Light switches were once the most effective way to illuminate your home, but smart light bulbs now let you set the mood in the dining room even when you're far from home. The best smart light bulbs connect to smart home systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing users to turn the lights on or off, adjust brightness, and even change the color.
Even if a smart light bulb isn't connected to a smart home system, it can still be controlled with your smartphone through a downloadable app. The technology also allows you to set up a schedule to turn the lights on or off at intervals throughout the day, so that they automatically turn on when you get home. Here are our top choices for the best smart light bulbs.
– Best Overall: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LED Smart Bulb
– Best Budget: GE CYNC Smart Light Bulbs with Bluetooth and WiFi
– Best Starter Kit: Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit
– Best for Alexa: Sengled Alexa Light Bulb
How We Picked The Best Smart Light Bulbs
Smart lighting is a fun, innovative technology that’s easy to install and convenient to use. My years of experience using smart light bulbs, as well as a smart thermostat and doorbell, helped to form a basis to explore over 40 different products for this list. I conducted extensive research into each product to compare various smart light bulb options, including high-quality products like Merkury smart light bulbs and the Kasa smart light bulb.
The main determining factors I used to narrow down the selection and find the best smart light bulbs include the brightness, connectivity, and whether the light bulbs were compatible with top smart home systems, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. I also considered any exceptional features that made a product stand out from competitors, such as the innovation of the design.
The Best Smart Light Bulbs: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LED Smart Bulb
Why It Made the Cut: This three-bulb bundle connects through both Bluetooth and the Philips Hue Hub system, giving immediate control over home lighting with the Philips Hue app.
– Connectivity: Bluetooth or Hue Hub
– Compatibility: Works with Alexa, Siri (via Apple HomeKit), and Google Assistant
– Brightness: 800 lumens
– Over 16 million color options
– 25,000 lifetime hours
– Bluetooth and Hue Hub compatible
– Works with multiple top smart home systems
– Cannot connect to WiFi without Philips Hue hub
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulbs are a great way to modernize your home lighting. You can set your preferences using the Philips Hue smartphone app or with voice commands through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit smart home systems. What's more, you can pick from over 16 million different color options to light your rooms, or get a more immersive entertainment experience by syncing the lights with movies and music.
While each Philips Hue White And Color Ambiance bulb has a brightness of 800 lumens, the lights can be dimmed to set a mood or simply reduce the pain of a persistent migraine. These smart lights function without a hub when they are connected to the Philips Hue Bluetooth app. However, the range for Bluetooth connectivity is only about one room. Users can also connect up to 50 Philips smart bulbs to a Philips Hue Hub and increase the range to the entire home. Additionally, the bulbs have a long lifetime, lasting up to 25,000 hours on average, which is over 10 times the lifespan of the average incandescent bulb.
Best Budget: GE CYNC Smart Light Bulbs with Bluetooth and WiFi
Why It Made the Cut: Reduce lighting costs with these smart LED bulbs that use up to 84 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.
– Connectivity: WiFi or Bluetooth
– Compatibility: Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
– Brightness: 800 lumens
– Affordable two-bulb pack
– Color changing and dimmable
– Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
– WiFi connectivity, no hub required
– Some users had problems with the initial setup
Get smart home lighting at an affordable price with this two-bulb pack of GE CYNC Smart Light Bulbs. These bulbs can connect to the CYNC app through both Bluetooth and WiFi, giving you control over home lighting even if you're still at work. Setup seems to be straightforward and simple. Just download the CYNC app, then screw the bulb in to wirelessly pair it with the app. However, some users did report problems with the initial setup, so make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
These GE smart light bulbs are an ideal choice for bedrooms and offices because you can adjust the color, tone, and brightness to help you get to sleep or set up an important video call. If the maximum brightness level of 800 lumens is too much, use voice commands with a compatible smart home system or dim the lights through the CYNC app. These lights can be connected to both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing the settings to be controlled with voice commands.
Best Starter Kit: Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Button Starter Kit
Why It Made the Cut: Connect and control three smart bulbs with a central hub using this smart home-compatible lighting system.
– Connectivity: Hue Hub and WiFi
– Compatibility: Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant
– Brightness: 800 lumens
– Full set of three smart bulbs and Hue Hub
– Portable smart button for remote control
– Smart home compatible
– Must be used with the Philips Hue hub
If your goal is to upgrade multiple areas of your home from regular incandescent light bulbs to smart lights, the Philips Hue White and Color Starter Kit is a great way to get started. It comes with three smart bulbs in white, white ambiance, or color, as well as the Phillips Hue Hub to connect the Philips smart light bulbs to the home WiFi. This starter kit also includes a smart button that can be mounted on the wall in a central location, allowing users to control the bulbs remotely.
Each bulb has a brightness output of about 800 lumens, and if the color bulb is selected, the light can be set to one of over a million color options. A downside of this product is that a central hub is needed for any of the lights to connect to WiFi; however, it’s unlikely that more than one hub is necessary because the Hue Hub can connect with up to 50 different smart lights. These lights are also compatible with multiple smart home systems including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant, allowing the lights to be activated with simple voice commands once they have been set up and connected.
Best for Alexa: Sengled Alexa Light Bulb
Why It Made the Cut: Sengled smart bulbs are made to be paired with Amazon Alexa for effective voice control and an efficient smart home ecosystem.
– Connectivity: WiFi
– Compatibility: Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
– Brightness: 800 lumens
– No hub is required
– Simple setup and registration
– Smart home system compatible
– Bulbs available in color, daylight, or soft white
– Some syncing problems with new bulbs
Would you like your lights to go on as soon as your alarm goes off? Alexa can help with that. Sengled Alexa Light Bulbs are designed to be installed in a standard 60-watt lighting fixture, and work with the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant smart home systems. Once connected, you can control the lights with voice commands instead of having to remember if you left your phone on the kitchen table.
These smart bulbs have a brightness output of 800 lumens, but the light can be dimmed in the Sengled app or with direct voice commands. Setup and registration are relatively straightforward, and since these lights connect directly to the home WiFi, there isn’t a hub that needs to be set up for the lights to work. Just download the Sengled Home App, register, and then connect the smart bulbs for immediate control. It's important to note, though, that if a new Sengled smart bulb is being added to a single fixture with one or more existing smart lights, they will likely need to be reset in order to sync correctly with the new bulb.
Things to Consider Before Buying Smart Light Bulbs
Adding smart lights into your home is an excellent way to improve lighting efficiency, reduce energy costs, and control the illumination of your home from your smartphone. Turn the lights on at night before returning home so you don’t have to fumble for your keys in the dark,. Or set the lights on a timer so they automatically turn off, in case you forgot to turn them off before heading to bed. When deciding on the best smart light bulbs for you, consider these factors:
The brightness of a smart light bulb refers to the maximum amount of light that the bulb can produce. This is typically measured in lumens (lm), with one lumen being equal to the light that is created by a single burning candle. If you are looking for an outdoor security light, then it’s important to find a smart bulb that can shine with 1,000 to 1,500 lumens in order to ensure that the security bulb can illuminate the area around your home.
Smart light bulbs will usually have a brightness that ranges from about 100 to 1,500 lumens, though some premium outdoor products can exceed 2,000 lumens. While a high brightness is effective for security, lower lumen smart light bulbs are a good option for decorative lighting indoors and outdoors.
Compatibility and Functions
An increasing number of manufacturers are adding smart home compatibility to the design of their products, allowing the smart bulbs to communicate directly with popular smart home systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.
By integrating the smart light bulbs with the smart home systems, you can control the lights with voice commands instead of having to dig your phone out of a pocket or purse. In addition, many smart bulbs have extra functions outside of smart home compatibility, allowing users to dim or increase the brightness of the lights, change the color, set timers, create schedules, and more.
The best smart light bulbs promise convenience, but connecting should also be an easy process, or it defeats the purpose of upgrading. Smart light bulbs typically operate on one of three different connections, including WiFi, Bluetooth, and hubs, each with varying benefits and drawbacks.
– WiFi is used more often than either Bluetooth or smart light hubs because it’s easy to set up, connect, and use. WiFi also has a wider range than Bluetooth and doesn’t require an additional hub in order to function. Many smart WiFi light bulbs simply screw into an available light socket and use the power from the socket to connect to the home WiFi.
– Bluetooth systems are easy to use, like WiFi, but they have a limited range that makes it impossible to turn the light on while you are on the way home, or turn them off from the office after forgetting in the morning.
– Hubs can also be known as controllers because they serve as the brain of the system. They form a bridge between the smart light bulbs and the home WiFi system, allowing the smart bulbs to indirectly connect and use the home WiFi. However, the light bulbs that rely on hubs cannot function as smart bulbs without a hub. So be prepared to pay a higher price to purchase a central hub.
Q: Do smart bulbs last longer?
The average incandescent light bulb only lasts about 750 to 2,000 hours, while a smart light bulb will typically last about 15,000 to 25,000 hours, while remaining connected to WiFi, Bluetooth, or a smart light hub.
Q: Do smart bulbs use electricity when off?
Smart light bulbs do use electricity when they are off because they need to remain connected to the WiFi, Bluetooth, or smart light hub in order to function. However, the amount of energy that is consumed in this low-power state isn’t significant. At most, it would cost a few cents per month.
Q: How can I recycle old light bulbs?
A smart light bulb is considered e-waste and should be disposed of properly. Typically you can determine where to take your old light bulbs by contacting your local municipal solid waste agency. Alternatively, you can take the light bulbs to a local hardware store, like Lowes, that has a recycling program for light bulbs.
Q: How much do smart light bulbs cost?
The price of a single smart light bulb can range from just $2 to almost $100, while the multi-bulb packages can exceed $200. If you are looking for a starter kit with multiple bulbs and a smart light hub, then the price for these products ranges from about $50 to over $250.
Related: The Best Night Vision Goggles
Final Thoughts on the Best Smart Light Bulbs
Get started saving energy and modernizing your home with the millions of color options offered by the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart light bulbs. If you're looking for a more affordable smart light bulb that can still connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, then the GE CYNC Smart Light Bulb is also a great option.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.