With Christmas just around the corner many smart home products are on sale, hoping to make their way under the tree. This includes smart light bulbs, but what should you get? Hands down, Philips Hue is probably the best choice for most of you reading this. Yes, you need a hub but Hue bulbs are super reliable and also easier to find at brick-in-mortars in the event you need to get a replacement bulb in a hurry.
Hue offers loads of smart light bulbs and lamps that can be controlled via Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. Don’t have a smart speaker? You really should, but if you don’t the good news is you can also control smart light bulbs directly from your smartphone via any Hue compatible apps.
You can turn all the lights on or off at once, or just the one in the room of choice. You can also dim the lights to specific percentages and even check with Assistant if you forgot to turn off the one in the bathroom before going to bed. As you’ll find with all smart light bulbs, setup is a breeze. Just plug or screw in the light and follow any included instructions for setting up with an app or smart speaker.
Philips offers a few starter packs worth checking out. They include smart light bulbs and the Hue bridge hub, which is required for the system to work. If you buy the Hue bulbs individually, you’ll still have to get the Hue bridge, which goes for $60 on Philips’ website.
The cheapest starter kit with the Hue bridge goes for $70 and comes with two smart bulbs that produce a warm white light. For an additional $30, you can get a starter pack with four bulbs that emit different shades of white, from cool daylight to relaxing warm white light. The most expensive option goes for $200 and gets you four bulbs able to light up your room in 16 million different colors.
There are also loads of sexy lamps and lights available that range from $35 to $350. You can check out some of the best ones below, along with a few starter kits:
- Hue White starter kit (two bulbs) — $70
- Hue White and color ambiance (portable light) — $80
- Hue White starter kit (four bulbs) — $100
- Hue White ambiance starter kit (four bulbs) — $150
- Hue White and color ambiance starter kit (four bulbs) — $200
- Hue White and color ambiance (table lamp) — $200
- Hue White and color ambiance (suspension light) — $350
Runner up: Lifx smart light bulbs
Not impressed by Hue? Lifx is easily the second most popular choice. Lifx smart light bulbs are similar to those from Philips. You can turn them on or off, dim them, change their color, and more via Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. You can even create schedules to automate your lighting. Unlike Philips products, they don’t require a hub to work.
There are many products to choose from. The cheapest bulb will set you back $25 (Lifx Mini White), and only produces white light. You’ll have to dish out $20 more for the Lifx Mini Color, which lets you light up your home in any of the 16 million colors available. Keep in mind most Lifx products come with a discount when purchased in packs of four. Four Mini Color bulbs can be yours for $160, which brings the price of each unit down to $40 and saves you $20.
Two of the most interesting Lifx products are Tile and Beam. Tile costs $250 and comes with five tiles included in the box, allowing you to create a unique layout on a wall. Every tile features 64 controllable zones and you can assign a different color and brightness to each one — check what this looks like in action below.
Lifx Beam is cheaper, at $200, and works pretty much the same way, although it doesn’t feature controllable zones. It also has a different form factor (11.8 x 1.37 x 0.78 inches). There are six “beams” included in the box, which you can set up any way you want to create a unique look. Learn more about Beam, as well as other Lifx products, via the links below:
- Lifx Mini White — $25
- Lifx Mini Day & Dusk — $30
- Lifx Mini Color — $45
- Lifx BR30 LED Light — $60
- Lifx Z Starter Kit — $90
- Lifx Beam — $200
- Lifx Tile — $250
Best for budget: Xiaomi Yeelight family
There are tons of light bulb brands but for the most part we recommend Hue and Lifx. The one clear exception is for those looking to make their homes smarter on a budget. If that sounds like you, we highly recommend checking out Xiaomi’s offerings.
We recently reviewed Xioami’s desk lamp, smart plug, and other accessories and found them all great. Particularly impressive is the Yeelight color LED bulb. It works well and is only $20, which makes it much cheaper than the competition. In fact, this pricing wouldn’t even be expensive if we were talking about a white-only bulb, but with full color support this is a steal!
Also worth mentioning: Sengled and Nanoleaf
Another great choice for budget users is Sengled, which offers affordable smart light bulbs under the Element brand. Pricing starts at $10 for the cheapest bulb, with four and eight-packs available to bring down the price even further. But you’ll have to dish out $20 extra to get your hands on a light bulb that can change colors. Also the bulbs require a hub.
If you’re looking for something super modern and stylish, Nanoleaf is the company to go with. It sells light panels you can piece together into any shape you want. You can set schedules and create scenes that Assistant or Alexa can activate. It’s far from the cheapest option out there — nine panels go for $230. If you need more, you can get 15 panels for $315 or 30 for around $550.
There you have it, these are the best smart light bulbs and other lighting products compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!