Etekcity Smart Dimmer WiFi Dimmer Light Switch
Hello all and welcome to my review of the Etekcity Smart Dimmer WiFi Light Switch with RGB (Nightlight, Neutral Wire Required, Works with Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT, FCC/ETL Listed)!
If you've never visited my website before, then you should know I'm a bit of a smart home geek (I have several smart home products — probably close to 30 installed at any given time) and I love to keep up on the latest trends of Google and Alexa smart home products! I was really impressed with this particular switch and wanted to review it for myself! If you ever want to get in touch with me, please don't hesitate to contact me.
So, I ordered the Etekcity Smart Dimmer WiFi Light Switch just before Christmas in 2019 and I have to say it's one of the easiest, best looking, best functioning switches I have in my household. The RGB intrigued me and drew me in since just about everything has RGB nowadays. It's not your typical RGB in the sense that it doesn't cycle through all 256 million colors of the rainbow, but instead allows you to pick one static color and one static brightness for that color to display on your lightswitch at any given time, although I'm sure with enough rules, you can probably have it cycle through colors throughout the day, but I'm not positive on that!
My headlines for this product are:
Very cool: RGB selectable "nightlight" feature, easy-to-press dimmer and power buttons, integrates seamlessly with Google/Alexa, simple installation.
Not cool: I was hoping it would be a "touch" dimmer, similar to a touch screen on the phone, but it requires a physical press to dim/brighten/turn on and off.
Overall: At $25 it's a great deal and a fantastic alternative to spending much more of several bulbs (for example, if you want to smart control fan lights).
But Just How Good Is The Etekcity Smart Dimmer WiFi Light Switch with RGB?
It's a fantastic little switch! I was very hesitant when I purchased it, but after installing, which was a breeze, I was truly amazed at how this product looked, functioned, and most importantly, iy added value to my home. At first, I was all about "Smart Bulbs" and was assured they were the way to go, but after ordering numerous smart bulbs, I found myself being STUCK turning the bulbs off or on by VOICE or by having to get my phone (not always in reach) so I could open the app and THEN shut the bulbs off. I found myself thinking, "Wait, how is this EASIER than just pushing the switch if I have to get up to get my phone ANYWAYS!" so I started looking at the smart SWITCHES instead. Now, I can still use my Google OR Alexa products to turn off my lights, but if I'm up, I can just as easily push the switch to toggle them off and use my voice to turn them back on whenever I want — which you CAN'T do with smart bulbs alone. If you're familiar with smart bulbs, you may have come to the same realization that if you turn off the switch the bulbs are attached to or if it's a fan, maybe you pulled down the chain to turn off the bulbs on the fan itself, then you CAN'T turn them back on until you turn the same switch back into the ON position. A smart switch, such as this one, eliminates the "Oh, I can't turn the switch off" in most of these cases (obviously, if you pull the chain on a fan, you'll need to turn that back on, but just turn it off at the switch instead silly!).
What about the RGB, bro?!
The RGB on the Etekcity Smart Dimmer WiFi Light Switch is fantastic... if you know what to expect. It's not going to fade in and out, cycle through all the colors of the rainbow or do anything else your $200 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard does, but it does have a fantastic selectable color feature. When you download the MAIN app VeSync (correct, this item is NOT "just another" Smart Life product), you have the option in the app to select the color you would like from a color wheel and then you're able to set the brightness of the color. Obviously, if it's too bright and the switch is in a bedroom, you're going to have trouble sleeping at night. I haven't looked into seeing just how customizable the RGB feature is, but maybe sometime in the future an IFTT or even the VeSync app may release a feature that would change the color (or brightness!) based on whatever time and/or day it is. An even cooler feature would be a "sunset" feature where the color fades out to an orange, similar to a real sunset. Again, these features are NOT in ANY app that I can tell as of January 31st, 2020, but maybe sometime in the future? Maybe they'll even release a FULL "true" RGB feature where the colors can cycle, fade in/out/into other colors, but time will tell! For now, it makes a very cool and very easy nightlight of your favorite color!
How easy IS the install?
It's easy for anyone to install!
I'm not an electrician by any means, but I understand colors, what they represent, and how to not kill myself touching wires. Heck, you don't really even need to know what the colors do, but as long as you know what to do with them, you're in good shape. As with any electrical install, please do your own research as it can be extremely dangerous and you CAN kill yourself if you're not careful! I assume NO liability if you hurt yourself, fry your product, catch your house on fire, or accidentally set off a nuclear bomb (pretty impossible, but hey, it's 2020!). Please review the pictures above and make sure you have a VERY FIRM UNDERSTANDING of how to do BASIC wiring before proceeding. Again, at the end of the day, this stuff is VERY basic, but it's also VERY dangerous. In a typical install, all you need to do is remove the old switch (ALWAYS pay attention to where the wires are going in the wall) and install the new switch. Obviously, MAKE SURE YOUR POWER IS OFF BEFORE DOING SO. Your typical "dumb" switch may only have two (or even three) wires running to it and you may be looking at your product going "Wth? I have four wires!" but it's super simple! Again, in a typical install, your "live" (POWER) wire goes to the bottom of your "dumb" switch and then you hook the "live" (again, POWER) from your light to the TOP of the dumb switch. When you flick the switch UP/ON, it connects both black/live/power wires and sends power to your light. Makes sense, right? With your SMART switch, your LIVE/POWER still connects to the black wire on your switch, but instead of connecting your LIGHT's power source to the top of the switch, you simply connect it to the RED wire on the smart switch. In this instance, power comes IN on the black wire and goes OUT on the red wire. Since ALL smart switches in 2020 require a neutral wire (white wire), make sure all of them on bindled and capped off and your ground wires (GREEN on the back of smart switches and BARE COPPER in your walls most likely), do the same with those. Again, I STRONGLY URGE you to YouTube some basics on "How to Install a Smart Switch" or even a basic switch to get a visual idea of how it works. It's easy, but can be unsure if you're not positive. Again, as always, TURN OFF YOUR BREAKER(S) FIRST! Also, one last note, these switches can be a bit "deep" and typically require larger gang boxes to be installed in the wall. If you already have gang boxes that are 2" deep, you should be okay. If not, you may need to replace your gang boxes with some deeper ones, such as the Carlon B114R-UPC Lamson Home Products Number-1G Old Work Box.
I highly recommend this switch! Again, it's definitely my favorite switch that I currently have installed in my own home and I use it all the time. As soon as I walk in the door, it's the main switch right in my living room that turns on my fan lights (three bulbs, so I saved money but not using smart bulbs here!). I highly recommend the Etekcity Smart Dimmer WiFi Light Switch and would rate it a solid 8.5/10, only removing some points for it's slightly misleading "RGB" feature. In today's internet world, RGB typically means it has tons of breathing, cycling, rainbow effects and not just "pick a color" and "pick a brightness" feature.
With that thought, I've been getting firmware updates as of early 2020 which fix minor issues and more "quality of life" things. For example, the last update pushed simply altered the level of brightness adjusted by the switch. What this means, is there are five selectable "light levels," and they just changed them to correspond to "1%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%." I'm not sure what they were before, but this makes decent enough sense to me. My specific switch did NOT come with a plate that said "Etekcity" on it but did come with a blank one, which I can appreciate the plain-jane, clean look of the snap-on cover that has no screws and no logos on it. If you like what I had to say about this product, please consider checking out the product from my website.