Your average smart switch can only handle somewhere between 10 and 15 amps of electrical current. That’s fine for switching a few lamps or even a coffee maker. But if you want to do some heavy duty switching (for example, an electric garage heater or a pool pump), you’ll need more power.
|GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus 40A Smart Switch
Robust enclosure and terminals for long lasting performance
|Suraielec WiFi 40A Smart Switch
Low cost, easy connectivity, and widespread compatibility
|Aeotec Z-Wave Plus 40A Smart Switch
Long range Z-Wave antenna is ideal for large properties
|Migro WiFi 50A Smart Switch
Modular design allows you to swap components
4 Top Heavy Duty Smart Switches
It took some digging, but I found several smart switches that can handle heavy loads available on Amazon. Most of these switches are marketed for the purpose of controlling pool pumps/heaters/lights. However, you can use them for whatever purpose you need.
Full disclosure: I started researching these products because I wanted to add smart control to my electric garage heater. However, instead of buying one of these finished products, I decided to go the DIY route (see my step-by-step tutorial).
This GE Z-Wave switch and enclosure is the most rugged of the switches I found.
The electronics of the GE switch are housed inside a weatherproof (NEMA 3R) lockable metal enclosure. It has a manual override switch on the outside of the enclosure. The wire terminals are robust and built for low gauge wiring. There's plenty of room to route wires and hook up more than one device if necessary.
Since it is Z-Wave, you will need a Z-Wave hub to control it remotely. Z-Wave is an excellent protocol for people that are serious about home automation, but the hubs don't come cheap. Therefore, if you're a more casual smart home user, you are probably better off with one of the WiFi based switches.
Using your Z-Wave hub, you can remotely turn the switch on/off, set schedules, and monitor energy usage. The device acts as a Z-Wave repeater and the external antenna is capable of transmitting the Z-Wave signal up to 150 feet.
- Rugged, lockable metal enclosure stands up to weather and punishment
- External manual override switch allows for emergency shutoff without opening the case
- Z-Wave repeater feature helps to extend your Z-Wave network
- When the case is opened, a plastic guard protects live contacts from accidental touch
- Supports energy monitoring if your Z-Wave hub also supports it
- Requires a Z-Wave hub (not for casual users)
This Suraielec smart switch is one of the best bargain options for heavy duty outdoor applications.
The 40A capacity switch is housed in a tough, lockable, outdoor rated (NEMA 3R) ABS enclosure.
It uses WiFi and the Tuya Smart Life app to connect to your smart home, so you don't need any extras to get this working. You can use the app to easily setup timers, schedules, or setup other automations.
For even more automation capability, the switch is compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT via the Smart Life app.
If you've never heard of Suraielec, you're not alone. They are one of those sketchy brands that exist only on Amazon. However, they've been around for a couple years and seem to have built a decent reputation. You can find other smart switches nearly identical to this one but sold under other brand names (DEWENWILS and BN-LINK are two popular ones). The reason I listed the Suraielec product here rather than the other ones is simply because their Amazon product pages are more detailed and professional looking.
- Uses WiFi for easy connectivity
- Uses Tuya Smart Life for widespread compatibility
- Low cost
- Sketchy brand
- No option for local control
This heavy duty smart switch from Aetoec is rated for 40 amps and comes inside an IP54 enclosure. It uses the Z-Wave protocol and comes with a special long range antenna. Using your Z-Wave application, you can remotely switch the power on/off, set schedules, and also monitor power consumption.
The big selling point of this device is the Z-Wave Plus radio with a long range antenna (up to 490 feet). This has the longest range of the heavy duty switches I found. Additionally, the switch acts as a Z-Wave repeater, so it could be a great way to help extend your Z-Wave network to more remote areas of your property.
The enclosure is smaller and not as robust as the GE switch. Low gauge wires required by 30-40 amp loads may be difficult to work with due to limited space, especially if you want to connect more than one device.
Like the GE switch, it includes a manual switch , but this one is on the inside of the enclosure. So, in order to use it, you'll have to open the enclosure.
- Long range antenna extends range to nearly 500 feet
- Extends your Z-Wave network to remote parts of your property
- Flimsy plastic enclosure makes me question its durability
- Small terminals with plastic hold downs not made for heavy gauge wires
- Requires Z-Wave hub (not for casual users)
The Migro switch is basically a Sonoff switch wired to a contactor and placed in a waterproof enclosure. If you are mildly handy, you could buy the parts and make this in an afternoon. Or, you could just buy it from Migro and save yourself some time. Either way, it makes for a quality and heavy duty smart switch setup.
The Migro switches come in two different versions for supply voltage: one works with 120V and one works with 240V.
In addition, the Migro switches feature a modular design that allows you to "easily" swap the contactor for a higher capacity contactor (up to 100A) in case you need more switching power.
It uses WiFi and connects through the eWeLink (same as Sonoff) app. I would prefer to just use Smart Life because adding an additional app to my phone for one smart device is annoying. That said, I have been using the Sonoff devices with the eWeLink app for years and I have never had any problems.
- 50A resistive current rating is more than all the other options
- Modular design lets you easily replace components to increase the capacity even more (up to 100A)
- Uses the less common eWeLink app
- Nearly as expensive as the GE switch
What to look for
You might think that a switch is so simple that any one will do. But for heavy duty applications, there’s a few features that can make the difference between a long-lasting solution, and a piece of junk that gets replaced in 3 months.
Standard smart switches can only handle at most 15 Amps. The switches I found can handle up to 40A.
Room for thick wires
Wires for heavy duty applications need to be thick. The low gauge, stiff wires can be difficult to route in small spaces. Therefore, ample room to work inside the enclosure can be a big plus, especially if you need to connect more than one device.
Lots of applications for these switches require installation outdoors or near water. Therefore, a waterproof enclosure is ideal. Of course, “waterproof” doesn’t always mean waterproof so enclosures are rated using the NEMA and IP systems. For example, the GE switch below is rated NEMA 3R and the Aeotec switch is rated IP44.
The use for these switches is often outdoors or in a garage which means it might be far from your smart home network’s range. If you plan on needing a long range with your switch, the Aeotec switch advertises the longest range with up to 500ft (line of sight).
As with any smart home device, the smart switch needs to communicate wirelessly with your smart home network. Of the switches listed below, two use Z-Wave which requires a Z-Wave compatible hub (like Samsung SmartThings). The other three use WiFi which only requires a standard home WiFi router.
Many smart switches include a button on the switch that lets you manually switch the load on/off.
The GE switch has a button conveniently located on the outside of the enclosure. The others have one too, but its on the inside of the enclosure.
In the US, a standard household outlet voltage is 120V, but most heavy loads use 240V. Some industrial locations use 277V/480V.
Each switch I found can be used with 120-277VAC.
The GE switch has a high-quality enclosure and robust components. It’s a better Z-Wave option than the Aeotec if you need to install multiple devices.
For long range applications, the Aeotec is tops, but its questionable build quality may make for a difficult installation.
The Migro is the best option for WiFi. The option to easily upgrade to higher output makes it ideal for loads greater than 40 Amps.