Ready to upgrade from smart bulbs to smart light switches? HomeKit enabled light switches can be installed by almost everyone with the right tools. In fact, you may already have most of the tools required. Check out our list of everything that you will need to get the job done.
- Safety first: Fluke 1AC Non-Contact Voltage Tester
- Tighten up: Craftsman 8 Piece Screwdriver Set
- Get a grip: Stanley 8-Inch Long Nose Pliers
- Cut it out: Klein Tools Wire Cutter and Wire Stripper
- Job security: Wago Lever-Nut Assortment Pack
- Plated: Leviton 1-Gang Device Wallplate
- Colorful: Lutron Claro Screw-less Wallplate
- Wired: Southwire 14-Gauge Wire Spool
- Tape it: 3M Scotch #35 Electrical Tape Pack
For safety, make sure you invest in a voltage tester, especially if you are going to be installing more switches in the future. The Fluke 1AC Non-Contact Voltage Tester provides additional peace of mind through a handy indicator light and has audible feedback when voltage is detected.
For a light switch installation, two types of screwdrivers are almost certainly going to be needed. This includes a standard flat head screwdriver and a Philips screwdriver, and depending on your switches, different sizes may be needed. We recommend covering all of your bases with a set that includes the various options, such as Craftsman 8 Piece Set. You can also use a multi-tool that combines both types of screwdrivers into one tool, and to step it up even further, you can pick both of these options with a magnetic end version to help keep tabs on the screws that you are working with.
In some cases, you may need the fine grip that a set of needle nose/long nose pliers provides. These situations can include bending wire to place it in the correct position for a screw on wire terminal, or for unbundling wires that were connected with a twist on wire nut. We recommend Stanley's 8-inch Pliers, which comes from a company that is synonymous with quality tools and offers a limited lifetime warranty.
If any damaged wiring is found during the installation process, or if you have to use a new wire to connect to your neutral bundle, you may need a wire stripper. Klein's 11055 Wire Cutter combines a cutting function with a stripping tool bringing the both of world's to a single tool. The wire stripper portion includes a built in gauge indicator points to make it easier to determine the perfect spot for your wire.
To make your wire connections to your new switch, you may need to use wire nuts. Traditional wire nuts utilize a twist on method to bundle your wires together, and most smart light switches include these in the box. To make your wiring job quicker, we recommend using Wago Lever-Nuts, which allows you to ditch twisting traditional wire nuts together, and uses a simple clamping lever. This also makes your connections more secure and less likely to come loose or undone when putting everything back together.
Most smart light switches utilize a "Decora" form factor, which may be different from what you currently have install in your home. If your new switch does not come with a new wall plate, we recommend the Leviton Thermoplastic Nylon plate, which is both stylish and affordable. These plates are also available in different sizes to accomodate other switches that may be in the same location as your new switch.
For a clean modern look, Lutron's Claro line of screw-less wallplates are the perfect way to update the appearance of your light switch. The Claro series also includes over 20+ different colors and designs that help your light switch blend in with the decor on your home. These plates can also be removed quickly, and can be swapped out without any tools required.
If your new light switch does not come with wires already attached, you may need to supply your own wire for the neutral connection. For a light switch installation, we recommend 14 gauge solid copper wire. Be sure to follow the color codes that you home is wired with, such as using white wire for the neutral line.
If you plan on using traditional twist-on wire nuts, you may want to invest in some electrical tape to keep everything secure. Tried and true electrical tape is usually black, however, if you want to be able to quickly identify your wire connections you can use additional colors, such as white on your neutral wire bundle. We recommend the Scotch #35 Electrical Tape Value Pack, which includes an assortment of colors.
Installing a HomeKit enabled light switch provides many benefits, such as the ability to turn on and off your lights with just a tap, or through a schedule built for your home. Once you have gathered all of the tools needed for your particular installation, it is time to put it all together. Be sure to check out our installation guide for details on how to get the job done.
Don't worry, installing a switch can be done by almost anyone, and to do it safely, we recommend the Fluke 1AC Non-Contact Voltage Tester. This tester will help to ensure that the wires that you are working on are not "live" with handy visual and audio cues.
To make the job even easier we recommend Wago's Lever Nut Assortment Pack, which makes connecting wires together a snap, and it comes with various sizes to accomodate any amount of wires that you may have.
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