I put this smart lamp together for under $75 — and it really surprised me

A lamp with two smart light bulbs inside
(Image credit: Future)

There are plenty of ways to add a bit of color to any room — from painting your walls to adding a rug — but I’ve always found the right lighting can make a big difference. With the best smart light bulbs though, it’s never been easier to add a splash of color in order to shake things up a bit.

Whether you want to add a smart lightstrip behind your TV or just put a few smart bulbs in a lamp, adding smart lights to your home or apartment can help set the mood for any occasion. The best part about smart lights though, you can change their color with a tap on your phone or by asking one of the best smart speakers to do it for you.

Even though I’ve long been a proponent of Philips Hue lights and the company’s Hue Sync software, I’m currently in the process of testing out Wyze’s latest smart bulbs. As such, I wanted to find a way to try them out without disrupting my current smart light setup.

Sure, I could have just taken out a few of my existing bulbs but I figured I’d set up a brand new light instead. After a bit of searching, I managed to find a great corner light that let me put a pair of Wyze Bulb Color BR30 ($24, Amazon) lights through their paces while showcasing just what you can do with smart lights for less than $75.

Great smart light bulbs are finally affordable

Back when I first decided to outfit my entire home with smart lights in 2017, I knew I needed to choose a smart light ecosystem that was tried and tested, in order to get everyone else in my household on board. Even though Philips Hue lights are on the expensive side at up to $50 per bulb, I went with them due to their reliability.

In the years since though, cheaper smart lights that are on par with those from Philips Hue have been released. For instance, the Govee string lights on my side porch cost just over $100 and you get 30 bulbs. Swapping your old dumb light bulbs for smart ones has never been more affordable and you now have plenty of options to choose from.

Wyze Bulb Color BR30

(Image credit: Future)

For instance, a two-pack of the new Wyze Bulb Color BR30 smart bulbs costs just $24 and you can get a four-pack for $48. To put that into perspective, a four-pack of white and color Philips Hue bulbs costs $170 or $200 with a hub. A great thing about Wyze’s smart lights and similar smart bulbs from other companies is that they don’t require a hub.

Although you initially pair Wyze’s smart bulbs over Bluetooth, they use Wi-Fi to connect with your phone. If you’re thinking of adding smart lights throughout your home, it’s also probably a good idea to invest in one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems unless you want lights that require a hub or bridge to connect.

With a pair of Wyze’s new smart bulbs in hand, I just needed to find the right lamp to show off just what they could do at half the price of a single multicolored Philips Hue bulb.

Finding the right lamp

Lamps are usually the kind of thing you shop for when moving into a new place or upgrading existing furniture. Since I initially wanted two cheap lamps to test out Wyze’s smart bulbs, I went to Walmart as I knew I could find them there for a great price. However, as I was putting two inexpensive lamps into my cart, I remembered a Reddit post I had seen years ago on the Hue subreddit.

Instead of putting smart lights in a bedside lamp or into a fixture on the ceiling, the person who wrote the post opted to put them into a floor lamp instead. I must have really been inspired by their idea as it came back to me in a rush six years later. I searched the shelves at Walmart for a similar floor lamp with a paper shade and, lo and behold, I found one just like it on the top shelf. As it was after the holidays and getting someone to help would take forever, I grabbed a cooler, stood on top of it and got the light down while my wife stood watch.

Two Wyze Bulb Color BR30s installed in a lamp's light sockets

(Image credit: Future)

The Mainstays White Rice Paper Floor Lamp with Dark Wood Base ($47, Walmart) I picked up was perfect for testing out Wyze’s new smart bulbs as it has two standard sockets and the rice paper shade would allow the colored light from the bulbs to be diffused.

I plugged it in and turned it on and suddenly, my room was filled with light. After downloading the Wyze app and pairing the bulbs, I was then able to experiment with a number of different color combinations though there are also around a dozen pre-configured color scenes. 

So far, I’m really surprised with just how much light these bulbs give off for $12 a piece. While I initially set the lamp up on the other side of my house, I have since brought it to our game room where it now sits on a small shelf in the corner, out of reach of my toddler, and the paper shade is high enough up that it won’t get covered in dog hair anytime soon.   

You don’t have to go all in on smart lights

Outfitting your entire home with smart lights requires a lot of planning and a considerable budget. However, as you can see with this lamp, you can do quite a lot with just a pair of smart bulbs.

Whether you want to add some more color to one of your favorite rooms or light an area of your house without any sockets, smart bulbs can be an inexpensive upgrade that makes your space feel a bit more cozy.

While I’ve sworn by Philips Hue lights in the past, I’ve come around the idea that there are some great cheap smart lights out there that are worth considering. Also, if you’re using Alexa or Google Assistant as your primary means of controlling them — instead of fumbling with multiple apps — mixing and matching between multiple smart light ecosystems can be a great way to get more bang for your buck. 

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.