The best smart lights in 2023

Best smart light bulbs
(Image credit: Future)

The best smart lights and smart light bulbs illuminate your home with an enhanced level of control. Once connected to your smart home you can use your phone or voice to instantly transform the atmosphere of any room.

Smart lights are an affordable and easy-to-install upgrade which makes them so popular. They easily pair with your other smart home devices such as your home security system or even your TV. You can even have your smart lights automatically switch on when motion is detected or schedule them to turn on or off at certain times of the day. This way, you won’t forget to turn the lights on or off and you can also use this feature to deter burglars.

Beyond their looks and features—these bulbs can save you some serious cash. You can program them to automatically turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. While they cost more upfront, smart lights use LEDs instead of more power-hungry halogen or incandescent bulbs. These are cheaper to run over time which is important to consider with the rising energy prices. 

Smart lights and smart bulbs come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colors which means there’s a lot you’ll need to consider before you buy. For instance, what type of smart light would be best suited for your particular home? Do you want smart lights that connect via Bluetooth or would you rather have them connected to a smart home hub? We’ve tried out and tested a wide selection of smart lights and bulbs to help you find the best ones for you. 

How to choose the best smart lights for you

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A lamp with two smart light bulbs inside

(Image credit: Future)

Before you choose the best smart lights for your home, you should first get an idea of where you’re going to put them and the space they will illuminate. You should consider how many smart lights you’re going to need in total and whether or not a bridge will be necessary to connect them. If you only need a few, you might be able to skip using a bridge but the more you need, the more likely you’re going to want to take some of the strain off of your home network. If you’re using smart lights that require a bridge, they are usually more compact as well as less expensive than Wi-Fi enabled smart light bulbs, based on price per bulb.

Looking at the cost overall, smart lights are more expensive than traditional LED lights due to the technology they contain. However, they have come down in price over the years, so they’re more affordable – a good quality smart light or smart light bulb can range from $10 to over $40. If you’re getting one with a fixture, such as a wall panel or outdoor floodlight, the price can be in the $100’s. If you often replace lots of light bulbs in one room, then a smart light switch might be a better investment. To find out more, check out our guide on the best smart light switches.

Here are 9 things you never knew you could do with smart lights in case you want to find out more about some of their other unique qualities when compared to traditional light bulbs. Plus, I turned this smart light into a sunrise alarm clock — and it’s a game changer

How we test the best smart lights

A TV with a lightstrip mounted to the back of it

(Image credit: Future)

We test the best smart lights on a number of criteria, including ease-of-setup, brightness, value and library of features. We compare most smart lights and bulbs against Philips Hue lights, which are pricey but offer everything you could want out of smart lights. Some budget smart lights 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 smart lights above work with at least two top smart home systems, if not more. You don’t want your smart lights to lock you into a specific virtual 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 lights from unknown manufacturers though.

For more information about how we review products in general, please check out the Tom's Guide How We Test page.

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. 

With contributions from
  • Truckin_Fool
    Your info on the Wyze bulb needs updating. There is a color option available and we use them all over our house. In fact, they're the only smart bulbs we use now.