When I first made the decision to introduce smart products into my apartment, I’ll admit – I was a bit apprehensive. The idea of changing so much to experience the benefits of a smart home was daunting; I was afraid that I would need to change nearly everything to make an informed decision about whether or not a smart home was for me.
So when a close friend suggested that I could start small – like really small – I knew that route was for me.
(Spoiler alert: I have so many smart products in my apartment now – it was simply about taking that first step.)
By starting small, I began with lighting. I turned my existing lights and switches into smart solutions with a few quick and easy fixes.
So if you want to start small with your smart home, this read is for you.
Why You Need It
To get started with your smart home, I suggest focusing on lighting first. There are so many great smart lighting products available, especially those that are easy to install and work well with your existing lights and switches. You’ll need to make the switch if you are just getting started with your smart home and are searching for ease and efficiency of use.
Installation & Ease of Use
All products I have suggested are easy to install and easy to use. They’re created to work with your existing lighting and are mostly plug-and-play.
The products I have included range from about $30-$50. They are great additions to your current lighting (and will work for your pocketbook!)
Check out these tips and products that will teach you how to transform your existing lights and switches into smart solutions.
Why should you trust Ideaing?
Since 2013, our team at Ideaing holds an extensive background in technology, from electrical engineering to product managers at Fortune 500 companies. We pride ourselves in providing truly objective incite into our reviews and recommendations. Our expert panel of product experts spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products. After our extensive research on over 40 of the top smart WiFi light switches and plugs on the market, here are top solutions for most people.
How to convert existing lights and switches to smart lights and switches for 2021
Here are some really simple ways how you can convert your old lights to new smart wireless lights.
1. Step 1: Transform all your dumb light switches
Transforming all of your “dumb” light switches makes it so easy to take the first step into building your smart home.
This is exactly the first step I took, and now you can too. Transforming your “dumb” light switches into smart products is super easy, thanks to products like the Switchmate.
The Switchmate is super easy to use. All you need to do is attach it to your existing switches and viola, it’s instantly smart. The Switchmate uses magnetic forces to attach, which means that you don’t need to worry about wires or tools. The best part – it connects to your phone via Bluetooth.
Transforming your “dumb” light switches with a socket like the Switchmate is a really simple way to test the waters of transitioning to a smart home, without a significant investment needed.
Step 2: Keep your old bulbs, make them smart
Instead of making your switch smart, consider making your existing light bulbs smart.
I’ve told you about turning your switches into smart devices, but what about turning your existing light bulbs into smart products? This is another great solution for new smart home endeavors. Why? It means that you can take the plunge without making huge, drastic changes.
In comes AICase Smart Light Bulb Adapter Socket. This product uses your existing bulbs, allowing for full brightness control of any mix of incandescent and dimmable CFL or LED bulbs. It promises no hubs, no wires, and no starter pack.
You can set up all of your AICase sockets on your Wi-Fi network at the same time, and best of all, you can control the lighting with Amazon’s Alexa! Super cool!
I love smart bulbs in my home. I started by updating my living room bulb in the Winter, which was a great time to transition. With the shorter days, I was really able to try different colors and tones nearly every night!
Step 3: Have smart control over lamps and standing lights
By using a smart plug, you can plug any item (“dumb” or not), and control it with your smartphone.
There are so many products in my home. Seriously. I have a ton of stuff. From lamps to fans, from TVs to toasters, my apartment is filled with stuff.
Now, with that “stuff”, I almost always leave my home wondering if I’ve turned off these things. I frequently head out of my home every morning wondering, “have I turned off my lamp? My toaster?”
Thanks to the Amazon Smart Plug, I never have to worry about that again. This product allows me to plug anything in and control it with my smartphone. It’s amazing – and it has truly changed the way I control the products in my apartment.
I travel frequently, which means I am constantly locking up my condo for a few days at a time. As such. I am always ensuring my appliances are unplugged. Undoubtedly, this can take hours of time! By having control over your lamps, standing lights, and other devices, you can ensure they are turned off at all times.
Step 4: Outdoor lighting can be smart, too
Don’t forget the outdoors. If you have a small apartment patio or a large outdoor garden, smart products can help in many ways.
During the Winter, I love hanging white lights on my patio. It creates a perfect ambiance with some tealight candles and a glass of wine (but only if it’s warm enough, of course).
Now, since I dislike wasting energy, it’s important that I can control these lights from my smartphone so I can turn them on and off when needed. That’s where outdoor smart lighting comes into play.
The TP-Link Kasa Smart WiFi Outdoor Plug (KP400) does just that. Once you install it outdoors (which is super easy), you can use the free associated app to create schedules and control and monitor your plugged-in devices. Easy as pie.
When selecting a device, it is important to ensure that it is 100% weather resistant. It can be difficult to find a device that offers the best in dependency. I have recommended products below, along with the TP-Link Outdoor Plug.
Step 5: Use remote-controlled switches
Why make life complicated if you can simply control switches?
It is always an argument who would put out the lights before sleeping or turning off the television when everyone has slept while watching midnight movies. An almost daily scenario unlikely to stop until Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Outlet Light Switch came around.
Etekticity solved the issue since it is a wireless controller of all devices plugged in it. Even when settled on the bed, you have the power to turn an appliance on or off by simply using the handy remote paired to the outlet. Its strong RF signal that passes through walls and floors allows you to press anywhere up to 100 feet.
This is a major convenience in a single press, with no installation or whatsoever. Easy and simple! Now everybody wants to keep the remote and control the lights. I save on electricity and my energy by plugging and unplugging. It’s a win-win for me!
— Smart Wireless Solutions FAQ —
What To Look For When Searching For Smart Wireless Solutions
The products included on this list are used for turning your ‘dumb’ devices into smart, wireless solutions. They vary from turning your switches into smart switches, exchanging your old bulbs for new bulbs, and more. Here are some answers to questions frequently asked by customers:
Q: How do you hook up a smart light switch?
A: Simple! With most devices, you select a smart light switch, remove your old switch and connect the new device to your smartphone. The device can typically connect over Wi-Fi. With others, you can snap over your existing light switch for ease of use.
Q: What is the best smart light switch?
A: There are so many to choose from. I really love the Toggle as an option for quick and easy transformations.
Q: Do I need a smart bulb with a smart plug?
A: Nope! I use the Sengled at home, and I do not need a smart plug with this device. I do need a hub that is located in my Wi-Fi router room. Bonus – many of these smart bulbs can connect to home speakers and other smart automation devices.
Q: Do smart switches save money?
A: In the long run, we would say yes! Why? Because with control of your smart devices, you will be turning them off more often. With smart LED bulbs, these will be more energy-efficient versus standard lighting.
Q: How much is a light switch or smart device?
A: They vary in range. Some begin at $20, others move into the $200 range. Be sure to select an option that suits your pocketbook.
Note, this article was updated with new information and products in October 2021.
The smart lighting market is projected to reach USD 27.7 billion by 2026, it’s clear that this portion of an enormous industry is here to stay. And I’m only one piece of the puzzle – much like you can be, too.
It doesn’t have to happen all at once. In fact, it can start with the very products you have in your home. From adding smart devices to your “dumb” products to focusing on the outdoors, you can turn your home around in as easy as 1, 2, 3.