Having proper light sources at home is essential because it enhances task performance, helps improve the appearance of an area, and can also give positive psychological effects to the people living in it. There are many types of light sources that can be used in homes and the simplest of those are light bulbs. Light bulbs come in different types such as incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and LED.
Among those types, LED lights are known to save energy more and they can last for about 20 years. But today, there’s another type of light bulb that uses less energy compared to traditional LED lights and can also last as long, and they are the smart light bulbs.
For most people who are setting up their smart homes, one of the very first things they invest in is smart light bulbs because installing smart type of light sources is the easiest way to get started with a smart home.
How Do Smart Light Bulbs Work?
Just like other smart devices, smart light bulbs are controlled by either smartphones or connected to a home automation hub to operate. They require wireless communication standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other systems to connect to an app on your device or to your automation system at home.
Basically, smart light bulbs work by connecting them to the internet or Bluetooth for you to control them using an app on your phone or through voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. But there are also some brands of smart light bulbs that require special gateways to work.
Different Features of Smart Light Bulbs
It’s not just about turning the lights on and off remotely, because smart light bulbs have a lot of features, and all of those can be programmed to match your mood or activity. Here are some of the features that smart light bulbs can offer.
This is the most basic feature that a smart light bulb has. It may not be a new technology, but with smart light bulbs, there’s no need for you to install a dimmer switch because the bulb itself is capable of adjusting its level of brightness on its own.
Aside from dimming, smart light bulbs can also change colors. This feature can change the feel of a room and it also helps set the mood of the user. This makes smart light bulbs more appealing.
Smart light bulbs, like other smart devices, can be controlled remotely through the use of smartphone apps. It will allow you to turn your lights on and off when you’re away or on vacation. You can also set smart light bulbs up to illuminate throughout the house if someone rings your video doorbell after dark. This feature is useful for security purposes and for saving electricity as well because you do not have to leave the lights on at home when you’re on vacation.
Not all smart light bulbs have this feature but there are some that have built-in speakers. With this, you no longer have to set up a separate sound system. Other brands can also offer more such as syncing with the sound of what you’re watching to change the illumination and colors based on the action of the movie or TV show.
There are smart light bulbs that emit different color temperatures which are designed specifically to increase the body’s melatonin production, thus, helping you have a better sleep. But it also has a reverse function which can help you stay awake and energized during the day.
There are also some smart light bulbs that can use the GPS location of your smartphone while you walk through the rooms in your home. This way, your lights will automatically turn on when you enter a room and turn off when you leave.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Smart Light Bulb
Before buying a smart light bulb for your home, you should first consider the kind of connection you want to use with it or how you opt to control your smart light. If you choose one that is connected to Bluetooth, keep in mind that it limits you to only being able to adjust the light and turn it on and off when you’re at home. Once you leave your house, you no longer have the power to remotely control it because you’ll be out of the Bluetooth communication range of the light bulb.
On the other hand, if you choose to control your smart light bulb through Wi-Fi, the time it will take for your smart light bulb to respond will depend on how many devices are connected to your home network. It’s because the bandwidth of a Wi-Fi network is impacted by the number of devices connected to it.
It means that if you have many devices connected to your network like televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones, the response of your smart lightbulb might become slower. Also, if your internet connection encounters a problem and it goes out, your smart light bulb might go out as well. But if you have a strong and fast internet connection at home, then this option might work well for you. And it will also allow you to control your smart light bulb even when you’re not home.
The Best Smart Light Bulbs for Your Home
Aside from deciding about the system on where you’d like to connect your smart light bulb, you should also consider the features that you want. Would you prefer to have colored lights or one that has different shades of white? Are you willing to spend a large amount of money or are you on a tight budget? Well, for you to answer these, you will need to see what the market has to offer. To help you out, here are some of the best smart light bulbs we can recommend for your home.
When it comes to smart light bulbs, Philips is arguably the most famous manufacturer. It’s because their Hue light bulbs are very easy to set up, easy to use, and very consistent as well.
Philips Hue light bulbs are versatile. You can either choose between color-changing bulbs or go for the simple white bulbs. But whichever you choose, both of them are dimmable and can be controlled remotely with the Hue app.
What sets Philips Hue apart from other smart light bulbs is the ease you can get if you connect it with your other smart home platforms such as Nest, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. This means that you can control it through voice commands, making it more convenient especially when you don’t want to go get your phone or your hands busy.
This smart light bulb has 800 lumens which can cover small to medium sized rooms. Plus, they are relatively small, meaning, they could fit into most places where your average light bulb fits.
The only downside of Philips Hue bulbs is that you’ll need to use the Hue Bridge hub for it to work and it can be a little expensive compared to Bluetooth light bulbs. But if you want a light bulb you can control remotely, even when not at home, purchasing it can be worth it for you.
If you want to set up your home with smart lights but do not want to deal with a smart home hub, then this smart light bulb is perfect for you. You simply just have to screw the bulb in, then follow the instructions in the app.
Lifx’s app is very easy to use, and it will allow you to control the light bulbs individually or in groups to turn them on and off, set scenes, and even to turn on effects such as strobe lights for parties.
Lifx smart light bulb comes in different models like the standard A19 bulb and the BR30 model, so you should find the right model that will fit your home best. You can either by them by piece or by packs.
The downside with this smart light bulb is it’s somewhat large and it costs a little higher even though it does not require a hub. But overall, it has an excellent app, it is very bright, and easy to set up as well.
Hive’s smart light bulbs come in white and full color. However, this smart light bulb can only be controlled from within the Hive app and also by Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers.
It is also very easy to install and you can also connect this light bulb to Hive View Camera and Hive Active Door Sensors so that whenever you arrive home, or enter a room, the lights will come on automatically.
You can also set schedules with this smart light bulb and as well as turn it on and off through your phone when you’re not at home. The only downside of this products is it requires a Hive Hub that is sold separately. But if you already have one at home, then this is perfect for you.
If you choose Bluetooth connection over Wi-Fi for a smart light bulb, then these can be great choices for you. GE offers two types of smart light bulbs. One is the C-Life which is for everyday use, and the other one is C-Sleep which is for bedroom use.
C-Life only comes in white color while C-Sleep has three different settings such as cold light to energize you in the morning, warm light to promote sleep at night, and normal white light.
These smart light bulbs by GE do not require any Wi-Fi or other networks for them to function. They simply work on Bluetooth, and with easy to use smartphone app that works well. However, you need to be at least 10 meters or 33 feet from the bulbs for them to work. So, if you do not need to control your lights when you’re away, this is a great choice.
These bulbs are pretty small and they cost less compared to other options, which makes it perfect for those who are beginners when it comes to smart light sources.
Sengled’s Element classic smart light bulb is an affordable option. You can choose between soft white or daylight colors. Also, you do not need the Sengled hub to be able to use this smart light bulb if you’re using Amazon Echo Plus, SmartThings, or a Wink smart hub because you can power it with those via Zigbee.
You can also control it using Sengled Element Home app which is compatible with both Android and iOS. Using the app, you will be able to control it even when you’re not home. Sengled Element is also energy efficient and can save 80 percent energy compared to incandescent lights.
These smart light bulbs are not very popular unlike Philips and Lifx but they have a lot to offer. These smart bulbs connect through Zigbee and they are inexpensive. Also, they do not need Wi-Fi radios built into them. As long as you have Zigbee-friendly hubs such as Wink or SmartThings, they will work great.
Cree Smart bulbs has a companion app which is very simple. They are also dimmable which is great if you like setting different scenes and illumination profiles. It is an affordable smart light bulb that is also a great choice for those starting out with smart lights.
Installing smart light bulbs is indeed a great first step to turn your home into a smart one. They will be able to give you convenience, safety, and will also help you save energy. And on top of that, they will provide each room in your home great ambiance and different atmospheres. We hope the information we shared will help you find the perfect smart light bulb for your smart home.