Smart Wi-Fi Controls from myTouchSmart
We review four Wi-Fi smart home products built by Jasco – myTouchSmart indoor and outdoor smart plugs and the in-wall smart switches and outlets.
At AppMyHome, we have been using GE smart switches and outlets built by Jasco for years. We started automating our lighting with smart light bulbs, which were easy to use and fun, but the first time we realized that if the switch was turned off, you can’t control the light, we decided that automating our switches was the better way to go.
Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains links that may earn us a commission from Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We received the myTouchSmart Indoor and Outdoor Smart Plugs, the In-Wall Smart Switch and the In-Wall Smart Outlet as part of this review. Opinions and conclusions are our own.
We originally purchased Z-Wave smart switches and outlets, the most readily available and widely compatible at the time. Z-Wave is great because it is low-power and works in a mesh, which means that the more switches you have in your house, the better they work because they connect together to improve the signal strength. The only problem with Z-Wave is that in order to control these devices, you need to have a smart home hub. We have used many different hubs in the last five years but have settled into a comfortable pattern lately with Wink as our primary platform.
Improvements in Wi-Fi
We have enjoyed the journey with our smart home hubs and we like the extra control we get – grouping things together, adding motion sensors and triggers easily, and having a dashboard where we can see all of our devices. But as the smart home market has evolved, so has Wi-Fi – now with Wi-Fi extenders and mesh routers such as the Orbi from Netgear, Wi-Fi coverage and reliability in the home has improved and having 50 or more different Internet of Things devices won’t necessarily bring down your network. We actually have more than 100 devices, with more than 70 active all the time.
Wi-Fi smart devices are also much easier to set up and can connect really easily to an Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker, so it makes sense for Jasco to introduce a new line of Wi-Fi controlled smart switches and outlets – myTouchSmart Wi-Fi Smart Controls. We recently got the opportunity test out several devices from this new range – the Indoor and Outdoor Wi-Fi Smart Plugs, In-Wall Smart Switch and the In-Wall Smart Outlet.
myTouchSmart devices for everyone
The myTouchSmart line includes plug-in modules for both indoor and outdoor use, and since they use Wi-Fi they are easy for most everyone to use, whether you rent an apartment or own a home. Simply plug-in the module where you want to control the power, pair it with the myTouchSmart app, and you now can control whatever you plug in. This is great for lamps, small appliances, your outdoor yard light transformer, Christmas trees indoors and Christmas lights outdoors, or anything you can think of that you might want to automate.
Jasco is certainly not the only vendor who makes Wi-Fi smart plugs, but we have always been pleased with the quality, reliability and serviceability of these products and are happy that they now also offers these easy-to-install solutions.
myTouchSmart In-Wall Smart Switches and Outlets
For homeowners looking for a more permanent, elegant solution, myTouchSmart offers both in-wall smart switches and outlets you can install to automate lighting or other devices in your home. Depending on your comfort level, you can install these yourself or hire an electrician to do it for you.
In-Wall Wi-Fi Smart Switch
The myTouchSmart Wi-Fi Smart Switch is not that much different operationally than the other smart switches built by Jasco that we use throughout our house. Installation-wise, however, if installed in a three-way configuration, unlike the Bluetooth, Z-Wave and Zigbee versions, you do not need to buy additional Add-on switches, saving you money.
This is great for us since we had one problem switch in our house that we have not been able to automate over the years. We have a three-way switch that controls the light on our patio but for whatever reason, the outside switch does not have a neutral wire. While we could replace the inside switch with a Z-Wave version, we could not install the required outside Add-on switch to work with it. Now with the myTouchSmart Wi-Fi Smart Switch, we have replaced our inside switch, kept the original outside three-way switch and finally have control over our porch light. Now in the evening, we will actually be able to see our front door when we are trying to come in with groceries.
Another nice design feature is that these switches are designed to fit in a multi-gang switch box without having to remove any tabs like are present on the GE by Jasco Z-wave versions. If you’ve ever installed those, you’ll understand the pain involved.
In-Wall Wi-Fi Smart Outlet
This easy-to-install Wi-Fi smart outlet replaces most any regular 15Amp outlet (other than GCFI) in your home with a smart version. As with most other smart outlets you can buy, this outlet allows you to control the power on the bottom outlet, leaving the top outlet for devices that need to be always on, such as your alarm clock or your Amazon Echo. The installation is easy per the included instructions – just remove the old outlet and replace it with the new one.
While pairing the In-wall Smart Switch and Outlet to the myTouchSmart app is easy to do yourself, we do recommend using a licensed electrician for the hardware installation and wiring.
All of the myTouchSmart Wi-Fi Smart Controls use the myTouchSmart App for installation, configuration and simple control from your iOS or Android Smartphone. Once you have plugged in your module or installed your switch or outlet, simply download the myTouchSmart app and follow the instructions to find and pair your device. You can even take a picture of the switch or outlet, or what its controlling and the app displays that making it easy to remember each device.
In our experience, installing the devices was fairly easy, though we did have some issues with the pairing that required us to reset the device and try again. Once paired everything worked as advertised. Jasco recommends only pairing one device at a time – which is certainly easier since you know exactly what device you are connecting.
Customized programs with the myTouchSmart App
The myTouchSmart app makes it simple to automate the switches and modules, allowing you to turn them on or off from the main screen of the app, and to set up to five different programs for each device. The app has four suggested programs – evening, morning, dusk to dawn and a countdown timer, plus one additional program that you can customize however you like. You can set a specific time for each program, choose sunset or sunrise, or 15 minutes before or after sunrise or sunset.
When you are ready to set the program, just click the program you want to set up, make your selections on begin and end times, days of the week and then click the Save button which turns the Program button blue and starts the program for your device. The programs are easy to change and offer most everything you would need to program a light or outlet.
Potential App Improvements
The myTouchSmart app works well most of the time, though we did have a few app crashes while we were testing it for this article, so it seems Jasco is still making changes.
We noticed a couple of small usability issues – first, it is easy to accidentally shut off a program by clicking on it, and if you click on the program again, it brings up the customization settings. It seems like the on/off and the edit functionality should be separated a bit to keep you from accidentally changing your program. If this happens, just be sure to click the SAVE button again to turn it on. Secondly, on the main device screen, the picture, the edit pencil to change the info and the “light bulb” icon are too close together, making it easy to accidentally activate the wrong one.
You can also easily control all the myTouchSmart WiFi Smart Controls using Amazon Alexa or Google Home. After setup and pairing, you should be able to easily connect them to either platform and start controlling them with your voice. We were able to add our new porch light switch to our Echo immediately after installing the myTouchSmart Alexa skill and then by asking Alexa to discover devices.
Potential drawbacks for smart hub users
While we appreciate the ease-of-use and the durability of the myTouchSmart WiFi Smart Controls, considering our current setup of hundreds of devices in the home, we are not sure we need to have yet another required application to control our switches and outlets.
We love the simplicity and control of having all of our Z-Wave and Zigbee switches connected to our Wink Hub, and with the local control that hub provides, we know all of those programs will keep working even if the Internet goes down. With the myTouchSmart WiFi-connected switches and outlets, you can still manually use them, but if your Internet stops working, the myTouchSmart app will not work, though the scheduled programs inside the devices will.
myTouchSmart does not have any integrations with smart home hubs. So if you have sensors connected to a hub, you won’t be able to turn your myTouchSmart lights on or off with a routine based on a sensor. If you use Alexa, you may be able to do so, but only if Alexa recognizes your sensors.
The myTouchSmart WiFi Smart Controls are solid, well-designed home automation products that are easy to use and available for everyone who has a smartphone and WiFi at home. Whether you want the flexibility of plug-ins for inside and outside or a more permanent and elegant solution of an installed switch or outlet, you should be able to easily add these to your home and start controlling your lighting and appliances with your smart speaker. These are ideal for anyone getting started with smart home automation, or for established smart home folks who do most of their control with Amazon Alexa or Google Home.