Most of us have at least one smart device in our homes. Whether it’s a smart assistant or a smart TV, we’re all well on our way to having smart homes in the near future. These devices are quickly and vastly changing the way we live. If you have a hub and smart appliances, you can live out your dreams of full home automation.
Your lights will turn themselves on and off, your robot vacuum will clean or mop for you, and your smart security system will monitor your home for intruders. You won’t have to lift a finger. Tap or click here to find out where to begin turning your house into a smart home.
But while smart technology offers us an easy way to automate the way we live, these devices are also a little intimidating. Smart bulbs are an affordable and easy way to dip your toes into the smart home waters — and they offer a ton of perks in return. Here are some of our favorite things you can do with smart bulbs.
1. Control smart lights from anywhere through apps
One of the main perks of using smart bulbs is you can control your lights when you need or want to — right from the app. Want to turn on the lights before the family arrives in town for the holidays? You can do it while running errands. Need to turn on your porch light to make it look like someone’s home while you’re out of town? Use the app.
Nearly all smart bulbs on the market offer this functionality, and it’s a super useful feature. You can use the app to turn lights off when you forget, set the mood before you arrive, or anything else you want to do from wherever you’re at. You can even set routines and schedules where your lights will turn on and off automatically at the times you specify.
Plus, some apps and bulbs will recognize where you’re at via a built-in geofence — which lets you set the lights in your home to turn on or off as you come and go. You won’t have to do a thing. Your bulbs will do it all for you.
2. Compatibility with voice assistants
Do you have a smart speaker and smart bulbs already in your home? Well, then you also have voice control over your smart lights. That’s right; you can pair your smart bulb with your Amazon Echo, Google Nest, or Apple HomePod and use your voice to turn the lights on or off. You can also use an app, but you’ll get the most out of your smart bulbs when using a hub.
All it takes is a single voice command and your smart assistant can turn your smart lights on or off. You can adjust the lights by the rooms and certain areas in your home, or you can just turn off every smart bulb at once, with just one voice command. Want to turn off the upstairs lights? Say a command like, “Alexa, turn off the upstairs lights” to get it done.
You can also set the mood with your voice assistant. All you have to do is say a simple command, like “Alexa, set the living room lights to 30%” or “Alexa, turn up the lights to the maximum” and your smart speaker will do the rest.
Nearly any smart bulb you choose will be compatible with your smart speaker, but if you want a starting point, this C by GE soft white 2-pack is a great option. It works seamlessly with Alexa or Google Home — and it’s affordable. You’ll spend less than $25 to get two smart bulbs.
Related: 5 smart gadgets to keep your home safe
3. Set up schedules and routines
Do you have set routines that you follow? If so, you can set your smart bulbs to integrate with your schedules or routines. Not only can you set a schedule to dictate your on and off times for your bulbs each day, but you can also set a ton of other routines, too.
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve been struggling to get out of bed now that days are getting longer. If an alarm clock isn’t cutting it, you can create a wake-up routine for your smart bulbs. By doing this, your lights will slowly turn on — mimicking the effects of a sunrise. You can also create sleep routines that gradually dim and shut off your lights.
Want a smart bulb that can help you wake up in the mornings? The Kasa smart light bulb is a solid option. It works with your smart assistant to help you get out of bed — and you can even choose the color of the light you’re waking up to. Plus, this bulb works via your Wi-Fi, so you won’t need a hub to get the best features from it.
4. Color, temperature, and dimmable options
Smart lights have a lot more to offer than just timed schedules and routines. Many of the smart bulbs on the market let you change the colors, temperatures, or intensity to create the ambiance you’re looking for.
Throwing a massive house party (post-COVID, of course)? You can kick up decor a notch by matching your smart bulb to the color palette. Having a calm dinner party instead? You can use your smart bulbs to imitate the glow of warm candlelight or an overcast, cloudy sky. The ambiance world is your oyster.
Philips Hue bulbs are some of the best for controlling ambiance in your home. You can choose from many different colors and they’re easily controlled by the app on your phone or via your smart assistant. You can get a Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 2-pack for about $75 right now on Amazon.
5. Set the mood by linking them to music
There are a handful of smart bulb options on the market that let you set the mood in your home by synching with your music. Want to have your lighting react to the beats of a banger? You can even choose how reactive some of the smart lights are — subtle, high, moderate or intense. It’s your call.
This feature isn’t limited to music, though. Some smart bulbs even allow you to change the setting so your lights react to other sounds, too — like ones from games and videos. It will take your gaming or movie binges to the next level (and it will look pretty cool, too). Philips Hue bulbs are perfect for this. If you have a Hue Hub, these bulbs can be set to react to music via the Hue Sync app.
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