Best Smart Light Bulb – Before You Decide
With the growing popularity and the changing face of technology, even homes have to get upgrades.
One area where homes have gotten upgrades is in lighting. Our way of life has now become more efficient, thereby making smart light bulbs more popular.
Smart light bulbs take lighting in homes to a whole new level. They provide the correct tone and intensity.
Also, you can be able to pair them with other intelligent home devices such as smart speakers and smart alarm systems.
On top of this, a good smart light bulb will be intuitive to use. You want a device that you can install in a couple of minutes and control easily.
Smart light bulbs save on energy; they are made using LEDs, meaning they consume less energy than incandescent bulbs.
You can also incorporate smart lights into your existing smart home ecosystem easily.
For instance, when you arrive home, the lights will turn on automatically, or when someone tries to pick your smart lock, the lights will turn on as if you’re in the house.
These bulbs come in all shapes and sizes, and more of them continue to be released by new companies with each passing day.
That said, let’s look at the functions of smart light bulbs in our homes, some of the major players in the industry of intelligent light bulbs, and what to look for when shopping for smart light bulbs, among other things.
What are the Features of Smart Light Bulbs?
Soft Start Function
When smart light bulbs are switched on, they gradually change from dark to warm, and when they are switched off, the light gradually fades to dark.
Gradual changes in brightness give the human eyes a buffer. Compared to traditional bulbs, which turn on immediately, intelligent light bulbs help protect your eyes.
In addition, intelligent light bulbs use LED technology and not filaments like traditional bulbs.
This helps extend the bulb’s life span and even save on electricity because when you leave the room, intelligent lights will automatically dim.
Timing Control Function
You can set the ‘time of light’ for smart bulbs using a smart switch or the accompanying control app.
You can choose schedules that work for you. For instance, you can choose when the lights will turn on in the morning and when they turn off in the evening.
Multi-Point Operation Function
Smart light bulbs, unlike traditional bulbs, can be controlled from smart terminals situated anywhere within your home.
For instance, you could be in your basement doing laundry and say, “Alexa, turn off living room lights” or “Hey Google, turn off living room lights.”
You can set scenes in your home using smart light bulbs. For instance, you can set warm tones when having dinner with your family or dull colors when you’re watching a movie.
Regardless of where your smart light bulbs are situated, you can adjust the brightness to your liking.
Whether you’re watching a movie, partying, studying, or working, you can adjust the brightness of your bulbs to the appropriate levels.
This is convenient because you can adjust the brightness using the bulb’s dedicated app, voice controls via your smart speaker, or a dedicated smart switch.
What Should You Consider When Buying Smart Light Bulbs?
Whether smart or not, the efficiency of a light bulb is measured in lm/watt (lumens per watt).
The standard rule of traditional bulbs is the higher the wattage, the brighter the bulb. However, this is not the case with smart light bulbs because they have less wattage and more lumens.
Watts measures the energy used by the bulbs, and lumens are the brightness of the bulb. Therefore, you need to go for smart bulbs with high lm/watt
The life span of an LED bulb is rated at 15 to 25 years or 15000 hours to 25000 hours.
LED technology is present in smart light bulbs; the life span is the same. As a result, you should check the expected life span of a smart light bulb before purchasing.
The quality of light produced by a smart light bulb is given by the bulb’s Ra value. Ra is the CRI (color rendering index), and it shows the bulb’s ability to render various colors accurately.
Ra is based on incandescent bulbs which are considered to be a decent source of light. However, smart bulbs outdo incandescent bulbs in almost every aspect, including color rendering.
Some intelligent light brands term Ra values as CRI (color rendering index) values, but the numbers mean the same thing.
The highest possible Ra value is 100 for smart light bulbs, and it’s recommended that you get a bulb with a Ra value of at least 90 to get the best results.
Chromaticity is the variability of colors produced by a light bulb.
The color or temperature of lighting inside your home has a massive impact on how everything inside looks, and it may affect how you function inside the house.
Bulbs that can produce a color close to daylight will help you feel energized and ready for work. Bulbs that have softer tones will help you relax in the evening and fall asleep at night.
Therefore, due to the various activities that take place in your home at different times of the day, it’s recommended that you buy smart light bulbs that can change tones depending on your needs during the day and at night.
One of the first steps of choosing an intelligent light bulb is checking its dimmability.
Dimmable smart lights help create the ideal ambiance in living spaces; this can help you unwind after a long day at work.
Dimmable smart lights will also come in handy during the night when you want to go to the washroom or grab a snack.
No need to have your lights blast to full brightness when you turn them on. Instead, you’ll adjust the intensity to a level that allows you to do what you want and go back to sleep.
The best dimmable smart light bulbs can be dimmed down to 1% using the app.
Controllability is a vital aspect, especially if you intend to add more smart devices to your house.
Ensure you buy smart lights that are compatible with other smart devices in your home.
For instance, if you have Apple HomeKit in your home, Sengled is not the best smart bulb brand to go for; instead, try something like LIFX that works with Apple Siri.
The Sengled intelligent light bulbs will still work, but you’ll have to use the Hue app to control them.
It can become quite overwhelming when you have to install a different app to control each smart appliance you buy.
You lose the convenience of smart light bulbs in the process.
So make sure that the smart light bulbs you purchase not only work with their manufacturer’s app but can also be controlled using 3rd party systems and apps.
Which Are the Major Smart Light Bulb Brands Out There?
All smart light bulbs in this review are compatible with voice assistants such as Apple Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
Some of The Top Smart Bulbs in The Market Today Include:
|Best Smart Light Bulbs||Light Color||Wattage||Lumens||Usage||Voice Assistants|
|Philips Hue||White||9 watts||800||Outdoor||Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant|
|Sengled Smart Bulbs||Multi-color||9 watts||800||Indoor||Alexa and Google Assistant|
|LIFX Smarter Light||Multi-color||9 watts||800||Indoor||Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant|
|Wyze Smart Bulb||Multi-color||12 watts||1100||Indoor||Alexa and Google Assistant|
|Nanoleaf Essentials||Multi-color||10 watts||806||Indoor||Apple HomeKit|
1. Philips Hue
Philips Hue is a range of smart white LED bulbs and smart color-changing LED bulbs.
The Hue lineup was the first range of smart bulbs to be introduced in the market. There are three different kinds of colors available for the Hue lineup:
- White: supports color temperatures of up to 2700 K.
- White ambiance: supports color temperatures between 2200K and 6500K.
- Color: supports color temperatures between 2000K and 6500K.
The white ambiance and color bulbs feature the same adjustable white light, and they can also display 16 million colors. Some of the features of bulbs in the Hue lineup include:
- Voice Controlled: Bulbs in the hue lineup work with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. However, you need a smart speaker or hub to issue voice commands.
- Limitless possibilities: You can choose from various shades of white and up to 16 million colors making your days more fulfilling.
- Long Life Span: Bulbs in this lineup have a life span of up to 25 years or 25,000 hours.
- Compatible with other dedicated control accessories: Philips Hue smart light bulbs can be connected to dedicated control accessories such as the Philips Hue dimmer switch.
- Philips Hue lights use ZigBee to give you a more robust and more dependable connection.
- Hue app is packed with a host of features such as Geofencing
Sengled smart light bulbs come from a manufacturer with over 20 years of experience in the lighting industry.
Sengled smart light bulbs are cutting-edge smart devices ideal for people who are new to smart lighting. Some of the features of Sengled smart bulbs include:
- Easy set up: You need a smart hub to set up Sengled intelligent bulbs. These bulbs are compatible with smart hubs such as Sengled Smart Hub, Habitat Hub, SmartThings Hub, Wink Smart Hub, etc. When you connect them to a smart speaker such as the 2nd Gen Echo Plus or Echo Show, you don’t need a hub; the speaker will act as the hub.
- Voice-activated: Sengled intelligent bulbs work with Alexa and Google Assistant; no support for Apple HomeKit. You need to have a smart speaker to issue voice commands.
- Wake Up and Sleep Mode: You can easily set up this feature using the Sengled Home App available on both IOS and Android. This feature lets your bulbs gradually turn on in the morning or simulate sunset as you fall asleep at night.
- Color changeable: Sengled gives you access to more than 16 million colors allowing you to set the mood depending on what you’re doing. You can also dim or adjust the brightness from 1% to 100% using your phone or voice commands via a smart speaker.
LIFX, pronounced a Life-X is a lineup of Wi-Fi-ready, energy-saving, and multi-colored smart LED light bulbs that can be controlled using smartphone apps, dimmer switches, or voice commands via a smart speaker such as the Nest Mini.
Some of the top features of LIFX bulbs include:
- Voice-activated: LIFX Bulbs work with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. But, you need to buy a smart speaker or hub to issue voice commands.
- Color changeable: Unlike other smart lighting brands that give you access to 16 million colors, LIFX gives you access to up to a mind-boggling 550 billion colors. You can also dim or adjust the brightness from 1% to 100% using your phone or voice commands.
- Long Life Span: LIFX smart bulbs have a life span of up to 25 years or 25,000 hours.
TP-Link’s Kasa Smart started as a research wing; TP-Research America. But the company has grown in leaps and bounds to produce smart light bulbs and other smart home devices.
Some of the features of Kasa Smart Light Bulbs include:
- Voice-activated: Voice-activated: Sengled intelligent light bulbs work with Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Assistant; no support for Apple HomeKit. Again you need to have a smart speaker to issue voice commands.
- Control from anywhere: You can control your Kasa smart light bulbs from anywhere using the Kasa Smart app available on both Android and iOS.
- Dimmability: Kasa Smart light bulbs have an expansive dimming range that can conveniently be controlled using the Kasa Smart app.
- No hub required: Kasa smart bulbs are sort of plug-and-play. No need to connect them to a hub. Once you connect them to Wi-Fi using the Kasa Smart app, you’re good to go.
Wyze smart light bulbs are made by Wyze, a company specializing in wireless cameras and smart home devices such as smart lights. Some of the features of Wyze smart bulbs include:
- Notifications: you can use the Wyze App to configure your Wyze intelligent light bulbs to glow brighter when there is a notification on your phone.
- No hub required: Wyze smart light bulbs are Wi-Fi-based; no need to connect them to a hub. Once you connect them to Wi-Fi using the Wyze app, you’re good to go.
- Voice Controlled: Wyze smart bulbs work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
If you have Apple HomeKit, there aren’t lots of smart lights to choose from. However, you can pick up the Nanoleaf Essentials B22 from the Apple store.
These bulbs are standard size, but the bulbs have a weird-looking geometric shape. This comes in handy because it allows these smart bulbs to throw light to every corner of your home.
If you have Apple TV or a HomeKit speaker, you don’t need a smart hub to control the A19.
These bulbs allow you to choose from over 16 million different colors, create lighting scenes, set your lights on a schedule, and so much more.
How Much Do Smart Light Bulbs Cost?
Well, this is mainly dependent on the manufacturer and the bulb’s specs, such as white or multi-colored.
Generally, smart light bulbs are more expensive than your standard incandescent bulb, and for a good reason.
Smart lights are energy-efficient, and the long-term savings smart light bulbs give you will offset the buying price.
Also, smart lights have a longer life span than most bulbs out there. Even if your lights are always on, your smart light bulbs will still be functional ten years down the line.
To sum it all up, smart light bulbs are beneficial to our day-to-day livelihood, as illustrated above.
When buying intelligent bulbs, consider your existing smart home set up or other smart devices you might want to add to your home later.
This will ensure that no compatibility issues arise when you try to connect your smart bulbs to other smart devices.
The smart light bulbs illustrated above are some of the best that you can find in the market right now. Our pick of the lot is the Philips Hue because it ticks all the boxes; from ZigBee compatibility to Geofencing.
You won’t find smart light bulbs quite like Philips Hue.