It was in the middle of the night when my wife broke her foot. Unfortunately, the light switch was at the bottom of the steps, and she tripped while heading down for some water. The next morning the doctor let us know she had broken one of the smallest bones in her foot. She wore a protective boot for six weeks before it healed.
We have since upgraded to a smarter home, and light is now just a word away. I’ve installed Leviton Decora Smart Switches and can turn lights on or off using an app or even my voice.
I believe the Smart Switch is the best smart home accessory you can buy. Bulbs will continue to burn out, plugs can get bulky, and light is the main resource we consume in our homes daily. There are currently two great smart switch options for the smart home from Leviton: a switch with Wi-fi technology, and a Voice Dimmer with Amazon Alexa built-in. The latter allows me to listen to music, hear the most recent news, get the weather, and turn the lights on or off without the additional purchase of an Echo (Amazon account still required).
Both the voice smart dimmer (as opposed to a smart plug) with Alexa built-in and the app-enabled smart switch are great additions to any home, and I’ve had the opportunity to try both. Installation of the switches is straightforward even if you have minimal electrical knowledge. I had to turn off the power to the switch I was replacing, remove the old switch and wire in the new switch. A neutral wire must be in place at the switch you are replacing.
Not all smart homes have a neutral wire (particularly older homes) so be sure to check this before purchase to save hassle. I put the switches in rooms that create safety at night and allows for light when coming home late in the evenings. (By the way, Leviton also makes several smart dimmer switches.)
It is great that I can control either switch from any Echo smart device in my home, but I prefer the switch with Alexa built-in because it saves me the convenience of needing an Echo in that room. The sound quality isn’t as good as an Echo, but my main purpose is for my lights to turn on and off and possibly the latest news updates. Alexa responds well and exceeds my overall expectations. If there is a lot of background noise, the switch had some trouble picking up my voice, but overall my voice commands registered in a timely fashion. I did have to move the switch to a room closer to my router as occasionally the switch would go offline.
The ability to set schedules and control my switches remotely via the My Leviton app is a feature I use more than I anticipated. I use this for late-night arrivals after out of town sporting events, and it works great when family or guests stay with us and get to our home late into the night. After a long trip to visit, I know my parents are much safer traversing our house late at night when they can see the toys my children may have left lying about before bedtime.
Which switch is for you? I would argue both. I will continue to install regular switches throughout my home, and while I like the built-in Echo switch better, I installed this switch in a room where I simply won’t need an Echo as frequently. This allows me to still turn the lights on and off at will while I am in that room. If I accidentally leave it on and go into another room – no problem. My other Echo’s will still shut that light off for me.
We have come a long way with indoor electricity, and it is incredible to see the innovation that is still taking place within Smart Homes. Light at the press of a button or the flip of a switch was already an amazing accomplishment, but we have now ushered in light at the sound of our voices. The Leviton Decora Voice Dimmer is an Alexa enabled Smart Switch that adds functionality to your Smart Switch. If you don’t have an Amazon Echo or Google Assistant and still want to add voice-activated light to your home, you need to check this product out.