The smart bulb market has it exploded in the last decade. Dozens of tech companies and furniture makers have launched smart lighting products, which means it can be difficult to know which options are best. Store shelves are literally supplied with smart lights from different brands, all compatible with different ecosystems and with different smart speakers.
In this guide, we will summarize the most popular smart bulbs and what you need to know about how they work. We will mainly focus on the smart bulbs in the A19 style.
Wyze is best known for its affordable smart cameras, but the company also entered the smart lighting market last year. The Wyze bulb is one of the cheapest smart bulbs available and, unlike most other options in this price range, you don't even need a separate hub - the bulbs are directly connected to Wi-Fi.
I reviewed the Wyze Bulb when it was launched last year and, even if the application used for setup was at that time, the price savings are (probably) worth it. Once you've set everything up, you can link your Wyze account to Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control.
The main disadvantage of Wyze's line is that it is just a light bulb. There are no color options or bright lights for use in large rooms.
Philips Hue was one of the first intelligent lighting systems, with options in each product category: light bulbs, lamps, lights, exterior bodies and more. Although having all kinds of products in the same ecosystem is great, Hue is one of the more expensive options if you just want some light bulbs.
Hue lamps initially required the use of an external hub device, which acted as the bridge between the bulbs and your home's Wi-Fi network, but the new A19 models can also be controlled by a nearby Bluetooth device. If you want to change the bulb settings less than a few feet away, you will probably need to use a hub - some Amazon Echo speakers can work as one or you can pick up the official Hue Hub.
If you just want a simple smart bulb that connects directly to your home Wi-Fi, without the need for hubs, the Kasa Smart KL110 bulb from TP-Link might be the best way to go.
The KL110 works great with any smart home ecosystem and is one of the most economical options on this list. The TP-Link Kasa mobile app is also one of the best smart home apps out there, so you'll probably have less trouble setting up / managing it than some of the other bulbs on this list.
This is more or less the same product as the KL110 mentioned above, but instead of being limited to white, it offers LED lighting that can be changed in any color. However, it is almost double the price.
You can change the color using the TP-Link application or using voice commands with your favorite assistant. For example, you might say "OK Google, set the living room green." Also, this bulb does not require a hub.
If you're primarily using Google Home speakers, you might be interested in GE's smart C-Life bulbs. Use Bluetooth mesh to directly connect any Home smart speaker so it doesn't have to be paired with Wi-Fi or a dedicated hub.
We've looked at both white and multicolored versions, and as long as you have a Google Home speaker near where the lights are installed, these are some of the simplest smart home products on the market.
However, if you want to use them with Alexa (or speakers that aren't Google Home Assistant), you'll need to associate them with GE's own hub, which doesn't work very well. Households with more assistants should probably look elsewhere.
Another option for an inexpensive Wi-Fi enabled smart bulb is the Lifx A19 Mini, which typically comes out to about $ 20. Like the TP-Link and Wyze bulbs, they connect directly to the home network, without the need for a hub device.
The bulb can connect to Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Alexa, so no matter what smart home ecosystem you have (or want to own), the Lifx A19 will fit properly.
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