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.
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.
- 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 12″ Atomic wall clock ($40) 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.
- 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.