In terms of requirements wars, Jasco isn’t taking any probabilities. The producer builds in-wall dimmers and plug-in lamp controllers primarily based on each the Z-Wave and ZigBee platforms, advertising and marketing them with GE branding below a licensing settlement.
Each lessons could be managed with voice instructions by way of Alexa or Google Assistant, however the Z-Wave merchandise require a third-party hub. The ZigBee merchandise require a third-party hub, too, except you’re connecting them to an Amazon Echo Plus (that sensible speaker has a ZigBee controller in-built). You’ll have to look elsewhere in the event you’re fascinated about Apple HomeKit compatibility.
I examined the GE In-Wall ZigBee Sensible Dimmer (mannequin quantity 45857GE), the GE In-Wall Z-Wave Sensible Dimmer (mannequin 14294), and the GE ZigBee Plug-in Sensible Dimmer (mannequin 45852GE) with a Samsung SmartThings Hub that helps each protocols.
GE In-Wall ZigBee Sensible Dimmer
This dimmer replaces a regular mild swap and could be wired by way of backstabs or screw terminals on the perimeters of the gadget. It requires the presence of a impartial wire, so be certain there’s one in your junction field earlier than disassembling the whole lot. If you happen to’re changing a multi-pole swap, you’ll additionally want GE add-on swap at every of the opposite ends of the circuit (as much as 5).
There’s nothing terribly distinctive in regards to the wiring and set up course of, although the recessed floor wire is a bit troublesome to entry. Sadly, the set up directions included with the gadget are removed from acceptable, and in the event you don’t have prior expertise with some of these gadgets, they may do extra hurt than good. The set up information contains an outsized diagram of a typical old-school swap (which you’re eradicating), however solely a tiny diagram of the brand new swap (which you’re putting in). The directions aren’t simply onerous to learn, they’re actively complicated.
That stated, with somewhat persistence (or plenty of expertise), the whole lot ought to go collectively with out too many surprises. Be suggested, nonetheless, that the field contains each white- and almond-colored paddles, but it surely doesn’t embody a wall plate. You’ll have to both buy a rocker-style plate individually or re-use the one you will have in the event you’re changing a swap of the identical fashion.
Really, the swap solely seems like a rocker. You’ll quickly uncover that it doesn’t transfer a lot in any respect. As an alternative, you faucet the highest a part of the swap to show the sunshine on, and faucet the underside to show it off. Urgent and holding the highest or backside of the toggle will brighten or dim the sunshine respectively (it’s suitable with dimmable LED, CFL, incandescent, and halogen bulbs).
There are not any indicators of general brightness (such because the LEDs on Wemo’s superior W-Fi dimmer), and the dimming motion could be sluggish. I additionally noticed appreciable flicker utilizing an older LED bulb, however a more moderen one transitioned easily. A small LED on the underside right-hand aspect of the dimmer will show you how to find it in the dead of night. You may’t flip the LED off (except you flip the swap on), but it surely’s sufficiently small that you may cowl it with a little bit of white tape if it bothers you.
I skilled fairly a little bit of hassle pairing the gadget to my SmartThings hub. Regardless of directions on the contrary and a number of makes an attempt to chop and restore energy, the dimmer would merely not enter pairing mode. After a name to tech help, I used to be alerted to the gadget reset course of (which is documented, however is unclear as to its utility) as a imply of rebooting the pairing course of. Three resets later, I lastly bought the swap to affix my SmartThings community. As soon as paired, I discovered the GE dimmer to behave like some other SmartThings gadget, and primary automation instruments labored simply fantastic. One bonus characteristic throughout the SmartThings app: real-time vitality monitoring is constructed into the interface.
Total, whereas the dimmer is each moderately succesful and enticing, I had sufficient complications throughout set up to hesitate to advocate it. Higher choices abound at related costs.
GE In-Wall Z-Wave Plus Sensible Dimmer
The Z-Wave Plus model of Jasco’s GE Sensible Dimmer is just about equivalent to the ZigBee model, together with requiring the presence of a impartial wire and GE add-on switches for multi-pole installations (as much as 5). The set up course of was additionally very almost the identical. That stated, the handbook included with this product is barely completely different, however much more scattered and complicated.
As soon as put in and paired along with your Z-Wave hub of alternative (right here once more, the directions are frustratingly complicated), the swap operates in the identical trend because the ZigBee mannequin (learn my assessment above for particulars). I paired the gadget to my SmartThings hub with none hassle. (The trick is that this model of the dimmer doesn’t have to any particular pairing mode to attach, so SmartThings discovered it straight away.) The one important distinction in operation is that this dimmer doesn’t embody an energy-monitoring characteristic; in any other case, the whole lot labored nicely in my checks.
For no matter cause, Jasco’s list price for the Z-Wave dimmer is $10 lower than the list price for its ZigBee model ($44.99 vs $54.99). If you happen to don’t already personal a sensible dwelling hub, however you do have an Echo Plus, you would possibly wish to give the ZigBee mannequin a go regardless of my reservations. If you happen to do have a Z-Wave-compatible hub, GE’s Z-Wave dimmer is the higher alternative of the 2.
GE ZigBee Plug-in Sensible Dimmer
For impermanent mild sources (i.e. lamps with dimmable bulbs), GE affords plug-in dimmers with both Z-Wave or ZigBee capabilities, although the corporate despatched solely the previous for this assessment. Each require grounded, three-prong receptacles, and each are outfitted with an always-on three-prong pass-through. The managed outlet will settle for solely two-pronged plugs.
The Jasco sensible plug-in dimmer is ginormous in comparison with Lutron’s Caseta plug-in dimmer—measuring four inches broad by 2.5 inches excessive by 1.5 inches deep—but it surely gained’t block the second outlet when plugged right into a two-gang in-wall receptacle.
A semi-recessed button on the entrance of the unit powers the ZigBee outlet: A single press turns the connected lamp on or off. Maintain the button down and it’ll dim or brighten the connected lamp, although in my testing, this perform was very sluggish to function, and button is tough to get a grasp on.
In contrast to the ZigBee In-Wall swap, the Plug-in dimmer confirmed up instantly within the SmartThings app, and I used to be in a position so as to add it to my community with no hassle in any respect. Inside SmartThings, it affords the complete vary of lighting controls, together with automation options and handbook on/off/dimming performance. In comparison with the in-wall dimmer, its dimming vary is restricted, however the dimming motion is smoother. Inside SmartThings, it additionally stories real-time vitality consumption.
The ZigBee Plug-in Sensible Dimmer can deal with as much as a 300-watt incandescent load or a dimmable CFL or LED bulb as much as 100 watts. The utmost load on each shops is 15 amps or 1,800 watts. If you happen to don’t thoughts its overstuffed dimension, it’s not a foul alternative for a dimmable sensible plug. It’s a secure guess that its similarly-spec’d Z-Wave cousin is equally succesful.