FAQ About Smart Switches, Smart Plugs, and Smart Lighting Kits
You've had the bright idea to invest in smart lighting as a convenient way to transition toward home automation. No doubt you could use a little illumination on how it all works. Here are some common questions and helpful tips about key components like smart switches, smart plugs, and smart lighting kits.
What is a smart switch and what can it do?
A smart switch replaces a standard light switch and adds wireless connectivity, so you can control your lights from a compatible smartphone or tablet. This can be simple on/off control or, in the case of dimmer switches, allow you to adjust the level of light.
In addition to switches, there are smart plugs, which fit into a standard electrical outlet and let you power on/off any device (like a lamp) that you plug into it.
Smart light kits include a hub or bridge, a wireless access point that often plugs into your router and communicates with specific bulbs that screw into standard sockets.
What are the benefits of a smart switch, smart plug, or smart light kit?
There are a number of key advantages to using smart switches, plugs, or kits in your home.
Not only can you turn your lights on and off or dim them remotely, but you can also put them on a schedule or, with some apps, even set events to trigger them. Set up sunrise or sunset rules, away mode, movie mode, etc. Some kits can even have your lights flash or change colour to respond to weather reports, social media updates, and more.
With smart scheduling, it's easy to make it appear as if someone is home, even if they're not. Since you can set varying and multiple times, even control individual lights, it doesn't seem automated.
In addition to the ability to turn off your lights remotely when you forget, or potentially dim them to reduce energy consumption, some apps will even report energy usage to you, so you can make smarter decisions about how and when you use your lights.
Is a smart switch easy to install?
Smart switches require some basic connection of existing wires that most do-it-yourselfers will have no problems with. Smart plugs and hubs simply plug in. Beyond that, it's as simple as downloading the app and following instructions to complete the setup. Most are compatible with all the popular iOS and Android powered smartphones and tablets.
What other devices can a smart plug work with?
Because a smart plug adds wireless control to any standard outlet, you can use it with any device that plugs into one. This makes it possible to remotely power on/off anything from fans and air conditioners to coffee makers and slow cookers.
Want more info on smart switches, plugs, and lighting kits? Check out these helpful resources on the Best Buy blog:
Expanding Your Smart Home System with Smart Switches
Smart Switches and Plugs Buying Guide
A closer look at the TP-Link Brand family of smart switches and plugs