There are plenty of awesome smart home gadgets that can give your place some high-tech flavor, but few have the flare of smart bulbs. Kitting your house out with smart bulbs is not only a handy way to help lower your power bill, but also a delightful way to keep the aesthetics of your home fresh.

At the very minimum, a smart bulb will enable you to control it remotely, so you can turn it off if you accidentally left the house with it still on. Some will let you set schedules or integrate them with smart home automation, so they can automatically turn on when you get home or automatically turn off when you leave. Many also include multiple white color temperatures and can include a full spectrum of colors. This can let you go for vibrant white during the day, a calm glow in the evening, or rainbow hues during a party. You can also simulate a sunrise on some smart bulbs if you find waking up to a traditional alarm too jarring.

We’ve picked out a variety of smart bulbs at all price points, so you can find the lights you need for your bedroom, party room, bathroom, and every other room in your house.

TL;DR – These are the Best Smart Bulbs

1. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance

Best Smart Bulb

Others may do it cheaper or make it simpler, but none do it better than Philips. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulbs set the bar for smart light bulbs. The bulbs themselves deliver plenty of brightness and offer a wide color temperature range so you can wake up to a gradually changing white light that grows brighter and colder over time, and you opt for an energetic white light during the day and a calm, warm white light in the evening. Then, of course, there’s all the color options available to set just about any mood you can come up with.

The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs also support all the smarts that make a smart home gadget great, including remote control, scheduling, linking with third-party apps, and integration into other smart home ecosystems like HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. Plus, you can work with IFTTT for a ton of powerful automation options.

It’s worth noting that you’ll need to get a Philips Hue Bridge to make the most out of this light bulb, but that will also open the door to your home for all sorts of other smart devices like the Hue Dimmer Switch or Hue Lightstrips.

2. Sengled Color Changing Light Bulb

The budget choice

Sengled Color Changing Light Bulb

You can get a capable, color-changing smart bulb for a fair price with the Sengled Color Changing Light Bulb. This light bulb will fit into your typical A19 socket, making it easy to fit in around the home. And, though some Sengled models require a special hub in order to enable their smarts, this one can actually connect directly to your Wi-Fi network to enable remote control with the Sengled app. If you want even more convenient control, you can also link it to Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, or IFTTT.

The lightbulb offers full RGB color, so you can tune it to your delight. And, it also has a tunable white, giving you the option to go cold and bright at 6500K during the day, settle down with a calming 2700K in the evening, or set it anywhere between the two. With the Sengled app, you can create custom scenes to easily get the lighting how you like it in different situations, and you can set up schedules to control your lights.

3. Sylvania Smart+

Best Ultra Cheap Smart Bulbs

Sylvania Smart+

Whether you’ve got a ton of light sockets to fill or are just hesitant about moving to smart bulbs, the Sylvania Smart+ will be a great option. For four full-color smart bulbs, Sylvania is charging what some of its competitors might charge for a single bulbs. This makes it incredibly easy to deck out a whole room with colorful, smart light bulbs without breaking the bank.

The Sylvania Smart+ bulbs offer up an 800-lumen brightness to help you keep your room bright. They also have an adjustable white color temperature range from 2700K up to 6500K, letting you get a warm light for calm in the evening or an energetic white to wake up in the morning. At less than $10 a bulb, it’s truly impressive that Sylvania is offering Wi-Fi connectivity and support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. That a solid inclusion, since many budget devices rely on tedious Bluetooth controls or basic remote controls that really cut down on the “smart” quality of the bulb.

4. C by GE Full Color Direct Connect Smart LED Bulb

The best without a hub

C by GE Full Color Direct Connect Smart LED Bulb

C by GE Full Color Direct Connect bulbs are a bit on the pricy side, but they can save you a chunk of money if you’re looking to set up just a few bulbs. That’s because these bulbs can connect directly to your Wi-Fi network without the need for an additional hub. If your Wi-Fi ever misbehaves, they also support a Bluetooth connection that you can use as a backup.

These bulbs offer a complete smart light experience. You get the option to set the bulbs to a full range of colors or go with a tunable white that can range from warm to cool color temperatures. You can set the bulbs to run on a schedule, make custom scenes, and even control them with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. These will make for a great option if you’re just starting to dabble in smart home devices and home automation or if you have a smaller living space. If you’re planning to go big, then a hub-based solution may prove cheaper in the long run.

5. TP-Link Kasa Smart Bulb (KL125)

Best Smart Bulb with Wi-Fi

TP-Link Kasa Smart Bulb

Simple smart bulbs that can connect to Wi-Fi are a steal for those of you just starting to dabble in smart home gear. Since they don’t require a hub, you can get around the more expensive upfront investment for competing products. And, by using Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, this type of bulb allows you to control it from anywhere. That’s just what the TP-Link Kasa Smart Bulb KL125 does, and it does it with style.

Kasa has had smart bulbs for a while, and with the KL125, it’s showing how well it’s taken its know-how and boiled it down into an affordable model. For $15, you’ll get a lightbulb that supports a range of white color temperatures as well as 16 million colors. You can use that customization to set up special scenes to quickly change all your bulbs to specific colors. And, with the extra smarts, you can set up schedules to let the lights serve as a gentle alarm or come on periodically even when you’re not home – keeping would-be burglars on their toes.

6. Wyze Bulb

For the absolute basics

Wyze Bulb

Wyze wants to lower the price of entry to the smart home, and its smart light does exactly that. $8 a bulb or $30 for four. It’s hard to argue with that.

But despite costing a fraction of the price of some rivals (looking at you, Hue and Lifx) Wyze’s Wi-Fi bulbs offers all the basic features you’d expect and doesn’t require a hub to get going. That means app control for adjusting temperature, setting schedules, and turning your bulbs on/off when you’re out of the house. They also integrate with Alexa and Google Assistant.

7. Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit

Best for decorating your home

Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit

If you don’t want to be confined to light sockets and traditional bulbs, the Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit can get you set up with smart light bulbs that give you tons of flare. The kit includes a bundle of triangular LED panels, each of which can glow at 100 lumens. They also support a wide color temperature range and a full 16.7 million colors.

With the kit, you can arrange the Nanoleaf panels how you like to make custom shapes. And, you can set them to change their colors based on music or sync to the colors on a video display. They have such a wide range of compatible devices that you’ll likely find an easy way to combine them with your other devices. Gamers can even use them with Razer Synapse. While this kit will start you out with nine panels, you can add more later, including different shapes from Nanoleaf.

8. Peace by Hampton

Best Smart Bulbs to Buy in Bulk

Peace by Hampton

If you know you want to buy a huge stack of smart bulbs, Peace by Hampton bulbs are a solid bet. You can get a pack of four bulbs for $60, letting you easily outfit a whole room with smart bulbs, or you can get several packs to tackle the whole home. You won’t be adding just any old bulb to your home with these picks either.

The Peace by Hampton bulbs connect over Wi-Fi like many smart bulbs, giving you remote control of them with your phone, and they support Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls from a wide range of devices. These bulbs offer a wide range of white color temperatures, letting you dial in the lighting for calm evening hues or energetic daylight. They also support a full range of colors, so you can get much more elaborate with your in-home color schemes.

9. Nanoleaf Essentials A19

Best Smart Bulb for HomeKit

Nanoleaf Essentials A19

Nanoleaf makes some premium and expensive lighting products, but it also has a much more affordable solution available. The Nanoleaf Essentials A19 bulb costs just $20 but provides plenty of brightness, full color control, and works with Apple’s HomeKit.

The bulbs themselves use Bluetooth to connect to controllers, which can include your phone or a separate Nanoleaf control unit. They can also connect directly to a compatible border router, like the HomePod mini, using Thread, which provides more reliable control. Once you’ve got the Nanoleaf Essential A19 bulbs set up, you can enjoy a broad range of colors and calm white light in the evenings or brilliant white in the daytime, even letting the bulbs flow between color temperature automatically based on the time of day.

What to look for in a smart bulb

Smart lighting can really change your home life, but with so many available options out there it’s important to first do your research. The first port of call is to check that the base fittings are correct for your home. Luckily, many smart bulb manufacturers make a variety of different fittings. Here’s what else you need to think about.

Hubs, Zigbee and Z-Wave

The above bulb recommendations can be split into two camps: those that require a hub, and those that don’t. If they don’t, that means they’re either connecting to your router using Wi-Fi or to your phone with Bluetooth.If they need a hub, then in all likelihood the bulbs are running on Zigbee or Z-Wave. For the uninitiated, these are two wireless protocols that function like mesh networks. The benefit is that Zigbee and Z-Wave networks are more stable and avoid putting more strain on your Wi-Fi.

But Wi-Fi bulbs are growing in popularity due to the fact they don’t need a hub and can connect directly to your router. The main drawback here is connectivity – you need to have a strong Wi-Fi signal wherever your bulbs are, which

mesh Wi-Fi systems and Wi-Fi extenders can help. However, be careful not to overload the home network with all of your lights.Finally, some bulbs come with Bluetooth. Hue now sells its bulbs with Bluetooth built-in, giving you the choice of controlling them just from your phone. The obvious drawback here is that you lose that control when you leave the house, and the overall range of features is thinner.

Your platform of choice

As well as how your bulbs connect, you need to think about your smart home platform. Do you live in an Alexa home? Worship at the altar of HomeKit? Make sure any smart lighting you buy plays nicely. Most work with Alexa and Google Assistant, but a smaller number are HomeKit-friendly.

Brightness, temperature, and dimming

Not all smart bulbs are born equal. Color temperature within white bulbs – letting you shift from a colder white to a warmer yellow – is an important feature. Not all white bulbs support color temperature, and of those that do, the range can vary.

Finally, do you want your smart lights to be dimmable? Chances are the won’t work with an existing in-wall dimmer in your home, but some smart light brands now sell dimming accessories. Worth thinking about. Of course, you’ll be able to dim with the app/voice controls in most cases, but sometimes you just want a good old fashioned light switch.

Hugh Langley is a tech journalist who’s fascinated by wearables, health tech, the smart home, and more. You can find him tweeting (often nonsense) over at @hughlangley.



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