Physical Smart Light Switches for Lifx etc

For those using smart lights such as LifX or Sengled, what physical light switches do you use? LifX's pricey proprietary switches are not available till September, many require a neutral wire and an electrician to install. The "Flic" switch promoted on the LifX site is not even available in Australia (you'd think an Aussie company would have noticed), as are many other third party solutions.

By comparison Philips Hue seems super simple - cheap ($35) switches you can stick to the wall or use as a remote.

I would love to try the LifX downlights out but I don't want to hard wire into the wall in case we move and rent out our place (we'd want to return to dumb lights and switches for the next tenant). I don't want to rely on voice assistants and apps alone because while they're obviously why you buy these in the first place, they're not practical, say, if you're carrying a baby and need to keep quiet, or if non-techy visiting friends and relatives (or even spouses) prefer physical switches.

Comments

  • I legit have 20+ flic buttons. They’re so great, and the shipping from Sweden in the two times I’ve ordered from their site has been snappy. They’re not for everyone, but don’t let the distribution from Sweden stop you.

  • I am also on the look out for something but would like to replace my wall switches with a simple programmable solution that does 4-6 gangs

  • I have lifx, controlled by amazon Alexa: re OP’s comment ”holding a baby to keep quiet”, Amazon Echos have a whisper mode, and I’ve found it surprisingly effective… however it was unnerving to hear a robot whisper back to me… a little too realistic for my comfort , even for this gadget geek

  • I agree. I discovered this simple UI omission about 4 years ago with Lifx.

    Ended up solving it with ZWave switches, controller, door senors etc. unfortunately it’s not a cheap way of doing it.

    Several places in Australia sell z wave gear, from motion sensors to deadbolts.

    Still it doesn’t make it easy to rip it all out. You could get by with a few battery operated gizmos taped to the wall such as the Remotec ZRC90, which for me works pretty well, with HomeSeer as my controller. It knows the difference between a tap, tap and hold, double tap and it has plenty of buttons.

    I decided on ZWave because it doesn’t need internet for it to work. There are no “cloud” servers adding delay and cataloguing my movements. The plugin with HomeSeer uses the LAN control API which is really snappy.

  • If you are handy with software, then Xiaomi Smart switches with Home Assistant or other automation software. Requires a Xiaomi hub though or use one of many open source alternatives (CC2531, Deconz, etc).

    The Xiaomi stuff is cheaper than most other ZigBee brands.

    Speaking of Xiaomi, has anyone seen a sale on these in recent years? I remember getting switches and sensors for not more than $5-10. I guess the dollar is not helping but prices are almost triple now. @gearbest - time for a sale?

  • Anyone have experience with Lutron Caseta? Not cheap, but doesn't need neutral wires.

    Otherwise I may end up having to go with Phillips Hue purely because they at least supply an easy-to-install physical switch option. I considered Sengled but their downlights don't change temperature, they only dim.

  • I have a large long house and have been trying various brands.

    LIFX are the best globes, but no remote button/switch is a real issue. Works great with Alexa. The LIFX downlights are good, but very ugly as the lit up area is too small.

    Phillips Hue have a great product range, but they do not work over wifi (they are zigbee) so even with perfect wifi signal if you are too far from the hub or other lights the system fails. Hue do however have a great dimmer switch - when it works. My place is an extended 1950s house and the brick wall between the old and new is a killer for zigbee.

    Wemo - dead tech. Forget about these.

    Sengled - some interesting products but limited.

    Arlec Grid Connect (available at Bunnings) I decided to give these ago as they had a few cheap outdoor products and globes. Surprisingly good, work via wifi and no hub required (I think a hub is needed for away from home control?). Light switches and plugs available. No outdoor sensor or remote switch.

    Flic. These little things are awesome and control the LIFX lights well and never failsI do have the Flic hub, not sure if that is required.

    I guess like everyone else I am disappointed that no ecosystem is currently perfect. I have been wondering if adding a SmartThings hub would get different brands to work together so products could be mixed and matched.

  • +2 votes

    I've just pulled the trigger on the Flic kit with 6 buttons and the hub: https://flic.io/shop/flic2-pro-kit

    Honey found a 25% off code that stacked on top of the existing early bird discount, though slightly offset by the $US18 postage. works out A$50 a button, which hopefully will be worth it given it seems to have a lot of ringing endorsements on OzB and Amazon reviews.

    I've got 6 LifX downlights I am keen to use in our living room/dining room area. Agree the 60 degree beam angle is a little narrow, but there don't seem to be too many complaints. If it is too narrow I can always swap them for Sengled or Hue (the only other reputable smart downlight suppliers I am aware of?).

    • The Flic apparently does work for Hue as well. You need to link it to the hub and I have not done that yet. (Though I may just save the Flics for the LIFX)

      The LIFX down lights are great and the colour changing is fun for the kids. I should explain my comment about the lit up area being small better. The light output is fine. My issue was just the aesthetics of the housing. The light fits in a 90mm hole. The clear plastic area of the light looks about 65-70mm (though I think you can adjust the angle?). On most lights this area is about 80mm and I think looks nicer.

      Hue also have a new 90mm downlight that is $70 or four you $240 at JB Hi Fi. Very simple design which is nice but only does shades of white.

      • Yes, I saw those. Wonder if one can use the BT hub of the Flic to control the new BT Hue bulbs without the Hue bridge? Doubt it, and not sure how useful it would be since I haven't heard many complaints about the Hue hub range etc.

    • Thanks for the info, also jumped onboard. For me it was mostly after reading through the functions page and realising more of the possibilities. I was sorely tempted for the 15 pack, just cause, more is better, right? But starting with 6 and finding the limit seems best.

      • Temptation of the 15 pack was strong, but I just couldn't see needing more for what I want to do. I can see using two for volume controls would eat through them faster?

        Darn, we could hAve pooled on postage!

  • I use Samsung Smart Things. They are okay, but I have noticed some of the door sensors have lost connection which is annoying.

    The buttons work fine, minor delay (1 second).

    I do think philips hue is far superior regarding the delay, however the Lifx downlights are better quality.

    • I have a Hue bulb with the Hue dimmer switch next to a LIFX with a Flic button. No noticeable delay and both about the same speed.

    • In what ways are the LifX better quality, would you say?

      • The LIFX bulbs are brighter and the colours are better. Not that Hue is bad just bit washed out compared to the LIFX. But the LIFX range is limited, so there are benefits with the Hue. The LIFX also do not require a hub which works better at my place, yet some would say the hub takes a load off your wifi.

        I also think the LIFX dim lower which I like, especially if you want to use as a night light.

        But honestly both are great bulbs. I would also suggest you look out for when they are on sale.

  • Top