The Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread is a new version of Belkin’s HomeKit-compatible wall switch. It can be controlled with the press of a finger or from anywhere – across the room or across the country.
Putting “with Thread” in the name isn’t some odd reference to sewing. The switch uses a new form of mesh networking to provide fast, reliable connections to your home-automation system.
I was able to install the latest Wemo Smart Dimmer in my home because it doesn’t require a neutral wire. Here’s what it’s like to use everyday.
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Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread review
It’s time to move your house beyond being a well-decorated cave and into the 21st Century by adding some intelligence. Apple’s HomeKit system is built into iOS, macOS and iPadOS so you can control your lights or other appliances from your mobile device, or with Siri commands. Even better, you can set schedules in Apple’s Home app so lights turn on or off without you having to think about them.
Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread supports HomeKit so it does all the home-automation system stuff you need. Plus it’s, you know, a wall switch. You can control it with a touch of a finger.
Thread support means it’s future proofed – it’s not a requirement now, but home-automation devices you buy in the coming years will probably depend on Thread.
- It’s a dimmer switch
- Installation is fairly easy
- It just works
- Pull the Thread
- Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread final thoughts
It’s a dimmer switch
You don’t want anything odd looking in your living room, and there’s really no way to tell the difference between the Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread and a regular “dumb” dimmer switch just by looking at it. It’s not going to stand out.
Press up on the rocker switch once to turn the light on; press on the lower end once to turn it off. A double press on the up end puts the light at 100%, while a double press on the lower end drops to the lowest lighting setting. Or you can set the exact light level you wish by pressing and holding on the up/down ends of the rocker.
The switch is white, as is the 2.25-inch-by-5.0-inch backplate.
Installation is fairly easy
Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but this accessory has to be wired into your home’s electrical system. It’s not a particularly complex task, and Belkin provides step-by-step directions, but you might need an electrician if you’re not confident about working with tools and electricity. Or you might prefer to use smart light bulbs instead.
To me, a standout feature of the latest Wemo Smart Dimmer is that it does not require a neutral wire. My home was built before neutral wires were a thing, so I’ve been unable to use most smart plugs. That’s not a problem with Belkin’s latest.
Installation tip: You absolutely must ground the switch or it won’t work properly. I learned this the hard way.
I’m certainly not an expert electrician, and wouldn’t dream of changing anything in a circuit breaker panel. But wiring in a light switch is fairly simple. It took me about 15 minutes to do this one.
It just works
As noted, the Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread uses Apple’s home-automation system HomeKit. That means it’s set up and can be controlled through Apple’s Home app, which comes preinstalled on iPhone, Mac and iPad.
This isn’t the place for an exhaustive review of HomeKit, but I use it everyday and am quite pleased with it. I find it somewhat easier to use than Amazon’s Alexa home-automation system. I have lights set up to turn on automatically at sunset and off later at night. Groups of lights come on when I say “Good morning” or when I arrive home. It’s very convenient.
All HomeKit accessories need a hub. I prefer a HomePod mini, but an Apple TV or older iPad will work, too, Unlike some rival accessories, Wemo devices don’t need a second, proprietary hub just to talk to the primary one.
Pull the Thread
Smart switches aren’t new – Wemo has had one since 2018. What sets Wemo’s upgraded Smart Dimmer apart is support for Thread. This is an emerging wireless standard that creates low-power mesh networks to connect devices.
With Thread, the dimmer switch can be installed in a room well away from a home’s HomeKit hub. There just need to be other Thread-compatible accessories for commands to pass through.
Apple is one of many companies backing Thread – both the HomePod mini and the latest Apple TV 4K support it. In my weeks of use, the Wemo Smart Dimmer never had a problem communicating with my HomePod mini. The same is true of other Thread accessories, including the newest Wemo Smart Plug and the Wemo Stage.
When Thread isn’t available, the wall switch switches to Bluetooth.
Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread final thoughts
I’m a big fan of home automation in general and HomeKit in particular. My house is heavily automated, and I find it very convenient. I have years of experience with the various accessories, and this Wemo switch is one of the best I’ve used.
It works well, both as a wall switch and as part of my home-automation setup. But what I like best is that it’s so reliable I don’t ever have to think about it. Honestly, after a few days I forgot it was even there. And that’s exactly what you want with a simple accessory like this.
The Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread costs $59.99, a competitive price. It’s available from Wemo’s parent company Belkin as well as Amazon.
Buy from: Belkin
Buy from: Amazon
Belkin provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.