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Lighting was one of the first categories to step onto the smart home market scene. It’s one of the broadest areas available, and one of the most common areas smart home users tend to focus. Since they first hit the market, smart light bulbs have come a long way. Now, you can turn on and off your lights at the sound of your voice or the tap of a button.
There are several smart home lighting starter kits available to help you if you’re new to smart lighting. You can install new bulbs, create unique lighting themes, and control them via voice commands, light switch, or through a mobile app. Let’s take a look at some of the best smart home lighting starter kids to get you started with your smart home lights.
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You can’t have a best smart home lighting list and not include Philips, even if it is a list for starter kits. There are a lot of things to like about what Philips has to offer in its smart lighting ecosystem. It’s clean and sophisticated. It’s simple and easy to use. It works with almost everything. It’s a great system for someone looking to get started with smart home lighting.
If you’re serious about getting started with connected lighting, then the Philips Hue White LED starter kit is a must-have. Philips is serious about their light bulbs. They keep them updated with the latest products and platforms and go out of their way to make sure their users know they produce high-quality products.
The white LEDs that you get with the Philips starter kit are good bulbs. Each one provides over 800 lumens when fully bright, which means they are reliable replacements for your 60W standard bulbs. They’re also efficient. They only draw 9.5 watts, which is fantastic for a connected LED.
You’ll discover that the bulbs also dim very easily. They have the ability to dim down to less than one percent brightness. Because the bulb is dimming as opposed to a light switch, you don’t have to worry about any flickering, which is really nice. Just make sure it’s not connected to a dimmer switch, as you may end up with a strobe effect.
So if you can’t dim the bulb with a dimmer switch, how are you supposed to control it? Fortunately, Philips has given you a few options, the first of which is the Philps Hue mobile application. With the app, you can control the lights, or a group of lights, right from your smartphone or tablet. The app works with both iOS and Android, so you don’t have to worry about your device being supported.
If you want to control the bulbs physically, you can use the Philips Hue wireless remote. This remote can be kept in a wall-mounted holder and has the ability to control up to ten bulbs at once.
Last, but definitely not least, is the third-party integration option. For instance, you can pair your bulbs with your Amazon Alexa device or your Google Home and use voice commands to dim the bulb. This is true for Siri as well, as Philips has updated its hardware to work with Apple’s HomeKit.
The bottom line is that the Philips Hue lighting starter kit is worth the money if you want a high-quality platform that works well. It’s a great entry point into smart lighting as it makes things easy to set up and simple to use. Choosing the Philips Hue smart lighting starter kit is a no-brainer for anyone considering smart lighting.
One of the most recent smart home lighting starter kits to come available is the Connected by TCP Wireless. This LED lighting kit provides you with three bulbs and its hub that serves as the brains of the operation. The kid also includes a remote control.
Setting up the system is easy. All you need to do is plug the hub into an outlet, put your light bulbs where you want them, and download the free mobile app. TCP’s app is available on both iOS and Android, and once you get it installed, you’ll have control over your lights.
There isn’t much to dislike about what TCP has to offer. You’ll get 800 lumens of natural light from each bulb, and TCP boasts that expected life expectancy is 25,000 hours.
The mobile app is user-friendly and easy to understand, even if you’re created schedules and lighting scenes. Its hub is small and unobtrusive, keeping in mind that you may not have a lot of room on your router shelf. Including a physical remote is a nice feature TCP has added.
TCP is a great option if you’re searching for a budget-friendly smart lighting system. This is a great ecosystem for those looking to get their feet wet in the smart lighting area, however, if you’re looking for something more advanced, then you may want to consider spending a little more money on a more powerful system.
TCP’s bulbs are on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to quality. These bulbs offer 800 lumens each, so you know you’re getting the equivalent to what you would see in a 60-watt bulb. The bulbs only draw 11 watts of power, which is pretty good compared with other smart lighting starter kits.
The bulbs are rated with a 25,000 lifespan, which is average for an LED bulb. That’s nothing to scoff at, particularly given that the bulbs are above average when it comes to brightness. If you used TCP’s bulbs for three hours a day, they would last over two decades before fading.
Something interesting about TCP’s bulbs is that they bounce. Where most smart light bulbs shatter on impact even from a 12-inch height, the TPC bulb can survive a fall from 36 inches. So if you’re prone to dropping light bulbs, you might consider giving TCP a shot.
TCP’s mobile app offers great design and a user interface that make sense when you use it. Of course, this might be due to the fact that TCP has been in the market for a while and has used that time to work out the kinks of its application.
On the main screen of the application, you can view all your active bulbs. The company says that its app will support up to 250 bulbs, but we’ll let you determine that for yourself. You’ll have the ability to group your bulbs into rooms if you want to control a whole area. You’ll still have the ability to control a single bulb, but this gives you the option to control an entire room if need be.
Through the app, you can also save specific lighting settings. For instance, you can have a theme that turns certain bulbs on or off at certain times of the day or have them dim to a specific level when you’re watching a movie. You can have your lights sync with sunrise and sunset as well or have your lamp slowly come on as the time for your alarm to go off approaches. You can also set a vacation mode on the app so that it looks like you’re at home even if you’re away.
The TCP smart lighting starter kit offers a smart and strong design, which carries into its features and capabilities. For instance, the TCP hub is unobtrusive and small, which means you can easily tuck it out of the way next to your router.
You’ll get a range of up to 150 feet with the included remote, which includes buttons for several different light settings. You are able to select which lights you want to control with the remote. At that point, you can turn each bulb off and on, or dim them as needed.
It is unfortunate that the TCP lighting kit isn’t compatible with external hubs and systems. At this point in the game, many other devices are joining together to support unified applications under one master hub. With TCP, it’s their devices and their hardware only.
Additionally, TCP may struggle to compete with other companies that offer smart lighting kits due to its lack of any unique features. For instance, if you want a smart lighting system that’s automated, you have several options that have the same abilities as what TCP has to offer.
There are, however, limitations. TCP does not have bulbs that change colors, and if you want your smart lighting to be part of a larger home automation system, you won’t be able to use TCP’s lights. A lot of the competition is simply offering to do what TCP is unable to deliver.
Just because it has a few flaws though, doesn’t mean it’s not a system worth having. It’s easy to set up, the gateway is space-conscious and attractive, and the bulbs are sturdy and reliable. This is a simple smart home lighting starter kit that stands on its own. It offers an intuitive app and high-quality hardware. If you’re looking to dip your toes in the smart lighting waters, then this could be the kit you’ve been looking for.
It’s no secret that Apple’s Homekit home automation system hasn’t been too high on Lutron’s list of things to do, however, that changed when Lutron released its new Caseta Wireless Lighting starter kit. The new Lutron Smart Bridge hub comes with Siri-enabled, along with remote, plug-in light dimmers, and an iOS app for your Apple devices.
This smart light starter kit is easy to use, responsive, and full-featured. For intance, you can use the plug-in controllers to dim your lights just by telling Siri to do so. The entire experience is simple and straightforward, and a definite boon for those wanting to use HomeKit for their smart home.
Lutron’s Smart Bridge works very well, and its HomeKit integration makes it an even more intriguing piece of hardware. The white plastic hub connects right to your router and gives you the ability to dim your bulbs, create schedules, and much more via the iOS and Android mobile application.
Once you connect the hub to your router, just follow the instructions provided by the app to pair any accessories. The kit comes with two remotes and two dimmers, so you make sure you follow the guide for those particular products.
Each module has its own built-in controls, so once you plug your lamp or other fixture into it you can dim or turn on and off your lights right from the app. Additionally, the remotes that come with the kit control the modules as well.
As for the app itself, there are plenty of features that make it a robust and comprehensive tool. You can create scenes and schedules and of course dim the lights and turn them on and off right from the app. This gives you the ability to control your lights no matter where you are. Whether you’re on vacation halfway around the world or just down the street at work, you can tell your lights to do what you want.
The geofencing feature is particularly nice, and it works like a charm. You can tell it to turn the lights off when you leave your home and to come back on upon your return. If you need to adjust the threshold, you can do so in the app. There’s also a feature that lets you tell the system to turn the lights on if it’s after sunset and you’re not home.
Overall, the plugs and remotes work very well. They are responsive, reliable, and easy to use. You can use them with a wide variety of dimmable bulbs and won’t have to worry about performance.
Lutron’s plug-in modules offer superior control capabilities and dimming responsiveness that you won’t find in other options currently available. The Siri integration and voice control puts the Smart Bridge ahead of many other smart lighting starter kits out there. If you’re an iOS user in search of a smart lighting solution, the Lutron Caseta starter kit is a solid option.
If you’re already using the switches and smart devices that WeMo has to offer, then you should give serious consideration to their smart lighting starter kit. The bulbs are fully IFTTT compatible and offer a robust suite of easy-to-use and well-designed controls. While they may be a little late to the party, it’s always better late than never.
You’re not going to get anything too outrageous from Belkin’s LEDs. They have a traditional bulb shape with a white base, which makes them less conspicuous than many other bulbs on the market.
You’ll get a Wemo Link and two light bulbs with the starter kit. The WeMo Link is the hub you’ll need to connect to control your lights. This hub is about the same size as your phone charger and sends and receives data, then sends it on to the bulbs. The beauty with the WeMo Link is that you don’t have to plug it into your router which might already be full with other devices. Instead, you can plug it in wherever you want.
Getting started with WeMo is simple and easy. Once you plug in the WeMo Link, it will flash orange and green. Use your smartphone to find the wifi network associated with the Link. After that’s done, install your bulbs, turn them on, then download and install the WeMo mobile application. It will automatically detect your bulbs.
The bulbs themselves put out 800 lumens and draw 9.5 watts, which is a little better than some of the other options available. You can dim and brighten the bulbs through the WeMo app, although if you try to use an installed dimmer switch you might experience a flickering or strobing effect. If you only use the app though, you’ll get a simple, smooth, flicker-free experience which lets you change the brightness from 0 to 100 percent.
The LEDs provided by WeMo are great bulbs. They are a good option when it comes to automatable bulbs. WeMo’s LEDs offer a variety of subtle features which you can access through the WeMo app.
These features include scheduling capabilities and remote control functionality. So if you want your lights to come on at a certain time each morning, or if you want them to mimic the sunrise, just use the WeMo app to make that happen. On the flip side, you can have your lights fade each evening as the sun goes down, or when you’re ready to call it a night.
In addition to creating a schedule, WeMo supports IFTTT (If This Then That). With WeMo’s IFTTT channel, you have a long list of web services at your fingertips. As a result, you can trigger your lighting using geolocation, Foursquare check-ins, or Facebook posts if that’s your thing.
Like with many other smart lighting starter kits, the WeMo app makes setup a breeze. There are startup guides that walk you through the entire process, so you should be up and running in a matter of minutes.
The WeMo app feels clean and polished. Its features are easy to locate, easy to use, and the interface makes it simple to view the status of your devices at a glance. This is true no matter where you are, whether at home, at the office, or on vacation.
Unlike other smart lighting starter kits, WeMo does not include a remote control in its package. WeMo also does not offer a web interface to control your devices and lights, which is unfortunate since many of its competitors do. WeMo does support many third-party options, however just be sure to check for compatibility before purchasing anything.
It took a while, but WeMo finally added smart bulbs to its ecosystem. As far as smart bulbs are concerned, they are a solid option. If you’re already a WeMo user, then you’ll be happy that the company finally decided to upgrade their smart home ecosystem. If you’re not, you should give it a look as it could give you the push you need to get into smart home lighting.
Noon’s smart home lighting system isn’t as well-known as some of the others on this list, but you’ll get a quality experience nonetheless. Noon wants to take your existing bulbs and fixtures and create a layered light experience. Their goal is to brighten or dim each light in the room to establish a certain ambiance.
Noon wants to coordinate three types of lighting: accent, task, and ambient. Accent lighting is the decorative lighting your home like lamps that don’t have specific tasks. Task lighting is under-cabinet lighting or lamps that are used in a certain work area, and ambient lighting are things like overhead lights which give off the majority of the light in a room.
With Noon’s system, you can use either non-dimmable or dimmable bulbs. You can also use LEDs, CFLs, ELVs, incandescent, and fluorescent bulbs. You’ll have a room director switch which is used to cotnrol all the switches in your home. This device has an OLED touchscreen and detects movement when someone walks by. You can swipe up or down on your room director to change scenes throughout your home.
Individual light fixtures are controlled by extension switches, which are supposed to replace all your current switches. Noon’s switches talk via wifi to the room director to coordinate each individual light. These switches can be used as either single or multi-way switches in your home, and Noon can support four switches on each circuit.
Unfortunately, Noon does have its drawbacks. It won’t work with switch-controlled outlets, fans, or any other non-lighting product. Of course that may not be a huge concern, however, you may have a few rooms in your home that use lights with a ceiling fan as its primary source for light. Noon isn’t compatible with these types of fixtures.
Before you get too far into deciding whether or not you want a Noon Smart Home lighting starter kit, you will need to do some research. For instance, does the wiring in your home support ground and neutral wires, which you’ll need. If you have an older house, this might rule out the Noon system unless you want to spend the money to update your wiring.
Additionally, installing Noon requires some electrical work, so if you aren’t comfortable with that, you may want to reach out to a professional. The Noon Smart lighting system does partner with InstallerNet, so if you aren’t sure who to reach out to, contact them to get you going.
Noon does offer a mobile application that you can find in both the iOS and Android marketplaces. Using the app you can pair the room director with your lights. You can also use it to create scenes and set up your rooms. A fun feature that Noon offers is that when you’re pairing and naming bulbs in the app, they pulse so you can be sure you’re referring to the appropriate one.
Once you have your bulbs set up and rooms named, the Noon smart lighting system automatically establishes your light scenes. You will notice Relax, Bright, and Everyday scenes, or you also have the option to create your own.
The Noon smart lighting system works well with Amazon Alexa, which can turn on the scenes in each room with little lag. It does not, unfortunately, work with either Siri or Google. Hopefully, that integration comes soon.
You’ll also get features like Vacation Mode and Night Light through the mobile app. Vacation Mode is handy in that it learns your behaviors on a daily basis so that when you’re out of town it still behaves as though you’re at home.
Night Light uses motion detection during certain times (usually at night) and enables a low-level light. When you pass by the sensor, the lights come on and glow bright enough to allow you to see if there are any dangerous stray Legos in your path.
The Noon system works well overall, and its integration with Alexa is nice to have, however it falls a little short by not supporting Google or Siri at this point. Unfortunately, the system isn’t cheap, and if you need additional switches or room directors, you’re going to pay quite a bit for them. Ideal use with the Noon smart home lighting system will be with an open floor plan where you’d only need one room director.
The Noon smart lighting kit still feels like a luxury when compared with other options that aren’t as costly and integrate with easily with SmartThings and Nest. Sure, you’ll get a custom lighting design, something that most other systems don’t aim to do, but the cost and installation make it difficult to justify.
There is a wide and varied amount of options when you’re considering a smart home lighting starter kit. You can choose to go with just some wifi light bulbs, select a whole lighting ecosystem, or perform a complete lighting overhaul. While making your decision, keep in mind that you may need a system that works well with a smart assistant like Siri, Alexa, or Google.
If you want a recommendation, Philips is still the best option on the market. It’s an incredible system that provides integration with Alexa, Siri, and Google and other third-party devices. The other options on this list are good, and you’ll be fine if you choose any of them, however, the Philips Hue smart home lighting starter kit is the most well-known for a reason.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!