Smart bulbs aren’t merely energy-efficient. They allow you to electronically connect control of your lights to on-site automated systems and the internet. You can make brightness and other adjustments with them manually by hand or voice command or use automated controls that work on a schedule or in combination with sensors.
Homeowners typically choose smart bulbs to make managing common lighting events easier, such as artificial light adjustments during daily natural light changes or human manual switch forgetfulness at nighttime. As you might have guessed, the design complexity of these bulbs makes shopping for them a little more complicated than shopping for traditional ones. Consider the following:
You Don’t Need a Boatload
Unless you own a huge property that’s been designed with a lot of indoor and outdoor light fixtures, you don’t need to buy smart bulbs in the same way that you previously bought incandescent and fluorescent ones. In the past, you might have bought standard bulbs in bulk because traditional bulbs burn out relatively fast compared to modern options.
Smart LED bulbs usually last between 15,000 and 25,000 hours depending on a variety of factors, including the manufacturer, type of bulb and the amount of regular usage. Most people only use a light bulb for three to five hours steadily or intermittently each day, which means that these bulbs last for years.
By the time you need replacement bulbs, beyond initial replacements from defects or accidental damage, you might be ready to install a new smart home automation system with whatever cutting-edge technology emerges in the future.
You Must Pick the Right Types
As with all other energy-efficient, modern bulbs, smart bulbs come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Yet, you need to make yourself aware of some key differences: For example, like their non-smart counterparts, LED smart bulbs come in standard and enclosed fixture designs, which means that you can’t use standard LED smart bulbs inside of enclosed fixtures since improper ventilation leads to overheating.
The difference though involves the computer chips used with these bulbs. Standard LED bulbs work less effectively when they overheat. The smart variety experience significant chip damage that can affect how they work with an automated home system. Additionally, incompatibility seen with computer software and operating systems can occur.
For example, many smart bulbs are designed to work with a particular network, such as Bluetooth, WiFi or Z-Wave, and certain communication hubs. The same is true of dimmer bulbs and switches.
A wide range of smart bulb brands exist. Common brands include:
- Hive Active
Your Preferences Influence Your Options
With smart bulb and related selections, you also need to think about the types of features you prefer. For example, you might want a system that offers not only on-command on/off or dimming capabilities, but also preset timer and motion detection options. You might need a system that ties into your security so that lights automatically flood outdoor areas when motion sensors detect movement.
You also need to decide on the extent of the smart automation. For example, you might want a complete smart home system that does more than automate the lights. Many people pick a whole home one that connects to all smart devices, including smart heating and cooling hardware, home entertainment devices and appliances. In addition, you need to decide how you want to use your home automation system. Some homeowners only want the ability to access their system through a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Some people prefer a separate remote control provided by the manufacturer. Lastly, the brands and types of bulbs, hub and hardware accessories and software features you select might depend on whether you want to use a specific voice assistant and system compatibility with existing smart devices. For example, you might prefer Amazon products including Alexa or Apple products that use Siri. The Android operating system with Google Assistant is another option.
As you can see, the process with selecting and buying smart bulbs is far more complex than merely going to your local big box or hardware store and choosing bulbs by style and wattage. That said, once you’ve thought about how you want your smart bulbs and system to work, you can effortlessly find many products offline and online that are inexpensive and easy to install.