Shelly 1 vs Smart Bulb

Just wondering if there are rules of thumb for when to put a shelly 1 inside a switch vs when to use a smart bulb.

For me boils down to this:
If multiple bulbs
If color change desired white or full color
If dimming required

A for example;
My dining room I have 5 lights in one fixture and would like dimming. I put in a switch (not Shelly) but because the switch was cheaper then 5 smart bulbs.

My kitchen even though 8 bulbs I wanted to change white color depending on activity so I put smart bulbs, it was not cheaper but it met what I wanted.

Hallway is just on/off so a Shelly is perfect.

For my outdoor lights easier to put in 3 smart bulbs than 3 Shelly.

Hope it makes sense! Trying to say there is no wrong or right answer. You need to know desired functionality first then look at budget. Somewhere between the two will be the right answer for each application.


Personally, I prefer switches over bulbs, because I like being able to turn my lights off by toggling in-wall switches, but still have them turn back on via OH. Others are less concerned about that, in which case smart bulbs work well (particularly for changing colours).

In general: never ever, it’s too expensive to replace them when just the bulb part fails.
Unless of course you’re limited to a Shelly 1 but want functionality it doesn’t have such as dimming or color temperature. Btw, there’s also a Shelly RGBW LED dimmer available.

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If you want to control the color a smart bulb is your best choice.

In all other cases adding the control over the switch is the better choice. So much so that for my home automation I do not consider even using smart bulbs even for the color. But others may have a more compelling need or desire for the ability to control color.

The reason is because I build escalators, not elevators. This comes from a Mitch Hedberg Joke. “You should never see an escalator out of order sign. Only escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.” If OH goes down, if my network goes down, if everything except the power goes down, I can still control the lights. I don’t have to provide a tablet or force my family or house guests to use some app or shout across the room to control the lights. As far as they are concerned, it’s a “dumb” house except some things happen automatically.

It also avoids me needing to put signs on all the light switches saying “do not touch” because if you flip the switch the bulbs can’t turn back on until you flip the switch back on.

For dimming, Shelly1 won’t give you that but there are plenty of other smart switch alternatives that can give you that. You don’t have to go with bulbs there.

Wifi is more reliable then ZigBee/zwave meshes. Meshes tend to “regenerate” (not usable) in the worst possible moments.

Nah, that’s not true.
With the ZWave binding you can define when it’s to issue a network healing (default is 2 a.m.).
And all the rest of the time they’re actually more reliable because of frequency/range and routing on RF level.

my other concern with WiFi devices is you may run out of addresses.

sorry was on phone and reply was cut short/meant to include more but yeah, I’ve been eyeing a nice router as my little $99 wifi router is already at its limits
just saying. if you go the wifi route, plan to have a strong wifi infrastructure to support it. 253 light bulbs, switches, phones and tablets plus whatever else in a big house doesn’t seem unreasonable and as you say Rich, problems will crop up long before then

Almost any decent router should be able to support a class B subnet giving you 65532 IPv4 addresses. You’re going to run out of bandwidth long before you run out of addresses. Even with a class C subnet, you have 253 available addresses (x.x.x.1 is usually reserved for the gateway and x.x.x.255 is usually reserved for broadcast). Here again, you’re going to have bandwidth issues on the WiFi before you run out of addresses I think.

Wifi is capable of handovers, so multiple routers can share the same SSID. Otherwise an airport with hundreds of logged in people would not work. But yeah a cheap wifi access point will not help, in contrast to zwave and ZigBee.

I’m testing mesh routers with good results so far. My condo is only 800 sq.ft., but I noticed that some of my wifi switches and plugs would go offline for brief periods of time. The two mesh units are only about 15ft apart, but that’s enough to remove the dead spots that were apparently affecting my switches.