Eletiofe The Best Smart Light Bulbs (2020): Ambient Lighting, Kits,...

The Best Smart Light Bulbs (2020): Ambient Lighting, Kits, Color, and More


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If you’re anything like me, you spent your childhood dreaming of lights you could control by clapping. The Clapper’s premise was brilliant—no more getting up from your bed to hit the light switch! (You can still buy it.) But technology has come a long way since then. Now, you can control the lights, set timers and schedules, and change colors with your smartphone or your voice if you have a smart assistant in your home. No clapping required.

Smart bulbs are a great place to start if you want to make your home a little smarter. Most options are relatively cheap, and they’re easy to install. There are also no cameras or door locks for someone to hack into and invade your privacy. I’ve tested and lived with a handful since March, and these are my favorites.

If you want to take your smart home a step further, consider getting a smart speaker or smart display so you can use your voice to control bulbs. Two affordable options we like are the Nest Mini and the Echo Dot, but you don’t need them. You can always use the bulb’s app.

Updated September 2020: We added new products from Ikea and Nanoleaf. Eufy discontinued the Lumos, so we removed it.

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  • Photograph: Philips

    A Word on Smart Light Bulbs

    Lighting Tips

    You’ll typically see smart bulbs categorized by full color, dimmable white, and tunable white (bright white and warm tone options). All the color bulbs we tried have numerous white and warm settings, so if there’s any chance you might want to try out colors occasionally, we recommend going with them. If you’re buying lighting for an office or other professional space where pink or blue shades would be frowned upon (or you just want the most affordable bulb), we have basic options listed below.

    Setting up a smart bulb is simple. Usually, you only need to replace a bulb. Make sure to leave the power switch or the wall switch turned on so the corresponding app can control power instead. You might have to occasionally reconnect the bulb to the app. Most bulbs can be set up as is, but some companies require you to connect a hub to your router. It’s not the worst thing, but it can be a nuisance.

    Note: You might run into issues using smart bulbs with dimmer switches. Also, the lights we recommend below are not meant to be used outdoors. We’ll be testing outdoor bulbs soon to bring you more recommendations.

  • Photograph: Ikea

    Best Smart Bulb Kit

    Ikea Tradfri Gateway Kit

    It’s only natural to see furniture giant Ikea wade into the smart home market. Its Tradfri smart bulb kit is an affordable and easy way to make over the lights in your home. Plus, it comes with something you won’t find with the competition: a remote. Controlling light bulbs from your phone has its obvious perks, but an additional remote gives you a little more flexibility. It’s small, can turn the bulb on and off, and controls colors and brightness.

    To control these lights with your phone, you need a separate hub (or “gateway”, as Ikea calls it)—it’s not as convenient, but it does allow you to connect other gizmos to the bulb like a wireless dimmer or a wireless motion sensor. The kit doesn’t include those, but it comes with two E26 LEDs, the remote, and the gateway. We’ve linked the white spectrum bulbs below, but you can also get the kit with color bulbs. If you need more bulbs, there are more types to choose from (separate purchases), like this pretty vintage-styled bulb.

    Compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit

  • Photograph: Philips

    An Upgrade Kit

    Philips Hue Starter Kit

    This Philips-branded kit (now made by a company called Signify) is a perfect example of why hubs can be useful. It comes with four bulbs and a Hue Bridge hub, which lets you connect the bulbs to your phone or voice assistant. It’s also how you connect older Philips bulbs if you have any, as well as other first- or third-party accessories like the Philips Outdoor Motion Sensor. Go with this if you want to use one system for all your smart home devices.

    You can choose many colors and brightness levels, as well as preset scenes to set the mood (or you can make your own). The app includes helpful how-to videos that explain the extras the bulbs can do, like using one as a timer (it blinks!). Once you have the hub set up, you can purchase more bulbs. They’re affordable, and there are several options (including a color bulb). WIRED contributing writer Boone Ashworth says he’s had issues connecting to some of the bulbs, but I haven’t run into any problems during my testing.

    Compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit (Via Hue Bridge), Samsung SmartThings

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