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If you’ve finally decided it’s time to start your smart home, but don’t know where to start, our recommendation is getting a set of smart light bulbs. These bulbs screw into a regular sized light fixture, and can be controlled with your existing light switch.
In most cases you won’t need any additional hardware to set smart light bulbs up, so they’ll basically be invisible to the outside world. This subtlety, combined with their ease of use and quick setup process, make smart light bulbs the perfect beginners smart home accessory.
You can get one bulb at a time, but depending on your situation it may be smarter to go for a bundle instead. Not only can you cover more ground, but you end up saving money compared to buying them individually. The cost savings isn’t substantial (usually around $10), but it’s still worth considering.
What Are The Best Smart Light Bulbs To Get In Bulk
Smart-home integration: All smart light bulbs can be controlled by using an app on your phone (iOS or Android), but most of them can also work with a smart home hub, like an Amazon Echo. These hubs allow you to turn your lights on and off using only your voice for a totally hands-off experience.
Color temperature: One of the biggest advantages to using a smart bulb is that many of them allow you to change their color temperature. Most people have heard of blue light, which is given off by your smartphone, computer, or TV, and may disrupt your sleeping cycle. Changing your bulb’s color temperature allows you to reduce the amount of blue light it emits, which will be easier on your eyes (and brain) at night.
Requiring a hub: Some smart light bulbs can be used straight out of the box, but the more sophisticated ones require you to connect a “hub” into your WiFi router with an Ethernet cable, and plug it into an outlet. You only need one hub to connect to dozens of smart light bulbs (and other accessories), so it’s a one-time investment.
Energy savings: All of the smart light bulbs on our list are energy-efficient LED bulbs, which require less energy to power, and last longer than traditional bulbs. They can also be scheduled to turn on and off at certain times, so your bulbs only consume power when necessary.
Because you’re able to set them on a timer, and check to see if they’re on or off after you leave the house, smart light bulbs may actually help you save a little money on your energy bill each month.
1. Wyze Smart Bulbs
Wyze’s smart light bulbs are our entry-level pick, but they support all the important features you’ll actually use. You can control them via the Wyze app (iOS and Android), or by using a smart-home speaker. They don’t require a hub, so all you need to do is screw these bulbs into your light fixtures before you set them up.
These are white smart bulbs, which means you can’t set them to any fun alternative colors, but you can change their temperature between 2,700K and 6,500K. The “K” stands for Kelvin, the unit of measurement used for color temperature. You can set the temperature anywhere on that spectrum, but lower numbers will produce a softer amber light (easier on your eyes at night), while higher numbers will produce a bright white light (less distracting in the morning and afternoon).
Wyze says you can group bulbs together, so you can control many (or all) of them at the same time. If every bulb is in one room, it can be more convenient to say “Alexa, turn off living room lights,” and have all of them follow suit at the same time.
If you want a simple set of smart light bulbs to start your smart home, Wyze has you covered.
2. Philips Hue White LED Smart Bulbs
Philips basically invented the modern smart light bulb with its Hue line, and this four pack of its white bulbs are a great choice if you plan on getting really into smart lighting.
Their one big restriction is that you can’t change their color temperature, but if you’re OK with that, you’ll find a lot to like. You can set the bulbs to work on a timer, group them together to control several of them at once, and control them using an app on your phone, or smart-home hub.
Previous Hue bulbs required a Hue Hub to work, but Philips’ latest generation doesn’t. You can screw them into your current light fixture, and set them up using the Hue app (iOS and Android). You can only use up to 10 Hue bulbs without a Hue Hub (getting one increases that number to 50).
The reason to get this set of bulbs is because they fit into a larger ecosystem of Philips Hue smart lighting that includes light strips, color changing smart light bulbs, and portable smart lights. If you plan on outfitting your whole house out with smart lights, it’s easier to stick with gear from one company.
If you’re interested in starting small, but planning on getting really deep into smart lighting over time, Philips Hue White LED Smart Light Bulbs are the best choice.
3. Sengled Smart Color Changing Light Bulbs
One feature that smart light bulbs can support that traditional ones can’t is changing color.
Sengled’s four-pack of smart light bulbs let you change each one to one of 16 million colors. You can choose your colors in Sengled’s app (iOS and Android), which is also required to set them up. You can control each bulb individually, or group them together to create “scenes,” which adjust multiple bulbs to different colors to recreate pleasant lighting conditions like sunsets.
These are the most advanced smart light bulbs in our guide, but they’re also the only ones that require an external hub to work. The hub must be connected to an outlet and directly your cable modem or WiFi router with an Ethernet cable. Sengled says you can add up to 64 bulbs to a single network, which is plenty for apartments and most homes.
You can adjust the color temperature of Sengled’s smart light bulbs between 2,000K and 6,500K, which is extremely useful if you use their Wake Up and Sleep Mode features. These settings allow you to set the bulbs to slowly turn on to wake you up without an alarm, and dim when you’re trying to get to bed. These visual cues may make it easier for you to regulate your sleep schedule than setting timers on your phone.
If you want smart light bulbs that can create a fun atmosphere in whatever room you’re in, Sengled’s Smart Color Changing Light Bulbs are the right pick.