How to Get the Best Smart Lighting for Your Home
If you want to make your home smarter, lighting is one of the easiest ways to do it. Light bulbs, lightstrips, and even light panels can give any space a modern upgrade by letting you set them to mimic natural light, sync with music or video game play, or change colors on a schedule that makes it easier to wake up or go to sleep. And best of all, smart lighting is relatively affordable compared to other types of smart devices.
The best smart lighting options can easily replace the standard light bulbs you currently have in your ceiling fixtures or lamps, and they’re compatible with virtually every smart home ecosystem like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. Some models come with a hub that connects to your router and then “talks” to the rest of the system, but others (like our top pick, the Philips Hue LED Smart Bulb) can work without a hub, making them less expensive overall.
Many smart lights are compatible with other connected devices, allowing them to turn on and off when you’re out of the house or to automatically set a light to match the colors in a piece of artwork on your wall. Others can integrate with your security system to help you keep tabs on your home when you’re away and even set them to turn on and off in response to certain events like when a door opens or motion sensors detect movement. This type of automation can be very useful if you’re often out of the house for long periods, and we look for this type of compatibility when testing smart lighting devices.
You’ll also be able to create custom light “scenes” that are linked to specific events or moods, which can help you get more use out of your smart lighting. And you can control your lights remotely using an app on your phone, which can be handy if you’re ever away from home or just want to tweak the color of your bedroom light.
If you’re not sure how to start with smart lighting, we recommend starting by upgrading your bedroom or living room with a few smart bulbs and then moving on from there. That way, you’ll be able to create some simple automations and see how you like them before committing to an entire system.
If you’re looking for a light bulb to upgrade your living room or kitchen, we love the LIFX A19 and its super slick mobile app, which is the best we’ve tested so far. The company has other great products too, including a lightstrip that can be used under cabinets or around the fireplace and the first smart bulbs to support the up-and-coming Matter ecosystem. And if you’re in the market to replace your whole home, TP-Link’s Kasa brand is another option we like because it has a wide range of light bulbs and a full lightstrip lineup that’s surprisingly affordable.