Remember the days when we thought The Clapper was the most high-tech way to turn on lights? Thankfully, that didn’t last long. Now, we have eco- and budget-friendly bulbs that have us clapping for an entirely different reason.
We’ve already rounded up a list of best LED lights, the money-saving bulbs that are also keen on protecting the environment, but smart bulbs aren’t quite the same thing. The bulbs — first popularized by Philips’ Hue series — are currently “flood”-ing homes because of their eco-friendly advantages and robust integration with smartphones and a range of smart devices, including Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.
And while turning your lights on and off with your phone might be easy, choosing which bulbs are right for you is no simple feat. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the smartest and brightest bulbs available. Lighting up your home has never been easier.
The best smart bulb kit
The Element Classic A19 Kit by Sengled is an affordable all-in-one kit that includes two bulbs and one hub as well as an Ethernet cable. Emitting the power of 800 lumens on a mere 9 watts of energy, these super-efficient bulbs will last up to 25,000 hours. They also connect to your Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, allowing for hands-free voice control.
The Element Home app is compatible with both iOS or Android, and the group control function lets you turn all the lights in your home on or off at the same time. You can also schedule when you want your lights to turn on, and plan your mornings with the Wake-up Time feature. The performance section shows you how much power you are using relative to the money you are saving. It’s the perfect kit for newbies.
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Sengled Wi-Fi ($20)
The best starter bulb
The Sengled Wi-Fi smart bulb connects to your 2.4 GHz network without a hub. It’s super-easy to set up. You just download the Sengled Home app, twist in the bulb, and the bulb flashes on and off to indicate it’s ready to set up. Once you go through the usual steps (login, connect the device to Wi-Fi, etc.), you have dimmable smart lights you can control with your phone or with your voice via Amazon Alexa.
The low cost and easy setup makes this the perfect starter bulb. The Sengled WiFi bulb comes in 2700K soft white.
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The best color-changing smart bulb
Not your average ROYGBIV rainbow, the FluxSmart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb boasts more than 16 million different colors, allowing you to create a color palette to match your every mood.
FluxSmart started making smart bulbs in 2014, when it released its Bluetooth-enabled bulb. Now, the company offers everything from filament LEDs to Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs. The FluxSmart Wi-Fi LED Bulb is its color-conscious light, one that produces 800 lumens using just 10 watts of power. Simple to set up, each bulb can last for up to 20,000 hours and comes with a two-year warranty.
The accompanying mobile app, Flux Wi-Fi Pro, is compatible with all iOS and Android devices, and connects with Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT. The apt-titled wake-up feature also allows you to set a timer to slowly turn your lights on in the morning, and when you’re feeling a type of blue that only John Legend can fix, the music sync function changes the lightning to match the music you’re currently listening to.
How’s that for convenient?
Philips Hue Go ($80)
The best on-the-go smart bulb
If you need to take your light with you, the Philips Hue Go is the ideal choice. You can plug the device into a power outlet for a light show on your wall, or unplug it and use it as a compact centerpiece. It can also last up to three hours when fully charged, and its 300-lumen bulb can last up to 20,000 hours before needing to be replaced.
To use the light, simply press the button on the back. Philips Hue features seven different light effects, including a warm white light, an energizing daylight, and five natural dynamic lights. You can even connect your Philips Hue Go with the Hue bridge (not included), giving you full control of your home lighting via your smartphone. Currently, the device works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant.
The best dimmable smart bulb
No colors or frills necessary, Kasa’s Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb offers dimmable, soft white light that’s suitable for all occasions. The 800-lumen bulb also has a lifetime rating of 22.8 years and reduces energy use up to 80 percent when compared to a 60-watt incandescent, without brightness or loss of quality.
The accompanying mobile app, Kasa Smart, is arguably one of the most straightforward smart home apps out there. You can manage everything remotely via your phone or tablet, as well as Echo devices, Google Assistant, Cortana, IFTTT, and Nest, making it the most functional bulb available. Wake up with the sun while in circadian mode — which automatically matches light appearance to the time of day by adjusting brightness and warmth — or track your energy consumption using the aforementioned app. All you need is a secure Wi-Fi connection — no hub necessary.
LIFX Mini White ($25)
The best mini smart bulb
The LIFX Mini White is the perfect compact bulb for lighting your nightstand or home office, and emits 800 lumens using a mere 9 watts of energy. You can control the bulb from just about anywhere using the company’s proprietary cloud technology, and the eco-friendly LED comes with a life span of 22.8 years and a two-year warranty.
Like many of the bulbs on our list, the LIFX app is compatible with both iOS and Android, and works with voice services such as Apple HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant. It currently isn’t compatible with household dimmer switches, but the dimming function in the app allows you to set the mood for any occasion. It doesn’t require a hub, either, which makes this small ray of sunshine even more delightful.
Soraa Healthy A19 ($19)
The best bulb for better sleep
Soraa’s Healthy light bulbs are designed with “Zero Blue” technology. Blue light can affect your sleep, according to a Harvard Medical School Publication. We’re exposed to blue light from our phones, tablets, computers, and other devices already. In its Healthy bulb, Soraa provides a lighting solution that doesn’t interfere with our sleep by eliminating blue light and buzzing sounds.
Soraa’s Healthy light bulbs are 2,700K soft white and dimmable, but they are not smart in the traditional sense in that they don’t connect to Wi-Fi. The “smarts” are more in the science.
Nanoleaf Rhythm Smarter Kit ($230)
The best ‘cool for the sake of being cool’ bulb
If you’re willing to spend a bit more on setting up smart lighting in your home, the Rhythm Smarter Kit is the light show of your dreams. With it, you can create your own World of Color (water not included), or just set up the nine, triangle-shaped panels on your wall in whatever formation your heart desires.
You can fully customize the light inside the Nanoleaf Smarter Series app, or create scenes and set schedules — and the panels connect to all the typical voice services (Apple HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant). The coolest feature, however, is called Rhythm, which allows the light panels to react to music of all genres in real time. With the Smarter Kit, you are the conductor of your own light symphony, one that reacts to every searing guitar riff, bass drop, and vocal solo.