Think lightbulbs are boring? Think again. Check out some the coolest smart lightbulbs your can take home and play with today...
£49.99 per bulb, or £149.99 for a starter kit containing the essential Hue Bridge – from Argos
Philips Hue might seem a bit pricey to set up, but once you’ve got the ‘Bridge’ (a router-like device needed for connecting the bulbs to your phone wirelessly), you can add all kinds of exciting bulbs and light fittings to your home and control them from an app. There are multi-coloured Hue lightbulbs for casting a whole rainbow of colours inside your home, LED light strips, dimmer switches, and even white ambience bulbs that shine in every shade of white. With the app, you can create lighting schedules, dim and control your lightbulbs remotely, and even switch them on and off using Siri if you’re an iOS user.
Hive Active Light
£19.99 per lightbulb, plus £80 for the essential Hive Hub – from Hive Home
From the same family as the Hive smart thermostat, Hive Active Light is a smart lightbulb that offers the full smart treatment. Control it from your phone, set schedules, turn it off and on – all without having to leave the comfort of the sofa. Once you’re kitted out with some lightbulbs and, of course, the Hive Hub that makes your lightbulbs work, you can add other Hive devices like sensors and plugs to have your lightbulbs work in tune with the rest of your smart home.
$24.99 (around £19) per lightbulb, or $99 (around £75) for a Starter kit including the essential Nanoleaf Hub – from Nanoleaf
Who said lightbulbs had to be boring white orbs? These awesome 3D printed lightbulbs from Nanoleaf prove that smart lightbulbs can be part of the furniture too. Once you’ve got the Nanoleaf Hub set up to make the smart stuff possible, you can control your bulbs via the app or using using Siri, setting schedules, toggling them on and off, and commanding light scenes just by speaking. What’s more, they’re supremely energy efficient. Nanoleaf says that with normal usage at home, the lightbulbs can shine on for 30 years. That’s long enough for your lampshade to go out of fashion and come back in again.
$79 (around £60) for device – from iDevices
Not a smart lightbulb, per se, but as good as. Simple screw it onto any existing lightbulbs in your house, pop the bulb back in its shade, and connect Socket with the iDevices app on your phone. After that, it’s a simple case of customising your newly smart bulb to suit your lifestyle. With the app in hand, you can control your lamp’s brightness, schedule it to switch on and off in line with your daily comings and goings, and even choose its brightness and power with the easy-swipe colour light ring. What’s more, Socket teams up with your other device on Apple HomeKit, so you can even call upon Siri to dim and control your Socket-equipped lightbulbs.
Around £40 per lightbulb, with discounted multipacks available – from Amazon
As well as coming in a range of ambient colours like red, white and silver, Sengled Pulse lightbulbs double up as a virtually invisible speaker system. Simply screw them into your existing light fitting and you’ve got your very own overhead stereo lighting system. Awesome. With the app for your phone or tablet, you can control the lighting level and speaker volume of every individual lightbulb. You can also use the bulbs as part of a surround sound system, streaming audio from your TV. There’s even a white noise, dim light setting designed to help send your kids off to sleep.
£30 per lightbulb, plus £40 for the essential Osram Gateway – from Tesco
Like Philips Hue and Hive, Osram requires a middle man device to connect it to your phone. Once you’ve got the reasonably cheap £40 Gateway in place, you can add Lightify bulbs to your existing light fittings to get in on some remote controlled fun. And by fun, we mean the usual schedule-setting, remote toggling and rainbow light options you expect from a smart lightbulb these days. Plus, if you fancy some extra bulbs, just pick them up from Tesco while you’re doing your weekly shop. Perfect.
€499 (around £400) – from Beam Labs
A powerful LED projector disguised as a light fitting, Beam screws into any light socket in your house to project content from your phone via Airplay or Miracast. Screw it into your bedside lamp to watch Netflix on the bedroom wall, pop it on your coffee table and watch a photo slideshow with the family, or hang it from your kitchen ceiling to project the morning news report onto the table. Beam is also rigged up with a smart computer that runs on Android, meaning you can program it to do all kinds of nifty smart home tricks. Set it to play a movie when someone arrives home, for instance, or display the weather forecast on the wall the second you wake up.