H2 best convert existing switches to an automated home scenario

I am fairly new to home automation although I have been toying with the idea for some time. We currently have about 10 Hue lights and Home Assistant running on a dedicated Raspberry Pi.

The biggest question for me is how to best convert the existing switches in the house. Everyone with a wife at home knows that (only) having a remote control to turn off lights is a non-starter. You still need light switches.

Using the old physical on/off switches is no solution if you want to introduce proper home automation. So my question is, what technology should I adopt for the switches? I could go with zigbee switches which I find rather expensive and limited in range, or use z-wave switches (which seems to be the better standard I believe - please correct me if you have a different point of view).

I guess it would be no problem with Home Assistant controlling Hue lights with z-wave switches, but maybe there is even a better way. We have about 30 switches to replace, so I’d rather spend some time finding the right solution.

Any thoughts?

I have around 30 GE in-wall smart switches, smart dimmers, fan switches and outlets. I have been very happy with them. You can get them either with the traditional toggle switch or with the paddle design. My lowes mostly carries the paddle version so I’ve been basically converting everything to the paddle switches. But amazon has both. They are zwave switches, but they also make a zigbee version.

There are a couple of things to remember with these.

  1. you MUST have a white ground wire at all outlets where you put in a switch. The bare neutral wire is not a substitute. This normally isn’t a problem except when you get into 3 way switches. If like most electricians your electrician didn’t run 3+1 wire but ran 2+1 wire to the traveler, then you won’t have a ground and you won’t be able to automate that switch pair. But this is only true for cases where the traveler switch is in a switch box of it’s own. If it’s in the box with another single switch, then there will be a ground wire there from the other switch.
  2. When you turn off the switch, just like with a normal switch, your zigbee lights will no longer have power.

Thanks turboc. Unfortunately, in Europe we have a different in-wall switch standard, so the lengthy switches won’t work. But I’ll keep looking!