Although underrated and often overlooked, smart lighting is the ideal place to start when getting started with home automation and transformed your house into a smart home. Not only does smart lighting require the least commitment, it’s also the easiest to install. In the past few years, smart lighting has exploded on the market. While they all generally do the same thing, several have unique features and are more reliable than others. Here, I’m going to highlight three of my favorite smart lighting options:
The Industry Powerhouse: Philips Hue
Philips Hue is the most well-known smart bulb and arguably the first on the market. As they’ve been around for awhile, they’ve greatly improved Hue. Their latest release is the White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, which features three bulbs and a bridge to connect them to the app. The big selling point of this kit is that you can create ambiance in their home and transform the mood of any room. Choose from 16 million light colors, schedule the lights to turn on or off at certain times of the day, and monitor remotely. You can change to lights to match the mood of a movie you’re watching, or even sync so they change colors to match the beat of the music you’re playing. If you’re looking for a reliable smart lighting system from an industry leader, Philips Hue is the smart bulb for you.
The Minimalist: Flux™ WiFi Smart LED Light Bulb
While the Flux™ may not be as well known on the market, it offers many of the similar features of the Philips Hue. You can choose from millions of light colors, you can sync to your music, and you can remotely schedule via an app. While Flux™ may not pack the reliability and recognition of Philips Hue, it does offer a unique feature that no other smart light bulb currently offers: hubless control. Most smart devices require a hub of some sort, which serves as a bridge between the device and the app through which you can control it. With Flux™, the WiFi control is built into the light bulb. All you have to do is screw in the light bulb and the app will connect with it. If you’re someone who is tired of a million different hubs in your house and wants to simplify technology, the Flux™ is your new best friend.
The Affordable Pick: GE Link Wireless Smart Connected LED Light Bulb
Despite being on the market for some time, smart lighting is still expensive. Each light bulb costs a pretty penny, and you typically need a hub and multiple bulbs to make smart lighting worth it. If you aren’t entirely sold on smart lighting, or don’t have the budget, GE has an offering for you.
The GE Link is a wireless smart LED bulb that integrates with the Wink smart home platform, meaning it works with other Wink-approved products, including Lutron, Honeywell, and even other smart light bulbs, such as Philips Hue. Not only is the Link significantly less expensive than any other smart light bulb, they also use 80% less power than traditional bulbs and, if used for three hours a day, last more than 22 years.
While the GE Link has had some quirks in scheduling, it offers much of the same features as the Philips Hue and Flux™. If you don’t mind troubleshooting the occasional problem and want to save money, check out GE’s great offering.
Photo by: Philips Communications