Best smart light bulbs: the very best mood setters and ambiance-makers for your home

The best smart light bulbs to illuminate your house, making it feels more like home

Nanoleaf Essentials A19 Smart Thread Bluetooth LED Bulbs against blue background
(Image credit: Nanoleaf)

The best smart light bulbs have the power to transform your space. In fact, these can make your house feel more like a home with huge personalization options, all without costing you too much. Imagine changing the color of a room to suit your mood as easily as tapping an icon on your phone. Imagine no more, this can be your perfectly illuminated reality.

Whether you want to use a smart light bulb to make your home more secure, setting timers and controlling them remotely; or you want to uplight art, create a mood for the bedroom or turn your lounge into a cinema – it's all possible. And that's the point, these offer tremendous personalization possibilities. Want to turn your laundry space into a colorful flashing disco while you fold those garms? Yup, that's yours to own too.

Perhaps you want all your lights to come on when you arrive home, or your kitchen lights to brighten when you tell your smart speaker to turn on. Using some bulbs these smart associations can be set up to make your home more convenient.

Before buying you will be well served by giving thought to what you want from the bulb. Do you just need a side lamp that can be dimmed? Do you need colorful options to change a room's feel? And what compatibility do you want, with Apple HomeKit support and Alexa voice controls on some options?

Our top picks below include smart bulbs from various brands, all ideal for homeowners and renters alike.

The best smart light bulbs in 2022

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Bluetooth 75W Smart LED Bulb resting on box in writer's home

(Image credit: Philips)

1. Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Bluetooth Smart LED Bulb

Best smart bulb overall

Specifications

Wattage: 10W
Colours: 16 million
Temp: 2,000 - 6,500K
Lumens: 806

Reasons to buy

+
Super easy to use
+
Works with Alexa, Assistant and HomeKit
+
Lots of bulb options

Reasons to avoid

-
Hub required to connect
-
Not cheap

The smart bulb that started it all and is still leading the way is the Philips Hue. The lights are available in lots of variations and Philips works to make sure the tech is compatible with lots of other platforms. This includes voice controls, pairing with other smart home gadgets, and more freedom to really make these yours. Automated lighting never seemed so easy.

How it performs

The lights themselves are some of the best looking in the smart lighting world. With 16 million shades of color, plus warmth and brightness controls, these are super adaptable. Thanks to options beyond bulbs, like strip LED lighting, lamps, and outdoor options, you can expand across your home. 

While testing, we found that everything was easily controlled using the smart app, or you can use voice-control with Apple's HomeKit, Amazon's Alexa, or Google Assistant. Geofencing is a nice touch, letting you set up the bulb to recognize when you're home to light up and welcome you back.

Anything else?

On the downside, you do need a hub to connect to your WiFi so these bulbs can be controlled from anywhere. But since it's included with this bundle that's not such an issue and on the plus side it means you have a better range so you can connect bulbs all over your home, even in areas of weak WiFi. It does mean these bulbs are on the more expensive side but here you really do get what you pay for.

Livingetc rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

LIFX Color Smart Bulb on wooden surface next to packaging in writer's home

(Image credit: Future)
Best hub-free smart light bulb

Specifications

Wattage: 11W
Colours: 16 million
Temp: 2,500 - 9,000K
Lumens: 1,100

Reasons to buy

+
No hub needed
+
Work with Alexa, Assistant and HomeKit
+
Simple to setup and use

Reasons to avoid

-
Big bulbs
-
Not cheap

The LIFX A19, unlike others on this list, won't require a hub to get connected as these bulbs connect directly to your WiFi. A simple way to update the ambiance of your bedroom lighting ideas.

How it performs

This particular bulb from the company offers all the colors, brightness, and temperature range of all the other top options out there, only with more ease of use. Setup is super simple with no need to connect to a hub, simply use your WiFi and the app. Then you're good to control this using all the major voice assistants.

Anything else?

These aren't the cheapest options but then you have that hub cost you can offset. The company also offers lots of other useful lighting including Clean, a smart light that kills bacteria, Beam for light strips, and even an outdoor bulb made to enhance the night vision of your home security camera.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the LIFX Color Smart Bulb

Nanoleaf Essentials A19 Smart Thread Bluetooth LED Bulbs

(Image credit: Nanoleaf)

3. Nanoleaf Essentials A19 Smart Thread Bluetooth LED Bulbs

Best affordable smart bulb option

Specifications

Wattage: 9W
Colours: 16.7 million
Temp: 2,700 - 6,500K
Lumens: 1,100

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent price
+
Bluetooth and Thread connections
+
Natural light mimicking feature

Reasons to avoid

-
No voice controls
-
Awkward shape for some lamps

If you want to keep things affordable, perhaps to kit out your entire home, then the Nanoleaf Essentials bulb is a great option. And if you are wondering how to use smart light bulbs then this is a good entry point. Get an affordable smart bulb that still comes with top features and beautiful lighting results.

How it performs

This is a stunning light for the price, offering much of what the more expensive Hue bulbs do. It also offers over 16 million colors, a brighter top-end 1,100 lumens plus a wide temperature range. 

This even goes further with its Circadian Lighting feature which follows the time of day and adjusts the light to suit for the most natural result. This also comes in light strip form and Nanoleaf Shapes, which also feature in this list.

Anything else?

On the downside that lower price means you have only Bluetooth and Thread connectivity, so no Alexa support there.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

TP-Link Kasa Filament Smart Bulb

(Image credit: TP-Link)
Best retro smart light bulb

Specifications

Wattage: 7W
Colours: No
Temp: 2,7000K
Lumens: 800

Reasons to buy

+
Great design finish
+
Voice assistant controls
+
Relatively affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No color options
-
No HomeKit support

The TP-Link Kasa Filament Smart Bulb is a retro delight that's made to be put on display to enhance the look of a room while still offering smart lighting. A modernist take on the automated home.

How it performs

This is a smart bulb built to task, as such it just has the one color option and the color temperature is fixed at 2,700K. But it comes in color, white, or filament options if you do want those other features. This model looks fantastic with that glowing filament, produces a lovely warm light, and can be smart controlled. That means voice controls are possible using Alexa or Google Assistant.

Anything else?

You won't get Apple HomeKit support here, unfortunately. But this is relatively affordable compared to many other smart light bulbs, especially when you consider the design and smart controls this sports.

Livingetc rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Nanoleaf Shapes

(Image credit: Nanoleaf)

5. Nanoleaf Shapes

Best design statement smart light bulbs

Specifications

Wattage: 42W
Colours: 16.7 million
Temp: 1,200 - 6,500K
Lumens: 20 - 100 LM/Panel

Reasons to buy

+
Superbly designed wall art
+
Pulses colors for effects
+
Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-
Mounting is fixed setup
-
Not great looking when unlit

The Nanoleaf Shapes are a novel take on lighting which use panels to create wall art out of light. Buy several to combine into the shape you want to suit the space - a futuristic take on living room lighting ideas.

How it performs

There is a vast array of options here, not only in the initial shaping of the panel layout but in the lighting they produce. You have over 16 million colors which can vary in brightness and warmth but also in timings. 

There is an option to pulse the lights and change colors to create any effect you desire. From making the room a dance floor to lulling you to sleep, this does it all. You can even set these to react to music or touch to make interacting with surroundings even more dynamic.

Anything else?

These aren't the most natural looking when unlit though, so that is worth keeping in mind when mounting. And once mounted don't expect to move them as it's a semi-permanent setup.

Livingetc rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Innr WiFi Smart Bulb E27

(Image credit: Innr)

6. innr White And Color

Best Hue alternative smart bulbs

Specifications

Wattage: 9W
Colours: 16 million
Temp: 1,800 - 6,500K
Lumens: 806

Reasons to buy

+
Superb quality lights
+
Lots and lots of styles
+
No bridge needed

Reasons to avoid

-
Still not the cheapest
-
Energy rating could be better

The innr White And Color is one of many bulbs from this up-and-coming big name in the smart lighting world that looks set to give the Philips Hue range a real challenge.

How it performs

This is the best of Philips Hue, with a huge range of lighting types, but without the need for a bridge setup. That means this works with the app and uses all the major voice assistants to control lighting. Just without the setup faff that you have with a bridge-based lighting system.

It'll also work with the natural lighting of the day to offer the ideal light brightness and warmth automatically. You even have color options too with 16 million to pick from.

Anything else?

These still aren't the cheapest option and the energy rating could be a bit better.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Choosing the best smart light bulbs for your home

LIFX Color Smart Bulb

(Image credit: LIFX)

There are a few basics you'll need to think about before you decide which is the best smart light bulb for your home. These are laid out for you to work out the best option for your needs.

Do you need color?
If you only want to control your lights in terms of timings or perhaps dimming then you can save a good chunk by going for white light-only bulbs.

Should you have a bridge/hub?
While some brands, like Philips, require you to hook a hub bridge up to your WiFi, many connect directly to your network. A bridge can mean costs go up, it takes up a port on your router and space in your home. But on the plus side, it can mean a system that works super efficiently without other WiFi interference. 

Are you covering your whole home?
If you want smart lighting all over your home then you may want to go for a bigger brand like Philip, Lifx, and innr, as they all offer lots of options. From bulbs for lamps to LED strip lighting in the kitchen and bathroom right through to outdoor lighting. If you just want a basic bulb for a room or two then a more affordable option like Leaf could be better.