As more of our home appliances have adopted “smart” features, it’s become increasingly simpler to control practically every part of the home using various gadgets on the market, including our smartphones. While many newly constructed homes have smart technology built-in, smart plugs make controlling everything, down to the lights, possible in any home, but they don’t all have the same capabilities.
So, if you are looking for a “smart” way to dim your lights at home, I’ve made this list of the 7 best smart plugs for dimmable lights.
- Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi Plug-in Dimmer
- GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Dimmer Plug-in
- Eva Logik Plug
- Lutron Caséta
- Honeywell Z-Wave Plus Smart Light Dimmer Switch
- GE Zigbee Smart Dimmer Plug-in
- Wteske Outdoor Dimmer Smart Plug
When comparison shopping for which smart plugs to use with dimmable lights, there are a lot of different features and system requirements to keep straight. Keep reading as I share my research to know more about which smart plug is right for you.
There are lots of benefits to using smart plugs in your home beyond just the convenience factor, and it is important to learn about how they can improve daily living for almost anyone.
How Can Smart Plugs Improve Your Life?
Beyond just centralizing and automating your home’s lighting, smart plugs can improve how you use electricity efficiently in your home. The most basic smart plugs will simply include on/off functionality, which is already a great feature that allows you to turn on lights that are in another room, or even when you’re not home.
But smart plugs all have a “hidden” feature that makes them practically pay for themselves: they can help you save money by decreasing your energy usage. When you leave appliances or devices plugged in when they’re not in use, they consume extra energy, called “phantom load.”
It’s estimated that phantom load makes up roughly 10% of energy costs each month, so having a smart plug can tell you for certain how much energy everything you’re leaving plugged in is truly costing you. This feature can help you determine which items need to be replaced with more energy-efficient appliances.
You can also use the remote function to turn lights off and on remotely, which can dissuade potential intruders from attempting to enter your home, even when you’re out of town. Any smart plug that allows you to control your lights will make this possible, but some even provide a randomizer light function that makes the illusion of being at home that much more believable.
Can a Smart Plug Dim Lights?
While controlling which lights are on or off is a common use for smart plugs and their associated smartphone apps, they’re not all created equal. If you not only want to be able to control if your lights are on but how bright they are as well, you’ll need to look for smart plugs that provide this option.
Most smart plugs on the market don’t provide the ability to dim your lights, and it isn’t always easy to find out which ones do, especially because many of them can come bundled with dimmable light switches. With many of those non-dimmer smart plugs popping up in shop search results, this can significantly draw out your online search for smart plugs that have the features you want.
Even more frustrating, once you find smart plugs that do have dimming capabilities, you’ll still need to check exactly what they need to work and what smart controls they’re compatible with. To make choosing your smart plug easier, you should know what features smart plugs commonly have and what system requirements to look out for when comparing your options.
What Should You Look for in Smart Plugs for Dimmable Lights?
Here are 9 features that you should consider when shopping for smart plugs for dimmable lights:
Built-in dimming: This one may seem obvious, but a lot of listings will trick you into clicking on them because they offer a roundabout way to use dimmable lights, such as an included or optional dimming switch.
The problem with this is that it won’t allow you to control the dimming function remotely, and you’ll only be able to use the “smart” functions to turn the light on and off.
Final cost: The price you see for a smart plug might not be its true final cost if it requires you to purchase a hub to centralize the wireless control for its usage. There are 3 main types of wireless smart plugs: ones that use ZigBee, Z-Wave, or WiFi.
WiFi smart plugs, your home router acts as the system hub, but for the other two types, you’ll likely need to buy a hub. Although hubs do add to the cost, using smart plugs with hubs has its benefits, and makes it easier to coordinate precisely how you can control your lights.
Control compatibility: Whether you want to use a smartphone or a smart home system to control your smart plugs, you’ll need to make sure the one you purchase can connect to your controls. While most smart plugs will have Apple iOS and Android apps, they’re not all compatible with smart speaker systems such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa Echo, or Apple HomePod.
Plug design: Are the plugs two-pronged or three-pronged? It would be awful to order the seemingly perfect smart plug only to realize it doesn’t fit the lamp or other lighting you want to use, so make sure to check if your lighting is grounded.
You should also make sure that it has the right number of outlets or, if it will block your lower one, or if it provides a pass-through outlet so you don’t essentially have one less usable outlet in your home.
Energy monitoring capability: If you want to use a smart plug with two outlets to share between your lighting and an appliance, or you just want to use it to test the appliances and device you have, a smart plug that lets you monitor energy usage is a great buy.
Maximum wattage: You’ll also need to check the wattage rating that’s listed on the smart plug you want to purchase. This is so that you don’t overload the plug.
Why Should You Consider These 7 Smart Plugs for Your Dimmable Lights?
When shopping for smart plugs to use with dimmable lights, you’ll need to check how the one you’re purchasing allows you to control your lights. Is it compatible with a certain type of smartphone or voice-activated system, like the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, or Google Home?
Additionally, there are several dimmer smart plugs that require use with additional products you’ll need to purchase in order to operate. Often, these can come with other helpful features that make them worth the higher price point, so you’ll need to decide what you want in a smart plug apart from the dimming function: affordable, but basic, or a slightly higher price for more features.
Option 1: Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi Plug-in Dimmer $33
This option, from one of the largest North American electrical equipment manufacturers, has received great ratings from users for its reliability and functionality.
Its reasonable price of $33 doesn’t come with any extra costs because it uses WiFi and doesn’t require you to purchase a hub. On top of having built-in dimming capabilities, the Decora smart plug lets you create schedules for your lights to turn on and off, including a light randomizer you can use while you’re on vacation.
All you have to do is program this plug into your My Leviton app, which is available for any iOS or Android device. If you decide you want to use multiple smart plugs from the Leviton brand, you can name each plug for the device it controls as you add program them into the app so you can tell each one apart.
The Decora smart plug allows you to turn lights on/off, or dim them with two types of voice assistants, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant, among others. The wattage rating allows you to use either dimmable LED & CFL lightbulbs with a max wattage of 100W or incandescent (not dimmable) bulbs with a max wattage of 300W.
Option 2: GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Dimmer Plug-in $41
The GE Enbrigten is another great smart plug for dimmable lights, but it works a little bit differently. The Enbrighten uses Z-waves to wirelessly connect smart plugs to a central hub, which you’ll need to buy separately.
What makes this smart plug worth the extra cost, however, is that it’s compatible with a lot of security and smart home systems, depending on the hub that you buy, which can conveniently integrate your lights into each hub’s app and its included features
You can choose between certified hubs from SmartThings, Ring Alarm, Wink, ADT Pulse or Command, Trane, Vivint, Nexia, Honeywell, HomeSeer, and Vera. With the Enbrigthen smart plug’s two outlets, you will be able to use schedules and manual control over the use and brightness of two lamps at once.
And if you want to use multiple devices with your hub, and are worried about how close to place it to the smart plug, you won’t have to worry about that, because the Enbrigthen will repeat the Z-wave signal from your hub to reach more of your home.
To use the brightness control for your lamps, you’ll need to use dimmable LED and CRL bulbs that have a max wattage of 100W. The smart plug can also be used with Alexa voice control, as long as the hub that you choose is also compatible.
Option 3: Eva Logik Plug $27
The Eva Logik smart-plug is another one that works using Z-Waves, so you’ll have to purchase a hub. This one works with a large variety of hubs as well, including the SmartThing, Wink, ADT Pulse, Honeywell, Connect, and Iris hubs, among others.
This smart plug is also incredibly easy to set up. If your compatible hub is already turned on, all you have to do is plug in the Logik, and it will add itself to your hub’s network and app. This model also can be controlled using voice control if you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa device, with one exception.
Unfortunately, if you’re using an Amazon Echo Plus, this smart plug won’t support connectivity to it, so you’ll have to go with another option. You’ll also need CFL or LED dimmable lightbulb, with a max wattage of 120W.
Option 4: Honeywell Z-Wave Plus Smart Light Dimmer Switch $40
This Honeywell smart plug has a lot of similar features to other entries on this list, including compatibility with a long list of Z-Wave hubs, including its own brand of hubs, and several more, like the SmartThings, Wink, Pulse, HomeSeer, and ADT hubs.
Like the Eva Logik, the Honeywell Z-Wave Plus will work with Google Home and most Amazon Alexa products, but not the Echo Plus. The Honeywell smart plug helps repeat and extend the network of the central hub’s Z-wave signal, making your smart home system work over larger spaces and multiple rooms, as its wireless range is 150 feet of clear space.
Its standout features include a polarized outlet, which can make it safer to use with certain devices compared to other smart plug models, and a compact size that is intentionally designed to avoid blocking your second outlet.
If you decide to purchase the Honeywell smart plug, you’ll need to purchase LED or CFL dimmable lightbulbs with no more than 100W max wattage.
Option 5: Lutron Caséta $50
The Lutron Caséta is the most expensive option on this list, but it has a reliable reputation and useful features that back up the price tag. It’s controlled by the brand’s Lutron app and can connect to more hubs than almost any other hub on the market.
Although it will work with almost any hub, allowing the Caséta to be integrated into whatever system your other smart devices are being controlled through, it doesn’t require a hub in order to work. So as soon as you plug it into the wall, you can immediately use its two outlets to control connected lamps.
It can be voice-controlled using Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, which no other smart plug on this list can do. If you own an Apple product and don’t plan on buying an additional hub, this one’s for you!
And although it does use Wifi, even if your home network goes down, any plugged-in lights will still follow any schedule you’ve set in the Lutron app, which is a great feature if you’re relying on the timers to light up your home, even when you’re on vacation and won’t know if your connection is down.
Option 6: GE Zigbee Smart Dimmer Plug-in $32
The GE Zigbee smart plug is one of the only models that allow you to use dimmable lights and will also connect with Amazon’s Echo Plus and the other Alexa devices, too.
If you’re not already using an Amazon smart device, you can choose between several other hubs, including Z-Wave hubs, like those from SmartThings, Wink and Harmony Home, or ones made by large cable companies, like Cox, Rogers, Comcast Xfinity, and Comporium.
If you choose the latter option for your hub, you’ll be able to control this smart plug from the same app you use to program your TV. This GE smart plug also comes with two outlets, is designed to not block the lower outlet, and will work with LED/CFL dimmable lights up to 100W max wattage.
Option 7: Wteske Outdoor Dimmer Smart Plug $36
This final option is a truly unique one out of all the others on this list because it’s the only one that is built to work outdoors. Controlled by the SmartLife app and compatible with Alexa Google Assistant voice control, this smart plug can help you better control and enjoy your outdoor lighting.
You can make daily lighting schedules or set a timer for how long the light will stay on. Because it works outside, this can have a lot of uses including keeping you safer at night by making sure your entrance is lit when you’re out but don’t get back before it gets dark.
You can also use the timing feature to keep your winter or summer energy bills a bit more reasonable and use it to set a limit on how long your holiday, patio, pool, or lanai lights stay on each night. You’ll also be able to make your display as eye-catching as you want because this smart plug does have as high a wattage rating as others.
The Wtseske Outdoor smart plug works with significantly higher power lights than most indoor smart plugs and can be used with LED, CFL, or INC lightbulbs of up to 350W. It’s also safe for outdoor use even when it’s raining, as it’s designed to be waterproof.
If you’re looking for a smart plug that will allow you to conveniently dim your lights from your phone or smart home system, make sure to choose one that’s compatible with the interface you plan on using.
Also, to make sure you’re not outspending your budget, double-check the requirements for each of the options above. While some of them might appear be in your price range, if they require an additional hub or any other purchase to work in your home, you’re better off finding this information out before you have to make any unexpected additional purchases or returns.
Once you’ve gotten your smart plug (or plugs!) set up in your home, you’ll be able to have the convenient control of using just your smartphone or voice. Having this connectivity to the lights in your home can be fun, save you time and money in the long run, and make your home that much more comfortable. And, if you go with one of the fancier options, the randomizing lights feature can even help keep your home safe.