Smart Lighting - An Easy Way to Get Started with Home Automation

You’ve probably seen those commercials and ads about making your home “smarter” by using technology. It could be handy to be able to turn your air conditioning down through your phone as you head out of work on a Friday afternoon on your way for a weekend trip.

Those types of upgrades to your house are cool and flashy but can get expensive. Especially when you’re upgrading your existing house with these new technologies.

Smart lighting is probably the easiest and most useful upgrade you can make to your home. It’s as simple as swapping out an existing light bulb for a smart bulb.

Smart Lighting Overview

The first thing you’re probably wondering is “What exactly is a smart light bulb?” They are basically LED light bulbs that can connect to a wireless network so that you can control them by using your smartphone, tablet, or a smart home automation system.

If you’re wanting to control your smart bulbs through your phone or tablet, you will need to download an app. A wireless connection such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi are also necessary for the bulb to communicate with your phone. Some bulbs might have several ways to connect, while others only have one option. Make sure you consider what type of wireless connection you want to use before buying. For example, with a Bluetooth connection, if you get all the way to work and forgot to turn off your lights, you won’t be able to turn them off from that distance.

A home automation system allows you to control a variety of smart home devices, so this might be something to consider. Many smart bulbs, for examples, can be controlled through Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and the Apple HomeKit.

Smart bulbs also come in different sizes so you can find ones that will match the fixtures in your home. You can get standard white bulbs or ones that can change colors. The color change bulbs are great for setting a mood in a room of your house to to create an ambiance for a romantic dinner, action movie, or for a party. Another cool feature of some smart light bulbs is that they can find your location using your smartphone. As you walk from room to room in your house, they will turn on and off accordingly.

As far as cost, these bulbs are more expensive than regular LED bulbs. But keep in mind that they should last you just as long as a regular LED bulb and use hardly any power in stand-by-mode.

Smart bulbs to consider:

Philips Hue

Philips Hue Smart Lighting Solution

Philips got into the smart bulb market early so it’s no wonder that they have the most variety of shapes and sizes to its lineup. Their Hue app has become more user-friendly over the years so you will find it easy to use. A fun feature of the Hue app is that you can sync it up with your music or games to add to your experience. Hue series even offers some outdoor options to light up your next BBQ party.

Many of the Philip’s bulbs also work with voice assistants like Google Assistant. They do require a Philips Hue Bridge which comes with their starter kits like the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance kit.

C by GE

C lighting by GE

If you’re looking to ease into smart home lighting, then the C by GE is a good entry point. They’re relatively inexpensive at less than $15 per bulb and don’t require a hub. It does run on Bluetooth and are controlled through an app. There’re no color options, however you do have the ability to dim the lighting.

There’re three different settings that can work in tune with what your preferences are for each time of day. For instance, you can set it up so in the morning, it is far brighter, goes neutral during the day, and dims down in the evening to get you ready to call it a day.

Caseta by Lutron

Caseta by Lutron

Caseta is a switch controller by Lutron that can be used to make regular bulbs act like smart bulbs. It requires installing Caseta switches and the Caseta hub so it is a little more work than just swapping out a light bulb. The plus side, it works with traditional incandescent, halogen, and LED lighting, includes dimmer switches, operates shades and fans, and can control a broad range of compatible thermostats such as Honeywell, Nest, and Carrier. With Caseta, you can take control of your lights, fans, shades, and temperature with one app.

Smart Lighting Wrap Up

You don’t have to be super techy to dip your toes into the smart home market or spend hundreds of thousands to upgrade your home. Getting started with smart bulb lighting is a no-fuss way to learn if the features offered work to really benefit your home life. They do tend to be very useful so don’t be surprised if you find yourself hooked.

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You’ve probably seen those commercials and ads about making your home “smarter” by using technology. It could be handy to be able to turn your air conditioning down through your phone as you head out of work on a Friday afternoon on your way for a weekend trip.

Those types of upgrades to your house are cool and flashy but can get expensive. Especially when you’re upgrading your existing house with these new technologies.

Smart lighting is probably the easiest and most useful upgrade you can make to your home. It’s as simple as swapping out an existing light bulb for a smart bulb.

Smart Lighting Overview

The first thing you’re probably wondering is “What exactly is a smart light bulb?” They are basically LED light bulbs that can connect to a wireless network so that you can control them by using your smartphone, tablet, or a smart home automation system.

If you’re wanting to control your smart bulbs through your phone or tablet, you will need to download an app. A wireless connection such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi are also necessary for the bulb to communicate with your phone. Some bulbs might have several ways to connect, while others only have one option. Make sure you consider what type of wireless connection you want to use before buying. For example, with a Bluetooth connection, if you get all the way to work and forgot to turn off your lights, you won’t be able to turn them off from that distance.

A home automation system allows you to control a variety of smart home devices, so this might be something to consider. Many smart bulbs, for examples, can be controlled through Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and the Apple HomeKit.

Smart bulbs also come in different sizes so you can find ones that will match the fixtures in your home. You can get standard white bulbs or ones that can change colors. The color change bulbs are great for setting a mood in a room of your house to to create an ambiance for a romantic dinner, action movie, or for a party. Another cool feature of some smart light bulbs is that they can find your location using your smartphone. As you walk from room to room in your house, they will turn on and off accordingly.

As far as cost, these bulbs are more expensive than regular LED bulbs. But keep in mind that they should last you just as long as a regular LED bulb and use hardly any power in stand-by-mode.

Smart bulbs to consider:

Philips Hue

Philips Hue Smart Lighting Solution

Philips got into the smart bulb market early so it’s no wonder that they have the most variety of shapes and sizes to its lineup. Their Hue app has become more user-friendly over the years so you will find it easy to use. A fun feature of the Hue app is that you can sync it up with your music or games to add to your experience. Hue series even offers some outdoor options to light up your next BBQ party.

Many of the Philip’s bulbs also work with voice assistants like Google Assistant. They do require a Philips Hue Bridge which comes with their starter kits like the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance kit.

C by GE

C lighting by GE

If you’re looking to ease into smart home lighting, then the C by GE is a good entry point. They’re relatively inexpensive at less than $15 per bulb and don’t require a hub. It does run on Bluetooth and are controlled through an app. There’re no color options, however you do have the ability to dim the lighting.

There’re three different settings that can work in tune with what your preferences are for each time of day. For instance, you can set it up so in the morning, it is far brighter, goes neutral during the day, and dims down in the evening to get you ready to call it a day.

Caseta by Lutron

Caseta by Lutron

Caseta is a switch controller by Lutron that can be used to make regular bulbs act like smart bulbs. It requires installing Caseta switches and the Caseta hub so it is a little more work than just swapping out a light bulb. The plus side, it works with traditional incandescent, halogen, and LED lighting, includes dimmer switches, operates shades and fans, and can control a broad range of compatible thermostats such as Honeywell, Nest, and Carrier. With Caseta, you can take control of your lights, fans, shades, and temperature with one app.

Smart Lighting Wrap Up

You don’t have to be super techy to dip your toes into the smart home market or spend hundreds of thousands to upgrade your home. Getting started with smart bulb lighting is a no-fuss way to learn if the features offered work to really benefit your home life. They do tend to be very useful so don’t be surprised if you find yourself hooked.

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