Pros
  • No need for screwdrivers to replace the batteries.
  • Works even without your home automation systems
  • Users can carry the dimmer switch around much like a portable remote
  • Enables you to control the dimmer switch manually even when you’re not using the Philips phone app.
  • Suitable for households with multiple members using the dimmer switch. It is not necessary for each one to have the Philips app installed in their phones.
Cons
  • Users wanting to link more than 10 bulbs to the dimmer will have to get the Hue bridge. This dimmer switch works perfectly with up to 10 smart bulbs only.
  • Limited customization
  • If you use Bluetooth, then you can not use the full capabilities of this switch.

In this article, we will talk about smart switch no neutral. One common problem for new smart home users is that they want to install some smart switches to control lighting, but their existing light switches don’t include a neutral wire. There are a few options for installing smart switch without neutral wire, but first let’s check to see if you have a neutral wire.

What is a Neutral Wire and Do I Have One?

One way to wire a light switch is to have the power source wiring enter the light fixture directly and the switch is used to complete a circuit. In this case you will not have a neutral wire and your existing configuration will look like this:

smart switch no neutral wire
Switch without neutral wire

The reason that some smart switches won’t work in this configuration is that the switch is breaking the circuit when it is off so power is not flowing through the switch. Smart switches require a source of power because they are always communicating with a hub.

If the power is cut (because the switch is off) the smart switch will not be able to receive instructions from the hub.

The second option is to have the power enter the switch box and then proceed to the light fixture. In this case, the neutral (white) wires are connected inside the switch box. The switch still breaks the circuit, but in this case the smart switch can tap into the neutral wire to keep power flowing through the switch – the electronics in the switch still break the circuit to the light, but the switch maintains a circuit so it is always receiving power.

Here is a diagram of a standard switch with a neutral wire:

smart light switch with a neutral wire
Switch with a neutral wire

A smart switch can simply tie into the white neutral wires to complete the circuit and get a source of power to keep the radios in the switch working at all times.

What do you do if you don’t have a neutral wire?

If you don’t have a neutral wire, several options are open to you. For starters, you can consider calling in a trained electrician to run a new wire through the wiring system. The process is somewhat complex and time-consuming, but possibly the best way to go about it.

Alternatively, you can buy a smart switch no neutral and install it. Finally, try this idea. Most light fixtures have a neutral wire so that you can connect the switch directly. Setting up the device this way will allow it to draw power directly to communicate with the hub.

That’s how the switch will respond to the commands or settings you relay via your smartphone app. 

Option 1 – Run a Neutral Wire

If you want to use smart switches and don’t have a neutral wire in your switch box, you can hire an electrician to run a neutral wire between the light fixture and the switch.

You can also have an electrician rewire the switch and light fixture, which is potentially more expensive.

Either way, running a new wire inside the walls and ceilings of your home may be too much trouble.

Option 2 – Smart Switches That Don’t Require a Neutral Wire

There are dimmable smart switches on the market that can be installed without a neutral wire. The key is the dimming feature, which turns the flow of power between the light and the switch down to a slight trickle.

The flow of power is not enough to activate the light bulb, but it provides enough power to keep the switch communicating with your smart hub.

However, it is very important that you confirm that your dimmable smart switch will work with the type of light bulbs you plan to use – many will only work with outdated incandescent bulbs.

The Cooper Aspire has Z-Wave technology so it should work with a number of hubs. The Caseta switch works with Wink and the Caseta Smart Bridge (the Caseta Smart Bridge allows the switch to interface with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home).

We recommend the Lutron Caseta Wireless dimmer (read our detailed review here) — we have these installed in our setup and they are working very well.

Buy Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer Switch

Buy GE CYNC Smart Light Switch

Can you make a smart home without a neutral wire?

In summary, if you have an older style house, you might still be able to turn it into a Smart Home without having to rewire the whole house.

By purchasing a Smart Switch designed for no neutral wire you can still get a smart home setup. Our top pick is the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Home Dimmer Switch

Can you install a smart switch without neutral?

Absolutely! Even if you have a smart switch no neutral, you can install it. That’s because most modern smart switch brands don’t require a neutral wire. Older homes typically don’t have a visible neutral wire in the wall socket.

If you think you may not have a neutral wire, simply purchase a smart switch that doesn’t need one. On the advice of your electrician, you can run a new neutral in the wiring system of your home. It is a complicated procedure, but it can be done. 

What is no neutral smart switch?

To put it simply, you can install a smart switch without connecting to a neutral wire. Though, formerly, these switches were typically hard to find. But, a few manufacturers have developed smart switches that you can install in older homes with outdated wiring systems. These brands include Inovelli, Lutron, and C by GE. 

Can I use ground wire as neutral?

Although the ground wire can function as a neutral wire, it is never advisable to use this option. You run the risk of the ground wire becoming exceedingly hot, which raises an electric shock hazard. Remember that the function of the ground wire is to redirect surges of electric current to help avoid a short circuit.

How do I know if a wire is neutral or live?

When you’re checking a light switch neutral wire, exercise extreme caution. Make sure to wear protective gloves and use a multimeter to test the wires for a current. You’ll likely come across three wires when you open the wall socket.

Since wire colors may not be standard, identifying the neutral wire can be tricky. The best way to do that is to touch each of the wires, in turn, using the voltage checking device. The wire that does not display a reading is the neutral wire.

Is neutral wire white or black?

Typically, the neutral wire is always white in color, and the hot wire carrying electricity is black. However, when installing your smart light switch no neutralit is advisable not to make assumptions. Always test the wire using the multimeter before you start working. In some wiring systems, the neutral wire is gray or clearly labeled as neutral.