Ever wanted a light you could turn on with just the sound of your voice? Or a light that can be changed to any color of the rainbow, and dimmed with the touch of a finger?
Smart lights sure do offer an element of fun and convenience to your home – but what about tangible benefits like energy savings and home security?
If you’re considering purchasing a smart bulb you might ask – are smart lights worth it?
Smart lights use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs. An incandescent bulb, when used for 3 hours per day, costs $8.89 per year compared to $2.81 for smart LED bulbs.
In this article we’ll be exploring the benefits and drawbacks of smart lights and quantifying exactly how much money you could stand to save by switching to them. Smart lights offer a range of attractive qualities that might have piqued your interest, as well as some drawbacks that you may want to bear in mind before going ahead with a purchase.
Benefits of Smart Lighting
Smart Lights Save Energy
There is a plethora of reasons why smart lighting saves energy. First, smart lights are made with LED bulbs, which have long been proven to offer large energy savings when compared to incandescent or halogen bulbs. In fact, energy.gov reports that LED bulbs use 75% less energy than the more traditional incandescent and halogen models. Which means your energy usage will cost you and the planet a lot less.
Second, smart lights have the useful capability of being controlled remotely via your smartphone. Which not only means that you can switch off the lights without getting out of bed – it also means that you never have to forget to turn out the lights when you leave the house. We’ve all accidentally left the lights on and only realized when we got home from work. Luckily, smart lights and their remote-based app control can spare you and the planet this kind of mishap!
Smart Light Security
In the future, no one will believe that we used to leave a lamp on for 2 weeks straight while we were on vacation to prevent burglars targeting our property. It’s a serious waste of energy, and a no-go move for your wallet and the planet.
Smart lights handily allow you to set timers from your smartphone (wherever you are in the world), telling the lights to turn on for a few crucial hours in the evening to stop your home looking empty. Then they’ll switch off again at bedtime – and passers-by will be none-the-wiser to your absence! You can even take a more advanced, realistic approach and set your living room lights and bedroom lights to switch on and off at different times.
Smart Light Cost Savings
A burning question on everyone’s lips is: does smart lighting save money? Some people decide against buying smart bulbs because they cost more money up front than a standard, run-of-the-mill bulb. Sure, it’s meant to be an investment – but will you really make significant savings over time? We don’t blame you for being skeptical, but we’ve come armed with some facts and figures that might sway you.
Because smart lights use LED bulbs, the cost of running them is significantly lower. Where the cost of running a typical incandescent bulb for 3 hours every day for a year is around $8.89, the cost of doing the same with an LED bulb is just $2.81. Then if you consider the savings if you changed every bulb in the house – it’s significant!
Furthermore, the lifespan of a smart LED bulb is over 23 times longer than that of an incandescent bulb, adding even more value to your investment. Plus, when you consider the additional benefits that smart controls add to your LED lighting, such as dimming effects and remote control – there’s plenty more energy cost savings to be made.
Smart Light Ambient Lighting
When you’re curling up on the couch and getting cozy in front of the TV, there’s nothing quite like the warm glow of a dimmed light to really set the mood. Previously, you required a special dimmer switch to be able to control the brightness of a light. But with smart lighting you’re able to adjust the brightness of any light that has a smart bulb – all from your smart phone!
Not only does this make it easier than ever to dim your lighting, but it also provides you with complete control and customizability. If you’d prefer a cooler hue to your lighting one evening, you can easily adjust the color from your app or smart hub. All the same, if you’d like a warm, amber glow to emanate from your lamps, you can easily achieve this via the app too. Many smart lights also offer full color capabilities too, allowing you to change your lights from average white to fluorescent pinks, greens, and blues in an instant.
Many smart light apps also provide a tool that allows you to create presets. So, you can pre-design a lighting set-up for when you’re watching a movie, reading a book, or getting comfortable on a weekday evening. Then, when the time comes, simply select the pre-set you’re in the mood for and sit back and relax while all your lights illuminate with the correct brightness and colors.
Smart Light Voice Control
It used to be a futuristic bit of tech reserved for the richest elites of society – to walk into your house, say “lights on” and watch as the room lights up in accordance. But now we can all enjoy this very same luxury when we invest in smart lighting!
If you have a smart hub like an Amazon Alexa or a Google Home, the chances are that your chosen smart lights will be compatible for integration. This means that when you connect your Alexa to your smart bulbs and their accompanying app, it’s as easy as saying “Alexa, turn on the living room lights”, or “Hey Google, turn lights to movie mode”. This is especially handy for when you’re too comfortable in bed to get up and switch off your lights manually, or just when you want to impress your friends!
The Drawbacks of Smart Lighting
Smart Lighting Bugs
As with all technology, we haven’t gotten to the point yet where everything works seamlessly all the time. Smart light bulbs are no exception, despite improvements every year, there will still be times when you encounter the odd glitch. This is usually due to a couple of key factors:
- Wi-Fi connection – Wi-Fi still isn’t perfect. It drops out occasionally, and sometimes runs exceptionally slowly. Unfortunately, smart bulbs run their smart features on a Wi-Fi connection. This means if your Wi-Fi isn’t working, your smart light’s smart features won’t work either. You will still be able to switch your lights on and off from their physical switches, but you won’t be able to control the brightness, color, or have any remote control from your phone.
- Voice command – If you own a smart hub like an Alexa or Google Home, you will know all too well that they don’t always do what you want! Voice command has a long way to come before it can understand all your verbal requests all the time. However, with a little patience and a solid Wi-Fi connection, your lights are sure to do what you want eventually.
Smart Light App Compatibility
A quick Google search will reveal that there’s a huge range of smart lightbulbs available on the market, each one from a different brand. This becomes an issue when you realize that every brand has their own smartphone app designed for controlling the lights. There are two factors to bear in mind here:
- You must buy all your bulbs from the same brand – The basic process of turning on your lights becomes a logistical nightmare when you have 8 different smart bulbs, from 3 different brands, operated by 3 different apps on your phone. Each one of the apps works slightly differently too, making the process even more complicated. Of course, this problem can be averted by ensuring every bulb you buy comes from the same brand.
- The app may not be compatible with your smart home hub – Before you buy a smart bulb, it’s important that you check to see if their app is compatible with your chosen smart home hub. Some apps are not able to integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Home respectively, which will prevent you from being able to use the handy voice command functions.
Conclusion: Are Smart Lights Worth It?
Smart homes and home automation are certainly where the future is at. And although they still have some bugs that need to be ironed out, they also offer a far greater list of benefits that begins with the fact that they are cool and convenient and ends with the bottom line that they will make serious savings for both you and the planet. We’re going to see smart lighting become more and more prevalent in homes across the world, so why not give it a go and see what savings you can make?!