What is a smart light bulb?
Are you thinking about trying out smart technology in your home for the first time? Then a smart light bulb is a good place to start. In this article we’re going to show you how they differ from normal light bulbs, what kinds of bulbs you can buy and how much they’re likely to cost.
Standard light bulb vs. smart light bulb
Before we get on to the differences between standard and smart LED bulbs, let’s look at the similarities. Smart light bulbs look the same, have the same fittings and they’re set up in exactly the same way. You screw smart bulbs into your light fixture just like you’d screw in a standard bulb. Simple.
As for the difference? The big one is you can control smart light bulbs from your smartphone.
How do smart light bulbs work?
With our Hive Lights, you just screw them in to your light fitting like normal, then use the app on your smartphone to connect to them. This is done on WiFi via a home hub – a little device that’s plugged into your broadband router.
When they’re connected, that’s it. You’re done. All you need for smart lights to work is broadband WiFi. And as long as it’s running smoothly at home – and you have internet wherever you are – you can control your light from the app on your phone.
Nice party trick you may say… but what’s the actual point?!
What do smart light bulbs do?
There are tons of benefits that come with smart lights. Here are the big three:
A great way to save
The first benefit of being able to turn a light off or on from your phone is that it means no leaving lights on accidentally. You can check on your phone once you’ve left the house, and turn any of your smart light bulbs off remotely.
A simple security solution
With schedules, you can program your lights to turn on and off automatically at certain times. That’s really useful for security if you’re away.
A little extra help
You can also connect smart lights to other smart devices like motion sensors. So if you place a sensor in your hallway, it can turn on the light automatically when you walk past in the dark.
You can even control some smart light bulbs with your voice…
What light bulbs work with Alexa?
There are lots of smart bulbs in the UK that connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The most popular ones include Philips Hue, Sengled and our own Hive Lights.
What kind of smart bulbs are there?
There are smart lights for most light fittings. Here at Hive, our range includes the following bulbs:
Dimmable smart light bulbs
Smart simple LED bulbs that you can turn up or down from your phone. So no need for a dimmer switch. They’re available in different styles like standard bulbs, candle lights (E14s) and spotlights (GU10s).
Cool to warm white smart light bulbs
As well as turning these up or down, you can use your app to alter the tone from a cool blue to a warmer hue. You can get them as standard bulbs, candle lights and spotlights too.
Colour-changing smart light bulbs
You’ve guessed it… lights you can turn to just about any colour. Perfect for kids’ bedrooms or dining room discos.
How much are smart light bulbs?
Philips Hue lights pack some pretty powerful features and that’s reflected in their prices which start at about £15. You can control them via Bluetooth but only if they’re in range. For full WiFi control you’ll need to add the Philips Hue Bridge which costs around £50.
As for ours? Hive Lights start at £19 and you’ll need a Hive Hub too, if you don’t already have one. That costs £80. Yes, Hive may be at the pricier end of the spectrum but here’s why: with Hive you open up a whole ecosystem of smart products that can get your home working around you, including Hive Active Heating – the UK’s favourite smart thermostat.
You can also connect them with our cameras and plugs. Not to mention HomeShield, our smart alarm system. There really are endless possibilities for home automation at Hive. And as smart homes become better all the time, that’s something to bear in mind.
We’re an open-minded bunch too: you can also use the Hive app to control Philips Hue!
Lights have come a long way
There you have it. The smart light bulb in a nutshell. Thomas Edison patented the first one in 1879. He’d probably be pretty proud of how far they’ve come. Interested in finding out more? Check out our smart lighting range.