Legrand has just moved into the Apple HomeKit neighborhood, bringing with it a broad range of connected home products. For the U.S. market, they have launched a full line of HomeKit in-wall switches and dimmers, as well as a pair of on-wall smart plugs. In this review, we take an in-depth look at the Legrand Smart Plug-In Tru-Universal Dimmer and Legrand Smart Plug-in Switch.
Legrand is a multinational conglomerate with an extensive footprint in the electrical and digital aspects of commercial and residential building infrastructure. They have facilities in 90 countries and sell their products in nearly 180 countries. The group is based in Limoges, France (a city probably better known for its famous Limoges porcelain and dinnerware), but many of its brands are already well entrenched in the homes of U.S. consumers. These may include the line of On-Q structured media enclosures and networking products, Legrand wall switches and outlets, Netatmo smart home devices, WireMold cable management products, and more.
The Legrand HomeKit on-wall smart switches as well as the in-wall switches and dimmers are part of the company’s radiant Collection. Positioned as a premier level of residential products, they are designed to appeal both to DIY consumers as well as professional installers and integrators.
Legrand Smart Plug-in Dimmer and Switch Review: Out of the Box
These on-wall smart plugs feature a boxy design with grounded receptacles, buttons, and LED status indicators on their faces. They are rather large when compared to some other smart plugs, so you can’t use them two-up on a single outlet. Molded in glossy white Lexan polycarbonate, their angular, minimalistic design works well in modern homes, particularly when they are used with Decora-style outlets and outlet covers. Both smart plugs are made to work with a standard 15-amp household outlet, and require a 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi network.
While these are native Apple HomeKit devices, they are also compatible with the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant ecosystems (but you will need an iOS or iPadOS device to initially set them up). So, one can natively use the Apple Home app to control them from an Apple iOS, iPadOS, or macOS device, as well as through Siri voice commands with an Apple HomePod or compatible smart speaker.
At the same time, you can set up Alexa and Google Assistant. In those cases, you will be able to control the Legrand smart plugs from the Alexa or Google Home apps on iOS and iPadOS, or use a compatible smart speaker or smart display. Of course, once the Legrand devices are connected to Alexa or Google Assistant, you can also control them from Android devices.
In a rarity in today’s digitized world, all of the new Legrand HomeKit products include an in-depth installation guide in the box. And it’s something you should keep in a safe place, as the front of the guide has the device’s unique HomeKit Setup QR code, which is used during the pairing process.
The Legrand Smart Plug-in Tru-Universal Dimmer (item HKRP20) has a pair of buttons which enable turning the connected lamp on (top button) or off (bottom button) and setting its dimming level. The buttons can be reversed when the dimmer is used on outlets where the grounding conductor faces up. Strangely, the LED indicator turns off when the connected device is on. Legrand says it works that way so you can easily find the plug in the dark.
Designed strictly for use with lamps and other types of plug-in lighting fixtures, the smart plug employs Legrand’s Tru-Universal technology for reliable dimming with virtually all dimmable 120-volt bulbs. It has a load capacity of 300 watts for CFL, halogen, and incandescent, or 1 amp for LEDs (keep in mind a single LED bulb rated at 8 watts consumes only about 0.07 amps). These dimmers can only be used with dimmable bulbs, so be sure to check the specs of the bulbs you intend to control.
Legrand Smart Plug-in Switch Details
The Legrand Smart Plug-in Switch (item HKRP10) has a single on-off button on its face, and an LED indicator that turns off when the outlet is in use. They can be used for on-off control of many small appliances and lighting, including fans, coffee makers, lamps, and more. Their load capacity is 15 amps for appliances (most coffee makers run around 5 amps), 1,800 watts for incandescent and halogen lighting, 5 amps for LED lighting, and electric motors up to 1/2 HP.
Legrand Smart Plug-in Dimmer and Switch Review: Setup
An Apple iOS 11 or higher device is necessary for initial setup, which is done through the Apple Home app. This is done by tapping the “+” icon in the Apple Home app, tapping the Add Accessory button, then scanning the HomeKit Setup QR Code on the top of the smart plug or from the cover of the installation guide.
Once the initial HomeKit setup is done, the smart plug is ready for control from the Apple Home app on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS (only Mojave 10.14 or higher have the Home app) or via Siri voice commands. The devices will also automatically become controllable from the Legrand Home app for iOS and iPadOS, which is a HomeKit-certified app. While you will need to set up a Legrand Home account in order to use the Legrand app, the app is not necessary if all you want to use is HomeKit.
For adding the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant integrations, you will need to use the Legrand Home app. This entails authenticating with Alexa or Google by using your respective Legrand as well as Alexa and Google credentials.
Legrand Smart Plug-in Dimmer and Switch Review: Operation
The beauty of Apple HomeKit is that once accessories are set up in the Apple Home app, they automatically appear in all HomeKit-compatible apps out there. This includes the Legrand Home app, but also apps from competing suppliers, such as iDevices Connected, Eve for HomeKit, Fibaro for HomeKit Devices, and others. This also applies to all HomeKit Scenes and Automations (be aware a HomeKit Home Hub is needed for Automations), and the Legrand devices can be full participants in these.
For testing the Legrand Smart Plug-In Tru-Universal Dimmer and Smart Plug-in Switch in our Digitized House labs, we used them extensively with the Apple Home app on iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and macOS Catalina. In all cases, the Legrand smart plugs responded instantly to our actions, whether they were done by taps in the apps or via Siri voice commands. At the same time, in true HomeKit fashion, their respective tiles in the Home app updated instantly to reflect the status of the accessory. That’s what we expect from all HomeKit accessories.
We also tested them extensively with the Legrand Home app, and experienced the same positive results. And while it works just fine, there is no compelling reason to use it unless you want to adjust a setting that’s not available in the Apple Home app. That scenario applies to the Reverse Phase setting for the dimmer (see details below).
Since these are native HomeKit accessories, we did not spend a lot of time testing Alexa and Google Assistant. However, both of these worked, but there was a noticeable delay in response time (a few seconds) compared to using HomeKit. This was the case with both voice commands and taps in the respective apps or smart displays.
For the Legrand Smart Plug-In Tru-Universal Dimmer, the true test with this device lies in its ability to effectively and smoothly dim the connected lamp. We tried the dimmer with an assortment of dimmable LED lamps, including those from Cree, Kailin, Philips, and Sylvania, in both standard E26 and BR30 form factors. We even tried it with a 2014-vintage Wink LED smart bulb. In all of those cases, the Legrand dimmer worked fine, easily adjusting the bulb from a few percent to 100% intensity by using the brightness slider in the Apple Home app. Now, the smoothness of that up and down dimming action was a bit erratic depending on the bulb, but that’s to be expected.
We also tried the Legrand dimmer with a pair of non-dimmable bulbs, an LED from Philips and a CFL from Prolume. As you would expect, they did not dim, and the CFL buzzed the entire time it was on. So don’t try this at home.
As part of the Legrand Tru-Universal Dimmer line, there is a Reverse Phase setting in the Legrand Home app for setting the electrical phase of the dimmer. In general, you won’t have to change it from its default (off) setting if you are using LED, CFL, electronic fluorescent, or incandescent bulbs. You should turn it on if you are using the dimmer with electronic low voltage lighting.
The dimmer remembers its last intensity setting, so it will come on at that level the next time it gets switched on.
Legrand Smart Plug-in Switch Operation
On the Legrand Smart Plug-in Switch, we tried it with a table lamp and a floor-standing fan, and it worked well in both cases. There is an audible click at the smart plug as it is switched on and off, whether that is done through an app, voice command, or by tapping the button on its face.
A feature of HomeKit is the ability to configure a smart plug for the type of connected device, which modifies the icon that appears in its Home app tile. This is done by tapping the gear icon in the Apple Home app, then selecting the Display As item. In this case, you can select from Fan, Light, or Outlet. As a nice touch, when Fan is selected an animated fan icon spins continuously when the device is on.
Legrand Smart Plug-in Dimmer and Switch Review: What’s Missing
While these are solid plug-in smart switches and dimmers, they are single-purpose devices: they simply do the singular tasks they are designed for without frills. The dimmer works well to control its connected bulb, while the switch does its job to turn its connected device on or off.
What’s missing are energy reporting features, something comparable smart plugs like the iDevices Switch (also a HomeKit accessory) or WeMo Insight can do. The iDevices Switch also doubles as a night light, a nice-to-have feature.
Legrand Smart Plug-in Dimmer and Switch Review: The Bottom Line
We recommend these smart plugs from Legrand, and found them to perform as expected after extensive testing in our Digitized House labs. They are particularly well suited for homes where Apple HomeKit is the predominant connected home ecosystem, work seamlessly with the Apple Home app and Siri voice commands, and are priced competitively.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.