Light bulbs have become increasingly smart in recent years. Now you can replace your standard incandescent bulb with a variety of connected solutions that you can control with just a few taps on your smartphone or tablet. Some also connect to smartwatches and virtual assistants, so they can be controlled from your wrist or just with the sound of your voice. But with so many options in the smart home market, which one is right for you? We’ve rounded up our highest-rated smart bulbs, along with a few points to consider when shopping, to help you decide.
How much do smart bulbs cost?
Smart bulbs use light emitting diodes (LEDs) and different technologies to work, so they are generally more expensive than traditional bulbs. This is important to note, especially if you are looking to upgrade your entire home. But smart bulbs also use less energy and last a lot longer – meaning you can save money in the long run. And as you can see, most of the options on this list fall under $50, so the price of entry isn’t as steep as it used to be a few years ago. Now you can find sub-$10 options too, including some of our highest-rated picks.
smart bulb color and brightness
Some of the bulbs on this list are just white, while others have the ability to take on any color of the rainbow. Color is a fun way to add ambiance to your home, but it often results in more expensive bulbs.
Most of the smart bulbs we reviewed are marketed equivalent to 60-watt incandescent models, which sounds self-explanatory, but some bulbs are brighter than others. To see how bright a light is, you need to look at the lumens it puts out (listed in the table below): The more lumens, the brighter the light.
Also note that bulbs can spread light across a narrow beam or a wide strip, so be sure to read reviews to learn how each works. If you need some extra light for reading, puzzles or selfies, the $54.99 Wyze Floor Lamp is an excellent choice. It creates a narrow, 23-degree light beam for illumination, and supports Bluetooth, so you can turn it on and off, adjust brightness, and create lighting schedules from your phone.
Another factor to keep in mind is color temperature. Higher temperatures, like 8,500K, look like harsh office lighting, which is fine for staying awake or working. Low temperatures, like 2,500K, translate into a cozy, warm glow that’s perfect for relaxing.
If you’re sick of tripping over shoes and dog toys during late night bathroom trips, the Wyze Night Light may be the perfect solution. Each $20 box comes with three motion-triggered warm white wall lights that you can use separately in different rooms, or combine together so that they all light up when someone detects motion .
How do you control smart light bulb?
Since you’ll be controlling these lights mostly from your phone or tablet, you want to make sure it’s easy to do. For example, if you have more than one bulb, you may want a companion app that lets you easily organize them into groups, and adjust the brightness and/or color of the entire group at a time. Do you have a smart display or a smart speaker? Look for a bulb that works with Alexa or Google Assistant so you can control it with your voice.
Of course, any bulb plugged into a socket can always be turned on or off simply by flipping the switch. We pay close attention to the way each app works, and provide a detailed overview in each review.
Smart Bulb Features
Smart bulbs offer a degree of control and interactivity that you can’t get with scheduled timer and remote control options like traditional bulbs. They are also more convenient; It’s easy to get up to a smartphone screen and fumble at the wall switch.
In addition to keeping you out of the dark, most of the bulbs listed here can be set or controlled remotely, which is great if you want to save on energy costs or often forget to turn off the lights before leaving the house. Some bulbs use geofencing, which means they work with the GPS in your smartphone to pinpoint your exact location, and automatically turn lights on or off when you arrive or leave the house. can. Color-changing bulbs are great for mood lighting, and some can even harmonize with certain movies and TV shows.
As soon as touched, some bulbs pair up with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit, or Google Assistant, so you can control your home’s lights with your voice. You can also integrate some of the bulbs on this list with security cameras, thermostats, and other smart home devices. If This Is That (IFTTT) compatibility lets you create recipes that automatically cause your lights to react to certain triggers, like phone notifications or a change in the weather.
Right now we don’t recommend bulbs that do double-duty as speakers, as we didn’t find any particularly good in testing.
Do Smart Bulbs Require a Hub?
There is another important factor to keep in mind. Some smart bulbs need to be connected to your smartphone through a home automation hub, such as the Philips Hue Bridge. Other bulbs cut out the middleman and connect directly to your phone or tablet via Wi-Fi, while some connect over Bluetooth, but in that case, you’re limited to controls only when you’re within Bluetooth range. , which means you can. Do not change the lights when you are away from home. Adding a hub also means spending a little more money and requires an extra step in the installation process.
With all of this in mind, we’ve gathered the best smart bulbs we’ve tested here. Depending on your needs, any of these options can help you connect your home lighting to more than just a wall switch.
For more ways to bring technology into your home, check out our favorite smart home devices overall. And for a simple, affordable way to bring smart features to your existing light bulb, check out our story on the Best Smart Plugs.