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A living room, lit up by purple smart lights

Smart lights are the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of smart home technology. They’re simple to set up, easy to use, and make your home more productive and more fun at the same time. Plus, they’re not too expensive.

If you don’t want a full-blown smart home, smart lights are a great introduction to how technology can improve your quality of life. There are multiple different types of smart lights, so you’ll have to decide between traditional bulbs, smart switches, ambient string lights, and more. Most people go the smart bulb route, but you’ll be happy you did no matter which smart lights you buy.

Include Smart Lights in Morning and Evening Routines

One of the best features of smart lights is easily the ability to set them to turn on automatically. By setting a specific schedule for your smart lights, you can use them to make your morning and night routines more efficient. Most smart lights typically come with a companion mobile app that lets you control the lights from your phone and even set timers for them.

Being able to set a time for your lights to come on and a time for them to shut off is a game changer. Well, at least for people who hate mornings. If you’re someone who hits snooze a million times (and sometimes in your sleep), having your lights turn on automatically in the morning will help you wake up and stay up.

Smart lights are also helpful in the evenings, especially for those who tend to stay up too late. By creating an evening routine that involves your smart lights either dimming or completely turning off, you’ll know what time it is and start winding down for the night.

Save Money on Your Electric Bill

A smartphone controlling smart lights

Most smart bulbs use LED technology, which means they’re more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. You can, of course, just purchase regular old LED bulbs and you’d still be saving energy and investing in a more long-lasting bulb. However, choosing smart bulbs over regular bulbs allows you to dim the lights and only use as much as you need, instead of always turning lights on to full brightness.

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Plus, in a smart bulb’s companion app, you can usually monitor energy usage for the bulbs in real time. You can see where you’re spending unnecessary energy (and money), and adjust accordingly.

The Best Smart Bulbs for Any Smart Home Setup

Philips Hue White Ambiance 2-Pack A19 LED Smart Bulb, Bluetooth & Zigbee compatible (Hue Hub Optional),Works with Alexa & Google Assistant – A Certified for Humans Device

LIFX Mini White (A19) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, Dimmable, Warm White, No Hub Required, Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit and the Google Assistant

Wyze WLPA19V2-4PK Bulb White, 800 Lumen, 90+CRI, 4 Count (Pack of 1)

Best Budget for Apple HomeKit

LED Smart Light Bulb 60W Equivalent, YEELIGHT A19 LED Wi-Fi Smart Bulb, RGBW Color Changing Bulb, Work with Apple HomeKit, Alexa & Google Assistant, SmartThings, Razer Chroma

Setting regular schedules for your lights will help you cut down excessive energy usage as well. Then, there are also smart lights that come with motion sensors so the light will automatically turn on when you enter a room, and turn off after detecting no motion for a certain time.

If you don’t feel like replacing all the bulbs in your home, consider investing in smart switches. While this route requires you to get hands-on with your electrical wiring, it’s a fairly simple process. Once a smart switch is connected to your existing wires and a neutral wire, you can control all the lights connected to that switch in the same way you’d control a smart bulb.

The Best Smart Switches and Dimmers to Bring Brains to Dumb Bulbs

Kasa Smart Light Switch HS200, Single Pole, Needs Neutral Wire, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Light Switch Works with Alexa and Google Home, UL Certified, No Hub Required , White

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Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch HS220, Single Pole, Needs Neutral Wire, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Light Switch Works with Alexa and Google Home, UL Certified, No Hub Required

WeMo Smart Light Switch 2ND Gen

Enbrighten Z-Wave Smart Rocker Light Switch with QuickFit and SimpleWire, 3-Way Ready, Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, ZWave Hub Required, Repeater/Range Extender, White & Light Almond, 46201

Cync 3-Wire Smart Switch

Best for Philips Hue Bulbs

Philips Hue Smart Dimming Kit (Installation-Free, Exclusive for Philips Hue Lights, Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant)

Control Your Lights From Anywhere

As I’ve mentioned, most smart lights come with a companion app that allows you to control them via your smartphone. A lot of smart lights can even be controlled by commands to voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. This feature is helpful when you’re at home and when you go on vacation.

If you’re at home, there are multiple scenarios in which being able to control the lights from your phone would come in handy. Maybe you just sat down to watch a movie and you have a cat on your lap, so you’re unable to move. Or, you just laid down in bed only to realize that you accidentally left the living room light on. Bonus: If your smart lights can be controlled via voice commands, you don’t even need your smartphone to control the lights.

Smart lights definitely make your home more convenient when you’re there, but they also protect your home when you’re away on vacation. After all, what do home burglars pay attention to? Your mail and packages, cars in the driveway, and the schedule of your home’s lights, both inside and outside.

Now, I’m not saying by any means that if you have your smart lights on a schedule while you’re on vacation, your home is safe. It could still get robbed, but you’ll have some extra peace of mind with a regular or random schedule for your inside and outside lights. For even better security while you’re on vacation, be sure to invest in a good security system that lets you monitor your home from afar.

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Smart Lights Are Just Fun and Entertaining

Nanoleaf Shapes Hexagons smart lighting above a TV
Nanoleaf

While investing in smart lights can be practical, it’s also just fun to incorporate smart lights into your home. Sure, there’s the convenience factor of turning lights off from any room or controlling them from a distance, but you can use smart lights in a super entertaining way too.

Many smart lights come with a color spectrum that you can manipulate via its companion app. With some smart lights, you might only be able to alternate between whites and yellows. However, most smart lights allow you to experiment with the whole color spectrum.

This means that you can change the colors to match your decor, your mood, or even an upcoming holiday. Plus, you can often sync your smart lights with music, making for a really cool party trick that people will remember .

Although smart bulbs are the go-to option for people just starting to experiment with smart lights, there are plenty of other options to play around with. You can buy smart switches for your whole home, smart LED strips to light up the underside of your kitchen cabinets, or ambient backlighting for your TV. You can buy smart floodlights for your home’s exterior and even smart lights that come in unique shapes, like the ones from Nanoleaf pictured above. Wherever you’ve traditionally used lights throughout your home, there’s a smart version out there that’s better.

The Best Smart Lights

If you’ve decided to invest in smart lights for your home, you might be overwhelmed by all the different brands and styles of smart lights out there. There are smart bulbs, smart switches, smart rope lights, and more. Luckily, we’ve done a ton of research on smart lights and can help you out with choosing the first smart lights to adorn your home!