Thursday September 29, 2022

Leviton’s smart light switches are now available without a neutral wire

I have good news for anyone who lives in an older house and wants to switch to smart switches. Leviton, a lighting control company, released two smart switches this week that don’t need a neutral wire. Both the Decora Smart No-Neutral Dimmer ($49.99), and Switch ($44.99), both work with the Decora Smart Wi-Fi Bridge ($19.99). Both can be used with the Decora Smart No-Neutral Dimmer ($49.99) and Switch ($44.99), which are compatible with Leviton’s entire Decora Smart Wi Fi line ($19.99). Because they were not standard in home wiring until the mid-1980s, many homes have limited options for upgrading to smart switch. There are many options, with the most popular being Lutron Caseta, but they are limited in style and functionality. It can also be costly. Lutron’s required bridge costs $80, and the dimmer switches cost $60 each. Aqara offers more affordable options, but they only have switches and no dimmers.
Leviton’s Decora Smart Wi Fi lineup. Leviton’s Decora Smart Wi Fi (2nd Generation) lineup.

Leviton’s entry in the market splits pricing between the budget Aqara (low-end) and the high end Lutron (high-end). It also offers switch and dimmer options. The Decora switch style, which Leviton invented, is more compatible with existing lighting controls. Cync by GE Lighting offers a wide range of no-neutral options at a low price, but with a mixed design aesthetic.
The plug-in bridge is the heart of the new Leviton dimmer/switch, which can handle up 25 switches in an area of 2,500 square feet. They communicate with each other via a proprietary low-power RF mesh to connect wirelessly to Wi-Fi. This allows communication with the My Leviton App, which allows you to set schedules and scenes and connect to other smart home platforms. To create a wire-free setup, the switches can be used with Leviton’s Decora Smart Anywhere Companion wireless remote controls.
The Smart Wi-Fi Bridge connects neutral wire-free switches to HomeKit and Alexa. Image: Leviton

Leviton also announced that it will add a motion sensing dimmer to its Decora Wi-Fi range, which already includes a smart switch and smart dimmer. The Decora Smart (2nd Generation) Motion Sensing Dimmer Switch ($49.99) features a variety of smart lighting functions, including ambient and night settings to turn lights on at lower levels in the evening. The switch can be used for both vacancy and occupancy modes. It also has a built in guide light that provides just a little illumination at night. You can also use the motion snooze to temporarily disable motion sensing while you are watching a movie.
The new motion sensing dimmer requires a neutral wire. It works with Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa as well as Google Home platforms. It appears as a dimmable light that can be controlled with voice. However, HomeKit allows the motion sensor to trigger HomeKit scenes.
The Decora Smart Wi-Fi Motion Sensing Dimmer is compatible with all major smart home platforms including HomeKit. Image: Leviton

The smart dimmer can also be used with Leviton’s room occupancy response feature. This allows other Decora Smart Wi-Fi device in a room to turn on/off simultaneously based upon the motion sensor.
The company also announced a new version for its smart outlet. The Decora Smart 2nd Gen Tamper Resistant Outlet ($34.99), adds HomeKit support, compatibility with Leviton’s Anywhere Switch Companion, and a wireless remote to control the outlet. The outlet can handle loads up to 15A including lamps, holiday lighting, small appliances, and electronics.
I asked Leviton about Matter compatibility with these new products. They are Wi-Fi-based (through a bridge in the case for the no-neutral wire option) and theoretically would have an upgrade path towards the new smart home standard due to arrive later in the year. Although James Shurte is not able to discuss future products with me, he did tell me that an upgrade path for Matter would make “a lot of sense.”
He said, “We are really excited about Matter and looking forward its release.” “We are a member the CSA and our engineering team have been involved in the development process. We are ready and excited to see what Matter will mean for interoperability, ease of use, and other benefits.

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