Smart bulb buying guide

Smart bulb buying guide

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Smart bulbs couldn't be easier or more practical to use whether you go for a Bluetooth or internet-capable bulb. Operated from a smartphone or tablet, smart bulbs come in a range of models, colours and bulb types and can be used for additional lighting or as a main light source. Read on to find the perfect smart bulb.

Important features

  • Main lighting
  • Additional lighting
  • Accent lighting
  • Bulb bases and shapes
  • Smart connectivity
  • Smart bulbs
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What is a smart bulb?

Smart bulbs are a special type of LED bulb meaning they are much more energy efficient than CFL or old-style filament bulbs. These bulbs can be operated remotely and come with a range of features. With these bulbs, you can set a lighting schedule, dim the light or even change the colour of the lighting. To choose the perfect smart bulb, you will have to think about how you want to use the light and read up on the available features in the product specifications.

Smart bulb uses

Qu'est-ce qu'une ampoule connectée

It is possible to use smart bulbs as:

  • a main light source;

  • additional lighting: e.g. mood lighting or a child's night light;

  • accent lighting: such as LED strip lights;

  • a light synced to speakers to play music.

Technical characteristics of smart bulbs

Qu'est-ce qu'une ampoule connectée

The technical characteristics of smart bulbs all differ in terms of:

  • bulb base and shape: E14, E27, B22, Gu10, Gu5.3; round, spotlight or candle;

  • connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, remote control;

  • special features like geo-fencing and alerts.

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Smart bulbs used as main lighting

While the main draw of these bulbs is their special features, they can be used as the primary light source in your living spaces. Whether you're looking for bulbs for downlights or lamps, be sure to choose models with a good maximum light output to ensure they perform as expected. Smart bulbs often offer a very wide range of lighting meaning that when they are set to dim they emit very little light and when set to their brightest, they can easily be used as a main light source.

Go for a colour temperature of 4000K (neutral lighting) or higher for rooms like kitchens or bathrooms and below 4000K (warm lighting) for bedrooms, toilets or hallways.

Smart bulbs used as additional lighting

Smart bulbs can also be used to create an atmosphere simply by adjusting the brightness and colour of the light. Used this way, smart bulbs can illuminate:

  • cosy corners with diffuse warm lighting;

  • reading nooks with medium cool lighting to protect your eyes;

  • children's bedrooms with a colour changing, warm light that can be controlled remotely.

Similarly, it is possible to install several adjustable light points throughout a living room. There's nothing better for creating a relaxed ambience for a few drinks with friends!

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Smart bulbs as accent lighting

Using lighting as a decorative element

Armed with a range of modes and features, smart bulbs can be used as decorative elements in their own right. It's even possible to match a coloured light to the same tones used in your interior to create a real sense of harmony in the room.

From green lighting for a rustic, natural theme to peaceful tones for a nursery, you can really let your creativity run wild with this kind of lighting!

Smart light strips

L'ampoule connectée : un réel élément de déco

Ideal for drawing attention to a particular piece, smart light strips can be used to surround frames or furniture or even a TV to really make your items pop. Just like traditional smart bulbs, strip lights can be operated remotely and can be adjusted in terms of colour and brightness.

Please note that it is possible to buy extensions to join up several strips if you need more length.

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Smart bulb bases and shapes

Smart bulb bases

Smart bulbs come with a number of bulb bases:

  • E27 (large screw base) for downlights, ceiling lights or some table lamps;

  • E14 (small screw base) for small table lamps and wall lights;

  • B22 (bayonet) for pendant lights;

  • Gu10 and Gu5.3 (pin base) for some wall lights and spotlights.

Smart bulbs come in a variety of bulb bases meaning they can be used in almost all possible set-ups around the home

Smart bulb shapes

Smart bulbs typically come in one of three shapes:

  1. Round bulbs: for E27, B22 and some E14 bulbs.

  2. Candle bulbs: usually for E14 bulbs.

  3. Spotlight bulbs: Gu10 and Gu5.3.

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Spotlights

Smart bulb connectivity: which system is right for me?

Bluetooth enabled bulbs

Quel système de connexion choisir

Perhaps the most common option when it comes to remote operation, this system allows you to operate your bulbs from a distance, but the bulb can only be controlled from within the home.

Using the Bluetooth on your phone or tablet, you can control the smart bulb simply by clicking on the device name. Once you are connected, you can set the bulb however you like!

Wi-Fi connected bulbs

Quel système de connexion choisir

Even more practical but somewhat less common, internet-capable bulbs can be controlled from outside of the home using a Wi-Fi connection. Just like Bluetooth-connected bulbs, you simply need to click on the device name from your phone to connect to the bulb.

This way, you can turn off the light when you aren't around or even turn it on to deter intruders.

Remote control bulbs

Quel système de connexion choisir

The first generation of 'smart' bulb, remote control bulbs can still be found on the market. No need for a smartphone or tablet here – you can change the lighting effect of these bulbs using a remote control. Of course, you can only control remote controlled bulbs from within the house, but they couldn't be easier to set up. That said, they have generally been eclipsed by bulbs with a greater control range.

Advanced smart bulb features

Some of the most advanced smart bulbs can be set to work automatically using a pre-set schedule.

Geofencing

Les ampoules intelligentes

This system uses your phone to turn off any lights you've accidentally left on at home as you get further away from the house which is ideal for anyone with a lot on their mind!

Lighting schedules

This handy feature uses your phone to turn off your lights and other connected devices according to a schedule programmed in advance. Particularly handy for things like Christmas decorations, this system can be used to adjust the brightness of the lights according to the time of day.

Lighting alerts

Some LED smart bulbs are able to set reminders. Programmed via an app, these bulbs can flash, change colour or emit a noise or music to help you to remember to do something.

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Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

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