What's the best alternative to Philips Hue? Here are our favorites!
Philips Hue smart lights are some of the coolest on the market and they're definitely some of the most popular, but they can be quite expensive, especially once you get into colored bulbs. If you're looking for a less expensive alternative or just something other than what's popular, then check out these other awesome options.
GE Link Starter Kit
This starter kit from GE features two A19 LED bulbs and a link hub, allowing you to control all GE bulbs through the Wink mobile app. Although these bulbs only come in a soft white, they're great for general use around your home, while still having complete control over scheduling. The GE Link starter kit is also compatible with Amazon Echo, but requires the Wink hub.
LIFX A21 Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
The LIFX Wi-Fi bulb provides 16 million colors and 1,000 shades of white, connecting over your Wi-Fi network without the need for a hub. Simply download the LIFX app and gain control of lighting effects and custom schedules to suit your needs. Each A21 bulb only consumes 17 watts of energy and has a lumen count of 1017. LIFX bulbs even work with Nest Protect and Thermostat, flashing the lights when smoke is detected, or switching the lights on and off automatically to make it appear as if someone is home while you're away on vacation. You can order the LIFX bulb with a pearl white base or in gun metal gray, starting at $60.
Lucero A19 Smart Bulb
This colorful LED Bluetooth bulb from Lucero can be customized through the Lucero Smart Bulb app, where you can sync with your music and even control up to 50 bulbs in various groups (up to five). With over 16 million colors, there are plenty of options to suit your mood while managing to stay energy efficient at only 7.5 watts. These affordable smart bulbs are available for just $30 each.
Cree BA19 LED Bulb
The daylight (5000K) dimmable Cree LED bulb is compatible with multiple platforms, including Amazon Echo, Wink, WeMo, and more. After setting up with a compatible hub, you can schedule your Cree bulbs to turn on and off at any specific time, adjust brightness, or even customize them to work while you're away from home as an extra security measure. Each Cree bulb is only 11.5 watts and is available for about $15 each — not bad for its 22-year lifespan.
Z-Wave isn't a bulb, but a technology that allows many switches to be used to wirelessly control normal, everyday lightbulbs. With any Z-Wave switch, you can control not-smart bulbs via a great smart home hub — no need to pay through the nose for smart bulbs that last decades (though they are a pretty solid investment).
The light of your life
Which smart lights do you use? Sound off in the comments below!
This article was originally published on February 27, 2016. It was recently updated in November, 2016 with the following changes: Changed Cree soft white to the daylight bulb, removed the Misfit option due to poor reviews, and added Z-Wave.