Smart Switches VS Smart Bulbs: Which is Best For You?

This guide has all you need to know about smart switches vs smart bulbs. Compare features, benefits and drawbacks to choose the best solution.


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Smart lighting is completely changing the way we experience our homes. Whether it's dinner time or sunrise, all it takes is a smartphone tap to transform your indoor environment. Smart lighting offers two main options: smart bulbs and smart switches. While bulbs are popular for their energy efficiency, smart switches provide control over multiple bulbs and work efficiently with existing fixtures. 

The smart switch market is projected to reach USD 480.2 billion by 2028, which means that consumers are open to exploring both options. This guide is all about smart switches vs. smart bulbs, as well as their key features, benefits, and drawbacks, to help you choose the best smart lighting solution.   

What is a Smart Switch?

Smart Home Switch

Smart lighting switches are controllers that look and function similarly to traditional switches but have advanced features and capabilities. These switches can connect with a wireless network and lets you customize and automate the lighting control. Once connected, you can easily manage the light fixtures connected to a particular switch. 

This means you can adjust the lighting (turn on /off, brightness) through smartphones, remotes, or even voice commands (Alexa, Google Assistant). It also lets you program the switches for automatic schedules to turn on and off the lights at a particular time. 

How Does a Smart Switch Work? 

The internal workings of smart switches are almost similar to any other smart lighting component. These switches have a microchip that connects with wireless or radio communication systems (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Zigbee). Once connected to your home's Wi-Fi network, the smart switch integrates with all of your other smart home apps, allowing you to manage and control your home lighting with a click or voice command.  

What is a Smart Bulb? 

A smart light bulb is an advanced light fixture that lets you control and customize the lighting, brightness, and colour temperature according to your preferences. It is also a Wi-Fi-enabled lighting device that connects with your home internet. 

A smart light bulb's intelligence is not limited to automatic turn-on/off but goes way beyond that. You can change, adjust, or create a personalized ambience in your home. Most smart light bulbs have flexible lumens and color temperatures. This helps you change the brightness and colour of any space according to your mood, focus, or mental fatigue. 

How Does a Smart Light Bulb Work? 

Smart light bulbs work almost the same way as smart switches. The working process of smart light bulbs is also controlled by a semiconductor chip connected to wireless networks and receives commands from your smartphone or speakers. These commands are then used by the bulb's internal components to adjust brightness, colors or other features. 

Smart Switches VS Smart Bulbs: Which One is Better

You must be thinking if both smart switches and smart bulbs seem to work similarly, why choose between them? The truth is there are key differences between both which can influence the best option for you. To understand the difference between smart switches vs smart bulbs, we will explore the features,  benefits and challenges of each for an informed decision. 

Features and Benefits of a Smart Switch

Setting and Installation

Smart switches usually come in three types: In-wall,  battery-powered (Zigbee), and smart plugs. 


These are the most common smart switches and need professional installation by an electrician. A neutral wire is often required to make them function properly. It is essential to keep the circuit intact, so your smart switch remains connected to your home Wi-Fi after being switched off. 


Battery-operated switches can be installed separately or attached to your existing switches to make them smart. However, they may need a separate Zigbee hub to function properly. 

Smart Plugs

A smart plug is a Wi-Fi-enabled power plug that can be screwed into any regular wall outlet to control common electronic appliances or light fixtures. Once plugged in, you can control the plug and connect the device with a companion app or smart assistant.   

Complete Home Control

Controlling Switches and Lights with a Single Click

Smart switches give you complete control over your home lighting. Turn on or off any light in the entire house with a single click. You can name and group different lights together and operate them with your smartphone. This is a great option for kitchen, dining or hallways. 

Compatibility with Existing Bulbs

The best thing about a smart bulb switch is that it really doesn't need a smart bulb to work properly. Suppose you have a complete lighting system at home that you want to automate without upgrading to smart lighting. Smart switches can give you a smart lighting experience with a single installation. However, the working efficiency of your smart switches depends upon your bulb type. To control dimming or light temperature, you have to upgrade to a smart bulb. 

Potential Energy Saving

Research by NREL (National Energy Renewable Laboratory) shows that using smart plugs and power strips can help you save 1 to 4.58% of annual electricity. Smart switches have the potential to save energy and reduce your electricity cost. 

With motion sensors and scheduling, you can ensure that the lights remain on only when necessary and turn off when you leave a space. Don't worry if you have left the house without switching off the car porch lights; an outdoor smart light switch will turn off once you leave the place. 

The downside of Smart Switches

Just like every technology, smart switches do have a downside. First, removing a regular switch and replacing it with a smart one can be an extensive process. Sometimes, your electrical wiring may need some modifications. It's good if you have a basic knowledge of electrical work. Otherwise, hiring an electrician would be a better idea. 

Smart switches are generally more expensive than smart bulbs. A standard smart bulb starts from $15, whereas a smart switch can cost around $50. While they may last for decades with the same performance, they can be costly in terms of upfront charges. 

Features and Benefits of a Smart Bulb

Smart App Turning on Smart Lights

Easy Installation

Installing a smart bulb is a pretty easy process. You just have to turn off the switch, remove the old bulb and replace it with a smart one. Set up the integration process on the manufacturer's application, and you will be good to go. 

Extensive Control and Customization

Compared to smart house light switches, smart light bulbs give you extensive control and better customization options. You can easily create an indoor or even outdoor ambience that suits your routine, mood, or any particular situation. Need to unwind after a long day? Dim the lights and adjust them to a calming white or soft blue tone.  

Integration with Smart Home Ecosystems

While smart switches offer control, smart bulbs excel in automation. Their advanced integration with other home systems (smart climate control) makes smart lighting the key component of your home automation. For example, the lights can automatically turn to a soft yellow, and the AC turns off when it detects you are awake. Or they can turn red when your security system detects an intruding activity late at night.   

Downside of A Smart Bulb 

Most of the smart bulbs rely on Wi-Fi and Zigbee (need a separate hub) for control, so a shaky internet connection can disrupt automation. They also need a constant electrical supply, and turning off the switch will reduce the power. This can disable its smart features until you turn it back on manually. 

Smart Bulb or Smart Switch: A Comparative Analysis

Choosing between smart switches and smart bulbs can be tricky. Let's analyze quickly to see which option best suits your needs.

Smart Switch vs Smart Bulb: Which one should you choose? 

Upgrading your home to smart lighting can be exciting, but choosing between smart switches and smart bulbs depends on your budget, preferences or convenience. Each option has its unique advantages and downsides. Understanding them will help you pick the perfect lighting solution for your home.  

Smart Switches

Choose smart switches if:

  • You prioritize a simple and cost-effective way to automate your existing lighting system
  • If you prefer an automation solution that works with all sorts of bulbs
  • You want to control multiple bulbs at once. 

Smart Bulbs 

Choose smart bulbs if : 

  • You prefer creating personalized lighting moods with dimming, color and temperature control.
  • You want a simple and quick installation process.
  • Needs a smart lighting solution which can integrate with advanced home automation systems. 


Choosing between smart bulb vs smart switch depends upon an individual's preferences. Smart switches are great for automating existing lights and controlling multiple bulbs simultaneously. Smart bulbs are better for advanced customization with a simple DIY installation. Consider your budget, desired level of automation and ease of installation for a perfect lighting solution.

Automation is all about simplifying your life. No matter which smart lighting method you choose, choose a professional platform that ensures smooth integrations and optimal results. At My Smart Home, we specialize in creating customized home solutions in the UAE. 

We use industry-leading technology to deliver a perfect automation solution for your home. So get in touch with us today and see how smart home automation can change your life!


Can I use a smart switch with a smart bulb? 

While smart bulbs offer dimming and color control features, you can still use them with smart switches for additional automation and control over the power supply. 

Can I use a dimmer switch with a smart bulb? 

Yes, but with limitations. Regular dimmers might cause flickering and limit the dimming range. For smooth dimming, consider smart dimmer switches. 

Do I need a smart switch if I have a smart bulb?

You don't need a smart switch if you already have smart bulbs. Smart bulbs operate independently and can be controlled through an app or smart assistant.  

What's better: smart switches or smart plugs? 

Smart switches offer dedicated control, while smart plugs provide on/off control for different electronics. Choose smart switches for light automation and plugs for controlling lamps and appliances.