You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to smart lights, but smart bulbs are a great place to get your feet wet if you’re thinking about taking the plunge into fully automated lighting at home. We’ve been testing smart bulbs since they first hit the market in 2015 and the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit(available at Amazon) has continued to impress us through the years, remaining the very best smart light bulb you can buy.
Not only can the Hue bulbs be conveniently tuned to shades of white and 16 million vibrant colors, but they also work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. The Philips Hue app is home to a host of other awesome smart lighting features, like geofencing and scheduling, that make the hub (an additional cost) worth it. If you’re looking for something cheaper, the Geeni Prisma Smart Bulb (available at Amazon) is a budget smart bulb that offers plenty of smart lighting features (and millions of colors).
Here are the best smart bulbs we tested, ranked in order:
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit (Gen 3)
Geeni Prisma LED Smart Bulb
Feit Electric Smart Bulb
C by GE Full Color Direct Connect
Kasa Smart Bulb 125
Merkury Smart Bulb
Govee Smart Light Bulbs Dimmable
Sengled Smart Bulb
Wyze Bulb 800 Lumen Tunable White LED WiFi Bulb
Sengled Smart LED Vintage Edison Bulb
Ring A19 Smart LED Bulb
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Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit (Gen 3)
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit (Gen 3)
Philips Hue is one of the leading names when it comes to smart home lights. Since we first began testing smart bulbs in 2015, the Philips Hue Color and Ambiance Starter Kit has remained in the top spot thanks to an easy setup, robust suite of smart lighting features, and an intuitive app.
Additional support with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Nest, and Samsung SmartThings adds tremendous benefit to an already impressive portfolio. Once you throw in the additional rainbow of possible light colors, these are without a doubt the best smart bulbs you can buy.
The bulbs support home automations like automatically turning on when you’re near your house or setting your lights to a slow dim as you drift off to sleep at night. And with a battery-powered Philips Hue motion sensor, you can set your lights to trigger when motion is detected.
In addition to the bulbs already offering 16 million colors to choose from, you can choose from dozens of preset lighting settings in the Hue app like sunlight, party vibes, cozy, seasons, and serenity to match your mood. The Philips Hue app is easy to navigate and ideal for managing an entire home of smart bulbs, though it lacks two-factor authentication, a security feature that helps secure your account.
Unlike some other options, Philips Hue bulbs do require a hub (the Philips Hue Bridge) in order to work remotely. If you’re new to Philips Hue, we recommend the Color and Ambiance Starter Kit, which includes the necessary Hue Bridge and four smart bulbs to get you started. The bridge can accommodate up to 50 Hue bulbs.
While the bulbs can be controlled over Bluetooth (without the hub), this will only work when you're physically near the bulb. Additional hardware isn’t usually a strong point, but it’s worth paying for the sheer performance and reliability that Hue offers, especially if you’re looking to outfit your whole home (or most of it) with smart bulbs.
If you’ve never used a smart bulb before, the Geeni Prisma Plus LED smart bulb is a great budget pick for beginners that doesn’t skimp on convenient features. It supports hands-free voice control via smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana (but not Siri). You can also control the lights via the Geeni app, which offers two-factor authentication to help keep your account secure.
In the app, you can change the color, saturation, and brightness of the bulb. The tunable bulb offers millions of colors, as well as several shades of white, and the light is bright and crisp on almost every setting. It also offers preset light scenes like rainbow, cocktail, night, reading, and rave. You can also create your own scenes and automations—like automatically turning the lights off when you leave home—and set the bulbs to a schedule. No hub is required, but you do need a 2.4GHz internet connection.
If you need a value-packed smart bulb on a budget that still offers plenty of smarts, Geeni’s Prisma Smart Bulb is the one you want.
To find out which smart bulb is the very best on the market today, we bought the bestselling, highest rated bulbs and tested them in an actual home, with an Eero Mesh Wi-Fi router, in lamps and light fixtures. We installed the companion apps on both iOS and Android to assess each bulb’s ease of use and see whether the experience was the same on both platforms, testing response times over the Wi-Fi network and data. We also connected each bulb to compatible smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri to measure each bulb’s functionality and responsiveness to voice commands.
What to Know About Buying Smart Bulbs
Switching from regular light bulbs to smart ones may be a bit of a hassle up front (and a price increase), but once everything is set up, the bulbs are easy to control and there are many benefits to customizing your home’s lighting. (There are also smart light strips, if you're looking for a more centralized smart lighting option.)
Setting up a smart bulb goes a bit beyond simply screwing the light bulb into a socket and calling it a day. Now, there's the question of whether or not it needs a "hub," works via Bluetooth, or can function on your Wi-Fi network on its own.
Smart lights can do much more than turn on or off via the companion app on your phone or a smart assistant—they can adjust brightness, color temperature (a cool blue/white light to a warm yellow), and change the light to any color in the rainbow.
Outside of color and brightness, most smart light bulbs will have additional options for creating scenes or setting schedules. Scenes are pre-existing or custom settings of color and brightness that you can easily select—making it a snap to change your room from a bright white light to a soothing dim blue that's easier on the eyes. Schedules are exactly what it sounds like. You can set them to automatically adjust based on time of day, alarms in the morning, or even changes in your location, such as turning lights off/on as you leave or come home from work. Just be careful not to flip the physical light switch off—this shuts down the bulb's connection to the app and assistants.
Most of the ones we tested are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings—just make sure to double-check so you're not buying an outlier.
Privacy and Smart Light Bulbs
There’s always a potential privacy risk involved when you use internet-connected devices like smart bulbs at home. To help safeguard your smart home, there are some steps you can take. First, look for devices that offer two-factor authentication, which sends a code to your mobile device to verify it’s really you. That way, if someone tries to hack into your account, you will receive an alert and can quickly take care of the problem. Many devices also allow you to activate email or other push notifications in the settings to alert you if someone has logged on.
Additionally, make sure to use a unique, strong password composed of multiple characters, numbers, and letters for each of your smart home accounts. Data breaches feel like the norm as of late, making it all the more important to use different passwords across multiple websites and apps.
Feit Electric Smart Bulbs provide affordable smart lighting that's quick to set up and simple to use. The bulbs connect over a 2.4 GHz internet connection (without the need of a separate hub) making it easy to control the lights from anywhere with the companion app. The bulbs also support hands-free voice control with smart assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, but not Siri.
We had a little trouble figuring out how to change the color of the lights from the app at first (press and hold the bulb in the app), but it was easy to do once we figured it out. Feit’s bulbs can be set to millions of colors and shades of white, and you can dim the brightness in the app or by voice.
One downside is the app lacks two-factor authentication, a feature that helps keep your account secure. The bulbs support scheduling and groups, but are not as feature-packed as others that offer location-based smart controls and timers. However, these bulbs are responsive to voice commands from Alexa and Google Assistant and maintain a reliable connection.
The latest version of C by GE's bulbs ditches the need for a hub, making these bulbs an ideal choice for anyone who wants to quickly set up a few lights that they can control from an app. You can use voice commands via smart assistants Alexa and Google Assistant to control these lights, but it does not offer integrations with Apple HomeKit as the previous generation did.
The bulbs can be set up in the Cync app, which offers-two factor authentication to keep your account secure, but it can be slow to load on iOS devices. In the app, you can tap anywhere on the color wheel to choose the exact shade and hue you want, or keep each bulb white and select the warmth or coolness that suits your mood.
You can also save your favorite colors so you can choose them quickly next time, adjust the brightness with a slider bar that also shows the percentage, and create automations that turn your lights on, off, or to a particular color and brightness settings at the times and days you set. These bulbs don't offer any preset lighting scenes, which is a fun extra you'll find in other bulbs in our guide.
Cync makes outdoor smart plugs, indoor security cameras, and other smart home devices to help you build out your own Cync-powered smart home, which is where we think these full-color bulbs fit in best.
The Kasa Multicolor Smart Light Bulb is similar to other picks in our guide, offering an array of 16 million colors to choose from, including warm to cool whites. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free voice control but does not integrate with Apple HomeKit. This intuitive bulb can be set to automatically adjust the lights based on the time of day.
It also offers remote control via the Kasa app, which is simple and easy to use, though it lacks security features like two-factor authentication. Away Mode is also available on Kasa smart bulbs, which can randomly turn your bulbs on/off to give the appearance you're there when you're not. One nice thing about Kasa bulbs is that you can track their energy usage in the Kasa app, something most smart bulbs don't offer.
The most important thing to know about the Merkury Smart Bulb is that it’s an A21 bulb and not an A19 bulb. This means that it's bigger in size and brighter in color than A19 bulbs. The color-changing LED bulb supports voice control with smart assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana, but does not offer integrations with Apple HomeKit.
It runs through the Geeni app where security features like two-factor authentication are available. In the app, you can adjust the color, saturation, and brightness of the bulb. Scenes and scheduling features are available in the app and work well. The bulb works without a hub, though it does require a 2.4 GHz internet connection like most others. If you need a big, bright smart bulb, Merkury’s is a reliable choice.
If you don’t want color changing, the Govee Smart Light Bulb is a fantastic choice. The LED smart bulb puts out a lovely, soft white color and can be controlled remotely via Bluetooth (only available when you're within range) or Wi-Fi via a 2.4 GHz connection. Voice control is also available via Alexa and Google Assistant, however, Siri is not compatible with Govee’s smart bulbs.
In the Govee app you’ll find convenient smart lighting features like scheduling, timers, and group control. There are several different lighting scenes to pick from like reading, night light, and relax.
Like many bulbs on this list, Govee’s app does not have two-factor authentication to help secure your account. In the app, you can enable a feature called Device Safety, which makes it so that the bulb can only be paired with your account (best to prevent people from taking over your bulb via Bluetooth). However, it does not prevent people who have your password from gaining access to your account.
All in all, Govee’s dimmable smart bulb’s warm glow is ideal for bedside lamps. But If you need a color bulb, check out other options in our guide.
Lifx White is an inexpensive, tunable white smart bulb that doesn't require a hub and works with all the three major home assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. If you get started with an Apple mobile device, the Lifx app automatically prompts you to connect with HomeKit and Siri, making for an extremely smooth process no matter your level of expertise.
Features in the app range from handy to quirky. For example, you can set an on/off schedule for your lights, create fade timers, and even view all the scheduled actions for the day in a timeline. On the quirkier end, there's a strange Flicker setting that makes it seem like there's something wrong with the wiring in your home, plus two other presets called Spooky and Strobe that do the same thing only with increasing intensity, seemingly designed for Halloween decor. A seizure warning accompanies the last one. The Lifx app does not offer two-factor authentication, a security feature that alerts you to attempted login attempts.
With an expected lifespan of roughly 22 years, the Lifx White is a good bulb to choose if you don't care too much about special features and want a long-lasting, tunable white bulb that works with your smart home.
Sengled's smart bulbs have needed a hub in the past, but the brand seems to be moving away from the requirement, offering a line of dimmable LED smart bulbs to choose from.
We tested Sengled's soft white smart bulb, which integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free voice control. A 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection is needed, like the majority of other smart bulbs.
In the Sengled app, you can remotely control the lights, set scenes, and create lighting routines. It also has modes to help you fall asleep and wake up by slowly brightening or dimming the lights, but you’re limited to white as your only color. The app does not offer two-factor authentication, a security feature that helps secure your account.
The Wyze Bulb is a budget smart lighting option that works with Alexa and Google Assistant. The tunable white bulb doesn’t offer vibrant colors like the Wyze Color Bulb, but it does offer a cozy selection of white light ranging from warm white to daylight. We didn’t experience any issues with this bulb. It’s a simple smart bulb that needs a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection to operate.
The Wyze bulb supports dimming via voice control or the Wyze app, both of which are responsive to lighting commands. One thing to know is that you cannot use this bulb with a dimmer switch. When using voice commands, you can ask Google Assistant or Alexa to turn the lights on and off, dim, or tune the color temperature to a certain level.
In the app, a handy vacation mode turns the lights on and off at random intervals when you're away from home to give the impression that someone's there. Another feature not seen in many other smart bulb apps is a sleep timer, which lets you schedule the light to turn off in however many minutes you choose. Wyze makes a lot of budget smart home devices, so you really can’t go wrong with this pick if you need a tunable white smart bulb.
Looking for something a little different? The Sengled Smart LED Vintage Edison Bulb is well suited for hanging pendants. With the design of an old-school filament lamp, the vintage Edison bulb fills any room with a warm chrome color. It looks sunny at 100 percent brightness, and you can dim it down from the connected app for a more cozy, candlelit atmosphere. It's compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and IFTTT. It doesn't work with Apple HomeKit (unless you happen to own an older version of the Sengled Smart Hub that supports it).
The bulb comes with a three-year warranty and has an estimated 22-year life span. This particular bulb needs a hub like the Sengled hub. We set up for testing with a Sengled hub and found the process quick and straightforward.
It's equally simple to turn the bulb on and off, adjust the brightness, create a schedule for the lights to go on or off automatically and use other controls in the app. It’s worth noting that the Sengled app lacks security features like two-factor authentication. You can turn the lights on and off when you're not home or set them to run on a schedule to make it appear like you're home when you're not, although there isn't a randomized away-from-home option.
The Ring A19 Smart LED bulb is an inexpensive, white smart lightbulb that's easy to set up, including the Ring Smart Lighting Bridge. You'll need the bridge, which uses a simple USB plug and brick in an ordinary outlet, to control the light from the app or connect it to Amazon Alexa. Subsequently, you can also use the Echo (4th gen) smart speaker or the Echo Show 10 (third-gen) smart display in place of the bridge to access mobile notifications and custom settings. Like all Ring products, it doesn't work with other smart home platforms such as Google Home or Apple HomeKit.
Picking up a couple of Ring A19 bulbs plus a bridge doesn't cost much, and you can set up your new lights in the blink of an eye, but these bulbs are a little light on features. While dimmable, the Ring A19 system doesn't have warmth or coolness settings (in other words, it's not tunable), much less any options to have the lights fade to darkness slowly. We do like that the Ring app offers security features like mandatory two-factor authentication to secure your account.
You can create custom schedules for when you want the lights on and off, but there isn't a setting that turns them on at random times to make it look like your home when you're away. The bulb can be set to be triggered if motion is detected on your Ring doorbell or home security cameras, which helps bolster your home's security. If you're a Ring or Amazon Alexa household, the A19 Smart LED is a solid, low-cost addition to rooms where you don't need anything fancy.
Sarah Kovac is an award-winning author and smart home editor for Reviewed. Previously, she worked with a multitude of outlets such as Wirecutter, TIME, PCMag, Prevention, The Atlantic, Reviews.com, CNN, GOOD, Upworthy, Mom.me, and SheKnows.
Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News' Good Morning America.
Jill Duffy is a writer covering consumer technology and software for both personal and business use. She has been testing and reviewing technology since 2011. Before that, she was a writer and editor covering video game development, e-learning, and other areas of tech and science.
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