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Lights & Lighting

  • Best smart lighting: Philips Hue, Ikea, Osram bulbs and more

    Having a smarthome isn't just about clever appliances or smartphone-controlled heating, you can also get clever lights too and that doesn't just mean smartphone control, it means all sorts of great features.

    You switch lights on or off everyday and they can play an essential part in creating an ambience in a room. Some smart lighting solutions enable you to recreate the colours within a particular image, while other solutions just mean you don't need to get up off the sofa to turn the lights off.

    Here are some of the best smart lighting options to consider.

    Philips Hue

    Philips Hue is probably the most well known when it comes to smart lighting and for good reason with numerous features and various bulbs, lamps and other lights, such as strips, available. The wireless system allows you to use your smartphone to not only switch the LED bulbs on and off, but pick the colour and brightness you want, as well as recreate colours within a specific image, like a sunset you uploaded to Instagram or a painting on your wall.

    You can program specific times, for example waking everyone in the house up at 7am every day with bright lights and the Hue system also has a party mode for flashing in time with your music. Philips Hue is compatible with the IFTTT service, as well as Apple's HomeKit, Google's Assistant and Amazon Alexa, meaning you can create recipes to take your smart lighting to a different level or control them with your voice.

    Hive Active Light

    Hive, perhaps best known for its smart heating system, offers three bulbs in its smart lighting range. The Hive range isn't as feature rich as the likes of Philips Hue but you'll still be able to control your lights from your smartphone whether home or away, schedule them and change the colour to create your perfect ambience, assuming you buy the Colour Changing bulb.

    There aren't any strips or lamps available with Hive, like there are with Philips Hue, but Hive does offer both a GU10 and E14 candle bulb, as well as B22 bayonet, on top of the standard E27 bulb. The GU10, E14 and B22 bulbs aren't currently available in a colour changing option but they do come in white dimmable and cool to warm white options. The Hive Active lights are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so if you have an Amazon Echo device, or Google Home home device, you can control your lights with your voice too.

    Osram Lightify

    Osram's Lightify is one of the closest to Philips Hue in terms of bulb type availability. Its wireless system offers not only standard screw and bayonet bulbs, but GU10s, LED strips and garden spotlights too, all of which can be controlled through the Lightify smartphone app.

    There aren't quite as many features as there are with Philips Hue, but you'll still get remote access to your lights, scheduling functionality, ambience creation and scene creation. You won't be able to sync your lights to your music or a film as yet, but the Osram Lightify system is cheaper than Hue, there is a good range of bulbs and it is compatible with most smart home platforms.

    Ikea Trådfri

    Are there any pies Ikea doesn't have a finger in? The Swedish furniture giant offers numerous options when it comes to smart lighting, at Ikea prices, making smart lighting more accessible than it has been in the past and the system is excellent. There are numerous plug-and-play kits available, from standard white dimmable options, to colour adjustable options where users can switch between warm white and bright white.

    Unlike Philips Hue and Osram Lightify, Ikea offers only one coloured bulb option at the moment, but there are several bulb fittings available if you're after a white colour spectrum, including GU10s, along with light panels with wireless control. Ikea's smart lights are said to last for 25,000 hours and along with smartphone control via the app, there is also a remote control and dimmer control. The Trådfri lights are also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant, which you'll need to pair them up with if you want to control them away from home.


    Sengled Wi-Fi Classic is one of the only smart lighting options that doesn't require an additional hub in the UK - at least for many of its products anyway. Instead, the Wi-Fi Classic, Sengled Boost and Sengled Colour Plus bulbs can be taken straight out of their packaging, screwed in and connected directly to your router through the one of the dedicated Sengled apps.

    The Wi-Fi Classic option is the cheapest, offering white dimmable light, while the Sengled Colour Plus is a coloured bulb with a built-in speaker and the Senged Boost is a white dimmable light with WLAN boosting capabilities. There is also a Sengled Element range, though this requires a hub. Features including scheduling, dimming and smartphone control from anywhere are available across the Sengled range. The Sengled Wi-Fi Classic bulbs are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing for voice control with a compatible device.

    Belkin WeMo Smart LED lighting

    Belkin offers all sorts of WeMo connected devices and included within the range is the WeMo Smart LED bulb and the WeMo Light Switch, both of which allow lighting control from an iPhone or Android device. The WeMo Smart LED Bulb replaces your existing bulbs enabling you to control, schedule and fully dim them from anywhere using the WeMo Link, Wi-Fi and the WeMo app. It's worth mentioning that like most of IKEA smart lights, the WeMo bulbs only offer variants of white light rather than millions of colour options.

    The WeMo bulbs can be controlled independently or in groups and the WeMo Link can handle up to 50 bulbs. The WeMo LED bulbs offer compatibility with IFTTT, meaning you can create various recipes like the Hue system and they are also compatible with Google Assistant for voice control. There is also a WeMo Light Switch that is designed to replace a standard light switch in your home and allow you to turn your normal lights on and off from anywhere using a smartphone.


    Originating on Kickstarter, LIFX is an LED light bulb that can be controlled using a smartphone app but like Sengled, it doesn't require an additional hub. From the LIFX app, you can turn your lights on or off, adjust brightness, change the colour, and even create a light show to go with your music.

    Like many of the smart light solutions available, LIFX also offers a wake-up feature, allowing you to wake up naturally each morning with automatically increasing light, or drift off with slowly dimming lights. The company also offers LIFX PLUS bulbs which have the additional advantage of a night vision settings, and like Philips Hue and Osram Lightify, there are LED strips available too.


    LightwaveRF is not just about lighting, it's about controlling your entire home whether that be heating, electricity or lighting. It's a clever system that requires you to swap your sockets and switches for LightwaveRF units that offer push-buttons and LED indicators, rather than changing out your bulbs like others on this list.

    Once you have installed the system, you use the switches and plugs as normal but you get the additional functionality of being able to remotely control and monitor your lighting, power and energy usage from an internet-enabled device. The LightwaveRF app will let you to set routines based on your usual daily activities, as well as remotely control things.

    Nanoleaf light panels

    Nanoleaf is a fully-customisable smart lighting system featuring wall-mounted triangular lighting panels that snap together with simple connectors to create whatever shape you can imagine. The starter pack is expandable with extra panels that can be bought and combined to create bigger and bolder designs in future too. 

    Nanoleaf light panels are app-controlled (iOS and Android) and the system is compatible with most smart home platforms, including Google, Amazon and Apple, allowing for voice control. Like other smart lighting options, Nanoleaf can be programmed to turn on and off at specific hours, and switch light scenes. The Nanoleaf starter pack also includes a Rhythm Module, which transforms the light panels into a dancing light show that reacts to surrounding sound.

    Nanoleaf Canvas

    Nanoleaf Canvas are fully-customisable six-inch squares that can be connected together and installed anywhere in your home, walls or ceilings, using the included 3M stickers. The lights can be expanded with multiple panels, up to a total of 500 squares, meaning you can fill entire walls with colourful lighting if you so wish.

    The panels are touch-sensitive and can be controlled in a variety of ways with gestures, voice commands via a personal assistant or from your phone. Nanoleaf Canvas can also be installed in a multitude of patterns and customised to your own personal taste and the lights can react to the sound in the room - syncing to music or just providing a brilliant light show in your living room.

    OMTO 1.5W/2W G4 LED 5050 3528 SMD Car Marine Camper RV Light Lamp Bulb DC12V


    100% brand new
    Long-lasting working lifes,30,000-50,000 hrs
    Low power consumption,save your power supply
    High luminance
    Easy to install,just plug & play Constant current
    For eyessafety,please dont look directly at the bulb within one meterCar light type: Car Logo Light 
    LED Type: SMD 3528 
    Voltage (V): DC 12 
    Available Light Color: Warm WhitePackage weight: 0.033 kg 
    Product size (L x W x H): 2.50 x 0.50 x 4.00 cm / 0.98 x 0.2 x 1.57 inches 
    Package size (L x W x H): 3.00 x 1.00 x 4.00 cm / 1.18 x 0.39 x 1.57 inchesPackage Contents: 1 x RV Light Lamp

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  • The best smart light bulbs overall

    The Philips Hue light bulbs are easy to use and set up, and they are the most reliable bulbs we've tested.

    Philips is arguably the most famous smart light bulb manufacturer, and for good reason. In our testing, not only were the Philips Hue light bulbs extremely easy to set up, but they were also easy to use and very consistent.

    Perhaps the best thing about the Philips Hue bulbs is their versatility. You could go for the color-changing bulbs, which are a little more expensive, but there's also the option for the simple white bulbs, which are much cheaper and could offer a better option for those looking to set up their entire home. No matter which set you buy, all Hue bulbs are dimmable and can be controlled remotely with the Hue app.

    The light bulbs themselves output 800 lumens, which is more than enough for most small to medium-sized rooms, and while larger rooms could benefit from multiple bulbs, that's also true of your standard 60W light bulbs that your home may already be using. On top of that, they're relatively small, unlike bulbs from the likes of LIFX, so they'll be able to fit into most places that your average light bulbs fit.

    There are a few downsides to using Philips Hue bulbs, including the fact that you'll have to use the Hue Bridge (Zigbee) hub and that they're more expensive to own than Bluetooth bulbs when you factor in the price of the hub (the white bulbs are the most affordable, costing around $15 each). Also, the Hue Bridge hub will not support other brands' bulbs, even if they use Zigbee, but some Zigbee-certified hubs will support Hue bulbs. Of course, the upside to that is reliability and the ability to remotely control your lights, so it is well worth it.

    You can also control the bulbs with your voice if you have Google Home, Apple HomeKit, or Amazon Alexa. It's extremely convenient when you don't want to go get your phone or your hands are busy. You can also control the lights using the respective apps for the aforementioned platforms.

    We weren't the only ones who liked the Philips Hue smart bulbs — both CNET and Trusted Reviews rated them highly. Experts and buyers alike agree that these bulbs are the best ones you can buy. Having purchased and tested various smart bulbs, Guides Editor Les Shu eventually settled on Philips Hue for his home, citing the easy set-up and operation with both HomeKit and Alexa.

    Note: In 2019, Philips introduced new bulbs that support both Bluetooth and Zigbee, which means you can use them with or without a Hue Bridge hub. A two-pack of new white bulbs costs $29.99 (equivalent to standard Hue white bulbs) and a two-pack of new color bulbs costs $89.99. The white-bulb set is priced in-line with the C by GE Bluetooth set we mention in this list, but since we haven't tested the new Hue bulbs yet, for now, our pick for Bluetooth bulbs remain the C by GE. Based on our experience with Hue bulbs, we think these will perform just as well, but now with the option of using Bluetooth.

    Pros: Reliable, versatile, easy to use, easy to set up, consistent, voice control, dimmable

    Cons: Require Hue Bridge hub, a little pricey

    Solar LED Outdoor Waterproof Ball-shaped Light Party Weeding Yard Bar Decor


    Main Features:
    ● Power supply: solar power charging, 1 AAA battery ( included )
    ● Plastic material, durable, high-temperature resistance and wearable
    ● It charges automatically during the days and glows automatically in the nights
    ● It can float on the surface of water and other situations
    ● You can use this LED ball light in various occasions: swimming pool, lawn, garden, baby bath, bedroom, study, and other public places, different occasions can play its different charm
    ● This solar powered light requires zero maintenance and easy to install as they do not require wiring cables 
    ● It can be used in areas where there is no electrical supply
    ● Special ball look, can be a good decoration
    ● Light color: whiteStyle: LED 
    LED Color: White 
    Features: RechargeableMaterials: Plastic 
    Power Supply: Solar PoweredBattery Voltage: 1.2V 
    Battery Current: 600mAPackage weight: 0.139 kg 
    Product size (L x W x H): 8.50 x 8.50 x 8.50 cm / 3.35 x 3.35 x 3.35 inches 
    Package size (L x W x H): 9.00 x 9.00 x 9.00 cm / 3.54 x 3.54 x 3.54 inchesPackage Contents: 1 x Solar Floating Light

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