The Best Z-Wave In-Wall Dimmer

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    We especially liked the customizable LED indicator lights on the HomeSeer dimmer.

    Our pick

    HomeSeer HS-WD100+

    The HomeSeer HS-WD100+ is a reliable Z-Wave in-wall dimmer that provides remote on/off, dimming, and scheduling, similar to its competition. However, it also adds multitap features that allow you to set up certain rules, triggers, and dimming levels, based on how you tap the actual switch. This is a really cool feature that no other Z-Wave in-wall dimmer currently offers. These tap functions are standard when you use the HS-WD100+ with a HomeSeer hub, though you can use simple workarounds to enable tap with the SmartThings Hub. The functions allow you to assign specific tasks to tapping or holding the on or off position on the rocker: For instance, we had the HomeSeer dimmer installed in our living room, but we set it so that tapping the on position twice would trigger a different Z-Wave dimmer in the dining room to turn on. Then, tapping the same switch off twice would turn on a WeMo Insight outlet in another part of the living room.

    Although the HS-WD100+ was designed to work with one of HomeSeer’s controllers, such as the HomeTroller Zee S2, the HomeTroller-SEL, and the HomeTroller S6, it is Z-Wave certified, so it will work with any Z-Wave–certified hub. In fact, it is Z-Wave Plus certified (the only switch we’ve found with this certification), which promises better compatibility and an easier setup.

    installation of z-wave dimmer Installing a Z-Wave dimmer is no different from installing an ordinary dimmer, until it comes time to integrate the dimmer with a smart-home hub.

    If you aren’t going to use a HomeSeer hub, we recommend pairing the HomeSeer switch with the SmartThings Hub. Not only is it our recommended smart-home hub, but it also allows you to unleash some of the features that make this Z-Wave in-wall dimmer our top pick. You’ll have to do a little work to enable those features, but a very active SmartThings community is out there writing code and exchanging ideas, so you can improve your smart-home experience. We found code from DarwinsDen.com and SmartThings community member Dale Coffing and were easily able to use double-tap, triple-tap, and hold functions with the HS-WD100+ from the SmartThings app, getting just about all of the same functionality (barring support for the slightly faster switching of the central scene command class) that you would find if you were using the dimmer with a HomeSeer hub.

    Now, there is a Double Tap app for the SmartThings Hub, meant to trigger a similar effect on any Z-Wave switch, but we weren’t able to get it to work with the HomeSeer switch or any of the dimmer switches we used during our testing (we did confirm with each manufacturer, finding out that none of the other currently available Z-Wave dimmers are compatible either). HomeSeer is the only one that has multitap functions baked into its firmware.

    This is also the only switch in our test group that supports the Z-Wave scene and central scene classes (the latter only when you use it with the HomeSeer hub). As mentioned earlier, this may not be a big deal if you’re controlling only one light switch; when we tested with one light, no dimmer was a standout when it came to reaction time. However, if you plan to install Z-Wave switches throughout the house, this feature might be important to you, since the scene modes can make for faster transition times with large setups.

    The HomeSeer dimmer is also the only one we tested that’s firmware upgradable. Again, this feature may not be a big deal if you want to control only one light. However, it’s useful to have this capacity since you never know what lighting features will be released—and you might want to use—in the future.

    The HomeSeer HS-WD100+ supports up to 600 watts of on/off/dim control. Why does that wattage matter? If you use the dimmer with a single bulb, it won’t matter, but if you plan to control multiple lights using the same switch, it’s good to know. For instance, if you plan to control a room with 10 recessed lights, and each of those fixtures holds a 75-watt bulb, this dimmer wouldn’t work, since the overall required load of 750 watts would exceed the HS-WD100+’s capabilities. If you’re using it for just one, two, or even four bulbs, you shouldn’t have an issue.

    The HS-WD100+ is the best-looking switch of the lot. And it has screw terminals, which we preferred, since it makes it easier to install in cramped wall boxes. In our tests the actual switch was smooth, had a sturdy feel, and remained at room temperature whenever it was in use. HomeSeer’s model is also one of the few dimmers in the group to include an LED indicator, which is located up the side of the switch. You can customize this indicator to illuminate white when the switch is on or off, as well as keep it off at all times.

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