Smart light bulbs
Top smart light bulbs for 2019
By Haddi Browne
Article 1 of 3
Our testing reveals the intuitive app-controlled smart light bulbs that are worth your money, and the ones you should leave well alone.
The world of smart tech is weird and wonderful. Most of us aren't rushing out to buy an internet-connected toothbrush that films inside your mouth, or a smart fork that tells you when you're eating too fast, but connecting light bulbs to the internet makes sense.
Smart light bulbs can be controlled from an app on your phone, which means you can turn them on and off wherever you are - whether you're lounging on your sofa and too comfy to move, or miles away on holiday. Having bulbs that you can control remotely may also make your home more secure. If you find you'll be out later than you thought, or you're away, you can use the app to switch on your smart bulbs in your living room so it looks like someone's home.
You can dim some smart bulbs, too, and change their colour, but which are the best? We've tested models from top brands, including Hive, Ikea, LIFX and Philips, to see which are the easiest to use (paying particular attention to the apps that control the bulbs), which have the best light quality, and which are the most secure. These are the best and worst smart light bulbs we've tested.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a trial to Which?.
Top smart light bulbs
We were impressed with how easy this bulb is to control, and with the warmth of the light. Setting it up isn’t as simple as we‘d like, but the app makes up for it once you do get everything working. It’s a Best Buy bulb that runs rings around some of the competition.
Not found the bulb you're looking for? Browse all our smart light bulb reviews. Or take a look at our summary table below.
Smart light bulb reviews - compare results for popular brands
If smart tech has a prime directive, it's to make our lives easier, but some smart lighting we tested had the opposite effect. Most smart tech lives and dies on how good its app is, and smart bulbs are no different. If the app is confusing and awkward to use, more often than not you'll find yourself reaching for the light switch instead.
In our independent tests, we look at how easy each of these bulbs is to set up, how simple the apps are to use, whether they do a good job of keeping your data and network secure, and if the light quality is as good as the best conventional bulbs.
Only logged-in Which? members can see the summary results of all of the smart bulbs we've tested below. If you're not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a trial to Which?.
|Ease of use||Set-up||Privacy||Light quality|
|With a simple-to-use app and dazzling light quality, this is the best smart light bulb we've tested.||Score||76%|
|This bulb gives off a lovely warm light, but you can't change the colour temperature.||Score||73%|
|This colour-changing bulb has great light quality and is easy to use.||Score||68%|
|This bulb is a good option, although the privacy standards aren't up to those set by the Hue bulbs, and dimming the lights is fiddly.||Score||65%|
|This is also one of the easiest smart bulbs for setting up and daily use. Great consistency between bulbs, too.||Score||64%|
|The best bulb for rendering colours accurately and a doddle to set up, although it's a great deal brighter than claimed.||Score||63%|
|This bulb is easy to set up and it has good light quality. Having the full range of colours is a nice feature.||Score||63%|
|This bulb is expensive, and not as easy to set up as some others.||Score||60%|
|Difficult to use and its privacy controls aren't up to scratch, bit it does have good light quality.||Score||60%|
|Some irritating niggles with the app hold this bulb back, but it is one of the most efficient bulbs we've tested.||Score||59%|
|Has cool features over other bulbs, but it's not as simple to set up as some.||Score||59%|
|Good light quality, but tricky to set up.||Score||58%|
|Another efficient bulb, but this one is significantly brighter than claimed, and brightness between bulbs is inconsistent.||Score||57%|
|The colour changing is a nice feature, but the light quality isn't as high as it should be.||Score||56%|
Table last updated: 30 August 2018
How to choose the best smart light bulb
Ease of use is paramount when you're choosing smart light bulbs, so look for one with an intuitive app. If you have smart tech already, or you're looking to add more in the future, check that they're all compatible with each other.
If your chosen bulb works with your smart hub, you'll be able to control it using your smart hub app. You may also be able to set up your lights so they turn on automatically when you get home.
Do you want a bulb that can change colour, or one that only gives off a white light? The former are more expensive, so you may be able to save money if they're of no interest.
It's easy to get lost in the smart functionality of these bulbs, and forget to think about their basic purpose: providing light in your home. As well as testing the apps and security, we measure the quality of the light. So when you choose a smart bulb recommended by us, you know whether the colour rendering and light is as good as the best conventional light bulbs.