The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Smart Lighting

Home Lighting Automation installation

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Smart Lighting

Sep 14, 2021, 1:14:02 PM Tech and Science

With the ever-increasing popularity of smart homes, homeowners are now switching to smart gadgets, especially smart lights or bulbs. 


After all, smart lights are a great way to start your smart home journey—from setting perfect environments to being directly controlled by your voice or phone apps, smart lights make you feel as if you are living in the future. 

Being able to turn off or on your light without reaching the switch is just amazing. 


Smart lighting is no more something that can be afforded only by the rich and famous. Today, the market is stacked with many smart light models being available at a reasonable rate. That’s why your itching to buy them as soon as possible can be justified. 


But before you order them online, make sure to get familiar with the ins and outs of home lighting automation to buy the right bulbs and switches for your home. Here is a roundup of what you should know before buying smart lightings for the very first time. 


But first of all, let’s go through this quick definition of a smart bulb or lighting.


What is a Smart Lighting?


A smart lighting or smart bulb is an LED bulb that is connected to the internet, generally over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Like any internet-enabled device, they can be controlled remotely through mobile apps. 


Choose the Platform:


The first question to be asked before buying smart lights: 


Which platform can be used to control them? 


Most options come with the control apps that allow you to group lights and schedule them to turn on/off at certain times—but there’s still a chance that you will want to do more than just automating your lights. 


In such a scenario, you can opt for a wider smart home platform that can handle all of the different gadgets you might end up installing. 

Integrating smart lights with voice assistance is a common way to do it.


Whether it’s Apple Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon’s Alexa, each makes for an efficient connected home control point, especially if you are looking to place a smart speaker or smart display somewhere central in your living space.


If you have owned one of those, bringing in lights that your assistance of choice can regulate is a no-brainer thing, and you can use them alongside things like smart security systems and thermostats. 


Do You Need Hub?


A smart hub acts as the middle man between your wireless router and bulb. Smart lights rely on wireless transmission to send and receive their signals.


Some use a built-in Wi-Fi system to connect directly with your router or some use Bluetooth to connect directly with your phone. A 


Understand Lumens and Wattage:


If you are used to purchasing light bulbs based on their wattage, then you will have to get familiar with a new metric called lumens. This is a new unit to measure the brightness of LED bulbs.


And since all smart lights have LEDs, this is the new unit you should get familiar with. 


Broadly speaking, an 800-lumen LED is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescence bulb while 1100 lumens will be equal to 75 watts and 1600 lumen will ensure the brightness of those with 100 watts. 


Yeah, smart LED bulbs can also be brightened and dimmed with their controlling app. A bulb with a higher lumen ensures brighter light but can be dimmed to the desired level between zero and maximum brightness point. 


Ponder Over Colors:


Some bulbs emit different colors while some come in limited shades of white light. If you only need lights to shine white or bright yellow, like the traditional bulbs you have, then you buy white-only smart bulbs. 


However, if you are looking to enjoy the different shades of colors, then you can buy color smart bulbs that are more expensive. These bulbs can produce millions of colors, delivering you all the colors you can imagine. And this is where you can get creative with your smart home lighting control.


By installing such color bulbs in your room, you can change the color of the room to your desired one, or have them switched between different colors in time with music when you are watching a movie or have a romantic dinner. 


Can They Fit Your Existing Fitting?


This is the most important factor to consider while installing smart lights in your home. While many smart bulbs are compatible with your existing fittings like any regular bulb, some smart light systems might not complement every type of fitting. 


For instance, most systems are meant for the widely-used E27 fitting, but if you use certain kinds of GU spotlights such as GUD.3, you need to change the fittings and likely the transformers while fitting any Hue or Lifx bulbs. While some brands offer GU5.3 compatible bulbs, make sure they can be regulated by your existing system. 


 What about the Life Expectancy of Smart Bulbs?


Regular bulbs are likely to go out of order after just a couple of years. But this is not the case with smart bulbs. LED bulbs are expected to last 15-25 years, based on around 1,000 hours of use per year. This is equal to nearly 2.7 hours per day. If you use your bulb for eight hours a day, you can expect it to last a minimum of five years.


 Understand the Cost of Smart Lighting:


Smart bulbs are costlier than your regular bulbs. However, they are available in a variety of costs, ranging from just more than a couple of dollars all up to $60 for a single smart bulb.


The cost of a smart bulb is determined by many factors such as wired/wireless, indoor/outdoor usage, brand, and requirement of the hub. On average, smart lights can cost you around $42 each. Many affordable options start from $7 for a single bulb or $29 for a pack of four. Good thing is that many smart lighting companies offer a discount for buying multiple bulbs. 


While smart bulbs can be expensive, they save you money on energy usage in the long run compared to your regular bulbs. 


Published by Ray Estrada

Written by Ray Estrada


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