They’re not quite J.A.R.V.I.S, but smart home assistants like Google Nest and Amazon’s Alexa have been paired with everything from doors, air-conditioning and of course smart lighting systems.
But beyond just being able to turn your lights on and off without needing to leave the comfort of your bed, these 5 smart lighting systems we’re about to show you can help to enhance your entertainment experience, function as great decor and perhaps even help you increase your productivity.
1. Philips Hue – 16 million lighting colour ways
Philips Hue’s Lightstrips being used to accent this homeowner’s display cabinets.
Image credit: @hk.idstudio
First released in 2012, Philips Hue is arguably the most recognisable smart lighting brand around. And for good reason: these come with a huge amount of features, including scheduling when lights are turned on, proximity activation so long as you’re walking around with your phone, and a whopping 16 million colours to choose from.
Philips Hue provides smart lighting in a range of form factors, such as light strips, light bars and bulbs, all of which can be managed using the Hue Bridge control hub.
Being the makers of the first smart bulb, Philips’ time with the technology means that their Hue series bulbs are one of the best in the market. The fact that Philips is able to package all this in a form factor not much larger than a regular bulb is also great, as it makes swapping the bulbs in your lamps much less of a headache.
Special features: automatic mood lighting that pairs with your music
Speaking of which, you can coordinate them to create mood lighting for your room. Philips provides a list of presets for these “scenes”, as the company calls them, but you can also come up with your own.
Various Philips Hue lights in scene mode.
Image credit: Signify
You can even allow the accompanying app to automatically create scenes by referencing an image, meaning you can potentially relive the relaxing vibes of your last vacation locale from the comfort of your home.
Compatibility: One of the best in the market, with third party apps to boot
Philips Hue with a third party app allowing you to synchronise with a computer monitor.
Image credit: @philipshue_singapore
Philips Hue has one of the best compatibility with other smart home systems, which includes Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant but also less popular systems like Microsoft’s Cortana. Finally, on top of the features mentioned, it also accepts third party apps, allowing you to have even more features, such as recreating fireplaces and auroras.
The versatility and quality does come with a pretty high price tag, making the Philips Hue smart lighting starter kit the most expensive on this list.
- Philips Hue Bulb Starter Kit $235.00
- Philips Hue Ambient Gradient Lightstrip $169.00 – $329.00
- Philips Hue Play Light Bar $186.01
2. Nanoleaf – Fun decorative accent lighting
Image credit: @ralexxanderr, @sasa_no_ie
If you want a smart-lighting system that is fun-oriented, then Nanoleaf is what you’ll be looking for. Quirky, colourful and with plenty of ways to create accent lighting or perhaps even light sculptures, these are perfect for those wanting the gamer room or futuristic night club vibes.
They are the ones behind the popular Lines and Shapes, but Nanoleaf has also developed a few new products that really should get your attention.
Nanoleaf 4D: Upgrade your gamer room
Image credit: Nanoleaf
Gamers and streamers out there looking to bring their setup to the next level could afford to have a look at the Nanoleaf 4D. The “4D” in its name refers to its ability to create backlighting that synchronises with the colours on the screen, allowing for an even more immersive experience than before.
This is done through the use of strip lights and a mountable camera for your TV screen or monitor. The camera also comes with a cap to cover its lens when not in use. Another nifty feature is that Nanoleaf 4D can share this screen-synchronisation ability with other Nanoleaf products like Shapes and Lines for an even more elaborate light show.
Nanoleaf Elements: Wabi-sabi vibes
Image credit: @justinbchau
When one thinks of wabi-sabi and Japandi, smart lighting might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But with Nanoleaf Elements might just change that. These panels, with its lovely wood grain, gives you the classic Nanoleaf stackable design but with a more natural look. These look good both unlit, where it would look like tasteful decor, or as a zen-like mood light.
One of Nanoleaf Element’s scene modes on display.
Image credit: @nanoleafhome
It also has 11 “Scene” modes, where it modulates its lighting to simulate dancing embers or a calming waterfall.
Image credit: How-to Geek
Nanoleaf Skylight: The future of mood lighting
Last of the lineup would be Nanoleaf Skylight, which is a new product scheduled to launch in Q3 of 2023. Here, you get everything that Nanoleaf’s trademark features but as a ceiling light instead.
Image credit: @ShannonMorse
In contrast to the brand’s other decor-oriented products, the Nanoleaf Skylight will also have a 3,000-lumen white light setting, meaning that it can also serve as an everyday light.
3. Govee – Dorm vibes with neon strips and fairy lights
Image credit: @karen.kasumi, @goveeofficial
Not everyone has had the university dormitory experience, but most would be familiar with the pervasive use of easily-removable decor like fairy lights that many university kids seem to flock to when trying to decorate their spartan rooms. If a sense of borrowed nostalgia compels you to want something similar for your bedroom, Govee has a smart lighting solution that might just do the trick.
Govee Curtain Lights: Scrolling GIFs in real life
Image credit: @goveofficial
That’s right; with smart lighting capability, these curtain lights aren’t just decorative lighting, they also function as a canvas for both music visualisation as well as moving animations that can make your room incredibly dynamic looking. Of course, you can also use the curtain lights to display still images from their list of presets, or even create your own through an app.
Govee Neon LED Strip light: Custom neon lighting for your home
The soft glow of neon signage is evocative of bars or city streets of the 70s, and whilst you can always buy one off the rack, Govee offers an alluring alternative. With their Neon LED strip light, you get the alluring look of neon lighting but as a flexible strip that allows you to bend them to create your own personalised signage and decor.
Image credit: @goveeofficial
On top of the music visualisation, voice control and the ability to modify colours of segments of the strip, it is also able to replicate the effects commonly seen in traditional neon lighting, such as bands of light running through the LED strip.
4. Wiz Connected – Smart Lighting for the outdoors
All of the lights featured so far are great for the indoors, but for those that want an option for a porch, backyard or a large balcony, Wiz Connected is going to be the brand to look out for.
Wiz Elpas: Outdoor smart lighting fixtures
Wiz Bollards, wall lights and string lights giving the room a cool party vibe.
Image credit: @wizlighting
For outdoor lighting fixtures, Wiz’s Elpas series provides wall lights and bollards to line your gardens and pathways with. Their 400-lumen strength allows you to keep an outdoor area decently lit without annoying the neighbours with light pollution.
They come with an easy-to-use application that gives you the ability to programme it with your usual smart lighting features like scheduling timing, a selection from plenty of colours, and can be wired with up to 5 lights for easier cable management.
Wiz String Lights
Image credit: @my_c.o.z.y_home
String light lovers can dabble in smart lighting now too, with this offering from Wiz. Measuring 14 metres with 12 bulbs, these come with adjustable brightness, a wide variety of colours, and the ability to customise the colour of individual bulbs, all through the use of an app or through voice commands using Google Assistant or Alexa.
It does synchronise with music to turn your backyard into a dance floor, and is even IP65-certified waterproof, meaning a little rain will not stop your party.
Some users might find the bulbs a bit big and distanced too far apart from each other, but the whimsically large bulbs seem fitting for its nature as fun decor and the distance from each other allows you to drape them over ceiling beams and fences. And with a gentle 120-lumen glow, they’ll also be great as mood lighting for your bedroom.
5. TP-Link: Affordable smart filament bulbs
Image credit: CNET
All the products listed so far are great, but some might find the prices a bit on the high side. Being an ODM for various smart lighting companies, TP-Link allows you to experience smart lighting at a much lower price point. Their catalogue includes many products similar to the ones seen in this listing, but of note especially are their uniquely designed filament bulbs.
When someone thinks of smart lighting, incandescent bulbs are probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But for those that want industrial design with modern features, TP-Link’s KL50 series allows you to have the proverbial cake and eat it too.
Close-up of the rather aesthetic LED filament arrangement
Image credit: Techkhamun
Those worried about the increasing electrical bills can heave a sigh of relief, for these bulbs are not actually your grandpa’s filament bulbs, but rather far more economical LED filaments arranged to look like one. If anything the LED filaments seem to add to the aesthetic.
Besides giving the characteristic warm amber light emulating older filament bulbs, which can be dimmed or remotely. It also comes along with other smart lighting features like scheduling, voice controls and coordination with other smart lights. That said, whilst a white light setting is light activation the white light is non-adjustable.
TP comes with two variations for these filament bulbs: the KL50 with an 800-lumen brightness that allows it to function as conventional lighting, and a KL60 with an amber glass bulb that doubles down on the warm amber lighting at the cost of being only 450 lumens strong.
Its only glaring real limitation would be it does not offer multi-coloured lighting.
- TP-Link KL130 Kasa Color Smart LED Bulb $40.00
- TP-Link Tapo Smart Light Strip $39.90
- KL50 Kasa Filament Smart Bulb $15.30
Smart lighting systems for smart homes
Admittedly, for the most part smart lighting still remains relatively expensive compared to their more mundane counterparts. But if the idea of simplifying your life by being able to control your smart lighting without getting off of your bed and even through voice commands alone is enticing for you, then searching through these brands will be a great way to start your journey into smart lighting systems.
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