Level-up your lighting in 2021


Smart homes are taking over, and it seems like smart light bulbs are the gateway drug to all the things we used to call the Internet of Things. As with any new fangled device, the smart light bulb market grows every day — and is possibly the most saturated smart device market out there.

If you thought there were a lot of smart speakers to choose from, the smart light market is that times a bazillion.

It’s totally normal if you have a lot of questions. You might be asking which smart bulbs require extra equipment, or which ones are easy to set up, or which ones change color? There are a lot of details that we need to know before making a purchase, and it can be pretty stressful to feel so clueless.

There is no need to panic because everything is totally fine. No, seriously — we probed Amazon and its massive selection of smart light bulbs to find ones with the highest ratings, best customer reviews, and best prices. So you can stop asking so many questions, and relax. We’ll guide you through everything you need to know along with some insight on what to look for. It might be a good idea to consider investing in the smart plugs too while you’re at it, and if you’re keen to use Alexa support, learn all about the differences between the Echo and Echo Dot.

Whatever your intentions, we’ll help you figure out the best smart home light bulbs in 2021.

What is a smart bulb?

A smart bulb is a clever light bulb, basically. Rather than just being something you plug into a light socket and turn on via a regular light switch, you can set up a smart lighting system allowing you to control your lighting via your voice or an app. With voice commands and voice control systems, you can do things like dim the lighting, set schedules, or even have your lighting system start at the same time as other smart gadgets in your home. In conjunction with a smart plug, smart lock, or smart light switch, you’ll be impressed by what can be accomplished here.

Why do I want smart bulbs?

Convenience is the main reason why a lighting system like this is so useful. Whether your home already has Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit as part of its arrangement, you can easily use smart bulbs to make your home more automated. Add on a light strip or motion sensor, and you can get a ton more functionality but simply with a basic smart bulb or Bluetooth bulb, you can still reap the benefits of bright white lights, setting mood lighting with your voice, or ensuring your lights switch on even when you’re not home. Being able to set color temperature for different times of day is a particular joy as you can get your aesthetic just right for when you’re working or relaxing.

Do I need a hub for smart lighting?

Not always. Many smart light bulbs simply require you to connect it to your home network although this can involve some limitations such as network compatibility issues (like needing a 2.4Ghz wireless network) or restrict what you can do with them. Ultimately though, there’s a fair amount of flexibility here. While a smart hub can be useful, it introduces more bulk to your home and often, something like the Google Home app or your smart speakers can pick up the slack instead. We’ll highlight which smart light bulbs require hubs.

Are smart bulbs easy to set up and install?

For the most part, yes. Set up is usually via an app so it doesn’t take long to set up your smart bulbs. Where things get a little trickier is arranging schedules and automation features, but that still only takes about 30 minutes at the most. Actually pairing a light bulb with your home network often only takes seconds, with the vast majority of smart light bulbs being intuitive to use. Adding on features such as a smart switch can take a little longer, but it’s worth getting things set up just how you want them to reap the full benefits.

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