2020 Smart lighting guide—The ultimate setup for HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Home
When we think of setting up a smart home, a smart light seems like the easiest thing to begin with. Little did we know that, if it's not done right, the smart light setup can go all wrong. But if you know which ones to go for based on the smart home assistant you use, a smart light setup can actually make your home brighter and easier to manage.
Setting up a fully functioning smart home is the ultimate dream for every tech-savvy person out there. But then you look at the costs and realize not every smart gadget is cost-effective compared to the non-smart competition. One of the smart home devices that is often affordable is the smart bulb. When we see all the new smart lighting options, we’re tempted to start adding them to our home. But, let’s face it, setting up smart home lighting can be way more difficult than it seems.
Smart lights are enticing. They offer automated vacation-mode lighting, color-changing bulbs, and more cool features. But setting up all their abilities can be daunting. Especially if you don’t take certain vital factors like these into consideration.
- Pick the right platform: To make the most of your smart home experience, stick to one smart assistant platform. You don’t want to buy one Alexa-compatible bulb and four HomeKit-compatible bulbs. They won’t work together, and seamless communication requires sticking to a single platform.
- Get a hub if required: To control bulbs from more than 50 feet away, you need a Wi-Fi hub. It relays bulb signals to your router and then uses the cloud to relay them to you. Without a hub, voice control is impossible.
- Install smart switches and plugs: For a complete smart lighting experience, you can’t stick to bulbs alone. You’ve got to up your game and go for smart switches and plugs that will help you complete your setup.
We have a dedicated category for smart lights and plugs. But, below, we’re showing you some of the best smart lighting gadgets you can buy depending on your preferred smart home assistant. Someday, with open-source smart home standards slowly developing, it might be possible to use Alexa, Google Home, and Siri together. But that day is not today. So read on for the ultimate setup guide for smart home lights. And don’t forget your switches, too!
Best HomeKit-compatible smart lights and switches
Let’s begin with HomeKit. The coolest part of having HomeKit gadgets is the fact that you can control them easily from your iPhone and iPad. That makes the whole process of controlling these devices as easy as can be.
Belkin Wemo Smart Light Switch 3-Way Wi-Fi Switch
The Belkin Wemo Smart Light Switch 3-Way Wi-Fi Switch actually allows you to tell your lights what to do. In fact, you can use it to manage ceiling fans, too. In terms of control, you can either flip the switch manually, use the Wemo App, or simply manage it with your voice. Together with the functionality, the design of the switch makes it a perfect fit for any HomeKit-based smart home.
LIFX Mini Color Smart Bulb
With the help of the LIFX Mini Color Smart Bulb, you will have control of more than 16 million colors and variable white lighting. In fact, you can also use animations and themes for an entirely new experience. If you want to change the colors of the bulb, you just need to access the app from your iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad. There are also predetermined shades in the app that will help you sync different lighting options based on your activity.
Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus Smart LED Strip
The most important update that makes the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus Smart LED Strip worth it is the fact that you can use the pieces you cut off. In fact, the lighting option is also customizable. As a result, you can cut off pieces to get a strip of lights that are just the length you need. You can also add a connecting piece to reuse cut-off portions.
To take your experience even further, you could choose the Lutron Caseta Dimmer Switch Starter Kit which may seem a little pricey but is a great buy for HomeKit users. For just under $200, you get two plugs, two remotes, and the necessary Wi-Fi bridge. Extras plugs cost about $54 each.
Best Alexa-compatible smart lights and switches
When it comes to Alexa, you can rely on your Echo devices for better control. In fact, most of the Echo devices come with a dedicated dashboard for controlling your smart lights. That makes it super easy!
Philips Hue White A21 Smart Bulb
The Philips Hue White A21 Smart Bulb is one such smart bulb that’s bright enough for any room in your house. The fact that you can control the brightness of this bulb based on your needs is what makes it one of a kind. You can set it at full brightness when you’re cooking in the kitchen as well as dim it for the perfect movie-night ambiance. In fact, you can do so wirelessly through the connected Philips Hue app or from your Alexa devices.
WeMo Belkin Dimmer Wi-Fi Light Switch
The WeMo Belkin Dimmer Wi-Fi Light Switch will calibrate your bulbs by providing the maximum dimming range with no flickering. You can control it from the wall, the Wemo app, and Amazon Alexa. You just have to enable the Wemo Skill in the Alexa app for pairing. When you don’t desire the bright light, set it to your desired low-light level. The device also works with Nest devices to detect when you’re home or away. It will turn living room lights off when the house is empty or have your kitchen lights switch on before you come home.
LIFX Z LED Strip
The LIFX Z LED Strip is perfect for adding a smart highlight to your home with the help of Versicolor layouts. It comes with polychrome technology that includes eight addressable color zones per light strip, along with millions of colors. Each set comes with 6.6 feet of LED strip, controller, power supply, and a US plug.
Best Google-Home-compatible smart lights and plugs
If you are a Google Home person, you’ll want to go for smart lights that can respond to your Google Home device. Most of the Alexa-compatible smart light setups are also Google compatible, so you can also try the options mentioned above.
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
The Wemo Mini Smart Plug has an all-white design and can be controlled from afar. You can control it from your phone or tablet by using your home’s Wi-Fi network. At first, you need to plug the Wemo Mini into a standard outlet. After that, you have to plug your electronics into the built-in socket. Finally, you can use the free Wemo app to control your devices as you please.
Nanoleaf Canvas Interactive Ambient Light
If you want to brighten up your home in a stylish way, the Nanoleaf Canvas Interactive Ambient Light is the ideal smart light for you. It is a collection of squares that light up in reaction to your touch. You can create any design you like and choose lights in almost any color. In fact, it’s a perfect addition to a living space that needs a bright pop. You can even add these to a nursery in the shape of an animal for soft, ambient light. There are endless possibilities with this design.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Bulb Warm Amber Light
If you want to add a vintage feel to your smart home setup, the TP-Link Kasa Smart Bulb Warm Amber Light is a must. The 40-watt and 400-lumen warm amber bulb may use modern technology, but it gives a vintage feel with an amber-brown glow. Additionally, since it’s a dimmable bulb, you can use it to brighten up your space or set it really low for romantic ambiance.
It’s clear that the future of smart homes will be open source. Most of these products are already mutually compatible with more than one assistant. As technology progresses, you’ll be able to easily upgrade your smart lighting setup. Which bulb, switch, or plug would you use from the list, and why do you want it? Share with us in the comments below.
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