What to Look For in a Smart Bulb in 2022
Among home gadgets you can control with your phone, smart light bulbs have been around for a while. Fortunately, this means that they’ve not only gotten steadily more advanced but more affordable as well.
There are three primary considerations when shopping for smart bulbs. The first is whether the bulb produces colored or white light—or both. In general, white-only lights will be a bit cheaper than colored lights, but both styles are generally tuneable through a range of light temperatures and brightness levels.
The second consideration has to do with the receptivity built into the bulb. All of the bulbs on our list connect via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a hub, or some combination of all three. If a bulb connects only via Bluetooth, it’s important to remember that you’ll only be able to control it when you are within a specific range. On the other hand, with Wi-Fi-connected or hub bulbs, you can have access to your lighting no matter where you are through your smartphone.
Finally, you’ll also want to consider platforms. These days, most—but not all—smart bulbs connect to the major voice assistant platforms: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. If you have one of these ecosystems already established in your home, you’ll want to make sure the bulbs work well with it.
You should also be aware that smart bulbs can give you a great degree of control over your room’s ambiance. If you want the ability to turn lamps on and off either when you want or according to a particular schedule, you could consider purchasing a smart plug.
RELATED: The Best Smart Plugs of 2022
Best Smart Bulb Overall: Philips HuePhilips
- ✓ Bright whites and vivid colors that are almost infinitely adjustable
- ✓ Integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- ✗ Bulbs are among the most expensive
- ✗ Hub is required to take full advantage of ecosystem
One of the first entrants to the smart bulb arena, Philips has consistently led in the space with a wide range of lighting products that are reliable, easy to set up, bright, and vivid. So it’s no surprise that our pick for the top smart light bulb is the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance.
Hue bulbs used to require a special Hue hub, but Philips is now building their bulbs with Bluetooth accessibility, so you can control and link up to 10 bulbs without needing the hub via a smartphone app. The bulbs also integrate with Google and Alexa for voice control, and adding them to a hub lets you link up to 50 lights and get even deeper control of your home’s lighting.
RELATED: How to Add Third Party Smart Bulbs to Your Philips Hue System
Adding the Philips hub lets you group your lights by rooms or zones, which is a handy feature as you get deeper into a smart lighting ecosystem. It also allows you to sync your lights to movies, gaming, or music, and it provides the ability to simulate your presence when you are away by turning lights on and off across your home. While the hub is an additional cost, you can often buy it in a package with bulbs that pretty much zeros out the expense.
Philips Hue bulbs are one of the most expensive on the market, but there is no better option for creating an entire smart lighting system. That said, if you want to dabble with smart lighting—rather than bathing your home in it—our budget pick might suit you better.
Best Smart Bulb Overall
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance
Offering everything from tunable white lights to colored lights that can cycle through 16 million colors, Philips Hue bulbs earn our top spot for quality, product range, and flexibility.
Best Budget Smart Bulb: Wyze BulbWyze
- ✓ Affordable and reliable
- ✓ Easy, intuitive app makes setup simple
- ✓ Can integrate with Wyze's larger smart home ecosystem
- ✗ Separate bulbs required for white and color
- ✗ Doesn't integrate with Apple HomeKit
While you might be able to save a few more dollars on an even cheaper smart bulb, the Wyze Bulb wins our pick as the best budget bulb because it comes from a reliable brand with a history of making quality, affordable smart products. A single white bulb costs just $12, and a color-changing bulb will run you just under $16.
For that bargain price, you can control the colors, temperatures, and brightness of your lights using a smartphone app, and you can assign different lights into different groups. You can also choose to set your lights on “Vacation Mode,” which will cause them to turn on and off using a variable schedule that mimics someone’s presence in your home when you are away.
Additionally, Wyze will be releasing a door sensor called “Sense” that will make your lights come on or go off when a door is opened or closed, plus all the bulbs integrate with Alexa and Google for voice control. Because Wyze is moving into the smart home security market, starting with a few of its smart bulbs is a great way to begin to assemble the gear you’d need to make your entire home smarter and safer.
Best Budget Smart Bulb
Wyze bulbs are smart bulbs that can be adjusted in brightness and temperature, as well as connect to either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Best Outdoor Smart Bulb: Ring Wired FloodlightRing
- ✓ Impressive options for wired and solar-powered outdoor lights
- ✓ Can integrate with Ring's larger home security ecosystem
- ✓ Works great with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant
- ✗ Requires Ring hub or Amazon Alexa to operate
- ✗ Doesn't work with Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit
- ✗ Wired version could require professional installation
Ring, an Amazon-owned company, might be most famous for its video doorbell, but the company also offers a dizzying array of smart outdoor lighting solutions. Our top pick from the company is its wired outdoor motion-sensing floodlight. It’s sturdy, bright, and relatively affordable.
Although the Wired Floodlight will cost a bit more to install than the solar versions, the latter has issues running out of power and not being as programmable as the wired models. It’s better to pay a little extra for the reliability.
All Ring products require a hub or bridge, which can be purchased with the bulbs as a starter kit that saves you some cash. Being an Amazon company, the lights only integrate with Amazon Alexa, so if you have a different voice assistant ecosystem in the home and voice control of your lighting is essential, you’ll need to choose a different setup.
Best Outdoor Smart Bulb
Ring Wired Floodlight
With a range of solar-powered outdoor lights, Ring leads the way in bringing smart lighting outdoors. Spotlights and pathway lights can be linked via a Ring bridge to set up different routines and alert you to movement.
Best Smart Bulb for Google Assistant: “C” by GEGE
- ✓ Affordable
- ✓ Turns Google Assistant and Nest devices into hub
- ✓ Offers Bluetooth option as well with no hub required
- ✗ Requires Google Nest or Home device for offsite control
- ✗ Rebranding causing some confusion in product line
- ✗ Not part of a larger smart home ecosystem
“C” bulbs by lighting icon GE are available in three varieties. There are soft white lights that can be dimmed and brightened, tunable white bulbs that let you change the temperature of the lights, and color-changing bulbs that provide millions of color options.
The C by GE bulbs also come in two styles of connectivity. You can choose from standard Smart Bulbs, which connect via Bluetooth and therefore don’t need a hub, or Direct Connect Smart Bulbs, which are Wi-Fi-based and can use Google Assistant or Nest devices as a hub.
You can set your lighting to a schedule with either bulb type, and lighting scenes can be chosen from a roster of preset picks or saved from user-generated mixes. Accessing the bulbs outside the home requires the Google hub, which will allow voice control of either the Bluetooth- or Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs.
Alexa-enabled devices can also be used as a hub, but only for the Wi-Fi version of the bulbs. If you use an Alexa hub, there’s another option that’s better for you.Tip: “C” by GE bulbs are now being rebranded as “Cync” by GE. At the time of writing, those bulbs are still hard to find, so we have decided to feature the more widely available “C” bulbs as our choice in this category. We’ll update this information as needed.
Best Smart Bulb For Google Assistant
C by GE
Connect GE's smart bulb to a Google Nest or Google Assistant device, and you can set schedules, turn lights on and off, and control your system from anywhere.
Best Smart Bulb For Amazon Alexa: Sengled Smart BulbSingled
- ✓ Very affordable
- ✓ Impressive range of bulbs with dual functions
- ✓ Forms its own mesh network without a hub
- ✗ Needs Amazon Echo or Sengled smart hub for full functionality
- ✗ Can be tricky to pair when setting up
Sengled has Bluetooth bulbs that form their own mesh network using an Amazon Echo device as the hub. This network links the bulbs together, causing them to serve as repeaters so that even the bulb that’s farthest away from your Echo can still be controlled via voice. If you don’t have Amazon Alexa or an Echo set up yet, you can purchase a Sengled hub that allows full functionality.
What’s more, Sengled makes a dizzying array of smart bulbs for any function you may need. This includes bulbs with built-in speakers, those that will work in a blackout thanks to a battery backup, and ones that have built-in timers—just to name a few.
On top of that, Sengled bulbs are highly affordable, as it’s possible to find an impressive range of high-quality smart bulbs for under $10, even when purchasing them individually. Sengled makes it easy to deck out your home in smart bulbs!
Best Smart Bulb for Amazon Alexa
Sengled Smart Bulb
You'd have to have a whole lot of lamps in your life, but it's possible to connect up to 64 of these tunable smart bulbs by using an Amazon hub.
Best Smart Bulb For Apple HomeKit: WiZ Connected ColorWiZ
- ✓ Color changing and dimmable
- ✓ Energy efficient
- ✓ Programmable and preset lighting modes
- ✓ Very reasonably priced
- ✗ Not suitable for outdoor use
When looking for smart bulbs, it will quickly become apparent that Apple HomeKit is not as widely supported as Alexa or Google Assistant. The WiZ Connected Color is one of the few reasonably-priced smart bulbs that will work equally well with all three.
After connecting the bulb to your Wi-Fi, it can be controlled through the Home app for iOS and iPadOS or the WiZ app. You can also use voice to manage the bulb via a HomePod speaker or Siri on your Apple device. If you ever decide to move away from an Apple smart home setup, the WiZ bulb can easily be added to the Alexa (Android, iPhone) or Google Home (Android, iPhone) apps.
The WiZ bulb is multi-color and dimmable, with 16 million colors available. The color and brightness can be controlled manually through the app, or with pre-set lighting patterns that change automatically based on the time of day. There is also a vacation mode, so you can make your home look lived in even when you’re away.
The 8.8W bulb, equivalent to a 60W traditional lightbulb, is energy efficient and long-lasting. The rated lifespan is an impressive 25,000 hours, or 25 years if used for a couple of hours a day. It is only suitable for indoor use, but that isn’t unusual for a smart bulb, especially one that costs just $13.
Best Smart Bulb for Apple HomeKit
WiZ Connected Color
A long-lasting and feature-rich smart bulb that works perfectly with Apple HomeKit and Siri Shortcuts. And all for a very reasonable price.
Best Color Smart Bulb: Lifx MiniLifx
- ✓ Extremely vivid and impressive range of colors
- ✓ One bulb provides both tunable white and colored light
- ✓ Works with all major voice assistants
- ✗ Bulbs can get hot on brightest setting
- ✗ Unusual shape may not be appropriate for all lampshades
Many smart bulbs say they have millions of colors, but Lifx goes one step farther with billions of colors. It’s a pretty hard claim to verify, but the fact is that these bulbs do indeed have a brilliant range of colors that fill your room with sharp, vivid light. Our top pick for this category is the 1100 lumen bulb—which means it can get impressively bright—but you can save yourself some money and still enjoy vivid, colorful light by choosing the company’s 800-lumen bulb instead.
Lifx bulbs deliver all you’d expect from smart bulbs, including the ability to tune, schedule, group, use different presets to set the mood, plus they can be controlled with Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. No hub needed!
Lifx also offers smart bulbs that will beam out invisible infrared light to provide any smart cameras in the room the ability to pick up video clips more clearly. So, stepping into the Lifx ecosystem can be a wise move if you’re filming a lot of video content. Just make sure that the smart light can fit in your lampshade, as the wider bulb may not work in slimmer lamps.
Best Color Smart Bulb
With lots of compliments regarding their brightness and vivid color output, Lifx's smart bulbs are an easy recommendation.
Best Wi-Fi Smart Bulb: Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED Light BulbSingled
- ✓ Affordable
- ✓ No hub needed
- ✓ 25,000 working hours
- ✗ Only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
The Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb is remarkably similar to the standard Sengled Smart Bulb also found on this list–the only major difference is its compatibility with Wi-Fi networks. That means you’ll still get a nifty smartphone app for enhanced control, support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and the ability to schedule your lighting preferences. Best of all, you don’t even need a central hub, as the bulbs can be controlled directly from your phone.
Many users simply like the ability to power on smart bulbs remotely, but these are also dimmable from 1 to 100%, making it easy to find a setting that fits your needs regardless of the time of day. And if you prefer something a bit more festive, you can spring for the color-changing model that offers all the same functionality as the white bulb.
The biggest drawback to Sengled’s Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb is the lack of 5GHz support. That means you’ll need to make sure you’re running a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, although most households shouldn’t stumble upon any issues with this requirement.
Sengled says you can expect up to 25,000 working hours out of a single bulb, positioning them as one of the longest-lasting smart bulbs on the market. Considering they’re not too pricey (and can often be found on sale), these Wi-Fi compatible bulbs are a surprisingly good deal.
Best Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
Best Bluetooth Smart Bulb: Govee Smart BulbGovee
- ✓ No hub or router needed
- ✓ Can sync to music
- ✓ Light color can be selected from photos
- ✗ Can't control once beyond Bluetooth range
- ✗ No voice control available
Govee is one of the major players in the smart bulb scene, and it has a reputation for putting out affordable, reliable, and high-quality smart gadgets. The company’s smart bulbs are no exception.
Thanks to the Govee Home app, these Bluetooth-enabled bulbs can be set up in a flash, and you can link up to six of them into individual groups. They also have built-in microphones that let the colors flash to the beat of your music have sunrise/sunset options that make the bulbs dim and brighten with the pattern of the sun.
One exciting feature of the Govee bulbs is that, using the app, you can pick any color from any photo on your phone and the bulb will beam out matching light. Plus, because these bulbs all work over Bluetooth, there is no hub needed.
Combine these features with a price point under $15, and it becomes clear why we chose these as our best Bluetooth pick. These bulbs also make a stronger runner-up in our Best Budget category as well.
Best Bluetooth Smart Bulb
Govee LED Strip Lights
Govee smart bulbs work over Bluetooth, so you don't have to worry about bridge or router compatibility. From there, you set up routines and do all the other things smart bulbs are known for.
The Best Smart Plugs of 2022
Kasa Smart Plug HS103P2, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Echo, Google Home IFTTT, No Hub Required, Remote Control,15 Amp,UL Certified, 2-Pack White
Wyze Smart Plug
Wyze Outdoor Smart Plug
Best Amazon Alexa Smart Plug
Amazon Smart Plug, for home automation, Works with Alexa - A Certified for Humans Device
Best Smart Plug for Google Assistant
Vont Smart Plug
Best Apple HomeKit Smart Plug