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Leviton Decora Smart switches are the upgrade to the house I never knew I wanted. Now that I know they exist, I want them in every future house!
I’ve been meaning to post this for you guys for a while, but I guess that’s kind of what reflecting on a new year is all about: what worked? What didn’t? What did you like best?
Over the last year or so, I’ve been trying out and upgrading with smart home accessories throughout the house. In many cases, these were to address things like saving money, such as switching to a smart thermostat; in doing so, I got a rebate from my power company and monthly savings for more efficient heating and cooling. I also added a little security with outdoor security cams; I get packages shipped to my house enough and have crazy enough ex-boyfriends that it seemed warranted. ?
Leviton Decora Smart Review
But, without a doubt, my favorite smart home upgrades this past year were the Decora Smart light products sent to me from Leviton. Not only was the company great to work with (always a plus), but these hubless, simple light switch changes in key rooms throughout my house were the major convenience I never knew I was missing!
What is Decora Smart?
Put simply, Decora Smart are smart home light switches, dimmers, and plugs that you can not only turn on and off as you would normally, but you can turn them on/off via app. Or in the case of having an Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can activate them via voice command. When I first installed them, it became the game of the night (as apparently, K and I are easily entertained). But now that I’ve had them installed for a few months, I can honestly say that I absolutely love having these in the house.
I forget to turn off lights downstairs on a fairly regular basis. Or I have my hands full (like coming in with groceries) and the house is dark (especially in winter months). Or my hands are full from carrying Stella (whose tiny little self refuses to climb my staircase) and her blanket; I would have to make a separate trip to flip the switch. And with Christmas just recently passed, I absolutely LOVED being able to turn my Christmas tree on and off no matter where I was in the house. I didn’t have to even get out of bed, and my pretty twinkly lights were there to greet me. ?
You can also use them for security and scheduling: set timers to turn certain lights on/off, tie it to sunset and sunrise or day of week, etc.
Since I figure it’s not enough to just write about this particular thing, I thought you might want to see it in action. On my IG stories in December, I showed you guys a few demos of how it all works. I saved that video so you can also see it here!
Installation was pretty similar to a normal light switch. I planned out which light switches would get the upgrade and which would just be normal. To distinguish between them, I marked each switch that had something special to it (three-way switch, Decora switch, etc.) with painter’s tape to color-code my process. Also, since I originally had all toggle switches, Leviton also sent me rocker switches that would match style-wise to the Decora Smart ones where I didn’t feel the need to install a smart feature.
Safety check: make sure you turn off power from the breaker while uninstalling and installing! Also use a voltage tester to make sure. As with normal light switches, you connect the black (hot), white (neutral), and ground wires to their corresponding places on the back of the switch (black to black screw, white to silver screw, ground to green screw, etc.). Then, you tighten the top and bottom screws into the wall box, and cover with a matching decorative wall plate (I love that the new plates don’t show screw holes, too). For video instructions, click here.
Once installed, I needed to pair it with the Leviton app. That’s where the whole “hubless” part comes in. With some smart home upgrades, you need a “hub” from the same company to get the feature to work, which means more devices needing to be hooked up in the home. But when you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc. already, you can easily just sync it with the Leviton app and continue on with your day. Very simple and I’m really happy that I don’t have to buy separate devices just to get this one feature to work. In fact, once paired, I haven’t had use the Leviton app separately since it’s all tied in together.
One of the other nice features is grouping lights. I chose to set a “Downstairs” option in addition to each individual light, so that I can turn off all first floor lights as I’m headed up for bed with a single command. It feels like magic!
As you can see, I took most of these photos while the Christmas tree was still up; it makes for such a pretty background! I also took these photos because the tree used one of the Decora Smart plugs (see my video above). Now that the tree is in storage, I can re-use it on a different outlet. I’m thinking of adding a DIY lamp over the sectional, which would be perfect.
I plan to do the same this year with the primary bedroom switch, guest bedroom, and upgrading the bedside lights. That particular switch has a dimmer feature, so I can use voice command to make the lights 25% darker, etc. and not have to touch them. Neat, huh?
After I installed these, I went online to compare my thoughts to other reviews I’ve seen posted. I was kind of surprised at some of the negative ones (for the sake of transparency, I don’t want you to think I didn’t do any homework!). Honestly, this is a pretty simple setup, and it looks like price-wise, it’s also pretty fair.
My take: I like that it was a simple switch (hehe, pun). No complex rewiring, no added sensors anywhere, no hubs. I like that I can move the smart plugs around instead of anchoring them to an outlet. I like that rather than a glaring SMART HOME THING in an otherwise simple home (a turnoff for me), this is subtle; you wouldn’t even know it was a smart home feature until you use it. While it’s probably not the fanciest-schmanciest “smart lighting” option out there, (I saw someone guffaw that it wasn’t adjusting for sunlight automatically, which I’m not sure I’d actually want in a light because I would think I was going crazy when I swear the light was brighter ten seconds ago), it adds plenty of daily convenience. For a homeowner that wants to try out smart home upgrades but still has a budget to think about, I can see exactly why Leviton asked me to try it.
What smart home upgrades have you tried so far?
That Leviton system sounds pretty snazzy. I live in a ranch and I am constantly going to the basement to do laundry or something and coming back up and leaving the basement light on. How handy to be able to turn it off if I don’t remember it until I”m in bed.
Thanks for the information.
Well dang, I’ve learned something new! I thought that you needed a hub for wireless switches. I’ll definitely check this out. We changed out all our toggle switches for paddles several years ago and I think it’s a nice refresh. We also replaced all the wall plates with the screwless kind and I love, love them!
My only gripe with rocker switches vs toggles is that rocker switches need the plate to be much better lined up with the wall (there’s less room for something out of line). My walls are old and weird so this took a little more effort on my part (especially with my perfectionist tendencies), but I’m 100% with you on the better look. And the screwless plates are a minimalist’s dream come true.
Oh, right. I had “installing new paddle switches in wonky walls” amnesia. Mine was primarily due to the electrical boxes not being set correctly coupled with the texture added to the walls during an “update” done sometime between 1979 and 2007 when we bought the house.
this is so cool! we’re building a house (omg help) this year, and starting to think about smart home features. This seems like a really convenient option! will have to see what options are available here in europe, but will be keeping this in mind :)
There’s always the possibility of looking to order online! From what I experienced, their team was super helpful, so I’m sure if you gave a call to their customer service about conversion options (not sure how your electrical vs US electrical differs), I think you’ll find some answers. GOOD LUCK on your home upgrades! Congrats on your new house!
I’m obsessed with my smart lights– I have the bedroom set to slowly dim off from 9:45-10pm every night & not having to get back out of bed & shut them off when I’m ready to fall asleep is GLORIOUS. I also got SnapPower plates for my counter top kitchen outlets– they provide LED lights that turn on automatically when they sense it’s dark. I love them.
I debated getting lights like that (my mom has some) but I still want under-cabinet lighting that works similarly, so having both would be overkill (that’s my thought process, anyway). I’m totally spoiled on smart lights now though! No going back to boring old lights.
Funny thing was, I read this and didn’t process the whole “no hub required” feature of this switch. Then comes valentines and my husband got me a echo dot (our first smart device!) vs flowers.
Husband and I had been trying to find a solution to an awkward switch across a space we liked to use. I didn’t like the idea of a smart switch because it’s a more permanent technology that seems exclusive to a hub/protocol and could be unsupported down the road. I’m searching and re-discover this product and it feels familiar, then remember you wrote on it, since it was hub-less decide to give it a try.
It was very simple to install and setup, took 2 hours for me including clean-up, setting up the dot, linking to the app, and setting up the skill. I was able to “surprise” him by blinking the light mischievously when he came home from a late game night.
On lighted plates, we started with the “night angel” plates (HD special) in hall areas and they are okay. Every once in a while we’d find a plate not working because the power fins don’t get consistent contact so plug use can wiggle them loose. Then we got some Snap power GFCI ones when there was a sale. Snappower has more options (color, and plate for different fixtures with on/off switches), and are definitly built to get better contact.