✔ The best smart bulb is the LIFX Edison Screw E27
✔ Most smart light bulbs cost between £12 and £25
✔ Smart bulbs can save you as much as £130 over a year
Are you tired of getting home from a long day of work, just to find the hall lights have been left on? What about receiving bills in the mail for extortionate amounts of electricity? Perhaps, even as you read this sentence, you’re yelling at the kids for leaving the kitchen light on… again!
If all or any of these situations feel familiar, it’s probably time to invest in a few smart light bulbs for your home. As well as bringing a sleek simplicity to your home, smart light bulbs offer convenience – you can turn them on and off via your smartphone or tablet, without even having to be in the house.
Plus, though smart LED lights are a tad more expensive than your bog-standard bulb, they’ll save you money in the long run. While an incandescent bulb (run for six hours a day) costs almost £40 per year, a smart bulb will set you back just over a fiver for the same period.
Smart bulbs also account for fewer CO2 emissions – meaning they’re light on the environment, as well as your wallet.
So, what are you waiting for? Read on to find out more about smart bulbs – what they are, how they work, and what costs are involved. Browse in-depth reviews of the best smart bulbs for UK houses, shop for your home, or skip ahead to the FAQs for illuminating answers to all your burning smart bulb questions.
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What are smart bulbs?
Smart bulbs are kind of like regular light bulbs – they’re bulb-shaped, and light your home. Where smart bulbs differ from your current ones, though, is that you can operate them remotely from your smartphone or tablet, without the need for physical switches.
You can automate smart bulbs to light up when you enter your home, switch off when you exit the house, or to stay on while you’re away as a deterrent to burglars.
While you are at home, you can alter the brightness and colour of your smart bulbs for ultimate mood lighting control. There are even settings that dim the light to match what’s on TV, for an immersive viewing experience.
How do smart bulbs work?
Like other smart home features, smart light bulbs are operated remotely, via your smartphone, tablet, or smart watch. Many smart light bulbs will connect to your existing smart hub (think Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, or Google Assistant) via Bluetooth or wifi, meaning you can turn them on or off with your voice, too.
How much do smart bulbs cost?
The most basic light bulb (yep, it’s from IKEA) can be purchased for £9. Most smart light bulbs cost between £12 (the Philips Hue White) and around £25, although higher-end smart bulbs go for upwards of £50 (the aptly-named LIFX Edison screw model is a shining example).
Don’t worry about any installation costs – there aren’t any. And the app you use to control and customise your smart light bulbs should always be free to download. That said, you may need to shell out for a smart hub that’s compatible with your clever light bulbs, to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.
The Philips Hue White smart bulb, for instance, works best in tandem with the Philips Hue Bridge. The Hue Bridge acts as a central hub for your smart lights, letting you connect up to 50 bulbs, set schedules and timers, and sync up with your movies and tunes – stuff you just can’t do with the bulbs alone. The Hue Bridge is available (with two bulbs included) for just £47.97.
Smart bulb energy costs
Like all bulbs, the smart ones still incur energy costs. However, as smart bulbs are LED, their ongoing costs will be less than those of regular incandescent (or filament) bulbs, as well as halogen and compact fluorescent lights.
Let’s take a look at how much you could stand to save with a smart LED bulb. The following are the annual costs you can expect to pay with your bulb running for six hours a day, or 24/7.
What is the best smart bulb?
Our research tells us that the best smart bulb is the LIFX Edison Screw E27. As well as not requiring a hub to operate, it’s bright, easy to use, boasts an array of immersive colour temperatures, and integrates with a wide assortment of other smart home devices and brands.
Top 5 smart light bulbs
Rounding out the remaining top 5 smart light bulbs for UK homes are models from Lohas, Teckin, Lumiman, and Philips.
Want to find out why these smart, savvy light bulbs made the cut? Read on to browse prices, read reviews, and brighten your home – and day – with a new smart light bulb.
The best smart light bulbs for UK homes:
LIFX Edison Screw E27 Smart Bulb: Best smart light bulb all-rounder
If smart light bulbs were smart people, the LIFX Edison Screw would be its namesake, Thomas Edison. Sure, it’s a little on the expensive side – but with no hub required, 16 million colours, and a simple, intuitive mobile app, the LIFX is worth every penny.
The LIFX Edison Screw connects to an array of other smart home devices, including your smart thermostats, buttons, hubs, and speakers. It integrates with intelligent tech from big name innovators like Amazon, Nest, and Logitech, letting you control your lights from the same place as your sounds, alarms, reminders, and calls.
Better still, the LIFX shines at a whopping 1,100 lumens – the brightest bulb on our list, by far. You can easily customise your light’s colour via an interactive wheel on the app, and warm or cool your home’s interior with a palette of mood-enhancing hues.
Plus, what sets the LIFX Edison Screw apart from many of its competitors is a radio transmitter embedded into the bulb. Sure, this makes it a little bulkier, a little less easy on the eye, and a bit more tough on the wallet, but we reckon it’s worth it.
Why? Because there’s no need for any extra hub or bridge to control this bulb remotely. Just tap into the app, and your lights are (quite literally!) at your fingertips.
- A+ EU energy efficiency class
- Installs in moments
- It’s expensive!
Lohas LED B22 Smart Bulb: Best smart light bulb for customer service
Smart light bulbs aren’t just for convenience or for saving energy – once installed, they’ll become an integral part of your lifestyle. That’s why if something goes wrong with them, you’ll need efficient, friendly customer service to get your lights up and running again – as fast as possible.
Fortunately, this is where the Lohas LED B22 Smart Bulbexcels. With electrifying after-sales support and a full refund available if you’re not satisfied with your purchase (for up to 30 days after you buy), Lohas goes the extra mile.
Oh, and the bulb’s not bad, either. It integrates soundly with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT (If This Then That), and Google Assistant, giving you more ways of controlling your home’s lighting. Use its smart Tuya app to dim the lights, or switch them on and off with a voice command.
The LED B22 is quick to install, and easy to get the hang of. Lohas’ app also supports group control, so you can adjust the brightness of several bulbs at the same time or individually. And, at just £21.99 for two bulbs, it’s also one of the biggest bargain bulbs on our list.
- Marvellous mobile app
- No hub required
- At 700 lumens, it’s not as bright as some of the other light bulbs on this list
Teckin Smart LED Light Bulb: Best smart light bulb for ease of use
We don’t normally say this about any product we review (let alone wifi-connected light bulbs!), but the Teckin is just gloriously easy to use – not to mention to install and maintain.
It’s also straightforward to pair your Teckin bulb with Alexa or Google Assistant to enable voice commands, and add an extra layer of ease to your home setup.
Another thing the Teckin smart LED bulb brings to the table (or should we say ceiling?) is longevity. With a durable, life-proof design and over 30,000 hours of life – or 27 years, if used three hours a day – the Teckin smart bulb is built to last.
- Light brightening and colour-changing features included as standard
- Slim design (for a light bulb)
- Limited customer support available
Lumiman Smart Light Bulb: Best smart light bulb on a budget
“Alexa, dim the lights and set the bedroom to red colour”.
This could be you, after you’ve installed the Lumiman smart light bulb and integrated it with Amazon Alexa. The Lumiman smart bulb also connects to the Echo and the Google Home Assistant, allowing you ultimate control over all your media and smart home devices from a single platform.
As well as being ideal for romantic evenings, the Lumiman bulb is friendly on even the tightest of budgets, with two bulbs available for just £22.96. And with its 28-year lifespan and low energy output, it stands to save you even more over time.
Plus, its vibrant, straightforward app means any learning curve becomes more like a gentle incline. The app offers step-by-step instructions to get you set up in 20 seconds, and have you customising your light’s colour and grouping within minutes.
- Comes with a 24-month warranty
- 24/7 customer support available
- Only supports a 2.4GHz wifi network
Philips Hue White Smart Bulb: Best smart light bulb for mobile app technology
It’s all well and good having lights controlled by a mobile app, but the fact is. if that app is tough to look at and even tougher to use… well, you’re probably going to have a tough time.
That’s why we love the Philips Hue app. Highly rated on the App Store, it works seamlessly with the Philips Hue White smart bulb to transform your rooms at the touch of a button. It’s super simple to use, and lets you jump between rooms with the swipe of a finger, seeing what lights are on and managing them all remotely.
The only catch? To dim the lights or unlock motion-activated lights, you’ll need to purchase extra accessories, which come at a cost.
So, while the Philips smart bulb offers a decent app and a low price point, those new to smart home devices may find there’s too much separate hardware to install and get your head around to make it all worth the effort.
- Pre-programmed lighting ‘scenes’ let you colour your room in the style of a range of exotic scenarios
- Create personalised sleep routines to help you get up in the morning, or unwind before bed
- You’ll need to fork out extra for the Philips Hue Bridge to get the full experience
Do smart bulbs really save money? What about electricity?
Smart bulbs are LED, which means they’re the most energy-efficient light bulbs on the market. Hour for hour, smart LED bulbs cost around an eighth of the price to run as the basic incandescent light bulb that most UK homes are equipped with.
That said, LED bulbs are more pricey to buy outright – starting at around £11, they’re about ten times more expensive than a halogen or incandescent bulb, which you can buy for about £1 each.
The bottom line? Smart bulbs really will save you money – but they’ll be the quieter, more long-term savings, as opposed to immediate ones. Yes, you’ll be shelling out an extra tenner now, but stand to save as much as £130 over the course of a year.
We think so. That’s not to mention that smart LED bulbs are more environmentally-friendly than their incandescent counterparts – indeed, basic light bulbs emit six times more carbon dioxide emissions than LED bulbs.
So, what’ll it be? A few bob now? Or a lower bill (and a more sustainable planet) in the future…
We’ll let you do the maths.
|Compact fluorescent||8,000 hours||16.1kg||64.3kg|
How long do smart bulbs last?
On average, smart bulbs last around 30,000 hours. That’s about 27 or 28 years, based on your lights running for an average of three hours a day. Some models boast battery life of 50,000 hours or more, but these tireless smart bulbs are generally priced at much higher than the industry standard.
Do smart light bulbs need a hub?
Some smart light bulbs connect to your phone only via wifi, meaning you’ll need a hub to be able to operate them. However, there are plenty of models (such as the LIFX, and now the Philips Hue) which offer Bluetooth functionality, allowing you to connect straight to your app and sidestep the need for a hub.
Do smart bulbs burn out?
Smart bulbs are LED bulbs, which means at some stage – like all bulbs – they will eventually burn out. However, they should still last anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 hours longer than regular incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
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