One of the most noticeable, attractive and practical ways of integrating “smarts” into your home is by adding smart lighting. These lights all boast a variety of features, price-points, and functionality, but they all have one thing in common: they make Edison’s invention seem a bit drab.
On this list we’ve included simple bulbs that have their own sensors, bulbs that integrate with Smart Home Hubs, and stand-alone, fully-featured smart bulbs, that can do it all themselves. There’s truly something for everyone. A few factors to consider when purchasing a smart bulb are what brightness you require, how you expect to integrate it into your smart home system (or if you need to), and how much you are willing to spend.
All that out of the way, here’s the 10 best smart home lighting devices from lowest to highest price.
1. Sengled Element Classic (Hub Required)
For those who are looking for a budget buy on their smart bulbs, these Sengled classics offer a ton of value for users who already have a hub. Of course, even if one has to purchase a hub, such as the compatible Samsung Smart Things hub (available for $49.99 on Amazon, or Wink), these lights can easily become a great deal.
These lights include a three year warranty from the manufacturer, are easy to set up, and for people who like that warm, attractive look, offer a nice 2700K appearance, meaning they look like normal soft white incandescent bulbs.
One thing to note: these lights are about 800 lumens which isn’t too bright, though it is unfortunately fairly typical with smart home bulbs. One may want to purchase two for an average-sized room. Beyond this, however, they’re a superb deal.
Price: $9.99 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Three year warranty from manufacturer
- Soft white 2700K appearance
- Best deal for users that have a hub already and want warm lights
- Easy setup
- Requires a hub for Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
- Hub needed for smart home support through Zigbee app
2. Amorno Dusk to Dawn Light (The least smart bulb that’s kind of brilliant)
For those who want a smart bulb that is bright during the night and turns off during the day, the Amorno dusk to dawn light more then delivers. It automatically switches between off and on without any configuration or set-up. No hubs or apps here, the light does it all by itself. For those who need a light that’s easy to set up and serves these purposes, this is about as simple as it gets.
Some other benefits with this light include a 120 day warranty from the manufacturer. It also comes in both warm (3000K) and colder (6000K) bright daylight appearances.
Price: $11.99 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Comes in 3000k (warm) and 6000k (bright daylight)
- Simple light that turns on at night and turns off during day
- 120 day warranty from manufacturer
- Easy installation
- Does not integrate with Alexa or other smart home devices
- Not truly “smart”
3. TP-Link Dimmable Smart LED Bulb (No Hub Required)
For those who want a smart bulb that doesn’t require a hub, these TP-Link bulbs bring a ton to the table, including the fact that they are fully dimmable. They offer superb integration with Alexa so you can use voice commands to turn them on and off, plus the include Kasa App allows you to manipulate them in sophisticated ways including scheduling, grouping, and controlling bulbs remotely.
These bulbs are also fully compatible with Nest and Google Home. On the negative side, these bulbs aren’t very bright; they’re only around 600 lumens. A small percentage of users also were annoyed with their lack of compatibility with Alexa’s scenes. If you need a more powerful bulb (feature or lumens-wise), it may be best to spend a bit more and get a Hue ($5 more per bulb, see number six on the list).
Price: $19.99 (43 percent off MSRP)
- No hub necessary
- Sophisticated, robust integration with Alexa
- Kasa app can be used to schedule, group, and control bulbs remotely (no local connection necessary)
- Superb lifetime rating (22.8 years)
- Can work with Nest & Google Assistant
- 600 lumens isn’t a lot of brightness
- No scene support on Alexa
4. Lohas Smart LED Bulb (No hub, colorful!)
For those who want a bulb with lots of features and that doesn’t require a hub, these Lohas smart LED bulbs bring a ton to the table. Boasting 810 lumens of brightness and decently vivid colors (not quite up to number 7’s, LiFX standards, but good), they offer a ton of value for the price. One can easily connect these lights to their Alexa using an app.
Beyond the Alexa connection, the app lets users set a variety of scene modes and has built-in scheduling, to make your lights adjust with the time automatically.
For those who want different colors and a solidly robust lighting system, these Lohas lights are tough to beat in price and value.
- Extremely affordable colored bulb
- 810 lumens isn’t bad
- Solid Alexa integration
- Fast and easy setup time
- App not as reliable or robust compared to Hue or LiFX
- Some users found light to be too dim
5. NexLux LED Strip Lights
These Nexlux lights offer a ton of functionality for those who want a strip setup. They’re easy to install and include robust instructions for getting things going. They also integrate fully with Alexa without any need for a hub.
They’re great for under-lighting and ambient lighting. Users love them for their effective application, easy integration, and included remote (which allows for full control of the lights and their colors).
- Bright lights with plenty of functionality
- Easy installation
- Great for underlighting and similar ambient appearances
- Can be scheduled using app
- Alex and Google Home integration
- Not good for soft, warm look
- Some users had durability issues
6. Phillips Hue White Bulbs, Two (The Mainstream Choice)
Sometimes, the industry leader is the best way to go. Phillips Hue offers the easiest setup, most robust app, and large number of integrations with Alexa, Apple Homekit and more. If you want to do fancy stuff with your lights, The Hue kit can also be customized and integrated with things like Chrome Extensions. They’re the big player for a reason.
These soft white lights (and included bridge) are great for those looking to get started with a smart home and want a reliable, simple choice. They may not turn many different colors or be the brightest bulbs, their overall functionality is superb. Plus, the Smart Bridge can connect with up to 50 Hue lights. That’s a lot of power!
- Praised as having excellent integration with Alexa
- Phillips Hue App allows for scheduling and other controls
- Easy set-up
- Good integration with a variety of services; can be integrated into great Hue system should you choose to expand
- Not as bright as LiFX lights
7. LiFX Wi-Fi Smart Bulb (The Colorful, Hub-less Choice)
Full disclosure: LiFX sent me one of these wonderful smart bulbs for review purposes. They’re a ton of fun and boast great quality, bright light. The brightness on these bulbs is better than Hue and any of the others on our list, plus the app comes with a ton of features.
These lights have the best colors in the business. They can integrate directly with Alexa and Home, and they can even sync up to music. One drawback, however, is that the current version of the app does not support scheduling of any kind. Also, one must be on the Wi-Fi network the lights are on in order to control them.
While they have some limitations in terms of absolute “smartness,” these lights offer great value in terms of light sources with tons of vivid colors and better brightness than others (1100 vs 800 lumens). Plus, they have a lot of features that are tons of fun. That said, if you are willing to spend a bit more, the Hue kit does offer some advantage and getting three bulbs is only $133.99 below (slightly brighter than two LiFX bulbs, 2200 vs. 2400 lumens).
- Tons of features themes and flexibility
- Best color quality of any multiple color system
- Brightness is better than alternatives
- Can sync to music using iPhone
- Easy setup
- Can work directly with Google Home
- Some users had issues integrating into Apple Home Kit
- Lights cannot be scheduled via the app
8. Phillips Hue Color Kit, Three Bulbs (The Established Colorful Winner)
For those who want colors, but also want the mainstream pick with the most compatibility options, this color kit boasts solid lights and color. It includes the Hue Bridge technology which means after purchasing this starter kit, users can connect up to 50 light sources to it. Another perk here, is that Hue is the most robust system by far and can work with accessories like the Logitech Harmony Remote and can even be controlled directly from Google Chrome.
While it’s not the best in terms of lighting quality, for those who want the connectivity, functionality, and reliability of going with Phillips, this is a great kit.
Price: $133 (8 percent off MSRP)
- Works with Amazon Echo, Tap and Dot; Google Home too
- Great with Logitech Harmony Remote
- Can be automated with wide variety of programs and languages
- Can be controlled directly from Chrome
- No dimmer switch
- Small percentage of users found them to be buggy
9. Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch, Two Switches
These dimmer switches can be controlled remotely, locally, and work with massive variety of lights. They are fully compatible with both Alexa and Apple’s Home Kit. Plus, the Lutron app offers a ton of functionality, should you not seek to integrate it into a bigger system.
One of the best perks here is its “Smart Away” feature. This makes the lights turn off and on at random intervals so potential intruders will think someone’s home.
These lights are excellent quality and boast a simple installation as well (about 15 minutes or so).
- Works with huge variety of lights
- Smart Away feature makes lights turn on and off randomly to make house appear occupied
- Dimmer switches are easy to install (15 minutes or so)
- Lights can be adjusted and configured heavily within the app
- Works with Amazon Alexa
- Some users had issues with Alexa integration (app has been updated since then, however)
- Not Zwave compatible
10. 4500 Lumen LED Bulb + WeMo (The Max Brightness Solution With Multiple Products)
For those who are less interested in smartness and are curious about having a “smart” system that outputs a ton of light, this is a great way to do so that uses a bit of a “jerry-rig” but is still very functional. Personally, I have three of these 4500 lumen bulbs set up, and they have made a huge impact on my mood and productivity (it feels good to be bathed in this much light). That said, one light is plenty, and boasts twice as much light (from one bulb) as three Phillips Hue lights.
While these bulbs will work with any standard e26 socket, one can get one on Amazon to hang for around $9. After one connecting this to the $29.99 WeMo (or to a power strip), it’s as simple as plugging it in, installing the app, and turning the lights on. Full disclosure: WeMo did send me a smart plug for review purposes.
WeMo’s app offers tons of connectivity. It connects to your local wi-fi, but can also be controlled remotely. It can also hook up to Nest, Alexa and IFTTT. Without any connecting, however, the app allows you to schedule the power output, and turn on an “auto-off” functionality.
If you connect numerous lights to your WeMo, you may sacrifice a lot of control over each light, but you get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of raw lighting power, and that’s a huge perk.
Price: $21.00 for the bulb, 29.99 for the WeMo, $10 for the socket = $61
- Great value in terms of lumens per dollar
- Bright lights help prevent seasonal depression
- No flicker lights
- 5000K simulates daylight
- Great for other applications like photography or video; quite simply a lot of light
- WeMo socket can be connected to powerstrip to work with array of lights
- 5000k is cold and can keep you up late if used at night (blue color)
- Emit some heat (less than most bulbs but not none)