I have two lights controlled by two light switches in a 3 way switch loop configuration with no neutral. I would like to replace either one (if I can get away with it) or both of the switches with a Z-wave light switch. From my research, it appears that almost all Z-wave light switches require a neural wire.

I have found a couple of non Z-Wave dimmer switches which claim to not require a neutral. This Lutron switch claims to work with a variety of bulbs and not require a neutral.

Do I have any Z-wave options given that I do not have a neutral?

Here is a picture of one of the switches

enter image description here

  • Ok, but there's a neutral in the box, right? They're commonly just nutted together, but they're there. See askmediy.com/wp-content/uploads/3-way.jpg.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 16:31
  • Sorry about the comment deletes. I was confused myself for a minute there. Do clarify, though: Are there in fact no neutral wires in the switch boxes?
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 16:33
  • 1
    @isherwood If power comes to the light first, it's possible to have no neutral at either switch. If power is at one switch, it's possible for there to be no neutral at the other switch. Newer codes require a neutral at all switch locations, for this exact reason.
    – Tester101
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 16:38
  • @Isherwood there is not a fourth neutral wire; just two travelers and a common like in the picture you posted. Here is a picture of one of the switches.
    – codechurn
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 16:38
  • 2
    If you can validate exactly the way that the lights and switches are configured, it's possible that the existing wires could be re-connected in such a way to provide a neutral and work with Z-wave switches.
    – longneck
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


I recently had a 3-way replaced with a Z-wave combination from Leviton (R02-DZS15 and VP0SR-10Z). The switch requires constant communication with the hub and thus needs power. If you look carefully at the wiring diagram for the Z-wave switches, you will notice that there is a live+neutral powering the switch and a circuit breaking wiring to the light to turn it on-off. Thus, IMHO, you cannot have a Z-wave switch without a neutral wire. Fortunately, in my case there was a neutral wire in one of the boxes and the electrician was able to pull one to the other box.

Trust me once you set the z-wave switch with a hub and program it to work, the additional cost of fishing a neutral wire will be really worth it.


There are and have been several Z-wave switches available. They are less common and more expensive than the garden-variety ones. A quick Google search didn't turn up any neutral-free three-way switches, but you could use a wireless battery operated switch to replace one of the three way ones.

Two examples are:

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