switchmate review: A simple smart light switch

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech
switchmate

I would have liked to see a solar panel built into switchmate rather than battery power.

Smart products are still attempting to gain some traction in the consumer market. Not everyone is convinced that smart lights, smart thermostats and smart light switches are really something they want to use. Now I admit that I’m not completely sold on total home automation and the amount of smart products is, frankly, overwhelming. The switchmate smart light switch is a pretty simple product with some convenient features. But do you need a smart light switch in your life? And is a smart light switch worth your investment? We can’t answer those for you, but we can give you our review of the switchmate smart light switch.

Design

The switchmate is a basic, simple design that is very similar to what rocker switch lighting panels look like. It’s very simple and operates with AA batteries in the back. On the front is the rocker panel. It’s made from similar plastics as any other normal household light switch but doesn’t feel cheap and chintzy. It’s not going to win any modern design awards, but it does an excellent job of blending in with your existing wall plates. It would have been nice to see a slimmer profile than what it currently is.

Ease Of Use

The switchmate is simple to use and connects via Bluetooth, allowing you to control the device from your Android or iOS device. The magnetic mounting is actually very clever and keeps you from having to break out the tools and complicated install instructions. Once you have the app downloaded and are connected to switchmate you can start configuring the device to your liking. You can set timers for each switchmate you have installed, which will turn them on or off, making it appear someone is at home. This is great as a theft deterrent.

The welcome home feature is also nice. It allows you to program the device to turn on lights when you arrive. This works when your phone’s Bluetooth is in range of those light switches and flips them on so you walk into a lit home. You can also push the switchmate manually and it will turn lights on and off. The app and the device are dead simple to use and operate. It is without a doubt, one of the easiest pieces of tech you will ever use.

Performance

The switchmate is mechanical in function. It works with a small motor that lifts and lowers the light switch when it receives a command to do so. I never experienced any issues with the motors or performance. Everything was consistent and worked smoothly. But I would worry about wear over time, just not sure how long the gears and motor will last in the long term. The switchmate works with both toggle and rocker switches in your home.

Battery Life

Running on 2 AA batteries, this is where switchmate may cost you. I found batteries lasted for around 2-3 weeks, depending on use. We have small kids so they were fascinated with the device and it was continually being used. Even with heavy use that we put it through, if you buy many of these devices to use in your home you should consider the batteries you will go through. Rechargeable batteries might be a good idea, though those can run even more money and you would have to recharge them. I would have liked to see a solar panel built into switchmate much like Logitech does on their K750 which takes advantage of any light to recharge, even regular room lighting. Battery life will vary, but be prepared to have to change these out and sink money into that.

Price/Value

At $40 the price is high. There is value here but it’s going to be a personal choice on whether or not it’s there for you. One or two switchmates may be reasonable and make sense for some, but it might get pricey once you start buying 3 and above. You have to consider battery here as well. You will be investing in replacements throughout the life of the product, so I would say choose wisely here.

Wrap Up

It’s a nice product that really could be better if it integrated some sort of renewable power source that didn’t cost as much to operate. I think it would be a fair purchase for 1-2 for use as timed lighting when you’re away on vacation, but as a whole home solution, not so much.

switchmate
4 Out of 5
Nailed It
Easy to use, affordable up-front cost, convenient.
Needs Work
Expensive long-term cost. Design could be slimmer and maybe solar power would make this more appealing.
Bottom Line
It's a nice product that really could be better if it integrated some sort of renewable power source that didn't cost as much to operate. I think it would be a fair purchase for 1-2 for use as timed lighting when you're away on vacation, but as a whole home solution, not so much.
Design3.50
Ease of Use5.00
Performance4.25
Battery Life3.50
Price/Value3.50
*We were sent a review sample of the switchmate for the purposes of this review.
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