5 Reasons to Avoid a New Smart Light Bulb Today

smart light bulb lighting

5 Reasons to Avoid a New Smart Light Bulb Today

Key Points

  • Smart light bulbs are significantly more expensive than traditional bulbs, with the average cost of replacing all bulbs in a home being $500 or more.
  • Setting up smart light bulbs can be complicated, requiring connection to a Wi-Fi network, downloading an app, and troubleshooting features.
  • Smart light bulbs rely on a stable Internet or Bluetooth connection and compatible devices to function properly.

There seems to be no escape from smart technology lately. It feels like it’s becoming more prevalent (and more ridiculous) by the day, with no product truly safe from needless smart integration. Smart fridges, smart ovens, smart toilets… and now, smart light bulbs. Don’t let curiosity get the best of you without considering the potential downsides of a smart light bulb. While these products advertise innovative features and great convenience, there are five valid reasons to avoid a new smart light bulb today. Let’s review them all below.

5 Must-Know Facts About Smart Light Bulbs

  • Smart light bulbs are energy-efficient LED bulbs that connect to your Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth devices. They can typically be controlled using a smartphone app or voice commands.
  • Pricier smart light bulbs are compatible with popular virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. This smart assistant integration makes it easier to control your lights using only your voice.
  • Unlike traditional bulbs, smart light bulbs can easily change their brightness or color to create different moods and atmospheres in your space.
  • Smart light bulbs with scheduling features allow you to set timers for your bulbs to turn on or off at specific times. This makes for a convenient way to automate your home’s lighting routines.
  • Are you someone who frequently worries they forgot to turn the lights off before leaving home? Smart light bulbs offer remote control capabilities that enable you to adjust your lighting even when you’re away.
  1. SYLVANIA Wi-Fi LED Smart Light Bulb
    $38.77 ($9.69 / Count)
    • Compatible with Alexa, Siri Shortcuts, and Google Home
    • Dimmable functionality
    • 2-year SYLVANIA warranty
    • Up to 15,000 hours of lighting
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    11/28/2023 09:29 pm GMT
  2. LUMIMAN Smart Light Bulbs, 2 Pack
    $20.99 ($10.50 / Count)
    • 16 million different colors available
    • Google Home, Alexa, and Echo dot voice control enabled without needing an extra hub
    • 7.5W, 800LM bulbs x 2
    • Easy installation with included instructions
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    11/28/2023 09:29 pm GMT
  3. Philips Hue White Smart Bulb, 1 Bulb
    • 1000LM, A19 smart bulb x 1'
    • Alexa, Echo dot, and Google Home voice control enabled
    • Includes lighting presets
    • Various hues (color temperatures) and brightness levels of white light available.
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    11/28/2023 09:29 pm GMT

The History of Smart Light Bulbs

In today’s era of rampant IoT (or Internet of Things) devices, it’s easy to chuckle at the idea of a smart light bulb. Is this really something we need? After all, we’ve done just fine without them for all these years since the invention of the incandescent light bulb in the late 19th century. Nevertheless, an increasing number of light bulb brands continue to unveil their own takes on the smart light bulb. It all began in the early 2010s.

As more companies made the switch to energy-efficient LED bulbs in the early ‘10s, it was only a matter of time before companies such as Philips and Belkin took advantage of the tech. Because LEDs were smaller, more durable, and consumed less electricity than incandescent bulbs, they could readily serve as the foundation for the development of smart light bulbs. By 2012, smart home technology brought forth the first generation of smart light bulbs. 

These smart light bulbs utilized wireless connectivity and could be controlled through smartphone apps or home automation systems. Initially, smart bulbs required additional hardware to connect with a home’s Wi-Fi network. However, as technology advanced, newer smart bulbs found ways to connect to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and effectively eliminate the need for additional hardware.

Smart assistant integration came after, allowing users to speak commands to adjust the brightness, color, or on/off status of their bulbs. Color-changing bulbs followed suit. Today, smart light bulbs continue to evolve with advancements in connectivity, energy efficiency, and functionality. They have become an integral part of smart home ecosystems, seamlessly integrating with other devices like thermostats, security systems, and entertainment setups.

Smart light bulb emitting blue light from lamp.
Smart light bulbs wirelessly connect to your devices through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.


Why Avoid a New Smart Light Bulb Today?

Before you go out and buy a set of new smart light bulbs, consider this: There are some serious problems with this technology you won’t find in the product’s listing. We’ve compiled the five most common complaints below. It’s important to hold off on your purchase until you weigh these factors against the potential benefits of smart bulbs. You should also consider your specific needs and preferences before making a final decision. Let’s take a look at the five reasons to avoid a new smart light bulb today.

Cost Per Bulb

One reason to avoid a new smart light bulb today? The sheer cost of each bulb. Smart bulbs are far more expensive than traditional bulbs. If the average home has around 40 bulbs, it might cost you $500 or more to replace them all. While the price of a smart bulb has decreased over the years, the upfront cost remains far higher than a basic traditional bulb.

Complicated Setup

Did you ever think there’d come a time when you needed to set up your light bulbs? It’s a ludicrous thought. But, it’s the reality for smart light bulb owners. This is another reason to consider avoiding smart light bulbs: needlessly complicated setup. From connecting to a Wi-Fi network to downloading an app to troubleshooting your bulb’s features, it’s all just too much to handle for some. If you’d rather just screw in the bulb and be done with it, then you definitely don’t want a smart bulb.

Reliable Connection Needed

Smart bulbs rely on the strength of your home’s technology infrastructure. In order to function properly, they need a stable Internet or Bluetooth connection and a network of compatible devices to communicate with. If you have frequent issues with your Wi-Fi connection or don’t have a proper Bluetooth device to control your bulbs, then you might want to avoid a new smart light bulb. These bulbs need state-of-the-art technology to avoid disruptions or malfunctions, and if you can’t provide that, then you shouldn’t buy any. 

Weak Security 

Smart bulbs are part of the IoT trend. Short for “Internet of Things,” IoT devices include smart bulbs, smart thermostats, smart appliances, or smart doorbells. These trendy tech products have very poor security measures in place, but they still connect to your Wi-Fi regardless. This makes them very susceptible to hacking. It doesn’t take much work for a hacker to access your network through a weak IoT device. If you have privacy concerns, then you definitely don’t want to put some smart bulbs in your home.

Short Lifespans

Smart light bulb brands claim their products can last 20,000 to 50,000 hours or more. That might seem like a lot, especially compared to an incandescent bulb’s measly 1,000 hours or less. Let’s compare this to an LED bulb’s lifespan, though. Your typical LED bulb can last upwards of 100,000 hours in all. Looking at it this way, smart light bulbs actually have significantly less life than a normal, non-smart-equipped LED bulbs. That’s not even touching on any potential shortcomings in the actual smart components themselves, which might not last anywhere near 50,000 hours.

amps vs. watts
It’s hard to justify the cost of a smart light bulb when traditional bulbs are so affordable.


In Review: Reasons to Avoid a New Smart Light Bulb

While the allure of smart light bulbs may be strong, it’s important to evaluate whether they truly align with your needs and priorities carefully. Consumers should not overlook these potential drawbacks, from cost implications to complex setups and privacy concerns. It’s essential to consider factors such as your budget, technological comfort level, and the long-term viability of smart components before checking out. By weighing these considerations against the promised benefits, you can make the most well-informed decision about whether to embrace or avoid a new smart light bulb.

To recap:

  • Cost per smart bulb is much higher than the price of traditional bulbs
  • Setup for smart light bulbs is much more complicated than screwing in a non-smart bulb
  • Smart light bulbs need a reliable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to work properly
  • IoT devices such as smart light bulbs are more susceptible to security breaches
  • The lifespan of a smart light bulb is shorter than a non-smart LED bulb

Frequently Asked Questions

How do smart light bulbs work?

Smart light bulbs use LED technology and connect to your Wi-Fi network or other Bluetooth devices. This connectivity allows you to control the bulbs remotely through smartphone apps or voice commands. They can also communicate with your devices or smart home hub to adjust brightness, color, and other settings.

Are smart light bulbs more energy efficient than traditional bulbs?

Smart light bulbs are much more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, they are not as energy efficient as some non-smart LED bulbs. Smart bulbs use the same technology as traditional LED bulbs, but their smart features keep them from lasting as long.

Can you use smart light bulbs in any fixture?

In most cases, yes. Smart light bulbs come in various shapes and sizes, including standard bulb sizes like E26 and E12. This allows them to fit into most standard light fixtures, lamps, or recessed lighting. However, it’s always a good idea to check the compatibility and dimensions of the smart bulb before purchasing. Some might not be compatible with all fixtures.

Do smart light bulbs require smart hubs?

Whether or not you need a smart hub for your smart bulb depends on the brand and type of smart bulb in question. Some smart bulbs require a hub or bridge to connect to your home network, while others have built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities and can connect directly to your device or router. Make sure to check the product specifications to determine if a separate hub is needed.

Can you control smart bulbs away from home?

Yes, many smart light bulbs offer remote control functionality. As long as your smartphone or control device has a stable Internet connection, you can adjust your smart bulbs from anywhere. This feature even allows you to turn lights on or off, create schedules, or change settings while away from home.

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