What smart home light(s) do you have in your home?

  • Philips Hue White
  • Philips Hue Color
  • Cree Connected
  • GE Link
  • LIFX White
  • LIFX Color
  • TP-Link
  • Belkin Wemo
  • Osram Lightify
  • Flux
  • Other

0 voters

Hey all,

I’m looking into getting some connected lighting for my home (having none right now) and was wondering what bulbs/systems you use in your home. I’ve done some research but am admittedly not an expert in the connected home space. What do you have? Why did you get that specific light? Have you been happy with your experience? Are there things I should keep in mind about the different systems? I know a lot of folks in the Sense community are very knowledgeable and passionate about these kinds of connected devices and would love your advice!

Check out http://www.soraahome.com/products/soraa-sky

What are you hoping to get out of it? That’ll have a say in what’s likely the best product.

What he said ^^

If you expect to expand beyond a couple bulbs, you’re better off buying a hub or investing effort into something like Home Assistant and a raspberry pi or similar, and then deciding on a bulb. If you think you’ll ever want to do anything beyond just lighting (fans, security, irrigation, etc.), skip Hue entirely - and, in my opinion, anything using the zigbee protocol like GE Link or Osram (which overlaps with WiFi and has issues in WiFi dense areas).

In my opinion, any hub running zwave protocols is a safe bet, and bulbs like Linear zwave (I believe GE will have a zwave bulb soon, too) are the way to go. More often than not, smart switches make more sense than smart bulbs, in which case GE, Linear, and Homeseer all make quality zwave switches for lights and fans.

Feel free to pick my brain sometime, every light and fan in my house is automated on zwave via SmartThings. It’s added quite a bit of depth to our home and solves a lot of problems.


I have Philips Hue Hub along with 2 color lights 1 led strip and 1 regular bub. They have been pretty good although that setup tends to be somewhat expensive. What I like about the color bulbs is the scenes that you can create with them. The stairway is where I have the LED strip and I also have 2 of the can lights for the living room. It is amazing with the apps out there all the things you can control with them.

The other lights I have are the GE Link and they have been surprisingly awesome for me! I have used these on the front porch, back porch and in the kitchen. They do not need a hub as long as I am using them with my Smartthings hub. They actually have been flawless and I have not had an issue with them inside or outside. They are a basic light but they have really outperformed all of my expectations of what they would do.

I use GE Z-Wave Smart Switches.

I have a Hue hub for bulbs (both white and color) and a SmartThings hub for switches. I use a Google Home for the interface.

Thanks for all the great advice!

@dornback, those look really neat. Is that what you use?

I guess I expect my goals to change as I explore what I can do with them. I’d definitely love to be able to shut lights off remotely and being able to change the warmth/intensity of the light depending on the time of day is appealing as well.

@NJHaley, that’s really good to know about Zigbee. I live in a fairly dense city, so I could imagine running into issues then. And thanks for the offer. I’m sure I’ll have more questions!

I honestly didn’t think too much about the switches but they seem like a great option too. So what’s the benefit of connected switches vs bulbs and vice-versa? Outside of color functionality of some bulbs, is it mostly that the bulbs are simpler to install and can be used in lamps etc.?

Here’s how this all goes down:

  1. You buy a couple smart bulbs and put them in some lamps you want to automate. Your wife or SO turns the lamp off at the switch, your smart bulb doesn’t work anymore since it doesn’t have power. You ask her not to use the switch, and use the app instead. Pandemonium ensues.

  2. You buy a voice controller (e.g. Alexa or Google Home), so you and your wife or SO don’t have to use the app at all and you can control the bulbs by voice, and you quickly realize you want to turn everything on by voice.

  3. You buy some smart switches to replace a lot of the switches in your house, and start to look for new ways to control those bulbs, so that your wife/SO/aging parents can use a switch if they want, or they can use voice.

  4. You then decide you hate using a remote to change your TV, so you buy a Harmony - which you can also control using the voice controller.

  5. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a smart thermostat, which kept a schedule and you could ask to turn up or down from bed at night? You start looking into Ecobee or Nest.

It’s a slippery slope, @BenAtSense, be careful on that first step. Hue is just one little Lego in the stack, and sometimes it doesn’t play so well with the others. If you intend to have just one Lego, that’s fine, but if you start to see yourself going through steps 2+, go with something with a lot more integration potential like Wink or SmartThings or Home Assistant to oversee automations, and Alexa or Google to run voice…


Very accurate description. A slippery slope indeed.

@BenAtSense maybe you can ask who uses smartthings/Vera/home assistant. I feel like the data coming from smarthubs could be more useful to sense than the type of lights. A hook into a smarthubs could give a huge boost to the machine learning.

I’ve been slowly adding various home automation gear over the years, but lately I’ve been getting more serious about integrating everything in one place and not having to deal with multiple apps.

I keep thinking about getting an Echo, but I’m a little leary on giving Amazon the keys to my house. Apple is so far the only player that has demonstrated a willingness to protect privacy, and with their tight requirements on HomeKit devices, one of the few players that takes IoT security seriously as well. So as you may have guessed I’ve been going the HomeKit route which admittedly has limited the smart devices I can readily use. To get around this I’ve installed HomeBridge on an old Mac Mini - although I’m thinking of installing it on a Raspberry Pi instead. This allows me to use all of my LIFX bulbs and Nest with Siri which I couldn’t do before.

So long story short, I love my LIFX bulbs… they put out a lot of lumens, the colors are rich, super energy efficient, and I can now control them with Siri or some Logitech Pop switches I have scattered around.

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Hmm yea. I can see how one can go from a couple of connected devices to a whole slew. Sounds like you’re speaking from experience there, Nick. :slight_smile:

This has given me a lot to think about. It’s really too bad that in a lot of cases, it seems like you need to have an idea of what kind of overall setup you want before you start experimenting.

Switches vs receptacles vs bulbs

A wall switch will gives the most consistent control.
A receptacle will not be able to switch on a table lamp if the lamp itself is off.
A bulb will not be able to switch on if the receptacle or wall switch is off.
Also for Z-Wave I suspect that bulbs may not be routing nodes, but switches and receptacles certainly are (which aid in a stronger mash network).

Worst thing is there are so many standards to choose from:
Z-Wave, Zigbee, WiFi with no real standard, Thread is on the way, and a bunch more.

On this subject – a possible improvement for Sense is to support monitoring of networks like Z-Wave to snoop on the on/off commands.


Unless you’re using a virtual zwave switch and zwave bulbs. We have this set up in a couple of places, works great.

Start with some WiFi switches +/- bulbs, spread them around and see how you like them. I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be enough, and sold my switches and bulbs on eBay and moved on. Just automating exterior lights required 5 separate switches, but boy is it worth it. All our neighbors lights are on all night, ours are on at dusk and dawn and we’ve got them set to come on whenever we enter our home geofence (cell phone based perimeter) after hours. Add a few motion sensors, and now you’ve got some burglar protection.

We’ve got a Rachio irrigation system, as well - never have to go out there and mess with the old digital system. Our neighbors systems run every day and flood the streets. Ours comes on based on the amount of water our yard needs. All this smarthome stuff is really handy…

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I love our Rachio! It’s certainly paid for itself in water savings since we installed it a few years ago.

On a related note, a few years before we installed the Rachio we installed a “deduct meter”. We are in Deerfield, IL and we are charged for sewer via our water bill. The theory is that generally any water that comes into the house goes out by the sewer. However, that is not true of the water that goes on the lawn. So our village allows a second water meter that tracks what the sprinkler system uses and the village only charges for the water component on that meter, not the sewer component. Again, the cost of the meter and installation paid for itself in a matter of one or two years.

Sadly, ours hasn’t really paid for itself, except in terms of convenience. Surprisingly, water is incredibly cheap here in Phoenix - which is mind boggling considering how little we have and how much is wasted. While it certainly has saved us water, that’s amounted to not more than a few dollars over the past year. Of course, nothing makes sense with our utility regulators, who routinely take bribes from the utility companies to sway policy.

Surprising especially since you’re in the desert. Here in the Chicago area our water is relatively cheap but the excuse is that we’re next to the largest body of fresh water in the world - the Great Lakes. That said, the City of Chicago, where for decades water was FREE for many entities and incredibly cheap for the rest, a few years ago realized that water was a great revenue source and has jacked up rates about 17% per year for a number of years running. Suddenly people are aware of their water consumption and conservation efforts are taking hold. Who would have predicted it?

NJHaley…Funny…and true