04/11/13

Smart LED Light Bulbs

Why LED?

According to the LUMEN Coalition, a single LED light bulb can last upwards of 25,000 hours and uses 75% less energy than an equivalent incandescent light bulb.

Lumens measure the amount of light produced by a bulb while watts measure the amount of energy a bulb uses. Since LED light bulbs are more efficient at converting watts to lumens, it makes more sense to measure bulb brightness in lumens.

What’s A Smart LED Light Bulb?

Smart LED light bulbs are light bulbs that can be controlled by your smartphone, tablet, or computer via your home’s
wi-fi system. These energy-efficient light bulbs often have cool features ranging from simple on/off controls to mood lighting that matches the beat of music.

Philips Hue

Philips Hue, which came out in late October 2012, is sold exclusively by Apple. The Philips Hue application for iOS and Android lets you adjust intensity, set color combinations, and create custom schedules for each individual bulb (up to 50). You can also control the Hue light bulbs in your home with any computer that has internet access.

If your accessories have the Apple or Android operating system check out the starter pack, which comes with three light bulbs (600 lumens each) and a bridge that allows the light bulbs to be controlled wirelessly. The pack costs around $200 and each additional light bulb $59.

LIFX

The LIFX light bulb (900+ lumens) sold out on Kickstarter in six days and now can only be preordered.  The LIFX iOS/Andoid application gives you total control over the Smart LED light bulbs in your home. Like Phillips Hue and iLumi, LIFX allows you to change your home’s mood by giving you the option to change the color light the bulb emits. Additionally, LIFX allows you to set custom schedules. One of the coolest features LIFX has to offer is that it can “visualize your music”. When this feature is activated, LIFX will change the color it emits and flash to the beat of your music.

iLumi

The iLumi which received well over $100,000 in funding on Indiegogo comes in two different sizes: small (650 lumens) and large (1100 lumens). The iLumi is compatible with iOS and Android phones or tablets that have Bluetooth connectivity. This application allows you to adjust the color the iLumi emits and set a schedule for the bulbs. Additionally, iLumi bulbs have the ability to turn off when you leave the bulb’s proximity. A small iLumi bulb costs $59 while the larger comes in at $89.

Due to its Bluetooth connectivity, the bulbs can only be controlled when you are in range of the light bulb (100 feet). 

INSTEON LED Bulb

INSTEON’s LED Bulb is the most affordable smart LED light bulb currently on the market at $29.99. While this 532 lumen light bulb might change colors or flash to the beat of music, this bulb also allows you to control your home lighting with an INSTEON iOS/Android application. Unlike other smart LED light bulbs, no wireless bridge is required in order to control the LED light bulb. 

Want to learn more about LED light bulbs?

Images courtesy of Philips, iLumi Solutions, and INSTEON