The Best Smart In-Wall Dimmer Switches of 2017

By Daniel Wroclawski

If you're interested in smart lighting and you want to do it right, you've got to go with a smart dimmer switch. Unlike smart bulbs, which become dumb with the flick of a switch, these dimmers always stay powered since they have a direct power line. After all of our testing, it was clear that Lutron's Caséta Wireless system was the best dimmer around.

While dimmers, and even smart dimmers, have been around for decades, these new models are taking off thanks to the promise of anywhere smartphone control, as well as voice control via Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google Home.

Even though pretty much all dimmers work the same, there can be big differences in the quality of their app-connected smarts. That's why we found the most popular dimmer switches on the market and put them to the test to find the very best for you and your smart home ecosystem of choice.

Updated May 31, 2017

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Lutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed.com / Daniel Wroclawski
Lutron p bdg pkg1w caseta wireless smart lighting starter kit
  • Editors' Choice

Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Starter Kit

Best Overall Best for Amazon Alexa Best for Apple HomeKit Best for Google Home

The best dimmer of the pack was Lutron's Caséta Wireless system. This dimmer really nails the software details, even responding to the scrubbing of the app's digital dim slider in real time! The app worked well across Android and iOS, and we were able to connect and control it easily with all three major smart home ecosystems—Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home.

Unlike every other smart dimmer we tested, Lutron also offers the only dimmer that doesn't require a neutral power line, something which isn't common in the electrical wiring of older homes. If your home's electrical system doesn't have a neutral line, we highly recommend this system over getting an electrician to add a neutral line to your home, as it can get very expensive.

While the Caséta Wireless starter kit is priced at almost double the competition, it's well worth the money. And once you're up and running, additional Lutron dimmers cost about $55, and Lutron switches cost about $65.

The only downside to this system is that it doesn't truly support three-way switches (where you have multiple switches for the same light). Instead, the company offers $24 Pico wireless remote kits to mount its remotes over additional switch boxes. It's not a perfect solution, as you'll have to replace the remote batteries every now and then, but it'll work.

Note: These dimmers fade on and off, instead of immediately turning on and off like regular light switches. Some smart dimmers offer the ability to customize these fade on and off rates, but Lutron dimmers do not. We liked the effect on these particular switches, but we know they aren't for everyone.

  • Works with: Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home
  • Neutral wire requirement: No
  • Three-way switch compatibility: No
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: No
Leviton Decora Smart WiFi Dimmer Best Value
Credit: Reviewed.com / Daniel Wroclawski
Leviton dw6hd 1bz
  • Editors' Choice

Where To Buy

$49.99 Amazon Buy

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer (Wi-Fi)

Best Value

Thanks to sporting a WiFi radio and not requiring proprietary chips (for Apple HomeKit) or extra hubs, our Best Value pick goes to the Leviton Decora Smart WiFi Dimmer. This model performed very well in our tests and scored just behind the Caseta Wireless system. The My Leviton app was not as polished as Lutron's, but it came very close. The biggest thing holding it back was the quality of its digital dimming, which didn't change in real time as you slide the digital dimmer.

Regardless, it still dimmed smoothly and worked flawlessly with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The only thing to be aware of is the fact that the smoothness of the digital dimming is tied to the adjustable fade on/off rate. So if you want your lights to turn on and off instantly, be prepared to see the lights pop from one level to another, at least if you dim them from the app or your virtual assistant of choice. And unfortunately, it seems all smart dimmers with adjustable fade on/off rates act this way.

  • Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes
Leviton dz6hd 1bz

Where To Buy

$47.95 Amazon Buy

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer (Z-Wave)

Best for Smart Home Hubs

From the exterior, you'd think this Leviton Decora Smart Z-Wave Dimmer is identical to its WiFi brother, and it essentially is, except it requires a smart home hub like the SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub. If you don't own a smart home hub, I'd recommend one of the above picks. But if you already own a smart home hub connected to multiple devices, these Z-Wave dimmers will likely be a better solution for you.

Unlike WiFi smart devices, which require an Internet connection to talk to other smart devices, these Z-Wave dimmers talk directly to your smart home hub without having to access the wider web. We tested this Leviton dimmer with the Wink Hub 2 and found it performed almost identically to its WiFi sibling. We didn't like the Wink app as much as the My Leviton app, but if you're already invested in that system, you won't be disappointed. And of course, you can control these dimmers via your hub's integration with Amazon Alexa and/or Google Home.

  • Works with: SmartThings, Wink, Amazon Alexa (via hub), Google Home (via hub)
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes with hubs that support Z-Wave Advanced Configuration
Leviton dh6hd 1bz

Where To Buy

$49.99 Amazon Buy

Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer (Apple HomeKit)

The third member of the Leviton Decora Smart dimmer family, this version also works over WiFi, but packs the special chip necessary to work with Apple HomeKit. And for better or worse, it only works with Apple HomeKit and Apple devices.

Despite its compatibility limitations, the Decora Smart HomeKit dimmer actually had an easier setup process and a better, simpler, slicker app. And since it works over HomeKit, Siri was ready to control it as soon as setup was complete. The only downside to this dimmer is that it requires an Apple TV or iPad for remote control, whereas the Lutron Caséta Wireless system does not (unless you're trying to use Siri or the Apple Home app). But at $50 per switch, it's definitely a more affordable HomeKit option.

  • Works with: Apple HomeKit
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes
Ge z wave in wall smart dimmer

GE Z-Wave In-Wall Smart Dimmer

The other big brand of Z-Wave dimmer, this GE performed similarly to the Leviton, and was actually easier to set up with the Wink Hub 2 we used for testing. But the GE couldn't come close to the Leviton in terms of digital dimming quality, which is why we feel the Leviton is a better value pick despite being $10 more expensive. However, if you really want to save money, this GE dimmer is a more affordable option.

  • Works with: SmartThings, Wink, Amazon Alexa (via hub), Google Home (via hub)
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes with hubs that support Z-Wave Advanced Configuration
Insteon 6 button dimmer keypad

Insteon 6-Button Dimmer Keypad

Insteon is unusual in that its a proprietary DIY smart home system, which means it makes its own devices for just about every smart home category. And while Insteon's keypad dimmer itself works well, it's really hampered by Insteon's apps. The iPhone app is okay, but the Android app is atrocious and doesn't look like it's been updated in a long time. The app is very buggy, making the switch much less responsive to app commands compared to the competition. But if you've invested in Insteon and own an iPhone or iPad, you can get by okay with this dimmer.

  • Works with: Apple HomeKit (via Insteon HomeKit hub), Amazon Alexa (via Insteon hub), Google Home (via Insteon hub)
  • Neutral wire requirement: Yes
  • Three-way switch compatibility: Yes
  • Customizable fade on/off rates: Yes

How We Tested

In order to adequately test these dimmer switches, we built a custom lighting rig to house them for our tests and connected them to a regular home WiFi router. We evaluated their setup processes, apps, physical dimming performance, digital dimming performance, smart home ecosystem integrations, remote control capabilities, and how well they work with popular virtual assistants, including Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant.

As for Z-Wave dimmers, we standardized our tests by connecting them to the same Wink Hub 2. We then subsequently ran them through the same tests mentioned above. For more on how we test products, please visit our How We Test page.

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