Best Smart Light Bulbs of 2021

After hands-on testing, scouring specs, and reading 500+ customer reviews, we found the best smart light bulbs.
Best overall
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Bulb
Philips Hue
  • Icon Pros  Light
    16 million colors
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Robust mobile app
Best budget
Best Wi-Fi bulb
LIFX Mini White Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
LIFX Mini
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Multiple colors
  • Icon Pros  Light
    IFTTT compatible
Best color
Sylvania Smart+ WiFi Lighting
Sylvania Smart+
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Almost unlimited colors
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Siri compatible
Best splurge
Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition Starter Kit
Nanoleaf Aurora
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Multiple colors at once
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Programable

We rated the best smart light bulbs based on price, energy savings, features, and compatibility with other home automation products. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulb took the cake for its millions of color options, free app, high quality, and long lifetime.

Plus, the Hue Hub is now optional for this bulb—not required. That means more money and less hassle for you.



Compare the best smart light bulbs

Product
Price
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Best overall
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart BulbPhilips Hue
Amazon, Apple, Google, SmartThings
Best budget
Cree Connected Soft WhiteCree Connected
Amazon, Zigbee
Best Wi-Fi bulb
LIFX Mini White Wi-Fi Smart BulbLIFX Mini
Amazon, Apple, Google, SmartThings
Best color
Sylvania Smart+ WiFi LightingSylvania Smart+
Amazon, Apple, Google
Best splurge
Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition Starter KitNanoleaf Aurora
Amazon, Apple, Google, SmartThings

*Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Best smart light bulbs reviews

1. Philips Hue: Best overall

Best overall
Philips Hue White and Color LED Smart Bulb

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulb delivers a brilliant array of up to 16 million (yes, that’s MILLION!) color options. These bulbs really bring the best of all worlds—fun light displays along with energy efficiency and security applications.

You’ll pay a pretty penny for these smart light bulbs, but if you’re into mood lighting, we say go for it. And the Hue Bridge is now optional to operate these (not required), so that's a huge plus.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 16 million colors
Pro Bullet Easy setup and control
Pro Bullet Programmable settings you can save
Pro Bullet Free mobile app
Pro Bullet Compatibility with Hue Dimmer, Hue Tap, and Hue Motion Sensor
Pro Bullet No longer need Hue Hub to operate
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Lower brightness than other smart light bulbs
Con Bullet Big price tag
Light Bulb
Pre-programmed light settings

Use Philip Hue’s pre-programmed light settings to relax, improve focus for studying, get energized, and more.

2. Cree Connected: Best budget

Best budget
Cree Connected LED Bulb

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

You can’t beat the Cree Connected smart light bulb for price or brightness. This is one of the brightest lights we found, and it doesn’t gouge your pocketbook. If you’re not sure that smart lighting is for you, the Cree smart bulb is an affordable way give it a test run.

And best of all, you don’t need a special hub. Cree is compatible with any Zigbee-enabled hub out there. So if you have an Amazon Echo or Nest hub, you’re ready to go.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Cheap price tag
Pro Bullet Compatibility with multiple hubs and platforms
Pro Bullet Easy setup
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Harsher light
Con Bullet Slower response time
Con Bullet Inconsistent quality

3. LIFX Mini: Best Wi-Fi bulb

Best Wi-Fi bulb
LIFX Mini White Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Most smart light bulbs require you to purchase the bulbs and a hub or bridge to connect them to your Wi-Fi network. With the LIFX Mini White Wi-Fi Smart Bulb, all you need to do is buy the bulb, screw it into a lamp or other lighting fixture, and download the LIFX app.

We like how simple and easy LIFX makes smart home lighting. If you don’t want to hassle with extra devices and connections, these smartbulbs are the way to go.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet No hub needed
Pro Bullet Affordable cost
Pro Bullet Free mobile app
Pro Bullet IFTTT smart home compatibility
Pro Bullet Multiple color options
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Some Android issues
Con Bullet Tricky setup for some users
Con Bullet Connectivity issues
Light Bulb
Smart ceiling-fan bulbs

Add LIFX bulbs to ceiling fans that have separate controls for the fan and the light—no more mistakes, reaching, or frustration. Now all you have to control manually is the fan.

4. Sylvania Smart+: Best color

Best color
Sylvania Smart+ WiFi Lighting

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

If you can think of a color, chances are the Sylvania Smart+ Wi-Fi Color can change to it. The app has a full-color pallet that you can use to make the light from this bulb anything you want. You can also dim these bulbs, schedule when they come on, and control them using voice or the app.

Unfortunately, you can't pair the lighting with your favorite music, like with the Nanoleaf lights. That seems like a small problem though since we love these lights.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Almost unlimited color choices
Pro Bullet Dimmable
Pro Bullet Compatible with Siri
Pro Bullet Affordable
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No music compatibility

5. Nanoleaf Aurora: Best splurge

Best splurge
Nanoleaf Rhythm Edition Starter Kit

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

If you’re more interested in playing with your smart lights than saving money or adding security to your home, then the Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm Smarter Kit is your smart lighting match.

These fun tiles can be configured into numerous designs to turn any room into an artsy display of LED technological magic. Set the mood for a house party or a quiet night in, with just the touch of a button.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Fun design
Pro Bullet Multiple configurations
Pro Bullet No extra hub needed
Pro Bullet Programmable patterns for different events, moods
Pro Bullet Ability to dance to your favorite tunes
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Expensive price
Con Bullet No real security application
Con Bullet Challenging installation

How to take smart light bulbs to the next level

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Switch Dimmer

kasa smart light dimmer in box
Kasa Smart
$22.99

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

  • Dims both smart and “dumb” lights
  • Gives remote control to any light fixture
  • Features Gentle Off setting to help kids (and grownups) drift off to sleep

Philips Hue Motion Sensor for Smart Lighting

philips hue motion sensor and box

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

  • Adds extra security with motion detection
  • Has night setting that won’t blind you as you head to the bathroom
  • Saves energy with extra daylight sensor

Nexlux LED Strip Lights

Amazon.com list price as of 09/24/2021 at 9:20 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

  • Brings lights to life
  • Has settings for all times of year and holidays
  • Adds safety to stairways and hallways

Smart light bulb FAQ

The easy answer is as much as you want to. But because most of us don’t have piles of money to burn, let’s look at the difference between more expensive smart light bulbs and cheaper ones. All smart lighting solutions are more costly than regular incandescent or LED bulbs, but smartbulbs deliver extra convenience, ambiance, and security.

Philips Hue smartbulbs are the industry standard, and they aren’t cheap (the starter kit we recommend comes with two bulbs and the Philips Hue Hub for around $70).

They do offer a good track record, though—and these bulbs should last about five years. If you want lights that can be controlled remotely and integrated with a security system, then we recommend ponying up the extra cash for Philips Hue bulbs.

If all you want is extra convenience, then you’ll be happy with less expensive (and less feature-rich bulbs) like the Cree smart light bulb (starting around $15 per bulb).

At first glance, it’s easy to wonder, “Why in the world would anyone want 16 million colors?” In fact, I asked that very question. After digging into this highly important topic, I came up with some reasons that 16 million colors may just make sense after all.

In addition to being a whole lot of fun, Philips Hue’s color light bulbs cash in on scientific proof about how color can influence your mood.1 If you want to use these smartbulbs to hack your mind and emotions, here’s a color guide to help you get started (but the Hue app already provides pre-set scenes to help you create the mood you’re looking for).

  • Pump up with red. The vibrant shade is said to boost excitement and strength.
  • Get creative with green. Set your bulbs to a greenish hue to get those creative juices flowing.
  • Zen out with blue and purple. These colors invoke calm, peaceful, spiritual feelings.
  • Don’t read to yellow. This happy color makes your eyes tired, so skip it when you curl up with a book.
  • Warm up with brown. The color of chocolate evokes feelings of warmth, security, and comfort.

Voice control assistants like Amazon Alexa are the new Clapper. Instead of clapping your lamp on, now you can tell it what to do. Not only is this fun and convenient, but for people with physical limitations or those recovering from illness or injury, voice control can actually improve quality of life.

One of the caveats of smartbulbs is that to make many of them work, you have to do more than simply screw in the bulb. And you often have to buy extra equipment, like a hub. A hub, or bridge, helps the smartbulb connect to the internet. That connection lets you control the smartbulb with a mobile app.

It also allows the smartbulb to “talk” to other smart devices, which lets you set up different routines for different scenarios. For example, if you have a doorbell camera, the camera can trigger the porch light when motion is detected. Not all smartbulbs require a hub, and some are compatible with hubs you may already use with other smart products.

The US Department of Energy recommends using LED light bulbs that work with timers and dimmers to help save energy and money.2 Because smart light bulbs are dimmable and can be controlled either remotely or with schedules, they fit the DOE’s prescription. Plus, most smart light bulbs are designed to last between five and fifteen years, which means you’ll spend less money replacing burned out bulbs.

Google transitioned from “Works with Nest” integration to “Works with Hey Google,” so some smart home gadgets dropped the “Works with Nest” compatibility.

Philips Hue was one of the first to go, pulling the virtual plug in November 2020.

How we reviewed smart light bulbs

To find the best smart light bulbs on the market, we read hundreds of customer reviews, dug into industry standards and research, scoured products’ specs and reviews, and did some hands-on testing of our own. Learn more about how we rate products on our Rankings and Reviews page.

  • 16 hours researched
  • 12 products considered
  • 500+ customer reviews read
  • 6 coffees consumed

Learn more about how we review products by checking out our methodology page.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

  1. Sally Augustin, Psychology Today, "The Surprising Effect of Color on Your Mind and Mood," April 2015. Accessed September 24, 2021.
  2. Energy.gov, "Lighting Choices to Save You Money," September 2021. Accessed September 24, 2021.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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    What do you think of our picks for best smart bulbs? Do you think the Philips Hue deserves to be the Best Overall?