Echo Dot Diary: Here’s the Alexa-compatible gear I use to automate lighting in my home

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Echo Dot Alexa Lighting

I love home automation. For so long I have bought a thing or two here and there to expand my smart home, but up to this point the high-cost of HomeKit-enabled accessories has kept me from going all-in on light bulbs and switches.

When I made the switch to using Alexa as my primary voice assistant, one of the deciding factors was how inexpensive it is to buy Alexa gear compared to competitors that support Apple HomeKit. Head below for a look at which lighting products I’m using to illuminate my home.

First things first, I have found smart light switches to be the best solution for my home. The main reason is convenience, both for everyone easily being able to turn lights on and off, and the other for inexpensive light bulb swaps if one goes out.

That being said, there are some cases where I have a found light bulbs to be a better solution. Typically when it is less expensive to just buy a single bulb or the wiring is too complicated for me to spend the time figuring out.

Tessan Light Switches

My go-to solution in most of my home is the Tessan Smart Light Switch. I have installed these wherever possible because they are cost-effective, have a minimalistic appearance, and offer an intuitive experience for anyone needing to toggle the lights on or off.

As you can probably tell, the two buttons closest to the top allow users to increase or decrease brightness, a feature that is not necessary in most rooms, but is always nice to have. Hooking them up is pretty straight forward, but they do require a neutral wire so you may want to check your fixtures prior to ordering.

The only reason I have to use a different brand for some areas of my home, is that these do not support 3-way switches. Tessan doesn’t hide this in their marketing, but that did not prevent me from giving it a shot. No matter how I tried wiring it, I could not convince these switches to play nicely with anything other than a single-pole switch.

Lutron Caseta Light Switches

I already had a Lutron Caseta Light Switch Starter Kit from when I was relying on HomeKit to control my lights so I was able to try this with one of my 3-way switches and was thrilled at how easy it was to install. Not only will it work with a 3-way switch, it also comes with a handy Pico Remote that allows you to add a 3-way switch-like experience without the need to re-run wiring.

Since my home has several 3-way switches inside, I have about 5 of these installed. They are a breeze to use and also work with HomeKit. For this reason, you should not be surprised that they cost nearly twice as much as the Tessan Smart Light Switch above, making it a solution that I only use as a fallback when I needed to swap out a 3-way switch.

Philips Hue Light Bulbs

The final integration that I have are a few Philips Hue Light Bulbs. As I mentioned earlier, I find smart light bulbs helpful in cases areas where a light switch is simply not the right solution. I found light bulbs to be the best fit for ceiling fans and places where I had a 3-way switch and it simply wasn’t worth the cost to buy a Lutron Caseta Light Switch.

Along the same lines, Philips Hue Bulbs can also be great for folks who live in a rental home or apartment since they allow users to add smart lighting without breaking something and potentially getting evicted.

Are you using smart lights in your home? If so, do you prefer switches or bulbs? Be sure and share you thoughts with the community in the comments below.

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