Best Smart Light 2021: Our Top Picks For November

Finding the best smart light solution for your home can be a little tricky with all the fantastic options out there, not to mention the relative mystery of how they work, so that's why we're on hand to help you with your search.

Smart lighting is one of the quickest ways to transform the look of a space, and more often than not provides practically limitless opportunities for customisation.

On top of that, many are easily controlled via smartphones, so you can change the atmosphere of a room with ease - perfect for switching between a working and gaming setup for instance.

From a handy all-round set like the Philips Hue Color Ambience to some rather clever panels with the Nanoleaf Light Panels, we've got you covered right here with some of our top picks based on specs, reviews, and what type of usage we think they'd be great for.

Let's get to it!

Best Smart Light

Best Smart Light - Philips Hue Color Ambience

best smart light, product image of a blue smart bulb, a pink smart bulb and a yellow smart bulb with hub
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Image Credit: Philips

Manufacturer: Philips | Brightness: 806 lumens | Wattage: 10 watts | Light Source: LED | Colours: 16million+

In the smart light world, the Philips Hue system looks to be one of the best options available.

Whilst there are traditional white bulbs available, the Color Ambience options allow for over 16 million different colours to shine bright, and with a total brightness of 806 lumens, you've got everything you need here.

What's more, these bulbs are incredibly easy to install too. Just screw them in and connect to the free Philips Hue Bluetooth app and you're ready to go.

A great option for most people out there looking to add an extra dimension to their home. If you don't want bulbs but want something less obtrusive, then Philips also do some cracking light strips that are part of the Hue system.

Best Budget Smart Light - Nanoleaf Essentials

best smart light, product image of an orange smart bulb
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Image Credit: Nanoleaf

Manufacturer: Nanoleaf | Brightness: 1100 lumens | Wattage: 9 watts | Light Source: LED | Colours: 16million+

If you're on a budget but still want to get the experience of smart lighting, then the Nanoleaf Essentials might just be the bulbs for you.

Standout qualities here include an impressive 1100 lumens of max brightness, and a Circadian lighting feature, which mimics the time of day. This can come in especially handy when you're trying to wind down (or in many cases wake up!).

Smart home connectivity is taken care of with both Apple Homekit and Google Assistant supported, as well as Bluetooth, too.

There's also support for Thread, another system that's said to be more stable than Wifi and should prevent any laggy dropouts.

Best Smart Light For Hive - Hive Active Lights

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Image Credit: Hive

Manufacturer: Hive | Brightness: 806 lumens | Wattage: 9 watts | Light Source: LED | Colours: 16million+ (With Colour Changing Bulbs)

Speaking of smart assistants and system integration, the Hive Active Lights are a handy companion if you're already invested within their ecosystem.

As they've already released plenty of home kits, including some notable heating and smart thermostat options, having lights to go with them will just keep things simple through seamless operation.

The Hive Active Lights are also a good choice if don't necessarily want the RGB offerings of other manufacturers and opt for a warm or bright white.

There are colour changing options available though but do come at a premium in comparison to the more standard bulbs.

Connectivity for these looks to be standard through a hub that connects to the back of your router, but with newer Amazon Alexa devices, their integrated smart hub should work with these bulbs.

Best Smart Light For Assistants - TP-Link Kasa

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Image Credit: TP Link

Manufacturer: TP Link | Brightness: 850 lumens | Wattage: 8.8 watts | Light Source: LED | Colours: 16million+

TP-Link are known for creating some rather convenient kit, including some brilliant WiFi extenders and these TP-Link Kasas look to be a great choice for those wanting maximum compatibility with assistants.

They can work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as being IFTTT compatible, which means they're pretty versatile.

The Kasas are dimmable and within the associated Kasa app, you can monitor power consumption in order to monitor your usage.

Best Smart Light Panels - Nanoleaf Light Panels

best smart light, product image of blue, orange and red light panels
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Image Credit: Nanoleaf

Manufacturer: Nanoleaf | Brightness: 900 lumens | Wattage: 2 watts | Light Source: LED | Colours: 16million+

Maybe bulbs aren't your thing, and you're looking for something a little more unique looking? The Nanoleaf Light Panels could be right up your alley.

These operate as tessellated light-up panels that can create a wall of coloured light, dependent upon how many panels you use. The starter kit comes with nine, but you can add more of course.

You can set them up to run on a schedule, changing colour throughout the day or tie them to an alarm, but the Nanoleaf Light Panels' party trick comes in that they can pulse along to music, as some of the best gaming keyboards do.

Compatibility isn't an issue either, as the panels work with Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa alike, so you can hook these up to all manner of other smart home fixings.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Smart Light

How do smart light bulbs work?

Smart light bulbs work in a similar way to other devices within a system through a wireless connection to your smartphone - some may connect over Bluetooth and usually work via a bundled app.

Otherwise, options such as the Philips Hue systems can connect to a hub that plugs into the back of your router and works over WiFi.

Some will come smart-assistant enabled such as the TP-Link Kasa set which can work with Amazon Alexa, amongst others. This means your lights can be voice-controlled, too.

Can smart light bulbs be used in any fixture?

As is the case with traditional light bulbs, in order for them to work with whichever lamp or light you want to brighten up, the fixing will have to match.

It's for this reason that smart light bulbs are offered with different screws that correspond to the original bulb fitting.

Should I use smart bulbs or smart switches?

Smart switches can be a handy alternative to smart bulbs if you don't want to swap out an old table lamp or floor standing light and instead make it smart by allowing you to schedule when it comes on, in a similar way to bulbs.

However, with smart bulbs, these offer similar functionality but will require bulbs to be swapped out in order for that fitting to be made smart, as it were.

We'd say a blend of the two is preferable, thanks to the different use cases they both cater for, and how they can be used in tandem with one another.

READ MORE: Best Light Strips 2021: The Best LED Lighting Available Now

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