Best smart light bulbs 2020: Reviewed and rated

Smart light bulbs—LED-based bulbs that can be controlled by a hub or smartphone app—are no longer a new idea. What is new is how far this technology has come since its advent just a few years ago. Also new: Products like the Nanoleaf Aurora—a system of interlocking LED panels that let you decorate with light—fundamentally change the light-bulb concept.

Smart LED bulbs aren’t quite a commodity, but they are getting close to maturity as far as the market goes. Today’s bulbs are more compact, much brighter, have better color representation, and, for the most part, feature control apps that do more than ever and are easier to set up. Prices have also come down, with some no-name color-tunable bulbs now available for less than $10 each. (Buyer beware: You get what you pay for.)

Updated March 9, 2020 to add our WiiZ Connected Color and Tunable White A19 bulb review. This is a remarkable value for the money, and it doesn’t require you to have a smart home hub or a bridge, because it will connect directly to your Wi-Fi network. That said, the Philips Hue lineup remains our favorite smart bulb product line, thanks to its plethora of bulb types and its deep and broad ecosystem of compatible products.

Click here to see a list of all the best smart bulbs we’ve reviewed to date.

White LED bulbs are smart, too

With their rainbow of hues and myriad party tricks, color LEDs get all the press in the world of smart lighting. It’s fun stuff, but the reality is that most of us will rarely find much of a need to turn all the lights in the house blue or red—unless it’s time to celebrate our team winning the World Series. Even then, you’ll probably want to turn them all back to white after the celebration.

White light is also important in its own right, as today there is plenty of science to show how various shades of white—with variations in color temperature—impact our psychological state. Cool light that’s closer to blue has an energizing effect, and is best in the morning. Warm light is relaxing, and is best after the sun goes down.Note, however, that not every white LED smart bulb is color-temperature-tunable. Check out the specs before you buy.

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