If you’re looking to transform your home into a smart home, smart bulbs are one of the easiest ways to do so. From an aesthetic point of view, smart bulbs are a fun way to change up your living space. From a more practical side, they’ll let you live the hands-free future that all of those sci-fi movies promised us.
Smart lighting will make you be able to control it using either an app or voice command (if you have a virtual assistant device set up, that is). You’ll never have to flip a light switch again. If you’re chucking on a movie, you can dim your lights without leaving your couch. Throw in some multicolour bulbs and you can change the entire vibe of a room, or tone it to suit.
While Philips’ Hue line has firmly established itself as the go-to choice for smart lighting, its price point can be a bit of a turn-off. When a single colour changing bulb will set you back up to $100, it’s a bit hard to validate refitting a room with them.
If you’re looking for a more economical choice when it comes to smart lighting, we’ve put together a small list of alternative smart bulbs. That way, you can deck out your home with some slick LEDs that, for the most part, won’t cost you an arm and a leg to replace your current lighting setup.
One thing you should do before committing to any of these is to make sure you can actually plug them into your chosen fixture. Most bulbs come in two-socket styles — an E27/Edison screw or a B22/bayonet mount.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
Nanoleaf is pretty well known for its range of modular LED light panels, but much like the Philips Hue line, these premium smart lights come with a premium price tag. While these panels do look great, picking up one of Nanoleaf’s Shapes starter kits will set you back a few hundred dollars.
However, earlier this year, Nanoleaf unveiled its Essentials line, which included a smart bulb and a light strip. The aim of the Essentials line was to combine the quality of Nanoleaf’s high-end smart lighting with more affordable prices – and the results are very impressive. You can check out Gizmodo Australia’s full review of the Essentials bulb here.
Like the other pieces of smart lighting on this list, you control your Nanoleaf via an app, which will allow you to set a schedule for your lighting, along with having the option to download new designs and lighting modes. The bulb uses over 16 million colours, so you’re bound to find something that suits your mood.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a smart lighting set-up, but are looking for the cheapest choice possible, these HaoDeng bulbs might be what you’re after. They come with all of the features you want with a smart bulb: you can schedule routines, customise colour settings, and you can sync them with your music.
It’s also controllable via an app and voice commands with Alexa and Google Assistant. The only downside is that the HaoDeng bulbs aren’t as bright (500 lumens), and their colours aren’t as vibrant as the other smart bulbs listed here.
Xiaomi has done a really solid job with their Mi Smart Bulb. It comes with both white and colour options, with a brightness of up to 950 lumens, with a lifespan of up to 25,000 hours. The colour range has 16 million options, and the white’s temperature is adjustable between 1,700K to 6,500K.
These bulbs connect directly with your Wi-Fi, so getting them set up and ready to go is fairly simple. Your customisable lighting options are a bit limited when compared to the more expensive competitor bulbs, but that’s not to say it totally lacks adjustability. You can pair it with your Google Assistant or Alexa, allowing you to live your best hands-free life.
Yeelight’s 1S smart bulb is a good mid-range choice. You can adjust the brightness or colour choice by using a companion app, which also works with smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit. You’ll get a solid 25,000 hours of life out of a single bulb, shining at 800 lumens at 85W.
Yeelight’s app comes with eight preset colour modes, so you can easily slip into an appropriate brightness for something like a movie night. There’s even an option to sync the bulbs with your music, so you can turn your home office into a micro-club.
In terms of competitors, LIFX’s A60 smart bulbs are the ones that give Philips a run for their money. The A60 shines at a bright 1,200 lumens and has access to 550 billion different colour steps. It also has adjustable cool to warm whites. Controlling a group of lights via the LIFX app is pretty simple, and you can easily set up an automated routine.
You don’t need a bridge or hub to run these bulbs – however, if you have a smart speaker on hand already, you’ll be able to pair it with the LIFX A60, allowing you to control it with your voice.