Smart Lights Can Offer Both Perks and Hassles for Your Home | WSJ

Smart Lights Can Offer Both Perks and Hassles for Your Home | WSJ


– I never really understood smart lights. There are so many other smart home ideas that I totally get. Coffee that’s just magically
ready in the morning. A front door that knows
unlocks every time I get home. A house that’s always
the perfect temperature. But a light that I don’t have to get up to turn on and off that costs like 10 times as
much as my normal light bulb? Pass. And yes, smart lights are the
number one smart home thing people are interested in. So I got my hands on a whole bunch of different
kinds of smart lights, installed them all over my house, and decided to see what
all the fuss is about. After a lot of testing, I found three good reasons
to get a smart light, three reasons they’re
still way too much hassle, and a pretty workable solution for people who really want to get into it. Let’s start with the good stuff. Reason to get a smart light number one: Never coming home to a dark house. This is all about peace
of mind and security but being able to turn on
all the lights in the kitchen or in the whole house
just feels really good. Reason number two: Automated lighting is awesome. Many of these lights let
you set up a schedule. Bright, cool light in the
morning to wake you up, off during the day when it’s bright, then warmer and dimmer at
night to help you relax. Reason number three: Being lazy rules. Sure, I could get up and go around and turn off all these lights one by one but since many smart lights integrate with virtual assistants, like Google Assistant or Alexa, it’s so much easier to just say, “hey Google, turn off all the lights” and then not worry about it. Generally after living
with them for a bit, I’m sort of sold on the
idea of smart lights but actually using them is not nearly as
wonderful as it should be, which brings me to stupid
smart light thing number one, the switch problem. Okay, so you install a smart light, get everything set up and working, then someone comes through
and flips the switch off. Perfectly normal thing, right? Except you’ve just cut off
all the power to your light and it won’t connect again until you’ve flipped the switch back up. Stupid thing number two: These are still too difficult to set up. Some of these devices have their own hubs, which is good and bad. Good because the hub connects
directly to the router, making it easier to get your bulbs connected to the internet. Bad because these hubs tend to cost more and it’s just another thing to
have plugged into your wall. Others work directly
through an app on your phone but those are often a lot finickier with getting stuff connected. Stupid thing number three: Smart lights are really expensive. This Philips Hue starter set is $70. This LIFX bulb, just the
bulb by itself, is about $50. In general, you’re looking
at somewhere between $10 and $25 for a full-feature smart bulb. If you want to a full-color
bulb for more than just white, which gives you more control over things like color temperature and does some really fun party tricks, you’re looking at about double that. Either way, it’s a lot of money, especially if you’re trying
to outfit your whole house. After all the testing I’ve
done, here’s my recommendation. If you just want to get
one or two smart bulbs, the C by GE Full Color
Smart Bulb is the move. They’re the easiest to set up,
since GE worked with Google to do everything in the Google Home app. You can Alexa too, but that
requires a separate hub. If you want a house full
of smart bulbs though, the Philips Hue ecosystem is the one you can really invest in. The hub makes it easy to connect
and manage all your lights. Philips makes lots of lamps and light strips you can integrate. Plus it works with tons of
other devices and assistants. For an even simpler setup,
though a more limited one, there are smart plugs. These devices go into your wall and can turn on anything that’s plugged in with just the press of a button. Smart plugs are, frankly, a dime a dozen, though I’ve had good luck with this one from Anker’s Eufy brand. But if you want smart lighting that lasts and you don’t mind doing a little bit of DIY electrical work
on your light switches, you really want to buy
a smart dimmer switch. I particularly like this setup from Lutron called the Caseta, which plugs into a wall and adds a a smart dimmer
to any lamp you have. You can also buy a switch
that screws into the wall, like this one from Lutron,
but that’s a little more work. Either way, it solves the
switch problem perfectly. One bit of warning, though. Try not to mix smart
switches and smart bulbs. They kind of clash sometimes. Ultimately, you just have to
pick a way and stick with it. My home is all-in on smart switches, smart plugs, and dumb bulbs with one exception. It’s pretty great t have tons
of colors and funky features on the light in the living room. It’s a huge addition to movie night. Hey Google, turn all the lights red and put on Stranger Things. (quiet EDM music)


39 thoughts on “Smart Lights Can Offer Both Perks and Hassles for Your Home | WSJ

  1. I would NEVER buy any smart devices for my apartment. Also, I would like to point out the reused Talenti pint jars in the kitchen, I do the same thing, I also keep change in one.

  2. I changed all my light bulbs to smart light bulbs because we don't have dimmers. GREAT investment, doesn't strain eyes at night

  3. LIFX has made the best smart bulbs for the past few years and you only mentioned them once, without even recommending them. Shame. No hub necessary, no hassle, integrates with Google, Alexa, IFTTT, Nest, and each bulb connects directly to the wifi. Costs a bit more, but you get what you pay for. Rated for 10 years usage too. Viewers, do your own research!

  4. LIFX lights can be controlled with the switch if for some reason your Wi-Fi doesn’t work. Sort of like the problem he talked about some random person turning off your lights in the video but when you turn it back on after it gets disconnected, it will turn on again and function like a normal light bulb until you turn it off with the app again. Also, smart bulbs don’t have to cost $70 or even $45. LIFX sells a good bulb for just $20 and you can even find cheaper ones from other brands.

  5. Amazon echo automatically connects to Phillips hue lights without the hub. Set up for smart home devices have gotten better but Phillips is the easiest and if you get the hub it can work even if you don't have internet

  6. I'd rather have really bright bulbs and see my house than have 'smart' bulbs I can turn off from across the room or customise the colour temperature. I have 2600lm bulbs for my living room torch lights and pretty much every smart bulb series seems to max out at 1000lm.

  7. Owwww! – My Google Home just turned all my LIFX lights red and Stranger Things is playing on my Chrome Cast TV!!

  8. You guys should try
    Wipro Garnet Smart Light 7W B22 LED Bulb, Compatible with Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant
    Which is about 20 usd
    It is a well known indian brand

  9. To me this product is only good for if you truly own your house and have a fully paid off mortgage loan. I still prefer ordinary LED light bulbs for basic lighting inside general living in homes owned by other people such as houses without fully paid mortgages and rental properties.

  10. It's 2019, we know how digital assistance works. You can stop using their activation words in videos and setting off my devices.

  11. So unnecessarily complicated. Now you might have to use your phone’s flashlight when troubleshooting networking issues

  12. Just make it easier to be hacked, stupid smart junk. This will condition people to only know how to operate things that are controlled by their phone.

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