I would like to purchase a wall switch. What would you suggest?
There are several options and there are pros and cons to each. Of the ones I’m familiar with…
Aeon Labs Aeotec Micro Switches: These are nice because they work with your existing light switches. You don’t have to change the look and feel of your existing switches. The cons are 1) They can sometimes be difficult or impossible to fit in the gang box with your existing light switches, it depends on how much space you have in the box. 2) They don’t work with dimmer circuits, all the other switches on the circuit have to be on/off. 3) Not great support from the manufacturer.
Linear/2GIG/Evolve Switches: These are decora style paddle switches that you replace your existing switches with. A con is 1) You have to replace your switches with decora style paddle switches which looked weird when the rest of your switches are toggle switches. The unique thing about these is how the 3-way or 4-way switches work. Rather than communicating the 3-way logic through the line and traveler wires like traditional 3-way switches, they communicate wirelessly via z-wave. This can make for an easier installation in some cases but a big con is 2) There can be a significant delay when you turn the light on or off from the 3-way switch. It’s frustrating when you’re actually in the room, flip on the light switch and have to wait 10 seconds for it to actually turn on.
GE Switches: These are also decora style paddle switches that you replace your existing switches with so they share that con with the Linear switches. The 3-way versions of these work like a traditional 3-way switch where the logic is communicated via the line and traveler wires. If you’re good at installing traditional 3-way switches these might be the best way to go. GE switches used to have a con that they did not support the Z-Wave beam feature which means they were unable to wake up battery powered z-wave devices such as door locks that were in sleep mode. I’ve heard that this is no longer the case but I haven’t tested it myself, I just remember dealing with that problem a couple years ago.
As a general rule, any of these switches work well and are relatively simple with 1-way switches but can be complicated in 3-way circuits. Disclaimer: You shouldn’t install light switches unless you’re a licensed electrician so you should already have a solid understanding of 3-way switches anyway. We don’t support the wiring side lights switches, you should have a licensed electrician do that. We only support the z-wave control of the switches once they’re installed properly and working.
I just want a simple on off switch to replace the one in my garage that controls my outside lights
If you take 3-way out of the equation then it’s really just deciding between Aeotec which goes inside the box with your existing switch and the others which are decora style paddle switches that replace your existing switch. Do you have a preference?
If I was to just want a single switch to control a specific bank of lights, I’d personally prefer just going with the Linear paddle version. As Ryan said, Linear offers far superior support for their products compared to Aeotec. But it really does come down to aesthetic preference. I happen to like the look of paddle switches. That said, I have not noticed any real differences between the performance of any of the options Ryan covered when it comes to a one way switch. 3-way switches are a whole different story.