A home automation system is something that allows you to control your lights or other electrical equipment remotely. Either by a remote control or smartphone App. It provides you with more functionality than a wall switch or dimmer switch.
There are now multiple home automation systems on the market which was predominantly dominated by Lutron for many years.
Also known as smart lighting systems, they reduce need having untidy dimmer switches on yours walls and allow you to replace those big chunky 2 gang double width wall switches with modern looking keypads like these:
This is an engraved keypad from the Lutron Grafik Eye QS range. It has 5 scenes which can be named and the engraved to whatever you want it to be. It also has raise and lower buttons for dimming. This trendy keypad won’t work on its own and requires a Grafik Eye QS to carry the load, supply the signal and do the heavy lifting.
This similar looking keypad from Lightwave RF has 3 scene buttons, an all off and raise and lower buttons for dimming.
Like the Lutron keypad, this also requires an additional item for it to work which would be this receiver:
Although more basic looking than the Grafik Eye, more advanced tasks like setting timer functions can be used with the additional Wi-Fi control hub, this is the Gen1 version shown below:
Or the Lightwave RF Gen2 hub known as the Link Plus shown below:
The main difference between Lightwave RF Gen1 and Gen2 is that Gen2 now provides 2 way communication. This means that no matter if one of the Lightwave devices is manually activated or deactivated, the App always knows and displays if something is switched on of or.
Unlike the Lutron Grafik Eye system were the main controller is an absolute necessity, the Wi-Fi hub is optional and is only required for smart phone control. Although without having a Wi-Fi hub you won't be able to get the most out of your Lightwave RF products.
Comparing Lutron to Lightwave RF price wise is like comparing a Ferrari to a Ford car. Although on paper they do similar things, the price difference is vast. The Lutron Grafik Eye system is Lutron's entry level range with the HomeWorks QS system being their more advanced and even more costly offering.
Which Smart Lighting System?
It depends on what you want to get out of a smart lighting system and more importantly what your budget allows for. If you want the best keypads then Lutron may be the best option but if you’re main reason for choosing a home automation system is for smart phone control then the Lutron Grafik Eye system really falls down.
Lightwave RF is an affordable system with a dedicated and easy to use App. They also have heating controls, power sockets and RF (radio frequency) receivers which are great for outdoor lighting controls.
Lightwave RF Gen2 is now available and it's compatible with voice activated dimming systems such as Alexa and Google Home.
Easiest to Install
Lightwave RF is the easiest to install, because it doesn’t need a central processing unit it can be anything from a single dimmer switch to an entire house containing it in every room, every switch and every socket. Although you wouldn’t reap the full benefits without the Wi-Fi hub and other add-ons. Lightwave RF is a retrofit solution.
The Lutron Grafik Eye system requires a wired connection between the keypad and Grafik Eye which must be a 2 paired cable containing the signal and a 24V DC supply. This means running a new cable which isn't always possible.
Another new system to enter the home automation market is from Aurora Lighting with their Aone Smart Lighting system. This is now available from stock but not available to order online due to commercial restrictions.