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The best smart light bulbs in 2020

Best smart light bulbs
(Image credit: Future)

The best smart light bulbs are useful for a variety of reasons. For starters, they're all LEDs, so they use much less energy than traditional incandescent, halogen, and CFL light bulbs (as explained in our light bulb guide.)

The other reason why we like smart light bulbs is that you can connect them to your home network and control them using your smartphone or a smart assistant like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. 

You can also link your smart light bulbs to other best smart home devices, so that when you unlock your door, the lights turn on, or when you go away, your smart lights turn on and off randomly to make it look like someone is home. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of smart light bulbs to consider for your space. And while all claim that they're the best, many aren’t as good as they say. So we've done hours of testing for you to come up with this list of the best smart light bulbs you can buy.

See all of the best smart light bulbs below.

What are the best smart light bulbs?

After testing dozens of models, we think the best smart light bulbs are the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs. Not only do Philips Hue lights connect to virtually every smart home product, but Philips has a number of features in its app that let you do more with its lights than any other smart light maker. If you just want white lights, check out the Philips Hue White bulbs, too.

One caveat of the Philips Hue lights is you’ll need to get the Philips Hue bridge (which connects the lights to your Wi-Fi) if you have several in your home and want to use all the bulb’s features. If you just have a few fixtures, though, look for Bluetooth compatible ones you can control with your smartphone. 

And if you want something with a simpler setup, we recommend the Sengled Smart Wi-Fi bulb, as it connects directly to your Wi-Fi network. At around $12 per bulb, Sengled Smart bulbs are relatively inexpensive in this category. Sengled also makes some of the best smart light bulbs with built-in motion sensors for outdoor use. 

You may also want to check out Wyze's Wi-Fi bulb, which is even cheaper: $8 for a single bulb, and $30 for a pack of four. As the best smart light bulbs for those on a budget, the Wyze bulbs work with most home assistants and offer a temperature range of 2700K to 6500K.

The best smart light bulbs you can buy today

Best smart light bulbs: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance (Image credit: Philips)

1. Philips Hue White And Color Ambiance

The best smart light bulb starter kit

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit | Hub Required: Yes | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Power consumption: 10 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Easy setup with intuitive app
Extensive third-party integrations
Stunning color effects
Expensive
Requires bridge

Philips Hue’s White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit includes your choice of two or four dimmable colored bulbs plus a hub. What separates Philips from the competition — and makes it the standout among the best smart light bulbs — is the depth of its app, which is packed with features, including routines, sunrise/sunset automation, scenes, geofencing and a vacation mode. Plus, Philips Hue works with just about every other smart home system or device you can think of: Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, Nest, SmartThings and more. If you’re looking for a white smart bulb that can be a versatile addition to your smart home, this is it.

As a disclaimer, Philips Hue systems have known security flaws. Make sure you update your bulb firmware to prevent malware from jumping through your bridge to your network. To update your Philips Hue bridge, go into the Philips Hue mobile app, open Settings and click Software update. 

Read our full Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit review.

Best smart light bulbs: Wyze Bulb

Wyze Bulb (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Wyze Bulb

The best cheap smart light bulb

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Power consumption: 9.5 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Inexpensive
Tunable white
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant
Doesn't work with HomeKit
No color option

The biggest problem with smart light bulbs is that they're expensive, even compared to other LED bulbs. That's why Wyze’s smart bulb is perfect for those on a budget. It’s one of the best smart light bulbs if all you’re looking for is a light bulb you can control and connect to other smart home devices. You can change both the brightness and color temperature (2,700k - 6,500k), and not just from Wyze’s app; you can also make these adjustments with Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT too. 

From within the Wyze app, you can create schedules for when the light should turn on and off—but only based on a specific time, not dawn or dusk—and set a Vacation mode, which turns the bulbs on and off randomly to make it look like you’re home. You can also create triggers based on other Wyze’s home security camera and motion sensors, too. At $8 per bulb, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option at this price.

Read our full Wyze Bulb review.

Best smart light bulbs: Sengled Smart Wi-Fi Bulb

Sengled Smart Wi-Fi Bulb. Credit: Sengled (Image credit: Sengled)

3. Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED

Affordable Wi-Fi smart bulb

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Power consumption: 9 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Super easy setup
No hub required
App tracks energy consumption
Missing more advanced automation features

Starting at $12, Sengled makes one of the best smart light bulbs for those who are looking for an inexpensive and easy-to-install option. Sengled is great for less technical-minded folks because unlike Philips' bulbs, the Sengled smart Wi-Fi bulbs connect directly to your home network. There’s no bridge needed to light up your space.

You can choose from three options to get started: a $12 soft white bulb, a $15 daylight bulb, and a $25 multicolor bulb. If you’re getting several Sengled devices, you might want to consider purchasing the Sengled hub (or one of the best smart home hubs.) The Sengled app works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and offers all the basic smart-bulb features, including timers, scenes, schedules and routines, but is less sophisticated than what you get with Philips.

Best smart light bulbs: Sengled Smart LED with Motion Sensor

Sengled Smart LED with Motion Sensor. Credit: Sengled (Image credit: Sengled)

4. Sengled Smart LED with Motion Sensor

This smart outdoor floodlight has a motion sensor built in

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT | Hub Required: Yes | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 1050 lumens | Power consumption: 11.5 watts

Built-in motion sensor
Integrated daylight sensor
Weatherproof
No HomeKit support
Hub required

We think Sengled's Smart LED with Motion Sensor is one of the best smart light bulbs for people who need an outdoor floodlight for their walkways. Not only does it crank out more than 1,000 lumens, but it has a motion sensor built into its center, so it can automatically turn the light on if it detects motion within 30 feet. This way you won’t find yourself stumbling in the dark as you try to make it from your driveway to your door. 

The Sengled Smart LED with Motion Sensor works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and SmartThings. You can get push notifications and trigger other smart home actions when motion is detected using routines, too. However, you'll need to purchase the Sengled Smart Hub, or another compatible smart home hub, to control this bulb. 

Best smart light bulbs: Lifx Mini

Lifx Mini (Image credit: Future)

5. Lifx Mini

Best smart light bulb for smaller fixtures

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 200,000 hours | Brightness: 650-800 lumens | Power consumption: 9-11 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Bright
Advanced automation options
No hub needed
Expensive

The Lifx Mini is one of the best smart light bulbs for smaller fixtures, and not just because it's more compact than the competition. That's because Lifx's app works with Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit, and has a great set of features and effects, such as a candle flicker and a strobe, and can sync up to your music or other sounds nearby. 

Lifx's bulbs also connect directly to Wi-Fi, so there's no hub needed. The Lifx Mini bulbs are a bit more expensive, though. Within the Mini line, you can choose from a Mini White ($18), Mini Day & Dusk ($28), which lets you control color temperature, and the Mini Color ($37), which lets you choose from 16 million colors. Lifx makes excellent full-sized smart bulbs and the neat Lifx Candle Color, too, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Read our full Lifx Mini review.

Best smart light bulbs: TP-LINK Kasa Filament WiFi Light Bulb

TP-LINK Kasa Filament WiFi Light Bulb. Credit: TP-Link (Image credit: TP-Link)

The best filament-style smart light bulb

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 600 lumens | Power consumption: 7 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Lots of smart automation options
Tracks energy usage
Dimmable
No HomeKit support

Filament, or "Edison"-style lights are all the rage, as they cast a warm, old-timey glow that's great at setting the mood. Plus they look nicer than traditional LED smart bulbs, and can be paired with exposed lighting fixtures. The TP-Link Kasa Filament WiFi Light Bulb (KL50) are the best smart light bulbs for this purpose; they connect directly to your Wi-Fi (no hub needed), and the Kasa app lets you control them in myriad ways.

We also like that this bulb costs $15—pricier than a non-smart bulb, but reasonable for this market. TP-Link also makes a warm amber version of this bulb for the same price. All work with Alexa, and Google Assistant, and you can take advantage of several advanced automation features if you have TP-Link’s smart router.

Best smart light bulbs: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Lightstrip

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Lightstrip. Credit: Philips (Image credit: Philips)

7. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Lightstrip

The best smart lightstrips

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit | Hub Required: Yes | Lifetime: 20,000 hours | Power consumption: 1600 lumens | Wattage: 20 watts

Trimmable
Flexible
Accommodates 40 inches of extensions
Requires bridge
Pricey

Because they all use LEDs, the best smart light bulbs aren't confined to traditional light bulb shapes. Case in point: The Philips Hue Lightstrip. This 80 inch-long strip can display millions of colors, adding a fun accent to cabinets, TVs, or around other pieces of furniture. 

You can trim the Philips Hue Lightstrip strip to fit your needs, as well as add up to 40 inches of extensions; adhesive backing makes it easy to stick to a wall or other surface. Like other Philips Hue lights, the LightStrip works with Alexa, HomeKit, Google Assistant, Nest and Samsung SmartThings. However, you'll need to already own the Hue bridge to get these lights to work. If you want a fun lightstrip that doesn’t need a bridge, check out Sengled’s Smart LED Multicolor Lightstrip, or Slyvania’s HomeKit-friendly Smart LED Flex Strip.

Best smart light bulbs: Nanoleaf Canvas

Nanoleaf Canvas. Credit: Nanoleaf (Image credit: Nanoleaf)

8. Nanoleaf Canvas

These smart light wall panels are fun

Works With: Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 50 lumens | Power consumption: 1 watt

Customizable touch commands
Simple setup
Striking color effects
Unlimited designs and scenes
Expensive

They're not bulbs per se, but if you want your home to make a statement, the Nanoleaf Canvas is one of the best smart light bulbss out there. For less than $300, you’ll get a set of nine square panels, each measuring 6 inches square, which you can easily hang in whatever arrangement you want. The panels are very easy to connect and stick to your wall; the Nanoleaf app recommends designs and helps you plot out the placement.

You can use the Nanoleaf app, Google Assistant, Alexa, HomeKit or buttons on the panels themselves to cycle through colors and effects to create a custom light show. The panels are also touch-sensitive; you can tap them to turn the lights on and off, long press to create a ripple, and map other gestures to various effects. And with a nifty feature called “Rhythm Mode,” the Canvas can also synchronize colors and effects to the music it hears.

Read our full Nanoleaf Canvas review.

How to choose the best smart light bulbs for you

In order to choose the best smart light bulbs for you, you’ll have to get a sense of your space, how many smart lights you’ll need and if you’ll need a bridge to power them. If you’re getting a handful of smart lights for your bedroom or apartment, you might be able to skip the bridge. The more bulbs you need, though, the more likely you’ll want to take the strain off of your home network. The advantage of bridge bulbs, too, is that they tend to be smaller and, on a bulb-per-bulb basis, they’re less expensive than Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs. 

As for price, smart lights are generally more expensive than traditional LED bulbs because they cram in other tech options. That said, they’re not as expensive as they used to be, and quality smart bulbs can range from $10 to over $40. Fancier fixtures, such as wall panels and outdoor floodlights, can cost hundreds of dollars. If you have to replace a lot of lights in a single room, a smart light switch may be a more economical option. Be sure to check out our best smart light switches page.

How we test the best smart light bulbs

We test the best smart light bulbs on a number of criteria, including ease-of-setup, brightness, 

value and library of features. We compare most bulbs against Philips Hue lights, which are pricey but offer everything you could want out of smart bulbs. Some budget smart bulbs brag that they have a lot to offer, but we only recommend the ones that live up to their claims.  

Smart home compatibility is key to our testing. The bulbs above work with at least two top smart home systems, if not more. You don’t want your light bulbs to lock you into a specific smart assistant when there are plenty of options that work with Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, SmartThings and IFTTT. 

All of the brands we test are trustworthy and feel comfortable adding to our own home networks. Use caution when shopping for smart bulbs from unknown manufacturers.