Help deciding: Insteon or Z-Wave (Leviton/Cooper)

I’m having some difficulty deciding which route I would like to take. I really like the instant status provided by Insteon and Leviton/Cooper. My main goal is to have a set of dimmable LED lights throughout the house. Insteon supports instant status and switches are cheaper than Leviton/Cooper even including the additional cost of the Insteon module but I’ve heard of issues with reliability and dimming of LED bulbs…or am I way off? It seems like the 3-wire Leviton/Cooper switches work better at dimming LED bulbs but at ~$100 a switch they are a little expensive.

In short:
Requirements: instant status, able to dim LED bulbs (will purchase new Phillips bulbs when they come out this month)
Options: Insteon, Leviton/Cooper, or others??

I can’t be much of a help here, but I’ll do what I can I’ve never used Insteon, though I would like to try some of it out using either the built in Insteon support in Vera or the Alsteon plugin. I will say that I am unaware of anywhere you can get the 3-wire leviton (assuming you mean they require neutral when you say ‘3-wire’) for $100. If you can, please let me know. The model I’m thinking of is the “VRE06-1LZ”, which on amazon is currently $185.

I actually did some tests and for most of my purposes, I can use the version without the neutral (VRI06-1LZ) and my LEDs dim perfectly fine (I use the ecosmart led trim sets from Home depot with CREE Leds inside). Those switches are normally about $75. I have a VRE06-1LZ that I can use for testing in case one of the VRI06-1LZs doesn’t work (I have a few in my master bath that don’t work very well, but I have yet to test with the VRE06-1LZ

*VRE06-1LZ - Requires Neutral
*VRI06-1LZ - Does NOT require neutral

Cooper might be different, but I haven’t spent much time searching them out. Once I decided to go with leviton, I stuck with them (As I have had good experiences with the brand in the past). It did seem to me that it appeared Cooper might be moving out of the z-wave scene, but that is just my own gut feeling and could very well be incredibly false. like I said, I don’t normally use non-leviton stuff (for lights)

I hope this was at least a little help. And seriously, if you found the VRE06-1LZ for $100, please let me know where :slight_smile:

I purchased some Cooper RF9540-N switches earlier this month. The switches seem to be good quality and the z-wave control with instant status is nice. The problem is that all my dimmable LEDs connected to these switches buzz unacceptably, throughout all levels of brightness. I have tried 7 different brands of A19-style dimmable LED bulbs, including CREE, Philips, Sylvania, Utilitech, EcoSmart, etc. Every bulb buzzes, although the EcoSmart bulbs were much quieter than others, but the models I tried seem to be discontinued. I’ve tried different fixtures on different circuits. I’ve tried 3 different RF9540-N dimmers thinking I had a bad one or two, but they all do it. Although, they are all from the same date/batch. I tried a non-z-wave Lutron C*L Maestro dimmer. Same behavior.

I’ve spoken with tech support at CREE, at Cooper, and at Leviton. Cree says the bulbs will hum less on an ELV dimmer. Not that they won’t hum, but they’ll hum LESS. Cooper says it’s normal to have the bulbs buzz on a dimmer. Leviton won’t assure compatibility of their switches with LEDs. Not sure if I’m willing to spend $185 per dimmer to try the Leviton VRE06-1LZ, (an ELV dimmer) to see how much less the bulbs hum.

My wiring is right, I have neutrals on everything. The buzzing and flickering is not OK with me.

I’m at the point of sending everything back.

@Homek, what new Philips bulbs are coming out this month? I’m curious to try new bulbs to see if they handle dimming better.

I will note that all my lights controlled by my leviton switches are in the ceiling and in a perfectly quiet room, I cannot hear them buzz. That is not to say that they don’t, but I don’t hear it. This includes both models of the Leviton switches using the EcoSmart 65w equivalent recessed lighting trim. It could also be that the hum is silenced some by the trim.

I did just check my table lamps (hooked up to a Schalge dimmer module) and while they do humm, I have to put my ear right up next to them to hear them. They use the Cree 60w equivalent bulbs from Home Depot. Note that 2 of them are on a sofa table right behind my couch and I actually thought they didn’t hum until I checked.

These are my experiences and I"m not trying to take away from what @JamesDVB said. I really wish some manufacturer would make LED z-wave dimmers!

@SirMeili It was my mistake the dimming switches weren’t 3 wire. My concern is the cost of the Leviton/Cooper switches over Insteon $100 a switch seems outrageous even if my house isn’t large.

@JamesDVB It looks like the bulbs are already for sale online at home depot…I might have been thinking they were for sale in stores starting in February. Either way below is a link

My experience with dimmers and LED’s has been very poor … and I could care less about the humming.

The lighting experience is poor with LED’s. No where near the dynamic range as the incandescent lights.
That lower 30% range of incandescent lights is missing from a dimmer/led bulb.

These dimmiers try to modulate the power to the LED power supply to effect the light output. That does not work well.

If you really want dimmaable LED lights you should go the way of the Wifi bulbs. They change the power from the LED power supply using pulse width modulation. No humm … and more dynamic range.

@Richard That’s unfortunate! I’ve been looking for the most cost effecting reliably working solution. I have a couple of Hue bulbs but at $60 a bulb and some lights have 8-10 bulbs that gets expensive

For what it’s worth, I tried a Leviton VRE06-1LZ dimmer, and the LED bulbs don’t buzz at all at full brightness, and are quiet enough that I have to get within about foot to hear them when they’re at lower brightness levels.

They’re expensive, but we’re planning to go the Leviton route now.

Is CFL dimming more reliable at this point?

I have put my Zwave switch purchase on hold because I can’t buy 10 - 12 bulb combos to try.

My wife has told me it has to work and work all the time.

She wouldn’t care about the hum, but I sure would.