Belkin WeMo Review: The (Near) Perfect In-Wall Light Switch Timer

I’ve been on a 10-year quest to find the perfect light switch timer to manage daily on/off times for the porch lights at our house. This was never my intention. However, light switch timers kept failing, usually after 1-2 years. In total, I’ve spent more than $300 looking for the perfect light switch timer. Now, I have found a light switch timer that just works: the Belkin WeMo Light Switch. Not surprisingly, this is the #1 bestseller in Electrical Light Switches on Amazon.com (March 2014). Here’s my review.

A pair of Belkin WeMo light switch timers installed to control our front porch lights.

Light Switch Timer Graveyard

Over the years, I’ve tried–and been frustrated–by these light switch timers. It’s no surprise that all of them have been discontinued.

Light Switch Timers (L to R): Intermatic timer with manual clock adjustment, Intermatic timer with automatic daylight savings clock adjustment, Leviton In-wall LCD timer.

 

  • Intermatic Light Switch Timer, Manual Clock Adjustment (~$25 each) Bought a pair of them at a big box retailer. The daily electromechanical sound always let me know when the switch turned on/off. It was a twice-per-year ritual to adjust the switch’s clock for daylight savings. I usually had to find the manual because I could never remember how to do this.
  • Intermatic Light Switch Timer, Daylight Savings Clock Adjustment (~$25 each) A better version of the previous switch. No need to reset the timer’s clock twice per year.
  • Leviton In-Wall LCD Timer (Model 1122) (~$50 each) When one of the previous Intermatic light switch timers stopped working, I replaced both of them with a pair of these Leviton switches. I used these switches for 5-6 years. Visitors to our house would mistakenly push the small buttons in the bottom row, inadvertently changing on/off times. Frustrating. When the backlight went out on one of the switches making it unreadable, I replaced the switches with a pair of Belkin WeMo light switch timers.

Belkin WeMo Light Switch Timer

With a single on/off button and a design that blends in seamlessly with Decora light switches, I love the Belkin WeMo Light Switch Timer. Installation was a snap, taking about 15 minutes for both switches following the Belkin installation video.

  • On at Sunset The ability to have the switch turn on at sunset is a killer feature: electricity is not wasted by having the switch turn on too early as sunset gets later each day during summer months. I love this. I configured the switch to turn off at a specified time, but it also can be configured to turn off at sunrise. Set it once and forget it.
  • Battery Backup Even when the power has been out for hours at a time, which is not uncommon in South Florida, I have never needed to adjust the timer’s clock. I don’t know the maximum time of battery backup, but so far I have not re-adjusted the clocks in the timers.
  • Daylight Savings Auto-Adjust What more can I say? There is no need to manually adjust the timers’ clocks for daylight savings. All clocks in a home should auto-adjust for daylight savings: thermostats, irrigation timers, microwave clocks, oven clocks, wall clocks. Tip: The Sharp 10″ Accu-Set wall clock ($14) is a great analog wall clock that automatically adjusts for daylight savings.
  • Remote Access Without an Online Account Unlike my Nest thermostat or Lennox iComfort WiFi Thermostat, an online account is not required for remote access to the light switch timers. This speeds installation and set-up. Start the iOS or Android app on the same WiFi network and the app automagically recognizes the light switches.

Suggested Improvements

  • Energy Usage Monitoring Adding the functionality of the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch to the Light Switch Timer would provide per-circuit energy monitoring for hardwired devices like porch lights and perimeter security lights. I use Kill-a-Watt for plug-load energy monitoring. By providing energy monitoring for the WeMo light switch timer and the WeMo Insight Switch, Belkin would have greater visibility into overall energy usage of plug-loads.
  • Create an Online Community This is something that Nest Labs does well for the Nest thermostat, creating monthly energy reports for HVAC usage. This would continue to build mindshare for Belkin as an energy monitoring solution.

7 Responses to “Belkin WeMo Review: The (Near) Perfect In-Wall Light Switch Timer”

  1. Jack Thomas

    Exactly what I was looking for! The review is very useful and well written. As I read through the information, Bryon was answering my questions before I could ask them! Keep these types of product reviews coming from House So Green.
    Thanks.

    Reply
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  3. Sunrise250

    I agree with your recommendations. I would go a little further and include the carbon consequences for the amount of usage. Of course this would have to be location based as the amount of renewable contained in the energy supply would effect the total carbon creation. It is high time that all energy usage is visualized in terms of carbon output. (For instance: 6lbs of CO2 for a load of laundry in an electric dryer etc)

    Reply
    • Bryon Thomas

      I agree that the carbon footprint is a key element to consider. That’s why high-performance homes require smaller heating and cooling systems, which therefore would have a smaller carbon footprint.

      Reply
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    […] (glorified remote control; a dial interface is not optimal for today’s touchscreen world), Belkin WeMo In-Wall Light Switch Timer (loved it before I installed the Insteon SwitchLinc Remote Control Switch, but there are some […]

    Reply
  5. SoCal

    Does the WeMo switch control the lights with the sunrise/sunset features if the network connection is lost? I.e. are the astronomical clock and timing features built into the unit, or do they require Belkin’s server to work properly? My concern is if the switch will still work while on vacation if my network connection is lost.

    Reply
    • Bryon Thomas

      I have never noticed an issue with the lights not turning on and sunrise/sunset when I’ve lost a network connection. The WeMo just continued to work. How long do you expect to be without a network connection-hours, days, weeks or months? Are you thinking about shutting down your network connection while on vacation? Honestly, I’ve never tested this scenario. Has a House So Green community member tested this?

      Reply

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