One of the easiest ways to get started with a smart lighting control system, is the use smart LED bulbs, or wireless smart bulbs. Wireless smart bulbs are great DIY products that anyone can setup, take almost no technical know-how, and are fun to use. An automated lighting system based on smart wireless light bulbs can make common tasks easier, increase home security and add ambiance to your home through the ability to wirelessly dim and adjust lights from your smartphone or tablet (iPad or Android). LED lights also use a lot less power than incandescent or compact florescent bulbs, and last longer too.
Some smart bulb systems can be expanded by the addition of accessories like Zigbee or Z-wave dimmers or light switches or added to popular smart home systems (such as Wink or SmartThings); others only work with the supplied app. Know what options you want and how you might want to expand before buying.
Here are three good smart wireless LED light bulbs to get you started:
Philips may not have started the smart lighting craze, but the Hue lights certainly have increased the category’s popularity. Hue lights can display almost any color imaginable, and you can save the colors and scenes in the app to quickly bring your room back to the shade you mood demands. Mood lighting has never been easier. A Hue starter kit includes 3 wireless LED bulbs and the Philips Hue Gateway. The Gateway connects to your home router, and communicates with the LED bulbs via Zigbee. You control your lights over WiFi with the free Hue app. The system starts at $200. You can then add more bulbs or even Hue LED strip lights.
The Lumen Smart Bulb from Versifli can change colors similar to the Philips Hue system, but you don’t need the separate Gateway. Your smartphone controls the Lumen wireless light via Bluetooth 4.0 from up to 30 feet away instead of WiFi or Zigbee. The Lumen bulbs can the configured to respond to phone calls or text messages and can even change color along with music. One bulb costs $39.
GE is getting into the smart bulb game with the GE Link, a 60 watt equivalent smart LED bulb that works with the Quirky Wink smart home hub. The bulb itself is a bargain at only about $15. The bulb, which communicates via Zigbee to the $50 Wink smart home hub can be controlled with the Wink app. It’s only a white color bulb, which is one of the reasons it’s so much cheaper than the color-adjustable bulbs like those from the Philips Hue line. But for most users, plain old white light is just fine.