Best smart light bulbs: the best smart lights from Philips Hue to Hive

Smart lighting is one area of the smart home that just about anyone can tackle. It requires little explanation, installation, and fiddling, and before you know it, you’re enjoying the lovely hues of your new smart bulbs, controlling them with just your phone or your voice. 

Smart lighting is great because of the options you have at your disposal: You can control them with just your phone or your voice. You can change tone, brightness and even color. There’s so many options with smart lights, you may wonder what took you so long to make the switch. 

Even if you don’t pay a ton of attention to smart lighting, you have likely heard of Philips Hue. It’s definitely the biggest name in the smart lighting game, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only horse in the race – far from it. 

There are some truly excellent offerings from companies such as Lifx if you’re looking for more of a talking-point; Hive if you’re on a budget; or Nanoleaf if you’d rather your lighting be part of your home’s decor. 

Each system comes with its own pros and cons, so here we’ll talk you through the brands you should be aware of, plus which smart lighting solution will be the best fit for you and your home.

Philips Hue Color Ambience

The biggest name, and for good reason

Wattage: 10 W | Color: +16 million colors | Color temperature: 2,000-6,500K | Lumen output: 806 | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Height: 109.2mm | Diameter: 62mm

Easy to set up

Good integration with other services

Requires a hub to work


There’s a very good reason why Philips Hue is the biggest name in the smart lighting scene: it’s without a doubt one of the greatest offerings to the market. The lights produce the most natural tones of any smart lighting we’ve used, the app is easy to use, and installation is a doddle. 

That said, you can’t use the Hue lights without the hub, meaning the only way to get started is with a starter kit that’s going to set you back considerably more than just a light bulb would. 

It’s also worth noting that there are a variety of different lighting kits and bulbs available in the Hue range, so you’ve got the choice of White (which just does white light), Color (which offers over 16 million colors), and Ambient variants of both (which gives you the option of dimmer, softer tones). 

They all work from the same hub, so you don’t need a new hub for each lighting set, but it’s worth doing your research and really thinking about what you need before you invest. 


Funky, fresh, and dressed to impress

Wattage: 11 W | Color: 16 million colors | Color temperature: 2,500-9,000K | Lumen output: 1100 | Lifetime: 25,000 hours | Height: 114.8mm | Diameter: 62mm

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