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Best smart lighting: From the top brands available in the UK

Written by  Jun 17, 2018

Having a smarthome isn't just about clever appliances or smartphone-controlled appliances, you can also get smart lights too and that doesn't just mean smartphone control, it means all sorts of great features.

You switch lights on or off everyday and they can play an essential part in creating an ambience in a room. Some smart lighting solutions enable you to recreate the colours within a particular image, while other solutions just mean you don't need to get up off the sofa to turn the lights off.

Here are some of the most popular smart lighting options to consider.

Philips Hue smart bulbs 

Philips Hue


Buy now from Amazon.co.uk 


  • Features: Smartphone control, away-from-home control, scheduling, comfort dimming, ambience creation, wake-up, wellbeing, paint with light, sync wth music, sync with movies, compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
  • Bulb types available: E14 (white ambience), E27 (white), E27, B22, GU10 (all colour), LED strips, Hue Beyond, Hue Go, Hue Bloom, Hue Iris, Hue Phoenix
  • Requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Philips Hue bridge, Philips Hue app
  • Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Price: Around £150 for the starter pack (three bulbs and a bridge), £49.95 per lightbulb thereafter

Philips Hue is probably the most well known when it comes to smart lighting and for good reason with numerous features and various bulbs, lamps and other lights, such as strips, available. The wireless system allows you to use your smartphone to not only switch the LED bulbs on and off, but pick the colour and brightness you want, as well as recreate colours within a specific image, like a sunset you uploaded to Instagram or a painting on your wall.

 

You can program specific times, for example waking everyone in the house up at 7am every day with bright lights and the Hue system also has a party mode for flashing in time with your music. Philips Hue is compatible with the IFTTT service, as well as Apple's HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, meaning you can create recipes to take your smart lighting to a different level or control them with your voice.

Read the full review: Philips Hue review

Hive-Active-Light

Hive Active Light


Buy now from Amazon.co.uk


  • Features: Smartphone control, away-from-home control, scheduling, comfort dimming, ambience creation, Hive Actions, compatible with Amazon Alexa
  • Bulb types available: E27 and B22, all available inActive Light Dimmable, Active Light Cool to Warm White and Active Light Colour Changing
  • Requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Hive hub, Hive app
  • Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Price: Around £99 for the starter pack (two bulbs and a Hive hub), between £19 and £40 per lightbulb thereafter

Hive, perhaps best known for its smart heating system, offers three bulbs in its smart lighting range. The Hive range isn't as feature rich as the likes of Philips Hue but you'll still be able to control your lights from your smartphone whether home or away, schedule them and change the colour to create your perfect ambience, assuming you buy the Colour Changing bulb.

There aren't any strips or lamps available with Hive, like there are with Philips Hue, and Hive has yet to release a GU10 or E14 candle bulb, but the three bulb options they do offer come in both E27 screw and B22 bayonet fixings. The Hive Active lights are also compatible with Amazon Alexa so if you have an Echo or Echo Dot, you can control your lights with your voice too.

osram-lightify-product-photos-1

Osram Lightify


Buy from Amazon.co.uk


  • Features: Smartphone control, away-from-home control, scheduling, comfort dimming, ambience creation, wake-up, scenes, compatible with Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Wink and Works with Nest
  • Bulb types available: E27, B22 and GU10 (all colour changing), E14 (dimmable white), LED strips, garden spots
  • Requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Lightify Gateway, Lightify app
  • Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Price: Between £30 to £80 for bulbs and strips, £30 for Lightify gateway

Osram's Lightify is probably the closest to Philips Hue in terms of bulb type availability. Its wireless system offers not only standard screw and bayonet bulbs, but GU10s, LED strips and garden spotlights too, all of which can be controlled through the Lightify smartphone app.

There aren't quite as many features as there are with Philips Hue, but you'll still get remote access to your lights, scheduling functionality, ambience creation and scene creation. You won't be able to sync your lights to your music or a film as yet and Apple HomeKit compatibility isn't currently available for those invested in that system, but the Osram Lightify system is cheaper than Hue and there is a good range of bulbs.

Elgato Avea

Elgato Avea


Buy now from Amazon.co.uk


  • Features: Smartphone control, away-from-home control, scenes, wake-up, ambience creation, compatible with Apple HomeKit
  • Bulb types available: E27 (coloured), Avea Sphere, Avea Flare
  • Requirements: Bluetooth Smart, Elgato Avea app
  • Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Price: Between £35 and £105, depending on Avea product

Elgato Avea pairs via Bluetooth Smart to your iOS or Android device, meaning it doesn't require an additional hub connected to your Wi-Fi router, and once you have chosen your light scene, the LED lights will remember so you don't need a constant connection.

You control Avea through the app, which is also available for Apple Watch, and there are various preset color scenes. There are 10 pre-loaded scenes, though users will be able to adjust the bulbs to their preferences. There's also a wake-up feature that gradually increases the lighting to simulate a sunrise. Multiple bulbs can also be grouped together in the same scene.

wemo

Belkin WeMo Smart LED lighting


Buy from Amazon.co.uk


  • Features: Smartphone control, away-from-home control, scheduling, dimming, compatible with IFTTT
  • Bulb types available: E27 (white), screw or bayonet fitting
  • Requirements: Wi-Fi connection, WeMO Link, WeMO app
  • Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Price: From £30 to £80 for the starter pack (two bulbs and a WeMO Link), around £25 per lightbulb thereafter

Belkin offers all sorts of WeMo connected devices and included within the range is the WeMo Smart LED bulb and the WeMo Light Switch, both of which allow lighting control from an iPhone or Android device. The WeMo Smart LED Bulb replaces your existing bulbs enabling you to control, schedule and fully dim them from anywhere using the WeMo Link, Wi-Fi and the WeMo app. It's worth mentioning that like IKEA, the WeMo bulbs only offer variants of white light rather than millions of colour options.

The WeMo bulbs can be controlled independently or in groups and the WeMo Link can handle up to 50 bulbs. The WeMo LED bulbs offer compatibility with IFTTT, meaning you can create various recipes like the Hue system and there is also a WeMo Light Switch that is designed to replace a standard light switch in your home and allow you to turn your normal lights on and off from anywhere using a smartphone.

lifx-led-light-bulb-app

 

LIFX


Buy now from Amazon.co.uk


  • Features: Smartphone control, away-from-home control, scheduling, comfort dimming, music sync, wake-up, infrared night vision, compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Nest Cam, Logitech Harmony and Samsung SmartThings
  • Bulb types available: E27, B22 (both colour), E27+, B22+ (includes night vision), LED strips
  • Requirements: Wi-Fi connection, LIFX app
  • Smartphone compatibility: iOS, Android and Windows 10
  • Price: Around £50 for one bulb, around £195 for a four pack

Originating on Kickstarter, LIFX is an LED light bulb that can be controlled using a smartphone app but it doesn't require an additional hub like many others on this list. From the LIFX app, you can turn your lights on or off, adjust brightness, change the colour, and even create a light show to go with your music.

Like many of the smart light solutions available, LIFX also offers a wake-up feature, allowing you to wake up naturally each morning with automatically increasing light, or drift off with slowly dimming lights. The company also offers LIFX PLUS bulbs which have the additional advantage of a night vision settings, and like Philips Hue and Osram Lightify, there are LED strips available too.

Nanoleaf-Aurora-Smart-Lighting-Kits-01

Nanoleaf light panels


Buy from Amazon.co.uk


  • Features: Smartphone control, scheduling, scenes, compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Hometkit and IFTTT
  • Lighting type: Customisable interconnect lighting panels
  • Requirements: Wi-Fi connection, Nanoleaf App
  • Smartphone compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Price: Around £200 for starter kit which includes multiple panels and Rhythm module

If custom lighting appeals, then Nanoleaf is another excellent option. This is a fully-customisable smart lighting system featuring wall-mounted triangular lighting panels which snap together with simple connectors to create whatever shape you can imagine.

You're free to create any design you like to personalise the end results and the starter pack is expandable with extra panels that can be bought and combined to create bigger and bolder designs in future too.

Nanoleaf light panels are app-controlled via Apple or Android smartphones. The system is also compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit and IFTTT meaning there's plenty of flexibility options.

With a few clicks, you can customise the lighting the way you want it via the app, control it with your favourite voice assistant or setup actions for the lights to react in certain ways - turning on and off at specific hours, switching lighting scenes and more.

Better still, the starter pack includes the Rhythm Module - which transforms the light panels into a dancing light show that reacts to surrounding sound. Meaning it'll light up to the sounds of your favourite music, television show, game or film depending on where you set it up.

These light panels offer support 16.7 million colours and there are masses of colour options to play around with including user-submitted colour palettes too. A brilliant addition to your home.

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