Smart lighting is a simple, low-cost way to begin your journey into the smart home. They are straightforward to set up, reasonably priced and can be up and running within an hour or two. Some are very slick with advanced smartphone apps and lots of features.
So what features do you need to look for in your smart lighting solution?
Let’s take a quick look at each.
Price is an important consideration in any smart lighting plan. While you can build a viable smart home for a couple hundred dollars, it’s all too easy to spend thousands. You really don’t need to though. A smart lighting start kit should cost around $200 and comes with a couple of smart bulbs and a bridge or hub to control it all.
Smart bulbs are more expensive than standard ones but they last longer, use less energy and have all those neat features we like. While the upfront cost might be more, over the longer term they will soon pay for themselves.
You can get bright white smart lights or ones that come in a range of colors. I like smart lights where I can control the brightness and color to suit my mood. While not necessary for everyone, they add an extra element of customization to a home. Lighting is a vital part of interior design and I consider the use of color in lighting to be an important factor in my buying decision. Your mileage may vary of course and you should buy what’s right for you.
Most smart lights will have an app that you can control via a smartphone or tablet. Some will also integrate with wearables such as the Apple Watch or Pebble. Standalone smart lights will have the app where you can control many elements of luminance, color, timing, schedules and more.
Integrate lighting into a smart home hub and you can add temperature, automatic lighting, voice control and other cool features.
Even if you’re not planning on integrating your smart lighting anytime soon, you may do in the future. Most manufacturers will work with the major protocols supported by home hubs. The most popular right now is Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Insteon and Bluetooth. Research what equipment you might like and buy smart lights that use the same protocol. That way you can add more to your smart home without having to buy new lights.
This is obvious a very high level smart lighting buying guide for your smart home but you get the idea. Got any tips to add? Tell us about them below if you do.
If you liked this guide, why not try my Phillips Hue tutorial and my Phillips Hue Smarthub guide?