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Smart light bulbs are the latest in home technology — but are they right for your home?
If you’re interested in saving money and energy — not to mention the time and effort it takes to manage your home — then investing in the best smart light bulbs could be a great idea.
A smart LED light bulb will connect to all the other smart devices in the house, and you’ll find that it automatically calibrates so as to adapt to your lifestyle preferences — while reducing your energy expenditure and monthly bills.
We’ve compiled this huge guide to smart light bulbs so you can make the best decision for you.
Let’s take it away…
- 1 What are Smart Light Bulbs?
- 2 How Do They Work?
- 3 The Best Smart Light Bulbs
What are Smart Light Bulbs?
More and more people are searching for ways to improve their homes to save money and be more energy efficient and kind to the environment.
Installing smart light bulbs in the home is one way to do just that.
These products are energy efficient LED bulbs which replace the regular bulbs in light fittings around the home, which can be controlled wirelessly by using a smart home system, a smartphone, tablet, or even just the sound of your voice.
Although they are usually more expensive than traditional bulbs, they have an incredibly long life and are much more energy efficient so promise to save you money in the long run.
They can be also be dimmed, programmed to set certain moods, or controlled remotely from a distance, and some smart bulbs even change color or detect motion.
There are three main types of smart bulb: spot lights, candle bulbs, and standard bulbs, and all three options have different kinds of fittings available.
How Do They Work?
Smart bulbs are generally controlled wirelessly via smartphone or tablet apps, which connect to a hub — although some don’t even need a hub to function as they simply work using a direct Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.
Once you’ve set up the hub, it’s necessary to use the app to identify your bulbs, assign them to rooms, and give you full control over their features.
Once all the setup is done, you needn’t think about it again unless you wish to add further light programs or make changes.
However, not all smart light bulbs need a smartphone app to work, they can link up to voice controlled hubs such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
For example, a smart lighting system integrated with an Alexa compatible device, such as an Echo Dot, can either function via a gateway or bridge, or else connect directly to your Wi-Fi router, therefore not needing a hub.
Once you’ve installed and connected your smart bulbs, it’s just a questions of adding them to the Alexa app, naming them, and then setting up lighting groups according to which lights you want to use simultaneously in different situations (for example watching a movie or to get ready to sleep).
When this is done you are then ready to give your smart bulbs voice commands — either individually or in their predefined groups — including turning them off and on, dimming, or changing color.
If you’re looking for step-by-step information on setting up your smart lighting system, check out this video:
The Best Smart Light Bulbs
Having a connected smart home is understandably increasingly popular, and this is reflected in the huge array of smart products on the market.
Here is our guide to the best smart light bulbs available right now…
Compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa without the need for a hub, the eufy Lumos Smart Bulb can be operated totally hands free with voice control, as well as be controlled via an app on your smartphone or tablet.
Lighting can be controlled using a Wi-Fi connection whether you’re at home or away.
Control options include an ‘away’ mode for when you are on vacation and want to make it appear as if your home is occupied, which allows you to program your lighting to turn off or on automatically at certain times of the day, and grouping to command specific sets of lights simultaneously.
Light brightness can also be controlled, allowing you to remotely dim or brighten lights when needed to create the mood you desire.
- Energy saving 9 watt bulbs give the appearance of 60 watts
- No hub required
- Can be voice controlled when integrated with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
- Easy to set up
- Affordable price
- Straightforward app
- Bulb doesn’t change color
- Bulb is quite large — worth bearing in mind if your fittings are small
Handily, this smart light bulb also doesn’t need a hub to function and can work directly with your home Wi-Fi or can be connected to a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device for voice control.
The LUMIMAN Smart Light Bulb smartphone app allows you to change bulb brightness settings, set up schedules for different times of the day or for when you are on vacation as a security measure, or to group certain lights together.
The app can also be shared, allowing multiple members of the household to control the smart lighting without having to set up individual accounts.
- Very fast setup – only takes 20 seconds
- Compatible with Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- No hub required
- 2 year warranty
- Can simulate daylight
- Can be a little awkward to pair with Google Assistant
- No choice of colors
This TP-Link smart LED light bulbs is a soft white dimmable, which can be controlled from any location thanks to its direct Wi-Fi connection that doesn’t require a hub.
The free Kasa app allows you to control your smart lighting and set brightness levels from wherever you’re located, create schedules, and set scenes with ambience — such as for dinner parties, or reading.
Individual bulbs can be controlled singly or grouped together with other bulbs.
The TP-Link saves energy without sacrificing brightness or quality, and lasts up to 13.7 years, providing a warm white light with the equivalent of 50 watts.
This smart LED light bulb can also be connected to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to allow for even greater control including voice control.
- No hub required
- High quality, long lasting bulb
- Good dimming range
- Kasa app shows handy usage statistics
- Works well with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Bulb cannot be dimmed with a conventional dimmer switch
This energy efficient Element Classic LED smart bulb by Sengled uses Wi-Fi alternative Zigbee to connect and integrate into your smart home.
An Element, Wink or SmartThings hub is required for this smart lighting to function with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but you can connect it directly to Amazon Echo Plus without the need for a separate hub.
The accompanying Sengle app allows you to dim the bulbs, turn them on and off remotely, and schedule light programs for certain times of the day or for when you are away from home.
The app also features a useful bulb monitoring program which allows you to check on bulb status, power consumption, and how much money you are saving by using it.
- Very affordable
- Easy to set up
- Energy efficient equivalent to 60 watts
- Voice control possible
- Useful energy tracking app
- Requires a hub to function
The kit includes four bulbs and the necessary Philips Hue Bridge to connect them to your home Wi-Fi via ethernet.
Once installed, the Philips Hue smartphone app can be used to change bulb brightness settings, make preset automatic light schedules, group lights into rooms to turn everything in one location on and off quickly, choose light temperature, and save favourite light settings.
It is also possible to use the Philips Hue smart bulbs with Google Assistant, as well as Amazon Alexa and Apple Homekit for added voice control.
These smart bulbs have light output equivalent to 50 Watts with an expected lifetime of around 15 years.
- Very user friendly app
- Excellent dimming function
- Possibility of hands free voice control when paired with Amazon Alexa
- Great quality, reliable and long lasting
- Good range of possible third-party integrations
- Good value for money for 4 bulbs and the bridge
- Still relatively expensive
- Requires the use of a bridge to function (included with purchase)
Not only does the Piper and Olive Smart WiFi light bulb have a dimming function — it also changes color.
Choose between literally millions of colors to find one to suit your mood and compliment your home decor.
Using Wi-Fi to connect to the accompanying app, buying this smart LED light bulb means that there’s no need to spend extra on an additional hub.
The app allows you to control bulbs individually or in groups to set brightness levels, set timers to wake you up or send you to sleep with your favorite color, share control with other family members, and control lighting from a distance as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection.
It’s also possible to integrate these smart bulbs with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice activated commands.
- Very easy to install and use
- Outstanding choice of colors
- Reasonably priced for a color changing smart bulb
- Doesn’t require a hub
- Integrates very well with a variety of different smart home systems
- More expensive than a white smart bulb
This dimmable smart bulb is packed with features including a night light function, settable timers and sunset and sunrise settings, can be synchronized with music to provide a disco atmosphere, create and store your own lighting programs, and more.
A Bluetooth connection is required to connect the bulbs to your Apple or Android smartphone, from where you can control all the different functions using the app.
MagicLight smart light bulbs can be controlled individually or as groups.
In the event that you don’t have your phone to hand you can just turn on the bulb at the regular switch and it will function as a normal light.
- Works without Wi-Fi router or hub
- Simple to install and use
- Lots of features and very good app
- Color quality is good
- Colors can be synced to music thanks to the built in mic
- Bluetooth has limited range
- Doesn’t integrate with smart home systems
The color changing LIFX + smart bulb has a whole host of features including a palette of millions of colors, preset color themes, lighting effects such as candle light, programmable schedules, timers and more.
But the stand out feature of this innovative smart bulb is the infrared technology that allows cameras to see in the dark, which can be used either inside or outside the home as an added security measure.
Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to hook the LIFX + up to your smartphone or tablet, and the free app is compatible with Windows 10 as well as Android and iOS.
This may just be the best smart light bulb on the market right now, and it can be used with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit for voice activation.
It can also be integrated into multiple other Smart home platforms such as SmartThings, IFTTT, and Nest. Bulbs can be grouped or used separately.
- Infrared provides added security
- Excellent, easy to use app
- Good integration with various different smart home platforms
- No need for a hub
- Bulbs give bright, rich color
- Works especially well with Amazon Alexa
- Comes in a 4 pack
- Infrared uses more power than other lighting, which can shorten bulb life
Which do you think are the best smart light bulbs?