Do you have a room in your house where there is a switch on one end, but you also wish there was a switch on the other side? Before you call an electrician to install a new light switch — which means cutting at least one hole in your wall, and possibly more to create a three-way circuit — a smart light switch might be a cheaper solution. .
The benefits of smart light switches are that you can control them from your smartphone, connect them to other smart home devices, and more. But some of the companies that make the best smart switches even sell a “companion” switch that works in conjunction with the main switch.
These companion switches are basically battery-powered remotes that look like light switches, but all that’s needed to install them is double-sided tape or a pair of screws.
Of course, you’ll first need to install a main smart light switch in place of your old non-smart switch; but after that it’s just a matter of pairing the companion switch to the main switch.
Below are some options to consider if you want to add a second light switch to a room without spending too much.
Battery Powered Smart Light Switches
Leviton makes two companion switches: one is a simple on/off switch, while the other also has a dimmer. You can pair it with a smart light switch or smart plug made by Leviton, if you want to control, say, a floor lamp or table lamp remotely. Each costs approx. $26 on Amazon (opens in a new tab)and Leviton says the batteries in them should last up to five years.
The GE CYNC smart dimmer ($24, Amazon (opens in a new tab)) is another option. It has a more futuristic design than Leviton’s switch, but has a small LED so you can easily locate it in the dark. It works the same way, letting you turn the lights on and off or dim them. It can also be paired with any of GE’s smart light switches, as well as smart plugs and smart bulbs. A similar model with white tone control also gives you one-touch control to change the color temperature of compatible white smart bulbs.
Lutron also manufactures a remote dimmer for its smart light switches and outlets. It’s a bit smaller than a traditional light switch, so you’re more likely to realize it’s not the real deal. But that might not be a deciding factor, depending on what you’re looking for.
Lutron’s system works a little differently than the others on this page, as its smart devices connect to a small hub, rather than directly to your WI-Fi. That means your upfront costs are a bit higher, as you’ll need to purchase the hub as well as a smart light switch and remote (a starter kit that includes all three is $99 on Amazon (opens in a new tab)).
However, Lutron’s kit doesn’t require a neutral wire, so it might be the best choice if you have an older home. (Here is what is a neutral wire and what to do if you don’t have one.)
Of course, if you don’t have a light switch at all, there are still a few options available to you. For example, if you have Philips Hue smart lightsyou can control them with the Philips Hue smart wireless dimmer ($30, Amazon (opens in a new tab)). The light has an on/off button, dimmer controls and a fourth button that lets you switch between different scenes, which you can specify in the Philips Hue app.
Want to get a smarter home lighting setup? Here is a list of 9 things you didn’t know you could do with smart lightsand when should you consider using smart light switches instead of smart lights.