Timer

Here is our guide to the best automated smart lighting timer.

When you want to make your lights smarter without changing bulbs, you are probably considering switching to a smart light switch. One of the most vital functions of a smart switch is its ability to set your lights on a timer. Luckily for us, there are plenty of smart switches that have built-in hardware-level timers. Even when not on the hardware, smart switches usually have the feature available through their app. Once configured, you can enjoy increased efficiency and convenience in managing the lighting in your home. Let’s go over your options for timers on smart lights.

Further reading

Honeywell eco-switch

Honeywell

It can be hard enough to upgrade your light switches, so why complicate it with Wi-Fi networks and mobile apps? The Honeywell Econoswitch allows you to program a 7-day lighting program directly from its front LCD interface. This schedule can be repeated daily or you can set a unique schedule for each day of the week.

The real beauty with the Econoswitch is that you can enter the coordinates of your location and create a lighting routine around your local solar program.

Intermatic Ascend Switch

Intermatic Ascend wall mounted in white and almond colors.
Intermatic

The Intermatic Ascend smart light switch is Alexa compatible, so you can change timers and light schedules with your voice. If you’re a little more old-fashioned, the front has a display that features controls for setting up when and where you want your lights to toggle.

Once installed and paired with your home Wi-Fi network, you can manage the calendar from your phone without needing to install a separate hub on your network.

BN-Link wall timer

BN-Link wall switch timer being programmed.
BN link

BN-Link’s In-Wall Timer scores high for a blue black light that makes it easy to see at night without being too bright. Although a neutral wire is required for power, a back-up battery keeps the switch accessible in the event of a failure.

This switch is also compatible with three-way wiring configurations, which can be useful for main light sources that have a few switches that control them. When it comes to programming, you can pack up to 18 programs into this switch, each with their own 7-day schedule. With all of this, you should be prepared for any eventuality.

Kasa smart light switch

Kasa smart switch on a wall.

For a consistent look, consider the Kasa Smart Light Switch. It needs a neutral wire for power and to be within range of your home’s 2.4GHz network, but once it’s in place, you can use Alexa to dim and schedule your lights.

A nice added bonus to the Kasa Smart Light Switch is Away Mode, which turns your lights off and on at random intervals to make outside observers feel like someone is home and moving.

MyTouchSmart digital timer

MyTouchSmart wall dimmer with mounting hardware.
Jasco

The MyTouchSmart digital timer integrates many functions in its front panel. Eight physical buttons let you navigate a blue LED indicator and configure up to 4 programs on each of the buttons, not to mention manual override commands.

The program will run after you activate a program. This feature allows you to have multiple overlapping programs that you can individually activate or deactivate with the push of a button.

Research and buying advice

What is a smart timer?

A smart timer replaces a light switch and connects to your home wireless network, allowing you to set your lights on and off schedule through your phone, whether on the local network or while you are away .

Some smart timers include physical controls right on the light switch, so you don’t need to use the mobile app to make any settings. You will often find dimming capabilities included, so the lights can turn on or off gradually.

Do smart light switches have timers?

Quite often, smart light switches have built-in timer functions. Finding hardware controls for timers is rarer, as it adds a bit of complication. That said, some timers can build this functionality into the unit, making it exclusively hardware-controlled so you don’t have to worry about mobile apps or wireless connections. This may be preferable for remote setups that don’t have internet access or for people who haven’t embraced smart home technology.

Can you put a timer on the lights?

Smart light switches are among the best ways to put a timer on a light. Setup does require a bit of work, but once it’s done, you can set schedules, use dimming, and pair your phone for remote control.

Is it difficult to install a smart timer?

Smart timers come with installation instructions, but if you’re not comfortable with electronics, you’d better contact a licensed electrician to do it for you. In short, you will need to turn off the power to your circuit breaker outlet, unplug the old switch, and plug in the new one with the same wiring. Many smart timers will require a common wire, or C wire, for a consistent power supply. If your switch doesn’t have one, you’ll need to look for an alternative. See our guide on installing a switch for more details.

Should I buy a smart switch or a smart bulb?

Choosing a smart light switch or smart bulb will vary depending on your level of comfort with the technology. Some people prefer to have real physical buttons, and the utility added by mobile apps and fancy color options isn’t worth the hassle introduced by smart bulbs. On the other hand, if you are tech-savvy and comfortable with applications, smart bulbs may be a more worthwhile investment. There can be significant cost differences between the two solutions, but again this varies depending on the model. You can have really cheap smart bulbs and really expensive smart switches, and vice versa.

Hope this gives you all the guidance you need to choose and install smart timers in your home. Remember that while they are great for lights, switches can be applied to a wide range of devices. The outlet connected to your switch can work with any number of different home appliances, so get creative with your setup!

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