For some, smart home technology is the way of the future. Smart TVs, smart speakers, smart security devices, and even smart refrigerators and vacuums have hit the market in the past decade. All fill a different niche, but are wirelessly connected and designed to seamlessly integrate into the modern home. Smart TVs provide access to content without the need for a set-top box, smart speakers act as entertainment and control hubs, and smart security devices (check out our article on smart security here!) give our homes an extra level of security.
These aren’t the only smart devices available, however.
Enter smart lights. Smart lights—as you’ve probably guessed—replace conventional light bulbs with specialized ones with customizable options. Just using an app on your phone is all it takes to change the color and intensity of these smart bulbs. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and a good introduction to smart home technology if you’re still hesitant to fully integrate it into your home.
This of course, all begs the simple question: why? Some subscribe to the mantra, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but smart light bulbs do have their advantages over conventional ones. Need to energize in the morning? Adjust the color temperature of your smart bulbs to a cooler color. Want to relax at home after a long day at work? Adjust the color of the bulbs to a warmer tone, which research has proven to be more relaxing. Use the same app to control the intensity of the light to find the perfect setting, all right through your phone.
INSTALLATION, SETUP, & HOME INTEGRATION
While some smart light bulbs are completely independent units with WiFi built in, others must be used in tandem with smart hubs. These hubs (which are connected to your router) often use networks which are not only more stable than WiFi, but have a longer range, which may make them more suitable for home use. Either way, smart bulbs are connected to the internet in some way.
Installation is just as simple as a traditional light bulb. For most smart bulbs on the market, it’s as easy as screwing them into existing light fixture housings and then connecting to your hub or WiFi network. Five minutes or less per bulb is all it’ll usually take.
Now that you know how to set up and install your smart bulbs, it’s time to meet our contenders.
WHITE SMART BULB
Although many smart bulbs are designed to change color on a whim, some merely emit the standard white or off-white color. These bulbs are better for those who don’t necessarily need this color-changing feature, and are simply looking for a no-frills smart light bulb to replace their existing conventional ones.
The Philips Hue White is one of the most commonly-recommended offerings in this segment, and for good reason. This smart light set integrates with some of the most popular smart ecosystems on the market, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. The dimmable bulbs feature programmable routines, sunrise and sunset automation, and a vacation mode. While it’s on the pricier side of the smart bulb spectrum, the Philips Hue White is easy to install, packed with features, and integrates with many smart ecosystems, making it one of the best buys in its segment.
COLOR-CHANGING SMART BULB
Color-changing smart bulbs come in all shapes, sizes, and color profiles, but this one is one of our favorites.
The LIFX A19 is just one of LIFX’s many smart bulb offerings, but is certainly one of the best. This kit has built-in WiFi and doesn’t require a smart hub, making installation even easier than some of its competitors. Integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit offers flexibility in terms of dimming, color setting, and voice control. The bulbs are easy to install and can be adjusted to be quite bright, illuminating even the darkest rooms or spaces. Choose from 16 million different colors (seriously, sixteen million) and change them to your heart’s content; these smart bulbs are rated to last for nearly 23 years of use!
PUTTING THEM TO USE
Smart bulbs aren’t for everyone, but they might be right for you and your home. Their utility comes in many forms. You can turn off all the lights in your home right from your phone, set the mood for a party with friends, or just dim and adjust light to energize in the morning or unwind at the end of the day.
Smart bulbs are a little more expensive than traditional light bulbs, but they’re simple, convenient, and easy to use, and would be a welcome addition to any burgeoning smart home!