Smart Homes are only smart if you can see where you’re going with the help of Philips Hue, Lifx, Ikea and more!
Looking for a decent “Best Smart Lights Comparison”? Well, there are so many Smart Bulbs from so many different vendors which makes it pretty difficult to plan your Smart Home eco-structure.
I’ve tested a wide array of bulbs, mostly from China but I’ll go into that soon as there’s some information there which may shock you!
This is my most detailed guide on Best Smart Lights I’ve tested, used and gotten rid of!
NOTE: This guide is constantly updated and will be until 2022 where I will re-evaluate this entire guide and write a new one!
There’s a huge range of bulb brands that you will have of, Lifx, Philips & Ikea Tradfri to name a few! But I’m going to be covering these and some of the hidden gems other people won’t tell you about!
Hopefully my break down on which bulbs serve which benefits the best should help, I will also have a small breakdown on RGB light strips as I do love them and I still class them as a Smart Light.
I do urge you to check out some of the reviews on the Amazon links I provide as I will update this guide whenever I can but you never know when Smartphone Apps might change!
Smart lights are so simple to install, no matter which brand you go for, I will admit now, I do use Philips Hue across all my main lights and I use a third party brand for lamps and my desk but I’ll cover the cheaper options I had when I first started my Smart Home!
Philips Hue is my number 1 place for sure and I’ll go into why shortly, but you need to know having a Smart Home isn’t expensive, it’s actually quite affordable if you cut the right corners and can live without some features!
I have got some guides on how to install certain light bulbs, so check those out if you need a general all-in-one guide for most bulbs. If that doesn’t apply, shoot me an email or a tweet @Bradly_Spicer and I’ll see if I can help you out!
What smart bulbs work best with Alexa?
The Amazon Echo is one of the best Smart Home Hubs out there, it’s your foot in the door for almost everything, it really is a crucial part of your kit unless you know how to expand into a more complex setup.
It has great speakers, it’s a great Zigbee based Home Hub and it allows you to control a wide array of devices on your network.
These, however, are my best Smart bulbs which are compatible with both the Alexa Echo, Dot and Show/Spot.
LIFX A19 / E12
No Hub Required
LIFX can be controlled by any Smart Home Hub or without! You can use your phone voice assistant to control it via their app or simply use the LIFX Phone app itself as it connects directly to your WiFi.
The bulbs support up to 16 million colours, come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and fittings/fixtures.
I find that LIFX bulbs can be brighter when it comes to colour bulbs than the Philips Hue ones. If you get a top-tier bulb it will output infrared which assists with Night Vision for your Security Cameras. £50/$60 on Amazon
IKEA Trådfri LED
Back to basics with optionals!
IKEA do great cheap furniture, so it was no surprise when these bulbs came out, also very DIY in the fact the bulb costs next to nothing but the extras are what add to this.
If you wish to use Alexa with this, you will need the TRADFRI Gateway, however, it still works as a standalone network as you can purchase motion sensors & remote controls. £22/$27 on Amazon
Great quality at a budget
The Lumos is pretty close to the LIFX bulbs, it doesn’t require a hub to communicate with Alexa, so it just utilises the WiFi connection.
It supports 16 million colours and can be turned on/off remotely as well as dimmed. I did find it a pain to find different fixtures on these lights. It’s £28/$35 on Amazon.
Hive Active Tuneable Lights
Be part of the Hive Mind!
Hive has its own ecosystem, so you’ll get a variety of smart home devices which all integrate easily with one another! These include a thermostat and smart plugs.
You will need a Hive Hub if you wish for this to communicate with Alexa, however, you can also use this with or without Alexa. £11-£30/$12-$50 on Amazon.
What is the brightest smart bulb?
As of writing this the brightest bulb you can purchase which is Smart Home compatible is the LIFX (E27) which goes up to 1,100 lumens, this was previously the A19.
This is the equivalent of a 75-watt incandescent light bulb.
The LIFX A60+ is the brightest color and white bulb. Typically, you will find that smart bulbs typically run at around 800 lumens. So, you can see why the LIFX is such a keen pick!
Which Smart Bulb is best?
There is no BEST light bulb, I tend to stick to the LIFX and Philips Hue because of how reliable they are.
I did mention I have some third party bulbs and the ones I recommend are difficult to find now as they’re just labelled as “Smart Bulb, RGB Colour”.
These are typically all the same bulb though, simply rebranded with different vendors and prices with different Apps / API connectivity.
These bulbs typically have one host on the WiFi connection and then jump from bulb to bulb to control them.
On the 27th of June, Philips Hue announced that they will be supporting Bluetooth and Zigbee, this means you’ll no longer NEED the Philips Hue Bridge, so if you have a small flat or setup (Less than 10 bulbs), this is great for you!
I’ve heard that IKEA bulbs are the best value for money
Don’t get me wrong the IKEA bulbs are pretty damn appealing at the face of it, once you read about the low pricing and then how easy it is to set up.
It’s worth noting if you don’t want color changing bulbs, this setup drops your budget a ton.
The IKEA Tradfri System needs a bridge which is £25, bulbs range from £10 to £15 and the panels are £55 to £100.
If you want a dimming kit it will cost an additional £15, but when you take into consideration a Hue setup, this is remarkably cheap!
You won’t really get the quality of the Hue dimming and there is no colour changing option at the time of writing this.
My Conclusion on the best bulbs
If you’ve skipped here, I totally understand. Sometimes you just want an answer without needing to read any of the details, so here is my ultimate cheat sheet:
|SMART BULB BUYER’S CHEAT SHEET|
|Colour LED Smart Bulb: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Bulb Starter Kit|
|White LED Smart Bulb: LIFX Mini White (E27)|
|Best Smart Bulb to work with your Security Camera: LIFX A19 / E12|
There is no overall best smart light bulb sadly especially in 2019 with so much variety, it’s all based on what you need and what best fits your needs.