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Finest sensible lights 2023: app-controlled mild bulbs

You’re here because you have a lot of smart home devices and want to buy the best smart lights to suit your needs. Maybe you want to ask Alexa to turn the lights out at night without leaving your cosy bed.

Maybe you’d prefer Siri to turn on your lamp when you’re feeling lazy. Or perhaps you’d like Google Assistant to create a spontaneous disco. Minus the dry ice fog. Either way, there are countless tech-infused light bulbs out there to play nice with all of your other smart home devices.

Instead of spending hours perusing all the options available, you could just scroll down through our list below. We’ve put together a selection of some of the best smart lights around. These mix functionality and price to provide a cohort that should satisfy most people’s needs.

Before we crack on though, there’s something worth bearing in mind. Manufacturers often sell the same bulb with either a screw or bayonet fitting. It’s always best to double-check you’re nabbing the right one before you commit.

Most smart light bulbs work with all of the major smart assistants too. And in the case of Philips Hue (and some other bulbs), you might need a hub (like the Hue Bridge) for full functionality. Most of our picks don’t need one though, making for an easier life.

What’s the best smart light?

If you’re starting from scratch, we think Philips Hue Smart Bulbs (check price) are the best smart lights you can get. They’re compatible with every ecosystem out there, the app is class-leading, and Philips Hue offer more designs and fittings than any other brand.

Other smart light recommendations

The best smart lights you can buy today:

1. Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance Smart Bulbs

Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance Smart Bulbs specs
Wattage 10 W
Colours +16 million colours
Color temperature 2,000-6,500K
Lumens 806
Hub required? Bluetooth control, but hub unlocks all features

Philips’ white/colour bulbs are, predictably, the most expensive option on this list. You’ll be parting with the extra cash to cop the Hue name (and the quality associated with it).

If you’ve already got a Hue setup though, then sticking to the brand makes perfect sense. That’s especially as the Philips Hue Bridge unlocks voice control support for Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Bridge-less users can still control the bulbs directly via Bluetooth. But if you’re not already invested in the Hue ecosystem (and don’t plan to be), then get something else.

TP-Link Tapo Smart Bulb specs
Wattage 8.7 watts
Colours Dimmable White
Color temperature 2700K
Lumens 806
Hub required? No

As with most options on this list, TP-Link’s bulbs don’t require a separate hub. As long as you’ve got Wi-Fi, you’re good to go.

The TP-Link Tapo smart light bulb is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, letting you turn it on and off with a mere voice command. If you’d rather (literally) take matters into your own hands, you can also use TP-Link’s companion app. Other features include the ability to dim on command. You can also set up timers to trick potential thieves into thinking there’s someone home.

This particular bulb can only provide a soft white light. TP-Link also offers fancier ones that can change hues as you see fit.

3. Fitop Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Fitop Wi-Fi Smart Bulb specs
Wattage 9 watts
Colours 16 Million
Color temperature 2700-6500 K
Lumens 806
Hub required? No

Have more than one light bulb socket that needs to be filled? This affordable pair of bulbs from Fitop should serve you nicely.

These are full RGB bulbs, letting you crank out the multicoloured gaming aesthetic when you’re tired of plain white. Better yet, they work with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, offering even more value for money.

With a lifespan of around 60,000 hours and a two-year warranty, these are an ideal choice if you’ve got a lot of rooms that need smartening up.

4. Nanoleaf Essentials LED Bulb

Nanoleaf Essentials LED Bulb specs
Wattage 9 watts
Colours 16 Million
Color temperature 2700 – 6500K
Lumens 806
Hub required? No

Despite having the reputable Nanoleaf name behind it, this smart bulb is very reasonably priced. It manages to stand out from the crowd with a unique geometric design.

The bulb surface features multiple eye-catching facets, while full RGB functionality provides more than 16 million colours at your disposal. And if you can’t tell the difference between coral red and ever-so-slightly-redder coral red, then we don’t know what to tell you.

Naturally, this is an option that will slot seamlessly into any existing Nanoleaf setup. It has support for all three major smart assistants. So if you’ve got a gaming den that’s hankering for some lighting beyond funky wall panels, this is the bulb for you.

5. Philips Hue Edison Bulb

Philips Hue Edison Bulb specs
Wattage 7 watts
Colours Dimmable soft white light
Color temperature 2100K
Lumens 550
Hub required? Bluetooth control, but hub unlocks all features

Philips’ traditional spiral bulb is a perfect accent piece for rooms or lamps where the bulb itself becomes a covetable ornament in its own right. Shedding the boring plain design of most of its peers, the spiral LED light fixture adds a dash of old-fashioned style.

As with most Philips Hue products though, those brains need the Hue Bridge to reach their full potential. So while you can directly control the light via Bluetooth, you’ll need the Bridge to unlock Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant voice commands.

This makes most of Philips’ smart lighting a bit less affordable. Especially as the base prices of each bulb tend to be higher. There’s no arguing their quality though. And if you’re already a Hue Household, then it makes perfect sense to stay in one convenient ecosystem.

6. Lepro Wi-Fi Smart Spotlight Bulbs

Philips Hue Edison Bulb specs
Wattage 4.5 watts
Colours 16 Million
Color temperature 2700-6500K
Lumens 385
Hub required? No

Bulbs are cool and all. But true minimalism connoisseurs know that flush spotlights are where the real design smarts come into play. Or not. Everyone’s opinion is perfectly valid. But we digress.

If you’re all about that spotlight life though, then this four-pack from Lepro should let you easily glitz up your ceilings, at a minimal cost. With full RGB capability, you can mix things up from calming warm white to fluorescent rave. All at the touch of an in-app button. Alexa and Google Assistant support might be more convenient, though.

Bluetooth support is also included, and everything operates without a hub for extra simplicity. They’re dimmable too, making them ideal for those groggy mornings when your eyes haven’t quite adjusted to reality.

7. Govee Smart Outdoor String Lights

Philips Hue Edison Bulb specs
Wattage 9 watts
Colours 16 Million
Color temperature 2700-6500K
Lumens 50 per bulb
Hub required? No

While Govee offers all manner of smart lights and lighting options, we picked its RGB LED garden light bulbs. You know, to add a dash of variety to our list.

Featuring 15 pre-strung LED bulbs, the string has an IP65 waterproof and shatterproof rating. They’ll add a joyful atmosphere to your garden all year round. There’s nothing stopping you from enjoying them indoors either.

With no need for a hub, they’ll play nice with Alexa and Google Assistant too, with no extra hub required.

How to buy the best smart lights

Okay, so you want to increase the IQ of your interior lighting, but don’t know where to start? Luckily we’ve been using smart bulbs for years and can guide you through your purchasing decisions.

When purchasing smart lights, compatibility will be the first thing you have to consider. Ensure that the smart lights you choose can seamlessly integrate into your existing smart home ecosystem. Common ecosystems include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. This compatibility is vital to ensure your new lights will work harmoniously within your smart home setup.

The latest development here is called Matter. This is a new standard backed by tech’s three biggest players in Amazon, Apple and Google. The platform is dedicated to making smart home devices work together in a better, more unified manner. If you want to future proof your smart lights, make sure they’re Matter compatible.

This also means that the bulb will work with your voice assistant and home app (you don’t want to have multiple apps to control multiple things in your home).

Next, consider the type of bulbs you need. Just like regular bulbs, smart lights come in various bulb types, including standard A19 bulbs, floodlights, candelabra bulbs, and more. It’s essential to ensure that the bulbs you select not only look right in the fixtures you have in your home, but also fit in them. Make sure you select the right fixture, whether that’s E27, bayonet, etc.

Another crucial aspect to ponder is the wireless protocol the smart lights use. Most smart lights use Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-Wave for communication. Wi-Fi bulbs are straightforward to set up but may strain your network. On the other hand, Zigbee and Z-Wave bulbs require a hub, which can add complexity but often provide greater reliability and extended range, particularly for larger homes.

Brightness and colour temperature are also important factors. Check if the smart lights offer adjustable brightness and colour temperature options to suit your preferences. Some bulbs are dimmable and tunable, allowing you to create the desired ambience in your space.

If you desire colour-changing capabilities, make sure the bulbs support this feature. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) bulbs offer a wide range of colours, while others may provide a more limited spectrum. Your choice depends on the level of customization you want for your lighting.

If you don’t require colour-changing bulbs, then you can often save money and just bulbs that are only capable of changing ambience or brightness.

Keep in mind, though, that some older dimmer switches may not work well with smart bulbs, so you may need to replace them for optimal performance.

Energy efficiency is a key consideration to save on electricity bills. LED bulbs are typically the most energy-efficient option and are known for their long lifespan. It goes without saying, that prioritizing energy-efficient bulbs not only benefits your wallet but also the environment.

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