Best smart bulbs for your connected home
Smart light bulbs—LED-based bulbs that can be controlled by a hub or
smartphone app—are no longer a new idea. What is new is how far this
technology has come since its advent just a few years ago. Also new:
Products like the Nanoleaf Aurora—a system of interlocking LED panels
that let you decorate with light—fundamentally change the light-bulb
Smart LED bulbs aren’t quite a commodity, but they are getting close to
maturity as far as the market goes. Today’s bulbs are more compact, much
brighter, have better color representation, and, for the most part,
feature control apps that do more than ever and are easier to set up.
Prices have also come down, with some no-name color-tunable bulbs now
available for less than $10 each. (Buyer beware: You get what you pay
With their rainbow of hues and myriad party tricks, color LEDs get all
the press in the world of smart lighting. It’s fun stuff, but the
reality is that most of us will rarely find much of a need to turn all
the lights in the house blue or red—unless it’s time to celebrate our
team winning the World Series. Even then, you’ll probably want to turn
them all back to white after the celebration.
White light is also important in its own right, as today there is plenty
of science to show how various shades of white—with variations in color
temperature—impact our psychological state. Cool light that’s closer to
blue has an energizing effect, and is best in the morning. Warm light
is relaxing, and is best after the sun goes down.Note, however, that not
every white LED smart bulb is color-temperature-tunable. Check out the
specs before you buy.
White smart bulbs downplay the party features that are a staple of
color-tunable bulbs. On the other hand, white smart bulbs are less
expensive than color bulbs, making it more affordable to roll them out
in multiple rooms.
We’ve tested just about every color and white LED smart bulb on the
market. You’ll find links to all our reviews at the bottom of the page,
and we’ll update this story as new models are introduced.