5 Best Smart Light Bulbs in 2021

Best Smart Light Bulbs
Image by Kirisa / Canva Photos

With the challenge of making our lives more simple, yet keeping up with ever-changing technology, things can get complicated. Trying to keep up with new products that make our lives better is worth the effort, even the cost. Smart light bulbs are one of these products. They can help to save time, money, and resources. Here we will be looking at the best smart light bulbs that you can use to upgrade your home.

In our hunt for the best available options, the LIFX Color 1100 stood out and quickly made its way to the top of our list. Not only does this bulb get brighter than most of its contemporaries, but it also has some of the most vivid colors that you can find in a smart bulb. And, you can adjust these bulbs to the perfect temperature of white light when it’s not the right time for mood lighting. These bulbs connect through your Wi-Fi network, where you can control them through the free LIFX app, or set them to work with whatever smart home platform that you use — they work with almost all of them.

Our Top Picks: The Best Smart Light Bulbs

Here’s a quick look at our list of the best smart bulbs available today. All of these bulbs mentioned have a life expectancy of over 20 years.

  • Best Overall:  LIFX Color 1100. A bright Wi-Fi smart bulb that offers vivid colors, adjustable whites, and tons of fun features. This bulb can keep the party going or help you fall asleep. 
  • Best Eco-Friendly: LIFX Mini Day and Dusk White. Not only is this little Wi-Fi light Energy Star certified, but it also offers three different temperatures that you may dim or brighten to your heart’s desire. It’s also compatible with all the major smart home platforms.
  • Best Budget: VOCOlinc Multicolor Smart Light Bulb. If you’re looking for the best smart bulb for Homekit at an affordable price, this is it. This Wi-Fi bulb is also compatible with most other major platforms and offers a wide array of colors you can adjust to match your mood.
  • Best Bluetooth: C by GE Starter PackThis 2-pack of bulbs includes one bulb for regular use and one designed to aid in a better night’s rest. They’re perfect for anyone who prefers the simplicity of a Bluetooth connected bulb.
  • Best Splurge: Philips Hue Ambiance Smart Bulb Kit. These smart bulbs offer highly adjustable white and color lighting options that connect through the included Zigbee hub and work with most of the major platforms.

1. LIFX Color 1100

The best smart light bulb overall

LIFX Color 1100

Brand: LIFX | Connection Style: Wi-Fi | Shape: A21 | Base/Socket Size: E26 | Lumens: 1100 | Hub Required: No | Compatible With: Alexa, Google Home, Homekit, Microsoft Cortana | Includes: 1 Bulb | Price: 💰💰💰

If you’re looking for the best smart LED bulb with customized lighting, LIFX is the way to go if you want a Wi-Fi bulb. The LIFX Color 1100 is our favorite bulb in their offerings. It’s bright, the equivalent of up to 75 watts from a traditional bulb, but fits in all A19 adapted light fixtures. It’s also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. Because of the built-in Wi-Fi, no hub is required making this an easy fit into our lineup of the best smart light bulbs.

  • The colors are incredibly vivid
  • Brighter than other smart bulbs
  • Lots of fun light effects and themes

  • Some connectivity issues
  • The app isn’t very intuitive

2. LIFX Mini Day and Dusk White

The best eco-friendly smart light bulb

LIFX Mini Day and Dusk White

Brand: LIFX | Connection Style: Wi-Fi | Shape: A19 | Base/Socket Size: E26 | Lumens: 800 | Hub Required: No | Compatible With: Alexa, Google Home, Homekit, Microsoft Cortana | Includes: 1 Bulb | Price: 💰💰

These Energy Star Certified bulbs only use 9 watts of power to give you 800 lumens of light — the equivalent of 60-watt incandescent bulbs. With adjustable brightness levels and a wide range of warm to cool whites, these lights work for the day, night, and everything in between. Not only are these bulbs compatible with all the major smart home platforms on the market, but they work with many of the less common platforms as well. Another great feature of these bulbs is that they’re slightly smaller than traditional light bulbs in width and height. This gives them the ability to fit fixtures that can’t accommodate many other smart bulbs.

  • Pleasant quality of light
  • Lots of convenient automation settings
  • Extensive range of brightness levels with very dim lows

  • Android app is a bit buggy
  • Initial setup is somewhat difficult

3. VOCOlinc Multicolor Smart Light Bulb

The best budget smart light bulb

VOCOlinc Multicolor Smart Light Bulb

Brand: VOCOlinc | Connection Style: Wi-Fi | Shape: A21 | Base/Socket Size: E26 | Lumens: 850 | Hub Required: No | Compatible With: Alexa, Google Home, Homekit | Includes: 1 Bulb | Price: 💰

VOCOlinc produces one of the best cheap smart light bulbs on the market. These bulbs offer tons of customizable colors and various temperatures of white lighting. Because they connect through your Wi-Fi, you can control them from anywhere with the app. Remote access can be great for home security and pets. VOCOlinc smart bulbs also work with Alexa, Google Home, and Homekit to give you hands-free control over your lighting. 

  • Easy setup
  • Can connect directly to Homekit without the 3rd-party app
  • An inexpensive bulb that has most of the same features as pricier options

  • Sometimes the light’s response to app commands is slow
  • Some users had issues connecting these with Google Assistant

4. C by GE Starter Pack

The best Bluetooth smart light bulb

C by GE Starter Pack

Brand: GE Lighting | Connection Style: Bluetooth | Shape: A19 | Base/Socket Size: E26 | Lumens: 850 | Hub Required: No | Compatible With: Alexa | Includes: 2 Bulbs | Price: 💰

The unique qualities of this smart bulb kit are two-fold. The first is the C-Sleep bulb that is programmed to create a calming atmospheric light at night and brighter light to help you rise and shine in the morning. The second part is the C-life bulb, which is a single-color bulb that is great for a living room or kitchen and is easily customized via the app to be the right amount of shine.

These bulbs are an excellent option for anyone searching for the best smart bulb for Alexa that connects through Bluetooth. However, because these lights are Bluetooth enabled and do not need a hub to work, you won’t need anything more than a smartphone to control them.

  • Easy to set schedules
  • The brightest setting is quite bright
  • Excellent selection of temperature and brightness settings 

  • You have to be near the bulbs to control them
  • The app sometimes struggles to find the bulbs

5. Philips Hue Ambiance Smart Bulb Kit

The best splurge smart light bulb

Philips Hue Ambiance Smart Bulb Kit

Brand: Philips | Connection Style: Zigbee | Shape: A19 | Base/Socket Size: E26 | Lumens: 800 | Hub Required: Yes | Compatible With: Alexa, Google Home, Homekit | Includes: 3 Bulbs & 1 Hue Hub | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

We love these Color Ambiance Smart Bulbs from Philips. They are a perfect option for anyone who wants to access a smart light bulb’s full features. They are compatible with most Home Assistant Devices, and they only use the Wi-Fi when sending commands so that they won’t clog up your speed. Philips boasts an egregious amount (16 million) of color combinations. Simply put, this means that you can mess with the shades and hues to specific RGB numbers to match any color you desire.

While we did link to this full kit that comes with a higher price tag, you can also buy the individual bulbs if you already have the Hub. Although the Philips Hue bulb is compatible with most platforms, many of the reviewers commented on how this is the best smart bulb for Google Home integration that they’ve found.

  • Bulbs stay connected
  • Bulbs don’t cause congestion on the Wi-Fi network
  • The hub allows the bulbs to be further away from the router than typical Wi-Fi bulbs

  • The hub has to plug directly into your router 
  • The white light options seem yellowish or bluish 

What to Look for in the Best Smart Light Bulbs

Laying out some of the Best Smart Light Bulbs on a tabletop
Image by Anthony Shkraba / Canva Photos

Unlike smart light switches, smart bulbs don’t require you to do any wiring — they just screw into the light sockets you already have. The best smart light bulbs are a fantastic addition to any home, but you’ll want to make sure you pick ones that are the correct size and have all the features you want. Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll want to know before you buy.

Size and Shape

So the very first thing you probably want to check is size. No matter how amazing the bulb is, it won’t do you any good if it doesn’t fit your fixtures. There are two different measurements that you’ll want to check.

1. Base and Socket Size

The base/socket is the most critical size to match because it will determine whether the bulb can screw into your fixture. If you’re looking to replace a standard household light bulb, the chances are that the base size you’ll want is E26 if you reside in the United States or anywhere else that uses 120V AC. In Europe and other places where the electricity runs on 240V AC, the most common base size is E27. If you’re looking to replace a bulb with a nonstandard socket size, you can likely find a smart bulb that will work — you might just have to search a little harder to find the right one.

2. Bulb Shape and Width

In the United States, A19 (A = A-series, 19 = 19/8” or 2 ⅜”) is the most common bulb used in homes. A indicates the shape of the bulb and is short for A-series light bulbs. The number following the letter signifies the bulb’s diameter in one-eighth inch increments. Another typical size you’ll find in smart bulbs is A21 (A = A-series, 21 = 21/8” or 2 ⅝”). These bulbs are only slightly wider than the A19 bulbs and will sometimes be a little bit taller.

The shape and width won’t be as crucial as getting the base/socket size right. However, if the fixture you’re screwing your bulb into has a covering that limits your bulb’s size or you simply want your new bulb to match the look of the other bulbs in your home, then you might want to pay closer attention. 

Wi-Fi 

These bulbs connect directly to your Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi smart bulbs don’t require a hub, and you can control them from anywhere through an app. However, if you plan on having lots of smart bulbs, you may want to consider a different option. Too many Wi-Fi smart bulbs can crowd your network because each one acts as a separate connected device. Make sure the area of the house where you want to use these bulbs gets a good Wi-Fi signal — trying to use these in areas with spotty Wi-Fi can be very frustrating. Also, if your Wi-Fi goes down, you’ll lose the ability to control your lights. 

Bluetooth

The advantage of Bluetooth connected smart lights is that you don’t need to rely on the internet or a hub to run them. However, the drawback to Bluetooth smart bulbs is that connectivity is all about proximity. You’ll have to be close enough to pick up the Bluetooth signal to operate these lights. This means that you won’t be able to operate your lights from anywhere to make it look like you’re at home when you’re on vacation, and you can’t simply adjust the lighting for your pets when you’re out. Usually, you can work around some of these issues by setting up schedules, but you are more limited in what you can do. Also, keep in mind that Bluetooth bulbs will only connect to one device at a time. 

Hub or No Hub

Purchasing a hub can add an extra expense, but, for some, it might be worth it. If you want the advantages that come with a Wi-Fi smart light, but you don’t want to worry about your lights clogging up your signal, this might be an option to consider. Using a hub tends to result in fewer connectivity issues than the standard Wi-Fi smart bulbs.

Compatibility 

If you’re already using a smart home platform like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri, finding a smart bulb that’s compatible with your current system might be the way to go. Let’s face it, being able to access everything in one place is always convenient. Unfortunately, not all smart bulbs work with every platform, so be sure to check that you’re buying a bulb that works with your system. However, if you’re not using a smart home platform, then compatibility isn’t something you’ll need to worry about. 

Features and Benefits of Smart Bulbs

Holding one of the Best Smart Light Bulbs
Image by Riki Risnandar / Canva Photos

Smart light bulbs have earned the title of smart, along with other products, because they do more than their predecessors — thanks to advancements in technology. Let’s take a look at some of the features and benefits of these new smart bulbs.

Control

You can control smart light bulbs from anywhere and program them to run on a preferred schedule or control them from an app on your phone. This is perfect if you leave on vacation or if you just want to set them to turn on at a specific time, so you don’t have to walk into a dark house. 

Dim or Brighten

You can adjust the brightness of smart light bulbs without the need for actual dimming light bulbs or the use of dimmer switches. This way, you can always control the amount of light in a room, which is ideal for conserving energy in the early evenings and always finding the perfect mood lighting.

Change Colors

The bulbs can change color as often as you change your mood. Whether you want a holiday feel or just something more cheery, you can have that with most smart bulbs.

Play Music

Some smart bulbs can play music, which might be perfect for a child’s room or nursery.

Better Sleep

Some of these smart light bulbs can send out a different color temperature specifically made to increase the body’s melatonin production and help you sleep better. And, when you need to keep alert and focused on your work, they can do the opposite.

The best part about smart LED light bulbs is that you don’t need to rewire your entire home. The best smart light bulbs work on an app on your phone, a voice-activated virtual assistant, or simply through your Wi-Fi.

Our Process

For this guide on the best smart light bulbs, our team spent 7 hours researching the most popular options from over 13 brands and manufacturers, big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each unit. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 10 smart light bulbs on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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