Homeowners are embracing new smart home products at an impressive pace. At the same time, the cost of energy continues to grow. This means that conscientious choices about the devices and systems you integrate into your everyday life are some of the most important ones you’ll make.
The use of lighting has always been an element that we’ve tried to ration. Ever since we were kids, we have been conditioned to “turn the light off when you leave a room.” Not that this is a bad practice, but with smart light bulbs, it’s significantly less of a hassle–and, of course that’s not the only benefit of smart light bulbs provide.
A standard 60-watt light bulb can cost a dollar or less. That’s pretty cheap. But how does that add up in the long run? Many smart bulbs claim to last 20 years; a standard bulb is lucky to live 1 year. So, the total cost of ownership of a smart bulb over its lifetime–including energy costs–is about $86. In this time span, you’d spend about $160 on normal bulbs. That’s approximately a 50 percent savings over 20 years.
Plus, these brilliant bulbs aren’t just economical. They pack in some pretty cool features, too:
- You can control them from your smartphone from anywhere (translation: no more lights accidentally left on after you leave the house)
- They can be dimmed to various intensity levels
- Some can emit a rainbow of colors
- Many can be set on timers (imagine waking up to a nice, synthetic sunrise every morning and falling asleep to your artificial sunset every night)
- They offer a security element (timers and the ability to turn your lights on from outside the house)
Depending on which brand of smart bulb you choose, you can realize some or all of these benefits. Here is a list of “10 Super-Smart Light Bulbs” to help you find the right one. These bulbs are so smart, if there were a Mensa test for light bulbs, they’d be in the top 2 percent.
1. The Belkin WeMo Smart LED Bulb doesn’t change colors, but it is controllable by smartphone and is extremely energy efficient. It requires the WeMo Link; but a starter kit is only $49.99, and with replacement bulbs at $24.99, it’s one of the least expensive smart bulbs on the market.
2. LIFX smart bulbs range between $39.99 and $59.99, depending on whether you’re buying a color-enabled bulb or not. With LIFX, you’ll be able to control our lights, their color, and their brightness all from your smart devices, including using voice commands through Amazon Echo.
3. The MIPOW Playbulb, which doubles as a speaker, is capable of changing color, dimming, and playing your favorite tunes. It connects to your phone through Bluetooth and is reasonably priced from $31.99 to $79.99.
4. The Philips Hue, arguably the most popular smart bulb, can synch with your music or movies for an enhanced media experience. It requires a bridge, which means the initial upfront cost will be higher, but with starter kits running $199.95 and many available options, the Hue can definitely be worth the investment.
5. The Misfit Bolt offers a unique aesthetic with its aluminum body and 170-degree light dispersion. It changes colors and dims, but arguably the coolest feature of Bolt is its ability to be controlled through the Misfit Link fitness/sleep monitor (similar to a Fitbit). You can get a Bolt for $29.99.
6. The Versifli Lumen is moderately priced at $28.96 on Amazon. It connects with Bluetooth and can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet. Like many other smart bulbs, it’s capable of color changing and grouping.
7. The Flux comes with an app that enables users to create scenes, group bulbs together for synchronized control, select colors from a color palette, and operate the lights from anywhere in the world. It doesn’t need a hub to connect, to installation is simple, and it hits an average price point of $35.
8. Feit Electric HomeBrite smart bulbs come in a variety of styles including A19, BR30, PAR38, and B10, which means you can replace virtually any type of light fixture in your home with a smart bulb. They all connect via Bluetooth, are dimmable, groupable, and can be set up with timers and scenes. They don’t change color, but are very reasonably priced from $15.99 to $28.99.
9. The Stack Downlight is a versatile bulb that utilizes Zigbee technology, which enables lights to communicate with each other via mesh networking. Stack is capable of learning your occupancy routines, meaning leaving your home doesn’t necessarily mean leaving your home vulnerable. Putting your lights on “house sitting mode” will mimic your daily patterns in order to deter break-ins. Stack is available as a starter kit for $150 or a single downlight for $60.
10. The Nanoleaf is certainly the most uniquely designed, and with the Nanoleaf Starter Kit, Siri can control your lights. Nanoleaf also claims to be the world’s most energy-efficient bulb. One bulb sells for between $24.99 and $39.99.