We’re always exploring new products when we want to make the most of our smart home. It can be hard to tell if a new smart product is worth the money or not. We put this article together to give you an in-depth introduction into the GE Add-On Switch and whether or not you should buy one.
There are plenty of good uses for a GE Add-On Switch. These can be used to make controlling the lighting and larger rooms more convenient, give you options in awkward rooms such as your garage, and even help improve accessibility. However, the functionality they offer might not be for everyone especially if you mostly control your smart lighting through an app on your phone.
Let’s shed some light on what the GE Add-On Switch does and if it can justify the extra cost.
What Does a Smart Switch Do?
Smart switches give you a new way of controlling your lighting.
You might think that the whole point of smart technology is to leave the switch behind, but what if we could use all of the advantages of smart tech and traditional light switches together? Smart switches can even bring smart functionality to regular lighting.
By adding the smart technology in at the level of the switch, it doesn’t matter what type of lighting you have plugged in at the other end. You control the switch directly rather than the light bulb itself. This gives you much more diverse options when it comes to controlling your home’s smart ecosystem.
Here’s an extra tip. The smart switch might cost a little more upfront than a smart light bulb, but you could use standard LED light bulbs after installing your smart switch. This can wind up saving you money in the long run.
Get to Know the GE Add-On Switch
The GE Add-On switch is an interesting product. This switch offers all of the same smart features as your standard GE smart switch, but doesn’t work on its own.
That might sound a little strange at first, but trust us, it makes a lot of sense. This switch is designed to extend the features and functions of a GE smart switch beyond its normal range. Think about this as adding another way to control an already existing GE smart switch.
The add-on switches can be linked in with any existing GE smart switch. They use a standard light switch wiring which can be easily run to new locations in your home by an electrician. They can also quickly get wired into existing switch locations.
These switches are also much more affordable than regular GE smart switches which makes them an economic solution for smart home control.
Why GE Add-On Switches are Marked as “Not a Standalone Switch”
This leads us to the big issue that gets people tripped up about the GE Add-On switch. These switches are marketed with an interesting phrase. On the marketing and packaging for the GE Add-On Switch, you’ll see the phrase “not a standalone switch.”
Here’s what this means.
This switch cannot work without another GE smart switch. The add-on switch “pairs” with a GE smart switch. You won’t be able to use a GE Add-On switch on its own. You’re going to need to add it with another GE switch for it to work.
This is how the add-on switch works.
How Does the GE Add-On Switch Work (What Can You Do With It?)
The add-on switch works by mirroring the controls of the switch that you connected to. If you connect it to a GE smart dimmer switch, your add-on switch will now become a smart dimmer switch that controls the same lights.
You can think about the GE Add-On switch as having a way of duplicating the controls of another smart GE switch. Here’s a few ways that people have been using add-on switches to improve the usability of their smart home lighting.
One Switch, Multiple Controls
This is the most basic way that you can use the GE Add-On Switch.
They are a way of giving you a secondary way of controlling an already existing smart switch. If you’re tired of having to walk across the room to use a smart switch, or don’t want to bother reaching for your phone every time you want to change the lights, you can use an add-on switch to solve that problem.
This also lets you have a physical switch that gives you control over lighting in different parts of your home. You can use an add-on switch to control a light in a different physical location. This can be a great option if you’ve ever wondered if you turned off the garage lights at night or not.
That might be a simplistic example, but there are a few more advanced ways we can use the GE Add-On Switch.
Entrance and Exit Control Options
Depending on the layout of your home, having an add-on switch would finally give you a better way of taking control over your smart lighting options.
It’s very common for there to be a light switch at the entrance and exit of a room that controls the same light. This can be seen in living rooms, kitchens, and even larger bedrooms. That secondary switch can get upgraded with a GE Add-On Switch.
This saves you money and the hassle of having to set up two separate smart switches to control the same light. The GE Add-On Switch will work with the smart switch that you install in that room and give you all of its functionality without the additional cost. It also saves you having to do the work of pairing a second smart switch.
This also helps you to better control over large or unwieldy rooms. We all know that garage light switches never seem to be in a convenient location. You’re either stuck walking across a dark garage as you head for the door that leads back into your home or you’re stuck in a dark garage heading out for the garage door. Using a GE Add-On Switch is a great way to eliminate ever having to stumble around in a dark room.
Indoor & Outdoor Control
Indoor and outdoor lighting control is another great way to use a GE Add-On Switch. If you’ve got a GE switch controlling your outdoor lighting, you can use an add-on switch to gain that same control but from the indoors instead.
This allows you to pop on your outdoor lights in a moment’s notice without having to leave your home. This can help you improve your smart home security, add an additional layer of safety if the kids are playing in the yard during the evening, or let you turn those lights off with nothing more than a press of a button.
There’s also a good argument to be made that the GE Add-On Switch is going to help improve the accessibility in your home.
Mobility issues are a serious concern. Rather than having to get up and find your cell phone or walk across the room to change your lighting settings, you can use a GE Add-On Switch and have it conveniently located in areas that are more accessible to you.
One of the biggest benefits of smart home technology is it gives us new ways of approaching old problems. A GE Add-On Switch might seem like a minor addition to your smart home’s ecosystem, but it could wind up having a huge impact on how you control your smart lighting.
Convenience and Upgrades
The last thing we need to talk about it’s just the sheer convenience of having an add-on switch.
These switches give you a whole new way of controlling your home’s smart lighting. As you start to add more smart technology to your home, those old switches and outlets that haven’t been upgraded to smart features are going to start to stand out.
You’re going to quickly find yourself wanting to upgrade the rest of your switches to smart technology. These add-on switches are going to help you fill in the gaps of the technology in your home but haven’t yet been upgraded to a smart alternative.
Do You Need to Buy the GE Add-On Switch?
So now let’s talk about the big question. Do you need to buy an add-on switch?
No, you don’t really need to buy a GE Add-On Switch. As the name of this product suggests, it’s really more of an add-on. It’s optional.
There are plenty of places in your home where an add-on switch would probably be a really convenient edition. We’ve outlined just a few of the examples of ways that you can use one of these smart add-on switches to improve your experience with your own smart home. However, whether or not you add one is up to you.
We can definitely see add-on switches becoming one of the new go-to products for smart homes across the country. However, if you’re content to use your apps on your smartphone to control your lighting, you might not find add-on switches all that useful.
At the end of the day, just like all smart home tech, it’s about improving your life and letting you get more out of how you control the tech inside your home.
If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!
4 thoughts on “Do I Really Need To Use GE Add-On Switches For GE Smart Switch?”
Turning a single switch into a 3 way without travler wiring
To add an additional switch at the top or bottom of staircases.
To add an additional switch at the headboard in the bedroom to avoid having to climb out of bed to control the lights.
As well as the other optional benefits you mentioned…
That’s all true, thanks Dave – that’s another nice benefit of the GE add-on switch range.
Hi Tristan, I want to turn my single switch \ single fixture system into a three way system ( two switches \ single fixture system). I could add a box and install a conventional 3 way pair of switches but would rather use Z-Wave technology. Can you please recommend the correct add-on GE Switch to use? I keep finding ones that require a traveler to be connected to the main stand alone Z-Wave switch. Thank you, Gary
Hi Gary, that definitely makes sense. Unfortunately I’m not 100% sure – the GE switch range here in the UK is more limited, and I wouldn’t want to recommend the wrong American version by mistake sorry. Your comment is live now though, so hopefully someone else can jump in.