Hueblog: The Hue wall switch module is not a simple ZigBee actor, nor is it a Shelly

The Hue wall switch module is not a simple ZigBee actor, nor is it a Shelly

Smart light switch with risk of confusion

Already in a few weeks, the Philips Hue wall switch module should be on the market, officially Signify wants to launch the new accessory in spring – I assume a launch in March (Europe). Again and again, I read in social networks and comments that the Philips Hue wall switch module is too expensive and you could rather go for cheap alternatives instead. There is definitely a danger of confusion here.

Reason enough to take a closer look at three various modules and explain the differences.


The Philips Hue wall switch module

The new Philips Hue wall switch module is not connected to the power grid, but only to a light switch or button. This is thus transformed into a smart switch that can control smart lamps that are paired with the Hue Bridge. The installation is designed to permanently supply power to the ceiling light previously connected to the light switch. In short, the Philips Hue wall switch module makes a classic light switch smart to control smart lamps.

The already known ZigBee actors

ZigBee actors have already been around for quite a few years, and at first glance they look quite similar. Whether it’s iCasa, Müller-Licht Tint or Iluminize, the in-wall modules all come from Sunricher and have a completely different mode of operation compared to the Hue module. Although the modules are also connected to the light switch, they are connected to the circuit of the existing ceiling lighting as well. In short, the ZigBee actor make a classic light switch smart to control the power of a classic ceiling light. In the Hue app, the in-wall module shows up as an outlet that can be turned on and off.

The Shelly as an affordable alternative

Again and again, the Shelly was also mentioned as an alternative to the Philips Hue wall switch module. Here, however, you are comparing apples with oranges. Just like a ZigBee actor, the Shelly is also permanently connected to the circuit of a classic ceiling light as well as the associated switch. However, the radio standard used is not ZigBee, but WLAN – a direct connection with the Hue Bridge is therefore not possible. In addition, a Shelly is not a plug-and-play solution – there are many possibilities, but you have to acquire them first. For example, with a firmware update that allows you to use a Shelly in a HomeKit switch.

Three completely different solutions

You definitely can’t compare Hue wall switch module, ZigBee actuator and Shelly directly with each other. They all work completely differently. But that’s not such a bad thing, because in the end, each of us can pick out exactly the module we need.


In den letzten Jahren habe ich mich zu einem echten Experten in Sachen Hue & HomeKit entwickelt. Mittlerweile habe ich über 50 Lampen und zahlreiche Schalter im Einsatz. In meinem kleinen Blog teile ich meine Erfahrungen gerne mit euch.

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