Smart bulbs are the perfect place to start if you’re looking to haul your home into the connected house revolution. What’s more, they’re getting cheaper and easier to set up all the time.
Aside from being a gadget lover’s dream for creating the perfect movie night atmosphere, smart bulbs can double as a superb security measure while you’re away. Or they can set the mood for a calm night after a stressful day at work. They’re truly versatile.
What’s more, some can now even be controlled by wearables such as the Apple Watch and smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo, and with low power LED tech, they’ll save you money over a bad old incandescent bulb. Here’s our pick of the smart bulbs systems.
Philips Hue is a fuss-free smart lighting system that does everything you’d want it to and more. You can alter the brightness and colour of individual bulbs, pick colours from images and hook the lights up to IFTTT ‘Applet’ recipes via slick apps for iPhone, Android and desktop. Control apps on wearables include the Hue iOS app’s support for Apple Watch. A starter pack comes with three LED bulbs, at 600 lumens including the bridge.
If you’d like to keep things simple, there’s the white ambiance bulbs that enable you to control brightness and colour temperature between 2200K and 6500K. If you want to spice things up, the new generation 3 bulbs have been improved with deeper, richer colors to really get the mood lighting going in your home.
LIFX A19 / E27
Originally a Kickstarter project, LIFX’s bulb is a worthy rival to the Philips Hue with 16 million colours – 1,000 shades of white alone – and Wi-Fi bulbs with maximum brightness at 1,100 lumens. And best of all, it doesn’t need a hub.
The newer A19 bulb reduces the bulk so it will work in more light fittings, and it uses a standard screw fit. Set up is simple and LIFX can even connect to your Nest smart home system if you have one. If you’re more of an Apple HomeKit person, you’ll be happy to know that it supports that, too, making it the first non-hub smart bulb to support Apple’s smart home initiative.
The app itself is easy to use, and aside from controlling colours and setting themes, you can also split your home up into zones – if you have multiple bulbs – and then create timings for them, which is a great way to secure your home when you’re away.
You’ve seen a smart bulb. They look like regular bulbs, except that you can use your phone or smart home system to control them. The Nanoleaf Aurora, inspired by the aurora borealis, is a whole different beast. It’s a modular lighting system.
You can arrange the triangle lights in any shape you want, and you can use the app to customise each panel and create movement patterns. So yeah, if you want to arrange your cool blue lights to transform into purple, and then red, and then yellow, have at it.