Wireless LED lights, also known as smart bulbs, connected lights, and various other names, are changing the way we turn on the lights.
The electric light bulb hasn’t changed much since it was first patented by Edison in the late 1800s.
Over time, the warm incandescent glow began to be replaced by fluorescent bulbs, then by the innovation of energy-saving LEDs, and now the Internet of Things (IoT) is replacing the traditional light bulb.
Philips, a well-known manufacturer of classic household lights, has developed a set of smart bulbs designed to connect to a network and change color according to a hex color wheel.
Known as the HUE, the collection of bulbs are easy to install, can be controlled by remote or by your smartphone, and come in many different options.
Philips’ Hue WiFi LED lights can actually be moderated using If This Then That (IFTTT) configurations. IFTTT is a service and smartphone app that allows you to create simple ‘recipes’ linking functions of your smartphone or any WiFi connected thing to respond very specifically to stimuli of your choice.
For example, you could set up the lights in your room to flash a different color when you get an email flagged as important, or to change in hue from warm to cool (a tested method of waking up naturally in the morning).
Phillips Hue Features & Specs:
- The starter pack comes with Hue bridge and three bulbs.
- Control up to 50 bulbs (entire house) on a single bridge.
- Control and manage from your smartphone or tablet.
- Smart bulb application: Indoors.
- Voltage: 120v.
- Works with Amazon Echo for voice commands. This will allow you to control your home automation system in an entirely new way. Just think, you can now say “Alexa, please turn the lights off.”
- Easy to setup and control.
- Great support services.
- A trustworthy company who has been in the lighting industry for a long time.
- Requires a central hub. Some wireless LED lighting solutions do not require this.
- Sometimes software updates will cause connectivity challenges. As the product advances and improves, this will likely not be an issue whatsoever.
LIFX is a great option for anyone looking to get started with wireless LED lights. LIFX bulbs are known for their easy setup and quality of products.
The color bulb has 16 million colors, and 1,000 shades of white alone.
The app is extremely user-friendly, and aside from selecting millions of colors and setting themes, you can divide your home into zones – if you have multiple bulbs.
Features & Specs:
- Built-in WiFi (no need for a central hub).
- Color changing light bulb if using the color option, there is also a white version.
- Dimmable, adjustable colors/shades, easy to use home automation settings.
- Voltage: 120v.
- Bulb Type: Wireless LED
- Easy to setup. Just download the app, connect to WiFi, and start playing with the bulbs colors and setting right away.
- Color changing smart bulb. Choose from thousands of colors and setting options such as a flickering fireplace.
- Bulb size. Depending on the size you have to work with, you might run into issues with bulb placement.
Connected by TCP
TCP makes wireless led light bulbs and remote control systems that let you remotely monitor the status of all of the lights in your home.
A system like this can be used to turn all the lights off in your smart house once you’re in bed, or to give prospective burglars the impression that someone is home, even when you’re not.
TCP connected lighting offers extremely simple setup and even comes as a starter kit if this is your first time using the wireless LED lights. Connected TCP bulbs are a good option since the company is primarily focused on home lighting solutions.
Features & Specs:
- Compatibility: Amazon Echo & Wink.
- Brightness: 800 lumens (think the standard brightness of 60v light bulb).
- Lifespan: 22.8 years (3 hours usage per day).
- Energy used: 11-Watts.
- Smart bulb application: indoor/outdoor.
- Price range. Connected TCP lights allow you to create a smart home ecosystem with only a couple steps.
- Dimming function works great. You can also set If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes. For example, you could have the lights dim around 6:30 when you know you are about to sit down for dinner.
- Customer service has negative reports regarding their service.
- White option only
The GE Link is one of the best smart bulbs for anyone looking for an inexpensive way to create a smart home. You won’t break the bank with a $14.95 per bulb price.
Features & Specs:
- Compatibility: Amazon Echo, Wink, Alexa (hub required for voice control).
- Brightness: 800 lumens.
- Energy Usage: GE Link uses about 80% less energy than a traditional bulb.
- Lifespan: 22 years (based on 3 hours per day).
- Ability to control single bulb or groups of bulbs.
- Simple home automation setup.
- Requires Apple or Android smart device (tablets/desktops are not supported yet).
- Inexpensive. For only a few dollars more than a traditional light bulb you can have a connected bulb.
- User-friendly setup and use.
- Larger physical size. Sometimes makes fitting in tight locations (such as desk lamp) challenging.