As we continue to progress, the future of smart homes looks bright. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a smart home expert to use smart lighting.
One of the quickest, most enjoyable updates to the look and feel of your home is to swap out the lighting. New smart lights can host a variety of features. Whether you’re using them to schedule a lighting wake-up call, program a wind-down routine before bedtime, or remotely control the lights while traveling, smart light kits will add ease to your home.
Smart light features include:
- Controlled from anywhere. Using Wi-Fi, Zigbee,or Bluetooth connectivity, your lights can be controlled via a smartphone.
- With a smart bulb or dimmer switch, you can control exactly how bright the room is.
- Change colors. Adding to the fun, a color changing bulb can change into a multitude of colors.
- Automatic Routines. With smart sensors, likethe motion senor, door sensor and temperature sensor etc., smart lights can be set up to automatically turn on and off when you leave the house or even be triggered with set alarms.
With so many options to choose from, it’s important to do your research to see which smart light options best suit your needs. Here are the basics to get you started.
Start with Smart Bulbs
Opting for an affordable smart light is the easiest way to dip your toes into smart home options. These bulbs simply replace your existing ones and allow for better control with different color options.
Smart bulbs come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. With smart bulbs, you can smarten any existing light fixture, like a kitchen pendant light or glow light. They're great for single-bulb fixtures or groups of light fixtures you'd like to smarten or make more colorful. They simply screw into a fixture like any other bulb and can be controlled via a smartphone app or voice assistants.
With custom scenes, you can preset brightness or color settings for different activities. The app will allow you to create custom scheduled on/off times tied to certain events. The entire process is simplified and requires no wiring whatsoever.
If you’re just looking to dabble, the Treatlife Tunable White Bulb connects right to your home Wi-Fi and lets you adjust the brightness and schedule on/off times. As an Alexa light bulb, it can be controlled with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
If you’re looking to set the mood for any occasion, you may love these Treatlife color changing light bulbs. Besides putting the lights on a schedule, you can dim or tweak the color and temperature of the lights to suit your preferences.
Switch to Smart Light Switches
Smart in-wall dimmers and switches are best when you want to add smart features to standard lights. They are especially useful for switches that control several lights at once.
These smart light switches allow you to turn your lights on or off and control the dimness directly from the switch. Additionally, newer smart light switches allow you to control the lights via an app or even by voice. Like smart bulbs, you can create a schedule and trigger the light on/off with certain events.
With a smart switch, you don't need to change any existing fixtures or bulbs. However, in order to install the switch, you need a white “neutral” wire in your wall already installed. While some standard switches already have these installed, others don't.
A smart switch might be the best route for homes with vaulted ceilings or areas with hard-to-reach lighting fixtures. However, one will need to have some basic knowledge of wiring to install them. Otherwise, it can quickly be installed by an electrician.
Regardless of your preference for manual, button, or slider bar switches, there are plenty of options for your needs. We also have an option for those that need to accommodate a smart 3 way switch setup where two different switches control one light.
Here are the best smart light switches available today.
- SS01S/SS02S. This easy to install common switch can control a fixture from a single location.
- SS01/SS02. With this upgrade, you can control a single fixture from two different locations. This is ideal for large areas, stairways, and hallways.
- DS02. With dimmers, you can fine-tune for function and ambiance making them an excellent choice for bedrooms or dining rooms.
Use A Smart Plug
Smart plugs are little devices that fit over any outlet, adding smart features to an endless list of devices. They are an easy way to convert any table lamp, floor lamp, or nightlight into a smart light.
A smart plug doesn’t require any familiarity with wiring or any electrical know-how. Smart plugs are especially easy to set up, remove, and move from room to room. Once you plug one in, you simply sync it with your smartphone, and you’re done. However, with a smart plug you won't be able to control hardwired fixtures like ceiling lights or sconces.
If home security is essential to you, look for a plug with an “away” mode, which simulates someone being at home by turning lights on and off at random during a set period. This is great if you are a frequent traveler or are away from your home for most of the day. Smart plugs can also be programmed to run simple tasks like shutting off a lamp at sunrise and turning it on at sundown.
The Best Smart Light
Before you go all-in on smart lighting, think about what you want to achieve in your home. What problems are you trying to solve? Whether it’s preventing lights from being left on, making your home more secure, reducing energy consumption, or helping you combat the winter blues by mimicking outdoor light, there’s a lighting solution for you. Whether you opt for smart bulbs, switches, or plugs, you’ll get a beginner-friendly start to home automation.