When researchers asked consumers if they use smart LED bulbs, only 11 percent said yes, but the majority -- 62 percent -- said they hadn't yet, but they could imagine using them. How about you? Are smart lightbulbs on your wish list?
Smart bulbs are internet-connected lightbulbs. They're among the most affordable smart devices on the market, so if you're new to connected devices and aren't sure if you like the idea, smart bulbs could be a good starting place. What do smart bulbs do? We'll tell you.
We have five reasons why you'll love smart bulbs like Philips Hue and Kasa Smart Bulb, including one that might surprise you. You can save money buying smart bulbs, rather than incandescent bulbs - keep reading and we'll tell you how.
Internet-connected lightbulbs can protect your home
Before we get into the great things that smart bulbs can do, we want to remind you that connected devices are vulnerable to hackers. Check your router's security settings. Make sure your wireless cameras are secure. And secure your home's Wi-Fi.
You control smart bulbs by downloading the manufacturer's app and installing it on your smart phone or smart device. After you pair your device with the lightbulb, you'll be able to turn the lights on when you're away, dim them, and set routines based on your time, location or other triggers.
You can hook some of them up to turn on when motion sensors are triggered. Your smart bulbs will light up your house to scare off would-be intruders.
Smart bulb mood settings
One of the coolest (or warmest?) features of smart bulbs is the rainbow of colorful settings. You can choose from a whole spectrum of whites, from cool fluorescent-like bright whites (which is great for finding a dropped contact lens) to warmer, softer whites that are better for reading.
If you live in an older home that doesn't have dimmer switches, you can use the smart bulbs and your smart devices to dim the bulbs; no need to hire an electrician to install dimmer switches or buy special lamps with dimmers.
Some bulbs, like the Lifx brand, can turn red, orange, yellow, green -- every color of the rainbow. You can also set lights to blink (great for parties) or toggle through colors. Lifx claims to have over 16 million colors!
Do smart bulbs save money?
You're not alone if you think it costs a lot of money to set up a smart lighting system in your home. You should be prepared to spend about $99 on a system like the Philips Hue A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit.
You can spend $20 or more for a set of smart bulb after that. That is true, but you might be surprised that you can save money over time with smart bulbs.
For one thing, there are more companies manufacturing them, which should force prices down. You can also buy smart bulbs like the Alexa-compatible Kasa smart light bulb that costs less than $20 and doesn't require you to set up a costly smart home hub.
More to the point, smart bulbs can save you money on your electric bill. It's estimated that you'll save $6 each year for each incandescent light bulb you replace with a smart LED bulb.
Use your voice to control your bulbs
Your smart home and smart LED bulbs are increasingly compatible with smart speakers like Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo and Google Home. You can set up your smart bulbs to turn on, turn off and dim with your voice -- "OK, Google, turn off the lights."
Use your smartphone to turn on your lights
You do just about everything imaginable with your smartphone - we all do! You're making calls for work.
You're getting alerts on your calendar for everything from picking up your kids from school to getting to the airport on time. If you have smart home gadgets like a thermostat, you're using your smartphone from anywhere in the world to adjust it.
You can do the same thing with your smart LED lights. You can use your phone to turn them on or off, so you're saving money on your electric bill, scaring away burglars or making your home warm and inviting for your grandkids, your dog sitter and you!
5 reasons to 'get smart' about your thermostat
You're always cranking up your thermostat. Why is it so cold? Why is it so hot?
With record low temperatures this winter and soaring summer temps, it's no wonder you're constantly adjusting your thermostat. The problem is, you're also cranking up your electric bill.
We have 5 reasons you'll want to switch to a smart thermostat, including the convenience of letting it do the adjusting for you. But the biggest reason you'll want to switch is that it can help lower your electric bill.