Once you dress your home with smart lighting, it’s hard to go back. “Hey Siri, turn off the lights in the living room” is a daily saying in my house. You can turn the lights on automatically when you come home or at a certain time when you are away. As a rule, you can control the brightness and sometimes the color. Once you get used to the smart lights, your old switches and dimmers feel positively ancient.
But there are a lot of different types of smart lights. Different networks, applications and ecosystems used to control them. Some smart lighting solutions are only compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant, which will work with the right apps on your iPhone, but to make a smart light integrate seamlessly into your Home app or Siri, you really want lights that are compatible with HomeKit . This makes them easier to control with iPhone or Mac, but also allows you to integrate them into automations that control multiple devices simultaneously depending on the time, location, or actions of other devices.
To use automation or control your lights outside your home network, you’ll want to make sure you have an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad connected to your home network to act as your Home Hub.
Our sister site TechHive reviews a lot of smart light bulbs, but if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you may not care too much about those that only accept Alexa or Google Assistant; you probably want one that works with HomeKit (in addition to the app’s own features). These are the most popular smart bulbs compatible with HomeKit.
Updated 02/22/21: Several new products have been added to the list of Homekit compatible smart bulbs, although none of them have claimed a place as our recommended choice for standard colored or white bulbs.
The best smart light bulb with color LEDs
LIFX is a very strong competitor in the intelligent lighting space and occupies a very close second place in our summary. LIFX no longer has to offer only A19 and BR30 form factors and we really like the unique LIFX + (which has a range of infrared LEDs that will help your security camera see in the dark). Phillips’ new Hue bulbs with Bluetooth and Zigbee support may be the best choice for some users, but to use those with HomeKit you’ll need to add a Hue bridge. With LIFX bulbs, no additional hardware is required.
The best smart light bulb with white LED
If you want an all-white smart light bulb that doesn’t require a smart home hub, the LIFX Mini White is a great choice. Although slightly weaker than the full-size LIFX bulb, it produces an equivalent of 60 watts 800 lumens – as do many competitors.