No More Light Switches ($45 – $100 Per Room)

You only need lights when it is dark and there somebody in the room to use it. Both conditions are easy to automate. With the price of motion sensors and smart lights, there are no reasons we need to use the switches anymore.

This routine is part of the Automation Bank, a community-driven list of over 50 practical automation ideas for your smart home. Read more about Automation Bank or search ideas by room, by device or by use case. Also, have a look at best home automation ideas as voted by our users.

We believe that light automation is one of the first things you need to do for your house and below is the guide on how to do that.

How Does It Work?

  • There are two ways you can smarten your lights.
    • Install a smart switch. The benefit of this is that you will save on the bulb costs and nobody will accidentally switch off the dumb lights. Cons is that you cannot control the color/brightness and so on. You also need a neutral line in the box with your switch.
    • Install a smart bulb. The cons are that it is usually more expensive and somebody can switch off the smart lights using a dumb switch.
  • Another important element is the motion sensor.
    • Make sure that you install it in the right spot to cover the whole of the room and also avoid false triggers
    • Make sure that your motion sensor will also have a luminance sensor. It will allow you to also detect when it is dark enough in the room to switch on the lights. You can rely on time, but the luminance sensor is a much more reliable approach.

What Do You Need?

DeviceOur RecommendationPriceNew_recommend

IR hub

  • Broadlink RM Pro4 is best IR blaster to use. It is simple to install and easy to operate
$44.99IR Hub - helps you to integrate non-smart devices like TVs, AC / HVAC units and similar. Top choices are Broadlink RM4 pro Smart IR/RF Remote ($49.99) which is a battle tested devices which has great integrations with smart hubs. Bestcon RM4C Mini Universal IR Blaster () is the new kid in the block which has good pre-setup IR base and also neat up that you can use out of the box."

Comms Sticks - give Zwave/Zigbee connectivity to your hub

$57.99 or $34.55

Home Assistant Server - a smart hub to run your automations

  • If you are new to Home Assistant, start with Raspberry Pi 4 4G . It will cover your basic needs and easily expand. 
  • Intel NUC 10 Performance Kit once you understand how cool Home Assistant is, go for NUC. There are dedicated images for NUC which makes it great to use and simple to set up. 
$169.99 or $549.00

RF hub

RF bridge that emulates your Remote


  • No products found. () is our favourite RF bridge. The first thing you need to do is to flash it with Tasmota. This will allow you to connect to your bridge but also just control the bridge better.
$20 - $30

Shut off valve

A valve that will close and open water supply
  • leakSMART Water Leak Detection Kit (Price not available) is a more expensive option. It has all you need to set you up shut off valve. There are some negative comments on the hub but it works well in general.
  • Grohe 22503LN0 ($595.00) is even more expensive. For the additional price, you have flow sensors capable to detect the pipe bursts without the sensors and better overall build quality. At the same, it has fewer options for integrating with your smart hub.
$99 - $400Leak Sensor - this sensor will trigger as soon as the level of moisture is high. Our advice is to look for simple to install and reliable one. Top choices are THIRDREALITY Zigbee Water Leak Sensor ($79.99) due to price and quality of the build. There are no good wired Zigbee sensors on the market (as you do not really need it) but D-Link DCH-S1621KT Wi-Fi Water Leak Sensor and Alarm Starter Kit ($79.07) might be another option you consider"

Door/Window Sensor

Reports if a door or window is open or closed
  • Zigbee:  Linkind Door Window Sensor ($19.99) is the best sensor by BeSense. Reliable, good battery life, and looks amazing
  • Z-wave:  Z-Wave Door & Window Sensor ($29.00) is the sensor we recommend by Ecolink. It is easy to install, has up to 3 years of battery life and great customer feedback
$20 - $30

Motion Sensor 

Detects any motion. Ideally combined with luminance sensor.
A relatively simple device, with the price, mainly depends on the protocol you are using:
  • Z-wave Motion Sensor: Our favouritez-wave sensor is Aeotec TriSensor ($60.99) for a good battery life, responsiveness and price. It also has luminance sensor built in. For a multisensor we recommend Zoos 4 in 1 multisensor (Price not available) or Aeon 6 in 1 ($72.99).
$25 - $60Motion Sensor - This sensor detects any motion and ideally combined with luminance sensor. Our advice is to go for Zigbee (Matter) and battery operated. Eve Motion Sensor (Matter) ($49.95) is our top chose as supports Matter (future proof), has luminance sensor and good battery life. If you want to go fancy, Linptech mmWave human body sensor ($29.99) would work, but you will need to sort out wired power supply


Measure several environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, or light levels
This is a more complicated device than a motion sensor and can be used where multiple environmental factors need to be detected:
  • Z-wave: Our favourite z-wave sensor is Aeon 6 in 1 ($72.99) for its reliability and flexibility in use. It detects motion, humidity, temperature, light lux, UV, vibration sensor and has 2-year battery life
    $20 - $60

    Water leak detector

    A sensor that will trigger the shut-off valve to work
    • HomeSeer HS-LS100+ Leak sensor ($55.88) is the most affordable and simple solution. At this price, you should cover all the areas in your house. Requires A Smart Hub
    • FIBARO Flood Sensor ($47.03) is a very good Z-wave leak detector. It has great battery life, easy to pair and very accurate at alarms. Requires A Smart Hub
    $20 - $55Water Leak Sensor - this sensor will trigger as soon as the level of moisture is high. Our advice is to look for simple to install and reliable one. Top choices are THIRDREALITY Zigbee Water Leak Sensor ($79.99) due to price and quality of the build. There are no good wired Zigbee sensors on the market (as you do not really need it) but D-Link DCH-S1621KT Wi-Fi Water Leak Sensor and Alarm Starter Kit ($79.07) might be another option you consider"


    Allows you to remotely switch on and off. Can be retrofitted to any existing devices. 
    • Wifi outlet: Kasa Smart WiFi Plug (price for 2 - $19.74) is the best for price and local connectivity.
    $20 - $35Smart Plug / Outlet - Allows you to remotely switch on and off a plug. Can be retrofitted to any existing devices. Kasa Matter Smart Plug w/ Energy Monitoring ($49.99) is a simple and easy choice here. It supports Matter, provides good value for money and great brand. You can also check outKasa Outdoor Smart Dimmer Plug ($21.99) if you need an outdoor version.

    Plug with Energy Monitoring

    Reports the power consumption
    • Z-wave outlet: Aeotec Smart Plug (Price not available) is a good practical device that does not take a lot of space and work perfectly
      $23 - $32

      Smart Color Bulb

      A colour bulb you can remotely control 

      $24 - $35Smart Color Lights / Bulbs - Allows you to not only remotely switch on and off, but also change the color and temperature of the light. Sengled Zigbee Smart Light Bulbs ($99.99) is our advice due to great quality and good selection of bases and bulb types. You can also check out Kasa Smart Light Bulbs ($31.99) if you prefer wifi version.

      White Bulb

      Practical bulb that would work for majority of use cases
      $10 - $20

      Switch US

      Switch to turn on and off lights. Require neutral wire in the box.
      $30 - $45

      Voice assistant:

      AI driven device that can respond to voice commands

      There is no right answer which Voice Assistant to choose, but we have the following recommendations:

      • The most comprehensive: Amazon Alexa (Price not available) has a lot to offer. Zigbee radio means potentially one hub less (although we still recommend getting a dedicated hub). It also has the biggest ecosystem to tap into (including Ring, Phillips Hue, TP-link)
      • The most intelligent: Google Home is using the brains behind the biggest search engine in the world to deliver the best answers for your questions. It is definitely more capable compared to Alexa

      Smart Blinds

      Motorised shades that automatically open and close the blinds
      Read more: Best Motorized Blinds
      $40 - $279

      Smart Buttons

      A convenient way to trigger routines and specific actions
      $8 - $50

      Irrigation System

      Make sure your plants are always watered
      $180 - $220

      Outdoor Lights

      Lightning for your garden protected from water
      $49 - $70

      Smart TRV

      Thermo Regulator Valve that can be controlled remotely
      $60 - $200

      Outdoor Outlets

      Protected plugs for outdoors

      Outdoor Cameras

      Cameras that would work well outdoors
      • Best Overall Outdoor Camera: Amcrest 5MP UltraHD Outdoor Security IP ($59.99) is a great quality outdoor camera. It has 5k resolution making it perfect for large outdoor areas. It is ONVIF protocol compliant making it easy to connect to almost any NVR
      More: Detailed Review of 4 Best Outdoor Cameras
      $70Survailance Camera: there are so many options here and it really come down to what type of camera you need. Our top pick is still Amcrest 5MP Turret POE Camera ($59.99) as it has the best value for money, great RTSP implementation and good tech spec. If you want to go more fancy, Hikvision DS-2CD2387G2P-LSU/SL ($258.00) is the best high-end camera due to the amazing quality of video feed. Also, check out our guide Best camera for Home Assistant Guide

      Outdoor Sensors

      Protected sensors for your garden
      HomeSeer HS-FLS100+ Z-Wave Plus Outdoor Floodlight Sensor (Price not available) is a AC powered motion and lightning sensor. It would work with your smart home but also control floodlights.$40

      Moisture Sensor

      Reports the level of humidity
      • Best for most users: No products found. () is a Bluetooth device that can monitor moisture as well as Sunlight, Temperature, and Soil Fertility

      Security Alarm System

      System to alarm you of any unauthorized entry to your house
      • The best for the majority users: SimpliSafe 8 Piece Wireless Home Security System ($191.99) has all the main things for a good security system. Great customer service, main sensors included for the most users and good quality hardware.
      • More affordable security system: WiFi Alarm System Kit Smart Security System DIY ($69.44) is a cheaper no-monthly-fee system. It will be more difficult to integrate with your hub but can be done with Sonoff Bridge. 
      • More capable security system: No products found. () is a great option for more sophisticated needs. The system has great good integration with hubs, an optional monthly-fee system, and a well-designed mobile application. 
      $89 - $300

      Robot Vacuum

      Little helper to clean your house
      • Best Overall: iRobot Roomba 690 ($215.00) for great value, good quality and connectivity to all major smart hubs

      How to Set Up?

      Section below will have step by step instructions how to set this automation routine in the most popular smart hubs like SmartThings, Home Assistant, HomeSeer and Hubitat

      Please leave comments below if you have any questions, or interested in the instruction for a specific system. This will help us to better focus our effort.

      Setting in this up in Home Assistant

      Setting this up consist of three main parts. I am will give you a live example that I run on my smart home setup (See my Github for details).

      1. Connect your switch/bulbs and motion sensor to your system

      As the example, I have a night lamp in my bedroom that I use as the secondary light. I am using Yeelight which is a color bulb. I decided to pay more for color because I am also using it for notifications (time to sleep and windows downstairs are open)

      Yeelight bulbs easy to integrate and they usually auto-detected by Home Assistant. In my case, I decided to hard code it in my configurations.yaml


            name: Bedroom

      For a motion sensor I am using Aeon 6 in 1 ($72.99). As with all Z-wave devices, it does not require any config changes.

      2. Create automation rule to switch on Lights.

      Automation rule is simple – if there is a motion and it is dark, switch on the bulb.

      - id: kitchen_lights_on
        alias: kitchen lights on
        - platform: state
          entity_id: binary_sensor.aeon_labs_zw100_multisensor_6_sensor
          from: 'off'
          to: 'on'
        - platform: numeric_state
          entity_id: sensor.aeon_labs_zw100_multisensor_6_luminance
          below: '12'
            hours: 0
            minutes: 5
            seconds: 0
          condition: and
          - condition: state
            entity_id: binary_sensor.aeon_labs_zw100_multisensor_6_sensor
            state: 'on'
          - condition: numeric_state
            entity_id: sensor.aeon_labs_zw100_multisensor_6_luminance
            below: '10'
        - service: switch.turn_on
          entity_id: switch.kitchen_lights

      Use Multiple Triggers

      Note that I am using multiple triggers. This is to cover situations when you are cooking in the kitchen for a long time. In those situations, the motion sensor will be always on, but once it gets dark you would want your lights on.

      3. AUtomation rule to switch off lights

      This step is equally important. You need to set up automation to switch off lights as well as switch them on.

      - id: kitchen_lights_off
        alias: kitchen lights off at night
        - platform: state
          entity_id: binary_sensor.aeon_labs_zw100_multisensor_6_sensor
          from: 'on'
          to: 'off'
            hours: 0
            minutes: 10
            seconds: 0
        - platform: numeric_state
          entity_id: sensor.aeon_labs_zw100_multisensor_6_luminance
          above: '12'
            hours: 0
            minutes: 10
            seconds: 0
          condition: state
          entity_id: switch.kitchen_lights
          state: 'on'
        - service: switch.turn_off
          entity_id: switch.kitchen_lights

      Using wait_template

      There is a more elegant solution using wait_template. It basically would allow to combine both on and off automations in the single automation. I want to make sure that my condition “there is no motion for 10 minutes” can be implemented as well, but most likely to switch to wait_template soon. See more details here

      4. Test and enjoy

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      Last update on 2023-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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