Smart bulbs are cheap and easier to use than ever before. They can also change your home more dramatically than more expensive smart devices. We’ve selected the best smart bulbs you can get right now, including two budget options that are rocking the smart-home world.
What to Look for in a Smart Bulb
All smart bulbs do essentially the same things—they dim, brighten, or change colors. However, not all smart bulbs are created equal. You have to judge them based on the quality of their features and device compatibility. After all, if a bulb isn’t compatible with the products you already own, you’ll have a lot of trouble integrating it into your smart home.
Here are a few things to look for in a smart bulb, along with some information that might come in handy while you shop:
- Color-changing: Not all smart bulbs offer this feature. If you do want your bulbs to change colors, make sure you’re buying the right thing. The color quality doesn’t differ too much between brands, although the more expensive bulbs do tend to look a bit brighter than their budget counterparts.
- Temperature: You can adjust the temperature on some white smart bulbs (the balance between blue and orange light). This feature isn’t essential, but it can be nice if you want to transition from day- to nighttime.
- Size: There isn’t a ton of size variation in the world of smart bulbs, so you’ll probably only see A19 (standard size), and BR30 (ceiling fixture) bulbs. These fit any standard socket, but they might not fit all fixtures.
- Compatibility: All the bulbs in this article are compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa, and “If this, then that” (IFTTT). Siri fans should look for bulbs that are compatible with Apple HomeKit.
- Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-Wave: Most smart bulbs are hubless, which means they connect directly to your Wi-Fi network without an intermediary. Others, like the Philips Hue bulbs, work over Zigbee or Z-Wave, both of which are more reliable (and expensive to implement) than Wi-Fi. This additional reliability isn’t necessary for most people, but it’s essential for smart-home fanatics or businesses.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s check out the best smart bulbs on the market right now.
Best Overall: Philips Hue
Philips is by far the most popular smart-bulb manufacturer, and for good reason. Philips Hue bulbs are full-featured and have tons of color options, automation presets, and device compatibility. Plus, because they work over a Hue Bridge (a Zigbee hub), they’re more reliable than some hubless smart bulbs.
You can buy Philips Hue smart bulbs in just about any shape or size. The standard A19 white bulbs are dimmable, while the A19 ambient white offer some adjustable temperature settings. The company’s A19 color bulbs can do just about anything, and its line of nonstandard lights (bias, indoor and outdoor strips, spots, BR30 fixture, decorative candle, and so on) can turn any home into a color-changing smart palace.
Philips Hue bulbs work with Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, SmartThings, and (of course) Zigbee, but not Z-Wave. The only real issue with Philips Hue bulbs is they’re expensive. You also have to buy a Hue Bridge (or Zigbee hub) to really be able to use the bulbs.
Technically speaking, you can use Hue bulbs over Bluetooth and skip the expensive Hue Bridge. However, this severely limits their features and range. If you don’t want to buy a hub, we recommend you get a set of hubless bulbs.
Philips Hue White Ambiance 2-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb, Bluetooth & Zigbee compatible (Hue Hub Optional),Works with Alexa & Google Assistant – A Certified for Humans Device, 7.5W
Philips Hue is the leader in smart-bulb tech. Its Zigbee-based products are more reliable and full-featured than the competition.
LIFX is one of the most popular smart-bulb brands because it offers products and features on-par with Philips Hue, but its bulbs work without a hub. This means you can install your smart bulbs without any extra equipment.
The LIFX A19 white smart bulbs are dimmable, but not temperature adjustable. The company’s A19 multicolored bulbs, on the other hand, offer a massive range of color and temperature adjustment settings. LIFX also sells BR30 bulbs for fixtures, color-changing light strips, seamless light modules, and (coming soon, hopefully) Edison-style bulbs.
These bulbs work with Google Assistant, Alexa, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit, and SmartThings. However, they won’t work with Zigbee or Z-Wave—Philips Hue is still the best enterprise-grade solution.
LIFX Mini White (A19) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, Dimmable, Warm White, No Hub Required, Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit and the Google Assistant,9 watts
LIFX smart bulbs are dimmable and work without a hub. They're perfect for anyone who wants the premium feel of Philips Hue, but doesn't want to spend all that extra cash.
Best Budget: Wyze
Wyze manufactures some of our favorite budget smart home equipment, including cameras, motion sensors, and plugs. We’re always impressed with Wyze’s products, but its smart bulbs totally knock us out! They’re some of the best on the market, and they cost less than $10 a pop.
At this writing, Wyze only sells a white A19 smart bulb (but multicolored are coming soon). This 800-lumen bulb is dimmable, temperature-adjustable, and perfect for any room in your house. It also works with Google Assistant, Alexa, and IFTTT, so it’ll fit into just about any smart home.
Sadly, Wyze products aren’t compatible with Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, ZigBee, or Z-Wave.
Wyze WLPA19V2-4PK Bulb White, 800 Lumen, 90+CRI, 4-Pack
Wyze's smart bulbs are a no-brainer! They're dimmable, temperature adjustable, and cost less than a drive-thru dinner.
Best Budget for Apple HomeKit: Yeelight
Wyze might be the leader of budget smart bulbs, but it isn’t an option for Apple HomeKit smart homes. If you’re looking for an affordable, HomeKit-compatible smart bulb, Yeelight is for you!
Yeelight (a brand by Xiaomi) sells a surprisingly wide variety of hubless smart bulbs. Its A19 white bulbs are dimmable and temperature-adjustable. The A19 color-changing bulbs offer all the features you’d expect from more popular brands. The company also sells affordable smart string lights, Edison-style bulbs, and bedside lamps, although, these nonstandard products aren’t as high-quality as those Philips offers.
In addition to HomeKit, Yeelight also works with Google Assistant, Alexa, IFTTT, and SmartThings (kind of). Sadly, Yeelight doesn’t work with Zigbee or Z-Wave.
Note that Amazon lists some Yeelight smart bulbs as size E26—this just means they screw into a standard light socket.
YEELIGHT LED Smart Light Bulb 60W Equivalent, A19 LED Wi-Fi Smart Bulb, RGBW Color Changing Bulb, Work with Apple HomeKit, Alexa & Google Assistant, SmartThings, Razer Chroma
Yeelight smart bulbs offer premium features at a budget cost. And unlike other budget smart bulb brands, Yeelight actually works with Apple HomeKit!