Bulbrite’s catalog of Solana smart bulbs contains a golden nugget—the Edison smart bulb. While Bulbrite isn’t well-known in the smarthome world (yet), I think this bulb is a great hub-less (and cheaper) alternative to Philips’ new Edison-style smart bulbs.
The Bulbrite Solana Edison bulb is, as you can tell, a filament-styled smart bulb that’s powered by LEDs. It produces 600 lumens of light with just 5 watts of power, fits on standard E26 light sockets, and has a 13.7-year life span (an oddly specific number, I know). And like most smart bulbs on the market today, Bulbrite’s Solana bulbs work without a hub.
This bulb feels different from any other smart bulb I’ve worked with. For one, it’s made out of glass, which is rare for smart bulbs. It’s also pretty lightweight for a smart bulb, and it can get surprisingly bright, probably because the LED “filaments” aren’t diffused by any kind of plastic.
These quirks make the Bulbrite Edison a perfect candidate for pedant lamps, chandeliers, or any other fixture that naturally diffuses light (assuming they’ll play nice with the Edison’s oblong shape). In fact, I’m willing to bet this is the only smart bulb on the market that won’t look tacky in an old-fashioned or romantic light fixture (although the Philips Hue Edison smart bulbs probably look great, too).
When the bulb is on warm settings, the orange LED strips get brighter. On cool settings, the blue LED strips get brighter. This is standard practice for LED bulbs. But these strengths can also be weaknesses. Each “filament” of the Edison is just a string of orange or blue LEDs. This mix of orange and blue creates a “natural” white, and gives you the option to change color temperature. (An LED can emit only one wavelength of light at a time, so this is common practice.)
So when you use the Edison in an exposed fixture, like a ceiling fan or a Hollywood-styled bathroom vanity, it casts uneven licks of blue and orange light. Your feeling toward this phenomena is a matter of personal preference, but I’m willing to assume most people would prefer something more uniform. (Sure, you could do all orange or all blue, but the colors are pretty intense.)
The App Is Surprisingly Good
My experience with hub-less smart bulbs is that, while they’re not difficult to set up, the process is kind of tedious. LIFX and Wyze branded smart bulbs, for example, need to be connected to your phone one at a time.
So I assumed the Bulbrite Edison setup would be an equally time-consuming process, or that the Bulbrite app would completely suck (in the world of smarthomes, Bulbrite is still a no-name brand).
But hey, I was completely wrong. The Bulbrite app (iOS, Android) is extremely user-friendly—I’d say it’s better than any of the other hub-less smart bulb apps I’ve used (which is weird, considering that Bulbrite isn’t nearly as popular as its smarthome competitors).
The big thing I love about this app is that it allowed me to connect two Bulbrite Solana bulbs in one go. On its own, that’s fantastic. I also didn’t have any trouble integrating the Bulbrite app to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and they work well with voice commands and lighting groups (even with mismatched smart bulbs).
Adjusting brightness and color temperature from the app is easy, and while I don’t have a lot of use for the in-app scenes and schedules, they’re also really easy to set up. I also appreciate that the Edison bulb slowly transitions to peak brightness when used in “Wake Up” mode (like a natural alarm clock).
It’s a Good Alternative to Philips Hue’s Edison Smart Bulbs
Philips recently announced its own line of filament-styled smart bulbs, which raises a pretty big question. Why would you buy an Edison smart bulb from Bulbrite when Philips Hue, a much more popular smarthome platform, has its own Edison smart bulbs?
Well, there are a few big differences between these bulbs. For one, the Bulbrite Edison bulbs work without a hub, which saves you about $40 out of the gate (unless you happen to own a Hue hub). While Philips Hue bulbs can technically work without a hub over Bluetooth, the experience is very limited. (You can only use 10 bulbs at a time, and you can’t control the bulbs from far away.)
There’s also the issue of bulb price. Philips’ Edison-styled smart bulb costs $28, which is $9 more expensive than the Bulbrite Edison bulbs.
Unless you’re set on the aesthetic of Philips Hue’s Edison bulbs (which have curly “filaments”) or you already own a ton of Hue bulbs, Bulbrite’s Edison smart bulbs are a serious alternative. They’re cheaper than the Philips Hue bulbs, they’re super easy to set up, and they look pretty dang good.
Again, the Bulbrite Solana Edison is a totally unique product. And unlike some “unique” smarthome products, the Bulbrite Edison actually works really well. Plus, it looks great, it can be used where other smart bulbs would look tacky, and it comes with a user-friendly app.
While I wouldn’t necessarily suggest the Edison smart bulb for exposed fixtures (if you like the streaks of blue and orange light it creates, go for it), I think this is the best smart bulb option for hanging fixtures, chandeliers, and antique lighting.
Here’s What We Like
- Easy to set up
- Looks great in hanging, shaded, or diffused fixtures
- Very bright with temperature settings
And What We Don't
- Creates uneven lighting when used without a diffuser or shade