Programmable light switches, also known as time switches, can save serious energy if you forget to turn your lights off often when leaving the room. As these switches are based on timers, they often replace traditional light switches.
This is done by taking out the regular switch and installing the timed switch inside the electrical box. Time switches can greatly assist with safety and discourage intruders from thinking you’re not home.
A programmable timer switch for LED lights eliminates the unintentional waste of electricity costs by switching off lights during the day. It also saves you from coming home to total darkness after a busy day where it could be difficult to find the light switch (Source).
Such importance explains the surge in demand for these products on the market. The best programmable light switches should be functional, have an attractive design, be compatible with your smart home, and offer an app to control it.
What Is A Programmable Light Switch?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Programmable Light Switch?
- 2 Comparing The Best Programmable Light Switches
- 3 1. Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B Light Switch – Best Overall Smart Switch
- 4 2. Leviton ODS10-ID Switch Occupancy Sensor – Best Switch for Commercial & Residential Applications
- 5 3. Philips Hue Dimmer Light Switch – Best for the Money
- 6 4. Lutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer Light Switch – Best Feature-Packed Light Switch
- 7 5. Wemo Dimmer Wi-Fi Programmable Light Switch – The Smartest Light Switch
- 8 6. Aube TI072-3W Electronic Timer Switch – Most Versatile
- 9 7. Intermatic EI600LAC Time Switch – Best-Looking Timer Switch
- 10 8. Intermatic EJ600 In-Wall Timer – Best Powerful Programmable Switch
- 11 9. Honeywell RPLS541A1001/U Light Switch – Most Convenient
- 12 10. Aube TI035/U Programmable Light Switch – Most Efficient Light Switch
- 13 Things to Consider Before Buying a Programmable Light Switch
- 14 Types of Timer Light Switches
- 15 Time Switch vs. Timer
- 16 Ready To Buy The Best Programmable Light Switches?
A programmable light switch is a simple yet innovative device that lets you control the electrical systems in your house without much physical effort. At times, it feels quite annoying to switch on and off switches every time you leave your house.
Moreover, it is a time-consuming process. That’s where a programmable switch can be pretty handy. It’s just like an alarm clock in which you feed the time at which the light or any other supported electrical equipment turns on or off. However, a programmable switch is much more advanced than a regular alarm clock.
These devices can give you the flexibility of feeding a custom switch pattern for several days in advance. Some even have an automatic feature where they will turn on at sunset and turn off at sunrise without the need for you to do it manually.
In this guide, we will review programmable light switch timers and provide some key insights on what you should look for.
Comparing The Best Programmable Light Switches
|Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B Light Switch|
|Leviton ODS10-ID Switch Occupancy Sensor|
|Philips Hue Dimmer Light Switch|
|Lutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer Light Switch|
|Wemo Dimmer Wi-Fi Programmable Light Switch|
|Aube TI072-3W Electronic Timer Switch|
|Intermatic EI600LAC Time Switch|
|Intermatic EJ600 In-Wall Timer|
|Honeywell RPLS541A1001/U Light Switch|
|Aube TI035/U Programmable Light Switch|
1. Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B Light Switch – Best Overall Smart Switch
Switch by location
The Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B Light Switch doesn’t sense the presence of light like other automated switches does. Thus, for functionality, users are required to enter their longitude and latitude as well as the time and date. The switch then calculates the exact sunrise and sunset times.
Setting up the latitude and longitude can be easy. However, getting the switch to auto modes and other menu items might be quite daunting. Nonetheless, once the switch gets to auto mode, you won’t have to touch it again.
Manual and vacation modes
If you don’t need much automation, you can switch to this mode where it turns to an ON/OFF switch.
On the other hand, the vacation mode is specifically designed to make the house look occupied. It randomly turns the lights on and off throughout the day. Additionally, it uses the saved longitude and latitude details to switch on the lights at sunset for 60 and 90 minutes.
After that, it turns off the lights for 20 to 30 minutes and repeats the cycle until it finally rests near midnight.
Visually, its design is sleek and fits well with the wall plates. The switch has three buttons, and it comes with an LCD screen that is large and easy to read with a blue-black light whose brightness can be adjusted.
Notably, the best part of this device is the tiny blue LED light at the lower corner that glows when the switch’s circuit is turned on.
This programmable light switch can also be used as a standard timer. Users can program up to seven programs in the switch. However, only one program can be active at a time.
Unlike other mediocre switches, the Honeywell Econoswitch doesn’t lose its settings in case of power blackouts. This includes the internal clock that keeps working. When the power comes back, the switch functions normally.
2. Leviton ODS10-ID Switch Occupancy Sensor – Best Switch for Commercial & Residential Applications
The device certainly can’t win the design awards as it features a low profile design, but it has a no-nonsense approach towards lights control.
Automatic light control
This switch allows automatic control of fluorescents, low-voltage lighting, and incandescent lamps using magnetic and electronic ballasts.
Alogside that, it provides an adjustable 180-degrees field of view with uncompelled sensitivity alterations, delayed off time, and ambient light override. It also features a manual override switch that can be used to keep lights off when necessary.
The switch uses a passive infrared detection technology through segmented Fresnel lenses to monitor the room for occupancy. These lenses divide the field of view into sensor zones such that when a person passes through one zone, the zone detects motion and switches the lights on.
Users who bought this switch claim it helps to save energy. The convenience of this switch will ensure you don’t have to get out of bed to shut the lights off. This switch was tested in one basement and lasted more than five years. After that period, it was still working. The only complaint we have is that the the shutters on the switch are not adjustable.
This switch can work in a home, a workshop, or any other commercial space. Even if you have 600w of florescent lighting, this switch will handle it. The programming is simple and easy to use, with a straight forward screw-knob adjustment.
3. Philips Hue Dimmer Light Switch – Best for the Money
Additionally, it offers simple remote hue lights control ranging from bright to extra low dim via a wireless and battery-powered system.
Setting this up is pretty easy. You can follow the steps outlined on its user manual. Alongside that, simply install the hue app to ease pairing the system with your bridge.
Ease of use
Once you have connected the Philips dimmer to the hue bridge, you need to configure it with the app. Here, you can set your favorite light scene even without using the smart device.
The dimmer runs on batteries and can be used as any other typical wall switch. For this, you can place it at any convenient spot on your house.
The Philips Hue Dimmer Light Switch features a magnetic base or a wall plate that allows users to mount it using magnets.
The Philips Hue Dimmer Light Switch is perfect for those who need to alter the lighting scene such as adjusting brightness. It is perfect for dining and living rooms, and you can cycle through various pre-set scenes and easily change both the color scheme and mood.
4. Lutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer Light Switch – Best Feature-Packed Light Switch
From its design, the switch looks high-tech with several control buttons laid out for numerous option offers. Factually, Lutron can be described as better in fashion over function, but doesn’t let down on its performance.
The white and grey buttons placed front and center with touch-sensitive controls are not only intriguing but also eases its use. Meanwhile, another feature is geofencing that implies that the switch will automatically turn the lights on and off when leaving or arriving at home.
Additionally, it provides an option to schedule when your lights turn on and off at particular times or days. Dimming capabilities and compatibility with various smartphone home systems will make it easy to use. Users can also control this programmable timer switch using voice commands through Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and other apps.
5. Wemo Dimmer Wi-Fi Programmable Light Switch – The Smartest Light Switch
- Control from anywhere – you can control the Wemo Dimmer from the wall, Wemo app, or even using your voice from the Google home app and Amazon Alexa.
- Sync with your schedule – you can easily set a schedule so that your lights do what you want at the right time.
- Night mode – this device allows you to have your desired low light level to protect your eyes from bright light.
6. Aube TI072-3W Electronic Timer Switch – Most Versatile
All you have to do is program it to turn on or off through a timer feature that you can set at your convenience. If you do not want to rely on the custom timer for switching on/off the light, then you can use its sunrise/sunset setting as well.
With that, your programmable light switch will automatically turn on at sunset and vice versa. Aube offers customization for all seven days of the week, with up to 14 distinct event-driven personalization.
7. Intermatic EI600LAC Time Switch – Best-Looking Timer Switch
Besides the design, this light switch offers a connection setup leaving the neutral wire. Furthermore, it includes just one pole. You can customize the time for switching on/off the light as per your liking on this switch.
Additionally, you get a 7-day programming panel with a controllable limit of up to 40 events in a week. Intermatic does not want you to worry about power outages using this device, as it keeps operating through the inbuilt CR2 battery that powers it up to 3 years for keeping the time.
8. Intermatic EJ600 In-Wall Timer – Best Powerful Programmable Switch
With customizations supporting all seven days with distinct patterns, you undoubtedly get a machine that will keep your lights operational with little effort. The EJ600 even adds a rechargeable battery to this control switch for your ease.
Additionally, it consists of a single-pole and is also compatible with 3-way switches, which is not usually the case with other programmable switches. Just like other Intermatic switches, this one also keeps the buttons concealed for giving it a subtle look.
9. Honeywell RPLS541A1001/U Light Switch – Most Convenient
Use it efficiently with customized patterns in your interiors or exteriors of the house all seven days of the week. Furthermore, you can even utilize its automatic sunrise and sunset feature for your liking.
Honeywell offers this high-end unit with multi-switch or single pole programming. Moreover, you can program it for any electrical system that runs within a power of 40 watts to 500 watts.
10. Aube TI035/U Programmable Light Switch – Most Efficient Light Switch
Furthermore, you can use it for personalized lighting patterns as well. The TI035/U provides two varying modes – manual and automatic for your convenience.
It also connects to three wires – neutral, load, and line. Additionally, it includes a rechargeable battery to provide backup at times of power outages.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Programmable Light Switch
As mentioned above, there are various programmable light switch options to choose from.
This calls for a thorough search that involves looking into the specific features of each product. Some of the key factors to consider include:
- Design – is the light switch attractive? Note that the best often comes in multiple colors. You can choose one that matches your home décor.
- Functionality – does the switch support three or four connections? Always consider a switch with the best functionality in terms of connections.
- App – most programmable light switches can be controlled using smartphone apps. Ensure that the app is easy to work with and provides a wide assortment of features.
- Smart home compatibility – inquire if other smart home devices can work with the switch, like these greatest motion sensor night lights. The more, the better.
Types of Timer Light Switches
Whether you choose to buy an electronic or a mechanical timer, you should know both can work as plug-in options or actual switches.
Electronic programmable timer switches are basically digital devices that offer various on and off settings. Such switches are smart enough to variate the times they turn on and off, making it seem like you are home even when you leave. For this reason, electronic switches are highly favored in comparison to their mechanical counterpart, but can more difficult to install or program.
Plug-in timers are ideal for turning on lamps automatically, without replacing a traditional switch with a timed switch. Simply plug this timer into the wall and control whatever’s is plugged into the outlet. Alternatively, you may purchase a screw-in timer that goes right onto the socket of your lamp. Then, the lamp’s bulb goes into the actual timer.
Mechanical spring-wound timer switches have a special dial that you turn when you want a fixture to turn on. Set the light to stay on for as long as sixty minutes with one turn of the dial. This type of dial is mostly used in bathroom fans.
Time Switch vs. Timer
People often confuse time switches and timer switches. As the names are used interchangeably, you’ll learn that the two are actually different. A time switch is normally used in commercial operations, in industries like HVAC (dealing with air conditioning, heating). Also, time switches are common with traditional water heaters.
Time switches almost always have advanced programming functionality and can be rated for 30 or more amps, as well as 120-240 volts of electricity. Timer switches are used in traditional projects and residential homes, where you need to control your light with a switch. For homes, the standard is usually 120 volts.
Ready To Buy The Best Programmable Light Switches?
Home automation is perhaps the best technological advancement that benefits various homes. By using programmable light switches, you can easily control your home or commercial building lights to save on energy and time.
Switches like the Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B Light Switch, provide an additional sense of security through its programs like the ‘vacation mode’.
Go for a product that has an intriguing design and a feature-packed functionality; alongside being easy to control using the app, and being compatible with various smart home techs. Also, check out our review of the top punch down tools.
That said, what type of project are you looking to buy a switch for?