Introducing Buttons: Home Assistant Core's Newest Entity

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Introducing Buttons, the newest addition to Home Assistant! These virtual momentary switches provide a convenient and intuitive way to control your smart home devices. Experience a more seamless and accurate smart home experience with Buttons!

Home Assistant integrations are already using Buttons

This year, Home Assistant Core is introducing a brand-new entity: Buttons. Unlike latching switches, which stay in the same position even when you let go, buttons are momentary switches – they only change their state when pressed.

For example, the WLED integration with Home Assistant has added a restart button, Elgato lets you identify lights with a button, and Shelly devices can be rebooted and updated through buttons. These are just a few of the many applications of this new entity!

Buttons will be used in place of switches whenever it's not necessary to keep the switch in one position – so expect to see more integrations using buttons over time. This makes for an exciting addition to Home Assistant Core that will make your smart home experience even more intuitive and seamless.

A button, or momentary switch, which is, for example, used to turn on a computer

A latching switch, which is commonly used to turn lights on and off

What is the difference between a Button and a Switch?

Buttons are equivalent to physical momentary switches, meaning they only change their state when pressed. This is different from the Switch entity, which is equivalent to a latching switch, which stays in the same position even when you let go.

A momentary switch is a type of switch that is only active when it is physically pressed, and returns to its original state as soon as pressure is released. Think of a doorbell, for example; when you press the button, the doorbell rings and as soon as you let go, the bell stops ringing. Momentary switches are used for applications such as controlling electrical motors and for audio/visual equipment.

A latching switch, on the other hand, stays in its activated state even after the pressure is released. That means, if you press it once, the action will continue until it’s pressed again. This type of switch has two distinct states – one in which the circuit remains open (off) and another one in which it remains closed (on). It’s usually used to control high-power devices such as lights or electric motors. Imagine a light switch in your house; when you press it once, the light turns on until you press it again to turn off the light. You don’t need to keep pressing the switch continuously for this action to take place; this is what makes latching switches so convenient to use.

When are buttons used?

Buttons provide a more convenient and intuitive way to control your smart home devices than ever before. With the WLED integration with Home Assistant, for instance, you can quickly restart the device with just one press of a button – no need to fiddle with latching switches. Elgato lets you identify lights with one press, while Shelly devices can be rebooted and updated through buttons as well.

This makes your smart home experience smoother and easier than ever before. Instead of having to manually switch devices on and off, you can now control them quickly and precisely at the touch of a virtual button.

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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