As the information age matures, more and more facets of everyday life are influenced. From the more obvious electronic devices like laptops, smartphones, tablets, and many more that now pack incredible computing performance, to less noticeable smart objects like household appliances – the internet of things is changing the way people live their lives.
One of the most underrated, yet incredibly useful smart objects, is the lightbulb. Lightbulbs are virtually everywhere, and there are so many benefits to replacing old, traditional bulbs with their smarter versions. We can provide a few essential tips on picking out the best smart lightbulbs for your home.
The ability to dim down the brightness of the light is one of the signature qualities of a smart lightbulb. Yes, this technology has been around for quite some time now, but never has it been implemented with the degree of efficiency and effectiveness that smart lightbulbs of today have.
There are inherent advantages to being able to dim lights. The most apparent one is energy efficiency. Lights are dimmed (or brightened) by managing the flow of electricity. In order to dim the light, the electricity it uses is reduced. This is also true for halogen and compact fluorescent lamps, however, LEDs take it a step further. LEDs are already incredibly energy efficient compared to their older counterparts. With the ability to be dimmed, the energy savings is maximised.
Here are more benefits to dimming lights.
- Since the lightbulbs use less electricity and produce less heat, their longevity is also lengthened.
- Dimmed lights can help set the mood of a room.
- Dimmed lights can even enhance sleep.
Another popular quality of a smart lightbulb is its ability to change colours. Some modern smart LED bulbs even let you choose from a rich colour palette of around 16 million hues. This takes the customisation of your home into a whole new level.
You can instantly warm up a room by choosing a yellowish hue for your lightbulb. Oppositely, you can cool down the room by setting a bluer hue. You can even set the colour to change over time. Imagine throwing a party and just using your lightbulbs to set the mood.
Like the ability to be dimmed, changing the colour of the light can also help promote longer and healthier sleep cycles, which is one of the foundations of an overall healthier lifestyle.
One of the unique qualities of smart objects is how their features can be accessed through smart devices like phones and laptops. Not only does this make it incredibly convenient to dim or change the colours of your light, you can also access these controls from virtually anywhere. If you forget to turn off the light when you leave a room, for example, you can easily tap the controls on your phone and do it from there – no need to use the switch.
This is also a security feature, because even if you’re away from home, for example, you can turn the lights on at night and prevent break-ins. You can even schedule this process to automatically take place every night.
Many apps that are linked to smart lightbulbs can even be controlled using your phone’s voice assistant. This takes accessibility to the next level. You just have to say a command to dim, change colours, or turn the light on or off.
Some smart lightbulbs have built-in speakers. Although the speakers are usually not so big they’re able to produce loud sounds, this novelty feature can still offer some excellent uses. Imagine being able to play music in any room even without speaker wires or Bluetooth connectivity issues. Some of these lightbulbs even pulsate and change colours depending on the music that is being played on their speakers. It’s easily an impressive feat that only smart lightbulbs are capable of.
Even before there were smart lightbulbs, LEDs have been gaining popularity because they offer many cost-saving benefits compared to both incandescent and fluorescent counterparts.
According to the comparisons done by the US Department of Energy, LED lightbulbs use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They can also last up to 25 times longer.
They also offer noticeable cost-saving features when compared to CFLs, especially when talking about longevity.
These cost-savings are significant and can truly be felt in power bills and the reduced number of times bulbs need to be replaced.
Now, with smart LED lightbulbs, even with just the ability to dim down the brightness also offers cost-savings as mentioned in the dimmability section above.
Even if the initial cost of these bulbs is higher than halogens or CFLs, investing in smart lightbulbs offers real-world benefits and cost-savings that can be felt even years down the road.
How to Choose the Right Smart Lightbulb for Your Home
That said, not all smart lightbulbs are created equal. There are certain features and qualities that you need to consider to make the most of your investment. Here are a few of the considerations to help you decide which smart lightbulbs to get for the different parts of your home.
- Platform – Some smart lightbulb apps will only work with certain operating systems. For example, there are apps that work exclusively with either iOS or Android. Some will only work with certain voice assistants as well. It’s important to consider the devices that you plan on using for control. It’s also important to make sure that most (if not all) of your lightbulbs can be controlled by fewer apps as possible for maximum convenience.
- Durability – Although the longevity of LED bulbs is generally better, other durability features should also be considered, especially when you’re thinking about installing some of the bulbs outdoors.
- Feature Set – Some features like audio output and colour customisability may not be as important when outdoors. Consider where you are placing the lightbulbs before buying.
Smart lightbulbs has been growing in popularity because of several advantages they offer compared to traditional lighting systems. They are highly customisable, cost-effective, and generally more convenient to control. Although the initial costs are higher, they will eventually pay for themselves with the cost-saving features enjoyed in the long run.