Best Smart Light Bulbs of 2020

Things to Consider about Smart Light Bulbs

How much should I spend on smart light bulbs?

The easy answer is as much as you want to. But because most of us don’t have piles of money to burn, let’s look at the difference between more expensive smart light bulbs and cheaper ones. All smart lighting solutions are more costly than regular incandescent or LED bulbs, but smartbulbs deliver extra convenience, ambiance, and security.

Philips Hue smartbulbs are the industry standard, and they aren’t cheap (the starter kit we recommend comes with two bulbs and the Philips Hue Hub for around $70).

They do offer a good track record, though—and these bulbs should last about five years. If you want lights that can be controlled remotely and integrated with a security system, then we recommend ponying up the extra cash for Philips Hue bulbs.

If all you want is extra convenience, then you’ll be happy with less expensive (and less feature-rich bulbs) like the Cree smart light bulb (starting around $15 per bulb).

Why do I want 16 million color options?

At first glance, it’s easy to wonder, “Why in the world would anyone want 16 million colors?” In fact, I asked that very question. After digging into this highly important topic, I came up with some reasons that 16 million colors may just make sense after all.

In addition to being a whole lot of fun, Philips Hue’s color light bulbs cash in on scientific proof about how color can influence your mood.¹ If you want to use these smartbulbs to hack your mind and emotions, here’s a color guide to help you get started (but the Hue app already provides pre-set scenes to help you create the mood you’re looking for).

  • Pump up with red. The vibrant shade is said to boost excitement and strength.
  • Get creative with green. Set your bulbs to a greenish hue to get those creative juices flowing.
  • Zen out with blue and purple. These colors invoke calm, peaceful, spiritual feelings.
  • Don’t read to yellow. This happy color makes your eyes tired, so skip it when you curl up with a book.
  • Warm up with brown. The color of chocolate evokes feelings of warmth, security, and comfort.

What are the benefits of voice controlled smartbulbs?

Voice control assistants like Amazon Alexa are the new Clapper. Instead of clapping your lamp on, now you can tell it what to do. Not only is this fun and convenient, but for people with physical limitations or those recovering from illness or injury, voice control can actually improve quality of life.

What is a hub and why do I need one for smart light bulbs?

One of the caveats of smartbulbs is that to make many of them work, you have to do more than simply screw in the bulb. And you often have to buy extra equipment, like a hub. A hub, or bridge, helps the smartbulb connect to the internet. That connection lets you control the smartbulb with a mobile app.

It also allows the smartbulb to “talk” to other smart devices, which lets you set up different routines for different scenarios. For example, if you have a doorbell camera, the camera can trigger the porch light when motion is detected. Not all smartbulbs require a hub, and some are compatible with hubs you may already use with other smart products.

Will smart light bulbs really save me money?

The US Department of Energy recommends using LED light bulbs that work with timers and dimmers to help save energy and money.² Because smart light bulbs are dimmable and can be controlled either remotely or with schedules, they fit the DOE’s prescription. Plus, most smart light bulbs are designed to last between five and fifteen years, which means you’ll spend less money replacing burned out bulbs.


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