Best Smart Lights 2019

Product Use case Rating
Philips Hue White 4
Xiaomi Yeelight Wi-Fi LED Bulb 4
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 4.5
Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Bulb 4
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Lightstrip 4.5
Ring Floodlight Cam 4.5
Sengled Element Starter Kit 3.5
Sengled Element Color Plus Starter Kit 4
Lifx Mini 3.5
Nanoleaf Canvas 4.5
Sylvania Smart+ 3.5

Smart bulbs can be controlled by your smartphone and often have other features built in, such as the ability to work with a wide range of smart home devices, such as Alexa and Google Assistant.

After spending hundreds of hours testing dozens of smart lights, the best smart lights are the Philips Hue White bulbs. Fairly simple to set up, these work with a lot of smart devices and Philips’ app has the most features of any smart light. 

If you’re on a budget, check out the Sengled Element Starter Kit, or the Xiaomi Yeelight Smart Bulb. Both are cheaper than Philips Hue’s bulbs, but don’t have as many features and integrations.

See all of our top picks for smart speakers, lights, locks, and more on our best smart home gadgets page.

Credit: PhilipsCredit: Philips

1. Philips Hue White

Best smart lights overall

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros:
 Easy setup; intuitive app; extensive third-party integrations; dimmable

Cons:
 Expensive; requires bridge; not tunable

Philips Hue’s White Starter Kit includes your choice of two or four dimmable white bulbs plus a hub. What separates Philips from the competition 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.

Read our full Philips Hue White Starter Kit review.
 

Credit: XiaomiCredit: Xiaomi

2. Xiaomi Yeelight Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Top smart light value

Rating: 4/5 stars

Works With:
Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 600 lumens | Wattage: 9.1 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Pros:
 Inexpensive; easy setup; cool color effects

Cons:
 Lacks advanced integration outside Xiaomi ecosystem; a bit dim; no HomeKit support

Xiaomi's Yeelight Color LED bulbs are excellent, Wi-Fi-enabled lights that cost just $19 apiece, take less than a minute to set up and work with Alexa and Google Assistant.

In the Mi Home app, you can set schedules and timers for your bulbs, and dim or change color when another Xiaomi smart device turns on or off. These lights deliver 600 lumens and don't get particularly hot.
 

Credit: PhilipsCredit: Philips

3. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance

Our favorite color smart lights

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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

Pros:
 Easy setup; intuitive app; extensive third-party integrations; stunning color effects

Cons:
 Expensive; requires bridge

Philips Hue’s coolest feature, Philips Hue Sync, lets users synchronize their smart bulbs with multimedia content on their Mac or Windows PC. For example, you can set your lights to flash and change color in time with music, video or movies being played on your computer.
 

Credit: TP-LinkCredit: TP-Link

4. Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Bulb

No hub required

Rating: 4/5 stars

Works With:
Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Wattage: 10.5 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Pros
: Lots of smart automation options; tracks energy usage

Cons
: No HomeKit support; automation requires separate smart-home router

TP-Link's second-generation Kasa bulbs have Wi-Fi built in, so you don't need a bridge to connect them. The lineup includes a $19 soft white bulb, a $24 dimmable bulb, a $24 tunable bulb and a $34 multicolor bulb. All work with Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana; you can take advantage of several advanced automation features if you have TP-Link’s smart router.
 

Credit: PhilipsCredit: Philips

5. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Lightstrip

Best lightstrip

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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

Pros
: Trimmable; flexible; super bright; accommodates 40 inches of extensions

Cons
: Requires bridge; not waterproof; pricey

The Philips Hue LightStrip is 80 inches long and can display millions of colors. You can trim the strip to fit your needs; 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.
 

Credit: RingCredit: Ring

6. Ring Floodlight Cam

Floodlight and security camera in one

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Works With:
Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 20,000 hours | Brightness: 1800 lumens | Wattage: 50 watts

Pros
: Wide field of view; customizable motion zones; crisp 1080p video; night vision

Cons
: Saving videos requires subscription; no HomeKit support; complicated setup

The Ring Floodlight camera has two powerful LEDS that turn on when motion is detected and works with Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT.You can view the feed on Fire TVs and Echo devices with screens, but you'll need to subscribe to Ring's cloud storage plans (starting at $30) to view recorded video.

Read our full Ring Floodlight Cam review.
   

Credit: SengledCredit: Sengled

7. Sengled White LED Starter Kit

Cheap Philips Hue alternative

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Works With:
Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: Yes | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Wattage: 9 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Pros
: Easy setup; polished app; tracks power consumption

Cons
: Requires hub; no HomeKit support

If all you're looking for is basic white, dimmable bulbs, Sengled offers a more affordable option than Philips does. A starter kit with two bulbs and a hub costs $39.99; one with four bulbs costs $59.99.

The starter kit’s bulbs are quite easy to set up, as they come pre-paired with the Sengled hub. You can use Alexa, Google Assistant or Sengled’s app to turn on and off, or dim your lights, and set schedules. However, the Sengled app lacks some of the more advanced functions that Philips Hue’s and Kasa’s feature, such as geofencing and vacation mode. And while these bulbs are dimmable, they’re not tunable to different shades of white.

Read our full Sengled White LED Starter Kit review.
   

Credit: SengledCredit: Sengled

8. Sengled Smart LED Multicolor Starter Kit

Budget color starter kit

Rating: 4/5 stars

Works With:
Alexa, Google Assistant | Hub Required: Yes | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Wattage: 8.6 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Pros
: Easy setup; polished app; Tracks power consumption

Cons
: Requires hub; No HomeKit support

Sengled's $79 Smart LED Multicolor Starter kit is a budget alternative to Philips Hue's White and Color Ambiance kit. The bulbs—compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings— are a breeze to set up and control and can display more than 16 million hues. Just keep in mind that like the White Kit, it requires a hub (included) to work.

Read our full Sengled Smart LED Multicolor Starter Kit review.

Credit: LifxCredit: Lifx

9. Lifx Mini

Small but powerful

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Works With:
Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, Cortana | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 200,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Wattage: 9 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Pros
: Fits into small fixtures; cool, unique lighting effects

Cons
: Complicated setup

Lifx has an assortment of smart bulbs, of which the Mini White is the smallest and least expensive. It's dimmable, has an output of 800 lumens and uses about 9 watts of electricity. Other mini Lifx bulbs include the multicolor Mini ($44) and the Mini Day & Dusk ($29), whose white output is tunable to change from a cool, bluish light to a warm, reddish white.

All of Lifx's bulbs work with Alexa, Google Home and HomeKit.


Read our full Lifx Mini review.
   

Credit: NanoleafCredit: Nanoleaf

10. Nanoleaf Canvas

Really fun wall panels

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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

Pros
: Customizable touch commands; simple setup; striking color effects; unlimited designs and scenes

Cons
: Expensive

If you want your home to make a statement, the Nanoleaf Canvas is one of the best wall decorations 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.
 

Credit: SylvaniaCredit: Sylvania

11. Sylvania Smart+

Best for Apple HomeKit

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Works With:
HomeKit | Hub Required: No | Lifetime: 20,000 hours | Brightness: 800 lumens | Wattage: 9 watts | Bulb Type: A19

Pros
: Affordable; easy setup; advanced automation options

Cons
: No Alexa, Google Assistant support; iPad, Apple TV or HomePod required for remote control

Sylvania’s $25 white and $44 color A19s are easy to install, with no hub required. Unlike many other bulbs, they’re compatible with Apple’s HomeKit (but not with Alexa or Google Assistant). You can set them up directly through the HomeKit app, so there’s no third-party app required; you also won’t need to create any accounts. They output 800 lumens, and the colored bulb offers millions of hues.

Smart light buying tips

What do smart lights cost?

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.

Bridge versus Wi-Fi-enabled lights

Smart bulbs fall into two categories—those that require a hub (or bridge) to connect to your home Wi-Fi network and those that don't. Philips’ and Sengled’s Element bulbs fall into the former camp, while those from Lifx and Kasa are the latter.

The advantage for bridge bulbs is that they tend to be smaller and, on a bulb-per-bulb basis, they’re less expensive than Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs. However, setup takes a little longer for bridge bulbs, and involves connecting a hub or bridge to your Wi-Fi router and then linking the bulbs to the hub.

If you decide to purchase bulbs that need a bridge, be sure to get a kit with one included.

Color Temperature

Just because a bulb is white doesn’t mean it lacks color. White bulbs come in a variety of color temperatures, ranging from a bluer white to a more reddish white.

2700K: These bulbs are labeled “soft white” and will cast a gentle warm glow that’s good for the bedroom, as well as table and floor lamps.

3000K: “Bright white” bulbs have a more neutral glow, being neither warm nor cool.

5000K: Lights that are 5000K and higher will typically carry a “daylight” label and edge towards the bluer part of the spectrum. However, they best approximate actual sunlight.