Set the mood without breaking the bank
Smart lights serve as an easy entry point into home automation. After all, everyone needs lighting, and Pete’s home in Friends introduced everyone to the idea of saying “Romantic lights!” to their home for the perfect Netflix-and-chill setting.
On the other hand, smart lights can be expensive. The Nanoleaf Aurora starter kit will run you just over $200, while the Philips Hue Color starter kit still regularly retails for $150.
The light in the darkness is that you can buy smart bulbs without breaking the bank. For the price of one of these starter kits, you can outfit almost your entire home with smart lights. We’ve rounded up what we believe to be the best, low-cost smart lights for those on a budget.
Sengled Smart LED (Amazon)
The Sengled Smart LED is one of the best, lowest-cost smart bulbs you can get, if not the cheapest. At just $7.99 per bulb, you can buy 25 of them for the price of a Nanoleaf starter kit.
The only catch is that these Sengled Smart LEDs do require a hub to use, but it doesn’t have to be a Sengled-brand hub. They work with SmartThings, Wink, and Alexa devices that have a Zigbee hub (like the second-generation Amazon Echo Show).
These bulbs have a set color temperature of 2700K and produce 800 lumens of light. You can use them to create specific scenes, set up schedules, and create a sleep or wake mode where the lights dim or brighten at whatever time you choose.
If you do want to invest in a Sengled hub, it will run you about $63. Sengled Smart Leds work with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, but unfortunately lack HomeKit compatibility.
Wyze Smart Bulbs (Amazon)
Wyze, at $12 per bulb or $39 for a 4-pack, is the best all-around budget bulb out there. Wyze bulbs require no central hub, which means you can link as many as you want without taking up an extra Ethernet port on your router.
Wyze also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT. The IFTTT integration makes it possible to link Wyze bulbs to other devices in your home; for instance, you can program your living room light to turn on when you unlock your smart lock.
Wyze bulbs have a temperature range from 2,700K to 6,500K and put out 800 lumens of light. Like other smart lights, you can set up schedules, turn the lights on and off remotely, and even set them up to simulate the presence of someone in the home.
If you’re looking for one of the best, easy plug-and-play smart lights, Wyze is a good place to start.
Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb (Amazon)
Eufy is a company that has quietly been making a name for itself by providing budget-friendly smart home products. The Eufy Lumos smart bulb is no exception. The Lumos works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and the EufyHome app makes it easy to group multiple lights together to control them all at once.
The Lumos can hold up to ten different lighting schedules. You can also enable Away Mode, which turns your lights on and off at random to simulate the presence of someone in the home.
Eufy Lumos bulbs can be accessed from any internet connection through the app, which is available on Android and iOS devices. At $15.74 per bulb, the Lumos is slightly more expensive than the Wyze, but still a solid option for someone on a budget.
Philips Hue White (Amazon)
The Philips Hue brand of smart lights are perhaps the most well-known of all, and at least partially responsible for pushing smart lighting to the heights it has reached today.
Philips Hue is also known for being expensive, but theirs are some of the best smart lights on the market, and still reasonably affordable. A set of two will run you $29.99, or roughly $14.98 per bulb. In the past, all Philips Hue lights required a Hue Bridge (or Hub) to function, but you can connect ten of these A19 bulbs without a Hub.
The Philips Hue bulbs have one of the widest ranges of any smart bulb out there and are capable of creating multiple scenes and presets with just a few taps of the app. What’s more, these bulbs work with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit, the latter of which lacks a lot of compatibility with most smart lights.
Philips Hue has a host of additional features like the Hue Sync app, a free PC or Mac download. You can also purchase extra accessories to expand their use.
TP-Link Kasa White Smart Bulb (Amazon)
The Kasa White Smart Bulb earns its place on this list with the level of control it gives you. While not as feature-rich as the Philips Hue, the Kasa smart bulb has a dimming level of anywhere from 1% to 100%.
In other words, you can adjust the brightness percentage point by percentage point. It requires no hub, and the Kasa app is one of the most streamlined smart home apps you’ll find. The Kasa White Smart Bulb also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
The company claims the bulb is 80% more efficient than the competition. The Kasa White Smart Bulb is Energy Star certified, so it stacks even more efficiency on top of what LEDs already offer.
At roughly $17 per bulb, it’s the priciest option on this list. But it’s a strong contender, especially if you already use Kasa devices and want to keep everything under a single app.