How to choose smart lighting for your home

Managing WIFI lighting can seem complicated due to the variety of devices such as switches, bulbs, plugs, remotes, bridges and hubs. But don’t worry, we’re here to sort it out and make the process simple and enjoyable for you.

Revolution in how we light our homes

Smart lighting is a key innovation in the industry

Intelligent automated lighting is something you have to experience to understand its benefits. For many, it seems complicated, clunky, expensive and much more difficult than screwing in a “dumb” light bulb. In this article, we’ll explain why and how to get started with smart lighting, how and when to choose between smart bulbs and smart switches, and present some good options in each case.


Flowing from remote-controlled lighting

WIFI-controlled lighting is a solution that allows you to control your light remotely via a wireless connection and smartphone app. With it, you can set timers for your lights, create schedules or routines that turn lights on and off at certain times or depending on certain activities. You can synchronize your lights with sunrise and sunset, dim or change their color, control groups of lights on more than one circuit at a time, and program lights to automatically turn on and off based on movement or the presence of household members.

Choosing between smart bulbs and smart switches

There are two categories in smart lighting: smart bulbs and smart switches. You don’t have to choose one solution over another. In fact, the most effective smart home lighting setup is likely to be a mix of WIFI bulbs and smart switches. The challenge here is that very few companies offer both options. Therefore, instead of opening three different apps to control your lighting, why not use a smart home platform such as Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings or Amazon Alexa to control all your lighting.

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How do smart light bulbs work?

Smart lighting, also known as smart bulbs or smart lighting systems, is a simple and affordable way to bring smart home technology into your environment. They are easy to install, affordable and intuitive to use.

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What to do…

Choose a smart home platform and communication protocol

The good news is that with the new smart home standard called Matter, which promises cross-platform compatibility, you won’t have to worry about which smart home platform a particular light works with or what technology it uses to communicate (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other). If the bulb, WIFI plafond or switch is Matter certified, it will work with any Matter-compatible platform and work with any other Matter device.

Unfortunately, Matter won’t be fully available until 2023, so for now you’ll have to choose a platform and protocol before starting your smart lighting adventure.

If all of this sounds too complicated, don’t worry – you can start with one brand and initially use its app for control, and as you gain confidence in the technology area and understand how it meets your needs, expand to a smart lighting system.

When and why to choose smart light bulbs

The most popular type of smart lighting is smart LED bulbs, mainly because they are easy to install and set up. They used to be very expensive, but prices have dropped dramatically. While that’s generally 2x the price of a comparable dimmable LED bulb, it’s still much more affordable than a few years ago.

Most (but not all) smart bulbs are dimmable and come in three types: white, full color spectrum, and adjustable white lighting (where you can adjust the color temperature from cool to warm, which is important for lighting related to the diurnal rhythm).

Did you know that…

The secret to healthy self-esteem

The cycle of the day has a significant impact on our well-being and health. Different colors of light throughout the day affect our biological rhythm. Morning light with a higher color temperature stimulates, helping to be active, while a warmer color in the evening prepares the body for rest and sleep. That’s why it’s a good idea to adjust the lighting in your home according to the cycle of the day to improve your energy, mood and sleep quality.

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Solving the light switch problem


Unfortunately, in all lighting applications, smart bulbs have a major drawback: the light switch. When you physically turn off the switch, the smart bulb loses power, and no power means no control. Although the smart bulb is simple to install (indeed, it’s just like screwing in a regular light bulb), once installed your existing light switches become useless.

There are some workarounds for this problem, other than the odd “stick a ribbon on the switch” method. You can try to encourage household members to use only voice control. However, this option takes more time than flipping the switch and may be met with resistance. You can also set up routine scenarios and automations using a smartphone app or smart home platform to turn lights on and off at specific times of the day or with smart motion sensors (an additional device is often required, but most manufacturers sell compatible sensors). In general, motion detectors work best in hallways, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Smart switches make it easy to control lights in hard-to-reach areas and outdoor lighting.


Smart switches are usually more expensive than smart bulbs. Basic on/off switches are the cheapest, while those with dimming and/or motion sensors are more expensive. Smart switches are also a good choice for lights in hard-to-reach areas and for outdoor lights controlled by switches inside the building.

Disadvantages of smart switches include lack of color control. You can’t customize the lighting to a specific hue or light up your living room with the colors of your favorite sports team during a game. Pairing a smart switch with a smart bulb does not work because the smart switch turns off the power to the bulb, just like a regular switch. Dimmer switches are also not compatible with smart bulbs because dimming interferes with the power supply to the bulb, which can cause strange effects such as flickering or unresponsiveness.

Another problem with switches is installation. They need to be connected to the electrical wires in your home, which is one of the more advanced projects. If you are inexperienced in this field, it is worth considering hiring an electrician.

You can try to encourage household members to use only voice control


The simplest solution to the light switch problem is to buy wireless remotes to control smart bulbs. If you mount them on the wall, they become wireless light switches. The advantage is that you can install them yourself, there is no need to interfere with the electrical system. Nevertheless, it may be necessary to cover up old light switches, which may involve fiddling with wires.

Another downside is that most remote controls run on batteries, and one day the battery may run out, requiring replacement. Some smart solutions power up kinetically every time you press them, but they are as expensive as many wired smart switches and don’t always respond immediately to the first push.

When and why to choose smart switches


Smart switches eliminate the problem of smart bulbs because they control the power supply. Unlike smart bulbs, smart switches do not turn off when someone flips the switch. Instead, they remain powered even in “off” mode, so they can continue to perform automations and accept commands from you and your smart home.

Since the switch controls the entire circuit, once installed, all lights controlled by the old switch become smart. This means you probably won’t need to buy new bulbs, but if you want to take advantage of the dimming capabilities that most smart switches offer, you’ll need dimmable LED bulbs.

Neutral wires, tri-state switches and other smart switch issues


Most smart switches require a neutral wire, but there are solutions without this need. Older homes may not have this cable. A final challenge is the variety of switch types, such as unidirectional, dimmable, motion-sensing and tri-state, which can introduce additional difficulties in choosing the right solution for an installation.

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