The Best Smart Lighting For Your Home

If you’re looking to bring smart lighting into your home, there are more options than ever before. You can buy bulbs that will work with many of the smart home ecosystems — including those offered by Amazon, Google and Apple — or those that use a different protocol altogether (Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth or a proprietary RF from a specific manufacturer). And there are plenty of accessories to consider, like dimmer switches that replace existing ones on your walls, or LED light strips that sit underneath desks or in cabinets. You can also find lights for outdoor areas and even illuminating panels that stick to the wall and act as artwork.

The best smart lights will let you control them via the app on your phone, or by voice through an assistant such as Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. You can also set up a schedule, switch them on and off, or choose from pre-set scenes. Some will even let you monitor your energy usage.

Most of the bulbs we tested are brighter than regular ones – the brightness is listed in lumens, with higher numbers meaning they’re brighter. Some have additional features, such as the ability to mimic the movement of the sun and adjust their colour temperature throughout the day. Others offer a way to track your energy consumption over time and estimate how much you’re saving. And the smartest will display a ‘usage’ section in their app that will show you how much each bulb is being used.

Philips Hue from Signify is widely regarded as the best brand in smart lighting, and there are plenty of bulbs to choose from in its ecosystem. These include standard white and multicolour bulbs, as well as dimmer switches for your existing lamps or light fixtures and LED light strips that can be affixed to under-cabinet or over cabinet lighting. There are also ceiling fixtures, outdoor smart plugs and motion sensors for triggering the lights when you’re in range.

Other good choices include LIFX, a major competitor to Philips that was recently sold to Feit Electric but will continue to operate under its own name, and GE’s Cync line of devices that includes switches, bulbs and LED light strips as well as a smart thermostat and security camera. These devices are often less expensive than the flagship offerings from Hue and LIFX.

And, of course, there are countless smaller brands offering competitive products. Some of these may be more difficult to set up, or they might not have as robust a feature set, but they can be a great option for those who don’t want to commit to a single ecosystem. In fact, there’s a new smart home standard called Matter that promises cross-platform compatibility and could eventually displace the existing protocols we see in today’s smart lighting offerings. But until that happens, we recommend that you do your research to ensure your smart lighting will work with the other devices in your home. best smart lighting

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