The Difference Between Belkin’s WeMo Switch and WeMo Insight Switch

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Belkin’s WeMo lineup of smarthome products makes it really easy to turn almost anything into a smart appliance. But if you aren’t sure what the difference is between the WeMo Switch and the WeMo Insight Switch,  here’s what you need to know.

Belkin first unveiled the WeMo Switch several years ago, and then released the WeMo Insight Switch a little while later. You might be wondering if the Insight Switch is a replacement for the regular WeMo Switch, or if it’s a completely new product that compliments Belkin’s original offering.

In a nutshell, the WeMo Insight Switch isn’t necessarily the official replacement for the original WeMo Switch (as Belkin still sells both), but it’s also not an entirely new product either. You could look at the WeMo Insight Switch as a sort of 2.0 version of the original WeMo Switch.

The Similarities

Both the WeMo Switch and the WeMo Insight Switch consist of a smart outlet, which means they can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and you can control anything that’s plugged into the receptacles from your smartphone.

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Furthermore, both switches come with a small handful of automation features, like scheduling different times that the switches can turn on and off automatically and setting countdown timers.

Unfortunately, that’s all that the original WeMo Switch is capable of, and that’s also where the similarities end for the two devices. However, the $40 price tag of the original WeMo Switch can be enticing, and it makes it the cheaper out of the two, as the WeMo Insight Switch is $10 more.

The Differences

It’s not hard to notice the difference between the original WeMo Switch and the WeMo Insight Switch, even without using them. The latter device is a lot smaller, and uses a touch-sensitive button instead of the physical button on the original switch. The regular WeMo Switch is a fairly hefty device. (Though as long as you plug it into the top outlet, neither the WeMo Switch nor the WeMo Insight Switch will block access to your second outlet.)

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The biggest difference in functionality, however, is that the WeMo Insight Switch comes with an energy monitoring feature. It can tell you how much power you’re using from whatever you have plugged in, and can even tell you how much it’s costing you based on your electric company’s energy rate.

In the WeMo app, the original WeMo Switch will only display a power button that you can toggle on and off, whereas the WeMo Insight Switch will show a small LED light next to the power button, as well as a small downward-facing arrow.

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When you tap on the WeMo Insight Switch within the WeMo app, this will bring up the energy monitoring, showing you things like when the switch was last on, how long it’s been on throughout the day, how much money your appliance is using, and it even shows you the wattage that’s coming through.

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You can also set up notifications that will alert you whenever the Insight Switch detects power, so if you ever leave your space heater on accidentally, you can get notified about it and turn off the switch remotely from your phone.

Which One Should You Buy?

When it comes to choosing which WeMo Switch to buy, both of them will work great if you just want simple on/off functionality from your smartphone, as well as some simple automation features.

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However, you’ll definitely want to get the WeMo Insight Switch if you’re at all interested in knowing how much power your appliances are using. Depending on how helpful that is, it could eventually pay for the extra $10 in cost.

Furthermore, the WeMo Insight Switch comes with that newer design, making it smaller and sleeker than the original WeMo Switch. So even if you don’t want the energy monitoring, having that newer design can be a plus, especially if you’re going to be plugging in the switch into a surge protector and need to save space to make room for other electronics.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.