most sites, almost every listed device is a dimmer which is useful if dimming is desired but comes at a significant increase in cost. As making an entire home smart will require a large number of switches, you'll want to save some money if it's at all possible. The following switches are the absolute cheapest that are compatible with HomeKit.
Meross HomeKit Light Switch
The Meross single-pole smart switch is compatible with HomeKit and provides basic switching capability. It will allow operation both directly using the device by pushing the button and via HomeKit integration. As with many smart switches, it does require a neutral wire, so be sure to have that before committing to any switch. In addition to the HomeKit integration, they also offer a connection directly to the cloud, which can be controlled using their custom app.
Custom schedules and remote access can both be obtained without the use of HomeKit via the Meross app as the device is cloud-connected. An important note is that this functionality will require a constant connection to the internet, while the HomeKit integration will work fine without. Like most HomeKit compatible devices, the switch is connected via WiFi, so be sure your network will reach the final installation location.
What if you want to use a smart switch in a 3-way configuration? There are solutions for that as well! Switch configurations that require a 3-way switch are typically reasonably obvious, they are the ones used in staircases such that either the button at the top or the switch at the bottom can be used to toggle the state of the light. As there is additional complexity with these, the product is a bit more expensive. The advantage is that you only need to get one, with the other existing switch remaining as-is.
Refoss HomeKit Light Switch
The Refoss single-pole switch is very similar to the Meross switch. As of writing it is around 3$ cheaper, so it might be a slightly less expensive option. It features basic switching capability, allowing you to turn the light on and off either with the button on the front of the device or by using the remote control feature. Like the previous switch, this one also requires a neutral wire to work correctly.
In addition to the HomeKit integration, the switch also offers control via the cloud using the Refoss app. The app can be used to configure custom schedules and control the device remotely. Unlike HomeKit, the app requires a constant connection to the internet for its features to work correctly. Finally, as with almost all HomeKit compatible switches, a WiFi connection is required, so be sure your wireless network will reach the installation location.
As with the previous switch, a 3-way option is also available. It is very similar in build and operation to the single-pole version, and is actually cheaper too! As 3-way configurations can be more complicated than the more straightforward one switch setups, be sure to check how your switch is wired as this one will need a neutral. The device will integrate nicely with HomeKit and can also be controlled using the same Refoss app. To report the state of the light, this switch can detect whether the other non-smart switch connected to the same light is turned on or off.
Sylvania Smart Switch
The Sylvania smart switch is the cheapest HomeKit compatible light switch by far. At 14.79$ it is kind of crazy it can even be produced for that low of a price considering the electronics and software involved. It can be operated by pressing the button on the front of the device or by taking advantage of its remote features. While the product listing does not mention it, you will need a neutral wire for this switch to work.
There is one reasonably big catch with this switch: it works with HomeKit via Bluetooth. There is nothing wrong with Bluetooth, and a method of communication supported by the HomeKit protocol. The issue is that unlike the other devices we mentioned, there is no way to access the switch unless you are within range. Using a HomeKit hub will allow both automations and remote access, but the critical aspect to consider is whether the hub can reach the switch using a Bluetooth connection.
It is possible to connect directly to the switch using a mobile phone and the Sylvania app, but unlike the other switches we covered, there is no way to use this to manage the switch from a distance. While the theoretical range of Bluetooth can be up to 35 meters in a home, if you've ever used a Bluetooth device, you will know that it is very susceptible to the environment and interference. This point must be carefully considered before committing to replacing all of the switches in your home with these.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any offering from Sylvania for 3-way switch configurations. If your requirement is for 3-way switches, I would recommend looking at the Meross or Refoss products.
Switches are great for basic situations such as for illuminating a staircase or a backyard, but sometimes the lights should be dimmable. Some of these situations include dining rooms, home theatres, bedrooms, and whatever else you would like additional control of! Unfortunately, dimmers are significantly more expensive than simple switches, and there aren't too many companies developing them for HomeKit.
The Leviton DH6HD-1BZ Decora Dimmer
This Decora smart dimmer by Leviton is not only the cheapest HomeKit dimmer, but it is also one of the only compatible dimmers available. As with the basic switches, it features a rocker style switch on the front that allows manual operation of the device. The little rocker positioned to the right of the central rocker is the brightness control and will enable changes to the brightness to be made manually. This switch requires a neutral wire to work correctly.
Unlike many other switches, this dimmer works both to control a light in a single switch configuration and in a 3-way configuration. The only thing to keep in mind with multi-location control is that this dimmer requires special companion devices sold by Leviton on each other switch. This switch on Amazon is an example of the kind of device that must be purchased for use in 3-way configurations.
As is typical with these, a WiFi network is required for them to function. A differentiating factor is that the Leviton app will allow you to control the dimmer while you are connected to the same WiFi network, but a HomeKit hub is required for remote access. This implies that the dimmer does not make any connections to the internet, which can be a plus for some. For those looking to control these remotely, be sure to get a HomeKit hub!
Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch
The Caseta brand has a reputation for being high quality, and of course, with high quality comes high pricing. This dimmer is priced similarly to the Leviton - but make no mistake, to use HomeKit you must also purchase a "Smart Bridge" that will allow these to communicate with the internet and your HomeKit hub. For reference, here is the Smart Bridge on Amazon. It is no cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but if you want to use Caseta dimmers all around your home, this can be an excellent choice.
Another advantage is that this switch does not require a neutral wire! You read that correctly, it is the only device on this list that will work without one, so for you, it might be the only option. One thing to keep in mind is that while the idea of no required neutral line is very attractive, the methods they used to achieve this have some particular requirements. Here is a technical document produced by Lutron discussing the minimal load for the dimmer to work correctly.
Without the bridge, this dimmer does not even qualify for this list. However, once you add the smart bridge, it becomes one of the most attractive options. As with the Leviton, it supports both 3-way and single switch configurations, although the Lutron makes use of "Pico remotes" installed in the other wall plates. They send a signal back to the main switch to control things, instead of being hardwired. Finally, since it makes use of a proprietary wireless protocol between the switches and the Smart Bridge, the range you get might be better than with the other options on this list.
That was a lot of information! Making a choice between HomeKit compatible light switches isn't easy and depends significantly on your priorities. The table below presents a summary of the information in this article.
|Meross HomeKit Light Switch||19.99$||WiFi||No||Yes|
|Refoss HomeKit Light Switch||19.99$||WiFi||No||Yes|
|Sylvania Smart Switch||14.79$||Bluetooth||No||No|
|Leviton DH6HD-1BZ Decora Dimmer||49.06$||WiFi||Yes||No|
|Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer||49.90$||Caseta RF - needs bridge||Yes||No|
These are some of the cheapest HomeKit light switches available. As we saw, there are a lot of different benefits and drawbacks to each of these options. I personally recommend the Lutron Caseta if you have the money to spend, there is a reason they have a reputation for high quality! Otherwise if just a regular on/off switch will do the job, the Meross switch is a solid choice.