GE's latest smart switches aim to solve the biggest hurdles for homeowners
What you need to know
- GE's smart light and dimmer switches do not require a neutral wire or a hub for installation.
- Other accessories announced include a motion sensor and a wireless remote.
- The company's lighting products will be available in early 2020.
GE has announced that it is expanding its C by GE smart lighting line with a series of new Wi-Fi switches that operate without a hub and a neutral wire in a home's electrical box. The lack of a neutral line requirement is touted as an "industry first" giving owners of older homes an opportunity to upgrade their home's lighting without a special hub, which is the only way that some competing products, such as the Lutron Caseta line can operate.
In total, 5 light switches will be available in early 2020, 3 of which offer simple on and off controls, along with 2 dimmers. All of the switches support Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, but interoperability with Apple's HomeKit platform requires the C-Reach hub which is not included. In addition to working without a neutral wire, GE states that their latest switches are also smaller in size, which is another common pitfall of smart switches.
The three switch varieties come in a traditional toggle switch, rocker switch, and button form, allowing them to better fit in with existing switches within the home. The dimmer switches will come in the standard decora style, with physical buttons for adjusting brightness levels, and one model also has a built-in motion sensor.
Included with the switches are an optional accessory that also address "ghosting" or "flickering" which can be seen due to compatibility problems between light bulbs and smart switches.
Along with its updated light switches, GE is also introducing a motion sensor and wireless remote. Both accessories are battery powered, and work with the company's lights to offer a hands free or tactile experience for controls. At the moment, It is unclear if these accessories will work with devices from other manufacturers, or through the major smart home platforms. GE's accessories will be available at retail later in 2020.
As reported by The Verge, GE's switches will start at $39.99, with the dimmers launching after at a price of $49.99 and up. The control accessories will have a starting price of $22.99, and like all the lighting products announced, will come in a white finish at launch.
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Christopher spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit and the Home app. Whether it is installing smart light switches, testing the latest door locks, or automating his households daily routines, Christopher has done it all.