September 2022

Smart Light Bulbs: Meta Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Smart Light Bulb rankings posted by key online experts, as of September 2022.

Summary

As of 11 Sep 2022, Philips Hue Starter Kit takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed smart light bulb with 9 expert endorsements. 6 experts out of 9 recommended it as the '#1 smart light bulb' this month. It is followed by Wyze Smart A19 and Wyze Bulb Color , with 6 and 3 expert endorsements respectively.

At a glance - September 2022 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Smart Light Bulb
Tom's Guide
Wirecutter
TechHive
WIRED
Forbes
T3
Digital Trends
IGN
TechRadar
PCMag
1
- $45
Philips Hue Starter Kit
1
4
1
4
1
-
1
1
1
10
2
- $40
Wyze Smart A19
2
-
-
5
3
-
4
6
-
5
3
- $45
Wyze Bulb Color
-
1
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
4
- $170
Nanoleaf Shapes
10
-
6
10
-
-
-
-
3
-
5
- $9
C by GE Full Color Direct Connect
-
-
-
1
-
-
-
4
-
-
6
- Check price
Philips Dimmable A19 Wiz
-
2
-
7
-
-
-
-
-
6
7
- Check price
Nanoleaf Essentials
-
-
-
-
-
3
-
9
4
-
8
- $15
TP-Link Kasa Filament
7
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5
8
9
- $300
Nanoleaf Light Panels
-
-
-
-
-
6
10
7
-
-
10
- $10
Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED
3
-
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
11
- Check price
Lifx Mini Color
-
-
-
-
2
-
5
-
-
-
12
- $60
Lifx Nightvision A19
-
-
-
-
5
-
-
-
2
-
13
- Check price
Ikea Tradfri E26
-
-
-
3
-
4
-
-
-
-
15
- $13
Kasa Smart KL130
-
-
-
-
6
5
-
-
-
-
16
- $95
Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus
8
-
4
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
17
- $90
Ring Solar Pathlight
5
-
9
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
18
- $17
Lifx Mini
6
-
-
-
-
-
8
-
-
-
19
- $319
Philips Hue Lily
-
-
7
-
7
-
-
-
-
-
20
- $56
Hive Active Light Colour
-
-
-
-
-
7
-
-
7
-

We ranked Philips Hue Starter Kit #1 in September 2022 because:

  • 9 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
  • Out of those, 6 experts ranked Philips Hue Starter Kit as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best smart light bulb starter kit

Pros
Easy setup with intuitive app
Extensive third-party integrations
Stunning color effects

Cons
Expensive
Requires bridge

Go to ranking

Wirecutter

The best smart lighting ecosystem

Go to ranking

TechHive

Best color LED smart bulb / Editor's Choice

Pros
Bluetooth support eliminates the need for the Hue Bridge
Excellent light quality and smooth dimming
Hue ecosystem is unrivaled in terms of size and depth
Supports Apple HomeKit ecosystem

Cons
Philips Hue products are much more expensive than the competition
Relying on Bluetooth limits you to 10 Hue devices
You need the Hue Hub to assign Hue devices to rooms

Go to ranking

WIRED

An Upgrade Kit

Go to ranking

Forbes

Best Smart Light Bulb Overall

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best smart bulb kit

Go to ranking

IGN

Best Smart Bulb

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The best smart light bulb you can buy

Pros
Easy to set up
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit
Wide array of different smart lights

Cons
Hub needed to access all features
Expensive compared to incadescent bulbs

Go to ranking

PCMag

Hue Lighting Without a Hub

Pros
Works without a hub.
Easy to install.
Vibrant colors.
Supports Alexa and Google voice commands.
Can be added to Hue ecosystem.

Cons
Expensive.
Requires Hue Bridge for remote access and to use other Hue features.

Go to ranking

We ranked Wyze Smart A19 #2 in September 2022 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best cheap smart light bulb

Pros
Inexpensive
Tunable white
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant

Cons
Doesn't work with HomeKit
No color option

Go to ranking

WIRED

A Great Budget Bulb

Go to ranking

Forbes

Best Budget Smart Bulb

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best budget bulb

Go to ranking

IGN

For the absolute basics

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best Affordable White Bulb

Pros
Very affordable.
Works with other Wyze and third-party smart devices.
Alexa and Google voice support.
No hub needed.
Easy to install.

Cons
Doesn't support Apple HomeKit.

Go to ranking

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Smart Light Bulbs.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Smart Light Bulbs, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for September 2022 ranking

We ranked Wyze Bulb Color #3 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Wyze Bulb Color as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Wirecutter

The best smart light bulb

Go to ranking

TechHive

Best color smart bulb, runner-up

Pros
Very inexpensive
Connects via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth–no hub or bridge required
Surprisingly bright considering the price

Cons
Can't be grouped with the tunable white Wyze Bulb
Only available as a 2- or 4-pack
No competition for Philips Hue in terms of lighting ecosystem

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best Affordable Color Bulb / Editors' Choice

Pros
Affordable
Bright and dimmable
Hub-free app control
Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT
Can be set up individually or as a group
Supports automations, custom scenes, schedules, and sleep routines

Cons
Not sold individually
No dynamic lighting effects

Go to ranking

We ranked Nanoleaf Shapes #4 in September 2022 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

These smart light wall panels are party-worthy

Pros
Customizable touch commands
Simple setup
Striking color effects
Unlimited designs and scenes

Cons
Expensive

Go to ranking

TechHive

Most innovative lighting design

Pros
Beautiful and interactive lighting scenes
Touch actions let you control other smart devices
Alexa, Google Assistant, Thread, and HomeKit compatible
Surprisingly easy to install

Cons
Panels can be difficult to remove from a wall (but don’t appear to cause any damage)
Chunky AC adapter
Expensive

Go to ranking

WIRED

Best Ambient Lighting Kit

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The best smart light to match your mood and music

Pros
Easy to set up
Illuminated wall art rather than bulbs
Can change color and pulse to create fun effects

Cons
Difficult to remove once mounted
Don't look attractive when not illuminated

Go to ranking

We ranked C by GE Full Color Direct Connect #5 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked C by GE Full Color Direct Connect as #1.
Critic endorsements:
WIRED

Best Smart Bulb

Go to ranking

IGN

The best without a hub

Go to ranking

We ranked Philips Dimmable A19 Wiz #6 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Wirecutter

A bulb with added effects

Go to ranking

WIRED

Let’s Talk About Philips

Go to ranking

PCMag

Affordable Alternative to Philips Hue

Pros
Affordable
No hub required
Connects via Wi-Fi for remote app control
Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Siri shortcuts
Supports light Rhythms, Scenes, and Schedules

Cons
Finicky Wi-Fi setup and app control in testing
No HomeKit support

Go to ranking

We ranked Nanoleaf Essentials #7 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

Essentially some great little cheap bulbs and light strips

Pros
Good price
Thread compatibility
Excellent app

Cons
Not a big range of options

Go to ranking

IGN

Best Smart Bulb for HomeKit

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The best affordable smart light bulbs

Pros
Affordable
Thread and Bluetooth connectivity
Circadian Lighting feature mimics natural light

Cons
Lacks Alexa integration
Unusual design

Go to ranking

We ranked Nanoleaf Light Panels #9 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

A smart lighting system with a difference

Pros
Will definitely impress the guests
All kinds of permutations possible

Cons
Expensive to go large

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best ‘cool for the sake of being cool’ bulb

Go to ranking

IGN

Best for decorating your home

Go to ranking

We ranked Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED #10 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

Affordable Wi-Fi smart bulb

Pros
Super easy setup
No hub required
App tracks energy consumption

Cons
Missing more advanced automation features

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best starter bulb

Go to ranking

We ranked Lifx Mini Color #11 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Forbes

Best Light Bulbs That Change Color

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best color-changing smart bulb

Go to ranking

We ranked Lifx Nightvision A19 #12 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Forbes

Best Smart Bulb for Security

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The best smart light bulb without a hub

Pros
No hub required
Wide array of colors and styles
Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit

Cons
Bulky, unusual looking bulbs
Expensive compared to incandescent bulbs

Go to ranking

We ranked Ikea Tradfri E26 #13 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
WIRED

Best Smart Bulb Kit

Go to ranking

T3

Smart lights with your furniture, and one of the best smart bulb ranges going

Pros
Simple to use
A choice of fittings
Very affordable

Cons
More limited ecosystem

Go to ranking

We ranked Kasa Smart KL130 #14 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Forbes

Best Smart Bulb for Alexa

Go to ranking

T3

Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT smart bulbs for an attractive price

Pros
Simple to operate
Don't cost too much
Works with Google/Alexa

Cons
No Apple HomeKit support
Not a big range of options

Go to ranking

We ranked Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus #15 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best smart lightstrips

Pros
Trimmable
Flexible
Accommodates 40 inches of extensions

Cons
Requires bridge
Pricey

Go to ranking

TechHive

Best LED light strip

Pros
Bright and colorful
Supports both Bluetooth and Zigbee
Apple HomeKit compatible (with the Hue Bridge)
Robust scheduling and automation features

Cons
Much more expensive than competing products
Power cable saddled with a chunky wall wart
Lights can't be animated without a third-party app

Go to ranking

We ranked Ring Solar Pathlight #16 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best smart light for getting you to your door

Pros
Nice design
Built-in motion sensors
Lots of app settings
Can be linked to other Ring products

Cons
Pricey

Go to ranking

TechHive

Best outdoor pathway light, runner-up

Pros
Battery powered with integrated solar panel
Built-in motion sensor
Can be integrated into the robust Ring home security ecosystem
Once you have the bridge, add-on lights cost only $35

Cons
Fabricated entirely from plastic
Much more expensive than dumb pathlights
Requires Ring Smart Lighting Bridge, which connects only to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks

Go to ranking

We ranked Lifx Mini #17 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

Best smart light bulb for smaller fixtures

Pros
Bright
Advanced automation options
No hub needed

Cons
Expensive

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best mini smart bulb

Go to ranking

We ranked Philips Hue Lily #18 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechHive

Best outdoor spotlight

Pros
Robust aluminum housing, glass lenses, and IP65 weatherization to withstand the elements
Full color light, with up to 600 lumens of brightness
Can be scheduled, controlled by Alexa or Google Assistant, and triggered by a Philips Hue Outdoor Sensor
Low-voltage cables can be buried

Cons
Requires Philips Hue Bridge
Range is impacted by having the the Hue Bridge inside your home, hardwired to your router
Expensive, and each add-on spotlight costs another $100

Go to ranking

Forbes

Best Outdoor Smart Bulbs

Go to ranking

We ranked Hive Active Light Colour #19 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smart Light Bulbs” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

The best smart bulbs for your Hive smart home system

Pros
Different bulb types available
Simple to set up and operate
Works with a range of other kit

Cons
Hub required

Go to ranking

TechRadar

(UK only) The best smart light for a single ecosystem

Pros
Easy-to-use app
Works with an ecosystem of other smart home gadgets
Also works with Philips Hue bulbs

Cons
Needs Hive hub
Lacks lamps and ceiling light choices

Go to ranking