Smart bulbs and smart lights 2020

smart lights

Having a smart home isn't just about smart devices or smartphone-controlled heating, you can also get smart lights. This not only means controlling the smartphone but can also sort you out with all kinds of other cool features. 

The best smart alarm clocks 2020: wake up in style

You turn the smart lights on or off every day and they can play a vital role in creating a mood in a room. Some smart lighting solutions allow you to recreate the colors of a particular image, while other solutions simply mean that you don't have to get up from the couch to turn off the lights.  

Best of all, these smart light bulbs will almost always be a big improvement over your old light bulbs in terms of energy efficiency. They're usually LEDs, which means they use less power to operate, but planning also ensures that you can turn them off when you're away, or the geo-gates so that they'll only be on if you're at home. 

Here are some of the best smart lighting options to consider.

Our selection of the best intelligent lighting

Here is our pick for the best versatile smart lighting on the market right now ...

smart lights

Philips Hue

Features: Smartphone control, out of home control, programming, comfort dimming, room creation, alarm clock, well-being, painting with light, synchronization with music, synchronization with movies, compatible with App, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT

Available bulb types: E14, E27, B22, GU10, LED strips

System requirements: Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, app

Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android
Price: around $170 for the starter pack (three bulbs and a bridge)

Philips Hue is probably the best known for intelligent lighting and with good reason, with many features and various bulbs, lamps and other lights, such as strips, available. The wireless system allows you to use your smartphone not only to turn on and off the LED bulbs, but also to choose the color and brightness you want, as well as to recreate colors in a specific image, like a sunset that you have uploaded to Instagram or a painting on your wall.
 

You can schedule specific times, such as waking everyone in the house at 7 a.m. with bright lights and the Hue system also has a party mode for blinking in time with your music. Philips Hue is compatible with IFTTT service, as well as Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, which means you can create recipes to take your smart lighting to a different level or control it with your voice. 

Philips Hue (full system) reviews

And the best of the rest ...

Philips Hue may not be for everyone, especially since smart light bulbs aren't cheap, but there are many other great smart lights. Here are the ones you should also consider.

smart lights bulb
Hive Active Light

Features: Smartphone control, out of home control, programming, comfort dimming, room creation, Hive Actions, compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Available bulb types: E27, B22, E14 and GU10 all available in Active Light Dimmable and Active Light Cool in Warm White. Only E27 available for changing active light color

System requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Hive hub, Hive app

Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android

Price: around $88 for the starter pack (two bulbs and a Hive hub), between $21 and $45 per bulb thereafter.

Hive, perhaps best known for its intelligent heating system, offers three bulbs in its intelligent lighting range. The Hive range isn't as feature-rich as Philips Hue, but you can still control your lights from your smartphone at home or outside, program them and change the color to create your perfect mood, assuming you buy the Bulb changing color. 

There are no strips or lamps available with Hive, as there are with Philips Hue, but Hive offers both a GU10 and E14 candle bulb, as well as a B22 bayonet, in addition to standard E27 bulb. GU10, E14 and B22 bulbs are currently not available in a color change option, but they are available in dimmable white and cold to warm white options. Hive Active lights are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so if you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home device, you can also control your lights with your voice.

App control
Osram Lightify

Features: Smartphone control, out of home control, programming, comfort dimming, room creation, alarm clock, scenes, compatible with Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Google Assistant, Works with Nest and Apple HomeKit

Bulb types available: E27, B22 and GU10, E14 (dimmable white), LED strips, garden spots

System requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Lightify gateway, Lightify app

Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android

Price: Between$34 and$90 for bulbs and strips, $34 for the Lightify gateway

Osrams Lightify is one of the closest to Philips Hue in terms of bulb type availability. Its wireless system offers not only standard screw and bayonet bulbs, but also GU10s, LED strips and garden spots, all of which can be controlled via the Lightify smartphone app. 

There aren't as many features as with Philips Hue, but you'll still have remote access to your lights, scheduling functionality, mood creation and scene creation. You won't be able to sync your lights with your music or movie yet, but the Osram Lightify system is cheaper than Hue, there is a good range of light bulbs and it is compatible with most smart home platforms.

App control
Ikea Home Smart

Features: smartphone control, scheduling, dimming, alarm clock, white color adjustment, compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant

Available bulb types: E27, E14, GU10, light panels of different sizes, all dimmable adjustable white light only, E27 also available in the color spectrum

System requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Tradfri gateway, Tradfri application

Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android

Price: around $73 for the starter pack (two bulbs, gateway, remote control), between $8 and $113 for the bulbs and the panels thereafter

Are there pies in which Ikea has no fingers? The Swedish furniture giant offers many smart lighting options, at Ikea prices, making smart lighting more accessible than in the past and the system is excellent. There are many plug-and-play kits, from standard white dimming options to adjustable color options where users can switch between warm white and bright white.  

Unlike Philips Hue and Osram Lightify, Ikea currently only offers one colored bulb option, but several bulb connections are available if you are looking for a spectrum of white colors, including GU10, as well as light panels with wireless control. Ikea's smart lights are expected to last 25,000 hours and, with smartphone control via the app, there is also a remote control and dimmer. Home Smart lamps (formerly called Tradfri) are also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant, with which you will need to pair them if you want to control them away from home.

 

smart home
Sengled

Features: smartphone control, out of home control, programming, dimming, white color adjustment, compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings and Google Assistant

Available bulb types: E27, B22, dimmable white and colored options, GU10 in Sengled Boost only

System requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Sengled Home app or Sengled Color Plus app

Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android

Price: from $18 for the Sengled Wi-Fi Classic, $68 for the Sengled Color Plus, $39.99 for the Sengled Boost

Sengled Wi-Fi Classic is one of the only smart lighting options that doesn't require an additional hub in the UK - at least for many of its products anyway. Instead, the Wi-Fi Classic, Sengled Boost and Sengled Color Plus bulbs can be removed directly from their packaging, screwed in and connected directly to your router via one of the dedicated Sengled applications. 

The Wi-Fi Classic option is the cheapest, providing dimmable white light, while the Sengled Color Plus is a colored bulb with a built-in speaker and the Senged Boost is dimmable white light with WLAN enhancement capabilities. There is also a range of Sengled items, although this requires a hub. Features like scheduling, dimming and controlling the smartphone from anywhere are available across the entire Sengled range. Sengled Wi-Fi Classic bulbs are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing voice control with a compatible device.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published