Key Points Section
- Our top choice for the best smart outdoor lights comes from Philips with the Hue Lily Outdoor Spotlight kit.
- Smart lighting doesn’t require much bandwidth, but you will need a steady connection.
- Most smart outdoor light sets can be installed and synced up in minutes.
- Smart outdoor lighting is available in several forms from floodlights to decorative string lights.
You can make the interior of your home smart in a variety of ways, but the exterior requires a bit more forethought. That’s particularly important with the best smart outdoor lights, or you could end up wasting a lot of time and money. While there’s no shortage of connected exterior lighting options for consumers, we found five devices ideal for any area outdoors:
History Computer’s Top Picks for the Best Smart Outdoor Lights
You can find smart lighting to illuminate stair treads on a deck or your landscaping as sunset approaches. Whatever you want to light up, there’s a solution. While it was a challenge, we chose five systems that can light up many of the key areas outside your home.
Best Overall: Philips Hue Lily Outdoor Spot Light Kit
- 3 spotlights and Hue bridge
- 16 millions colors to choose from
- Voice control and scheduling
- Stylish design
Philips Hue smart lighting products have been around for a decade and they get better with each generation. They are also the only company to crack our list of the best smart outdoor lights twice. Our top option is the Hue Lily, an outdoor spotlight kit with plenty of style.
While this smart outdoor light kit comes in multiple configurations, we chose the Lily Base kit as it has all the essentials. You get a Hue Hub which allows you to control the lights remotely and three Lily miniature spotlights. Unlike a traditional spotlight set, Philips allows you to find the perfect color hue from a palette of 16 million colors.
Each cable in this system can hold a combination of five lights, including the Calla accent light. You’ll get all the features that come from the Philips ecosystem as well. That means you can set up scenes for your lighting, put them on a schedule, or control them with your voice. Each light has a 16-foot extension cable and they’ll hold up in the rain with an IP44 rating.
Philips Hue smart lights have always been in the upper tier, so you’ll pay more for this set than comparable models. The difference is minimal, however, and well worth it. These are high-quality smart lights that won’t fizzle out in a few months, and pair perfectly with dozens of smart devices from Philips and other manufacturers.
|The lights offer seamless smart home integration.||It’s a pricey kit.|
|There are 50,000 shades of white light.||They could be brighter.|
|They offer 16 million colors.|
|The lights are highly configurable.|
Best Path Lighting: Ring Smart Pathlight
Out of all the intelligent gadgets consumers can buy for their homes, doorbells are the most popular behind speakers and smart displays. If you want to light the path leading to your doorbell, Ring’s Smart Pathlight is an excellent option.
Ring has a variety of products in its smart ecosystem from its popular video doorbell to security cameras. Their pathlights are designed to provide light along walkways or anywhere in your yard. They are solar-powered and completely cordless, but still connected. If you have the Ring Hub, you can connect these lights to your home network while unlocking new features.
These motion-activated lights can send you a message through the Ring app if someone approaches. The app and bridge also allow you to adjust brightness and sensitivity remotely. The bridge provides support for up to 50 Ring path lights, and you can control it all through the app or with a voice assistant like Alexa.
Ring’s newest Pathlight is a significant improvement over the previous model, which required traditional batteries. Homeowners have found them incredibly easy to install, and they are built to handle extreme conditions with an IP66 rating. The only downside is the price compared to similar smart pathway lights without the Ring branding.
|They offer solar charging.||The price tag is comparatively high.|
|The lights have motion detection.||They feel a bit cheap.|
|They’re easy to use.|
|The lights have a sleek design.|
Best Smart Floodlight: Philips Hue Discover Outdoor Floodlight
Our second option from Philips is a bit different from our first. The Discover is one of the company’s smart floodlights. While it can shine white to illuminate your driveway or property, you’ll also get a choice of color with this system.
This floodlight is from the company’s color lineup, so you get access to 16 million shades within the Philips Hue app. They make it simple to find the perfect hue. The light produces 2,300 lumens on demand and is easy to install if you have a floodlight already in place outdoors. It’s IP44 rated against the weather like the rest of the company’s Hue lights. It also provides access to loads of cool features through the app.
While we’re not sure how many homeowners will highlight visitors in colorful light, the Hue app allows you to set scenes or use voice control. You can also schedule the floodlight to come on at a certain time, whether you’re home or out of town. It’s a simple feature, but incredibly handy if you won’t plan on purchasing the motion detection add-on for this light.
This is another well-received smart light from Philips, and while it’s not cheap, it’s the best full-color smart floodlight around. It was disappointing that the light doesn’t have motion detection built in and we would have liked to see a higher weather rating, but there haven’t been many complaints about the durability of these lights.
|The light offers 16 million colors.||There is no motion detector.|
|It has Alexa, Google, and Apple integration.||The weather resistance rating could be higher.|
|You can set custom scenes.|
|You can schedule when you want the light to come on.|
A Unique Alternative: XMCOSY+ Smart Edison Bulb String Lights
When you want to light up a patio or gazebo, you don’t need path lights or anything large and overwhelming. String lights are ideal for these areas, and there are countless options to choose from. Homeowners interested in something unique should consider these dimmable Edison-style bulbs from XMCOY+.
These bulbs are easy on the eyes and easy to control thanks to voice assistant integration. They’ll work with Alexa and other top brands, but you can also control them with an app. From here, you’ll be able to set the brightness at any level you choose and access unique features. Want to have your patio lights breathe or flash? That’s an option through custom light scenes.
All of the best smart outdoor lights are designed to withstand weather, but these bulbs have one of the best ratings. They are IP65 and shatterproof, making them completely safe for outdoor areas that stay damp. The controller is as durable as the lights and the cable has been upgraded as well. On the newest version, there’s a 10 feet between the controller and the first light which removes the need for extension cords.
The style of an Edison bulb won’t be for everyone, but these lights will bring a lot of charm to any outdoor area by giving it a Bistro-like vibe. They are available in four lengths depending on your needs, but we felt the 123-foot strand provides the most bang for your buck. As a bonus, each set comes with spare bulbs in the chance one becomes damaged.
|They are dimmable from 1-100%.||The style isn’t for everyone.|
|They have IP64 water resistance.||There are no color options.|
|The lights offer custom effects.|
|Both voice and app control are available.|
Best Budget Option: Lintem Smart Up and Down Wall Lights
There are two things all the best smart outdoor lights have in common. They connect to the internet and are not exactly budget-friendly. There are exceptions, however, and this wall scone from Lintem is a fantastic way to smarten up the exterior of your home without breaking the bank.
Looking for a sconce light but can’t decide between an up or down model? Lintem solves that with its smart outdoor light. You can choose from either style within the app which also allows you to adjust the brightness and color. The company provides homeowners access to 16 million of them, so you can set a color to match any mood.
These connected lights work through Wi-Fi and an app, but feature voice control as well. Despite coming from a smaller brand, they are well-built with aluminum housings and tempered glass covers. They are bright at 800 lumens with an IP64 rating. They also have a manual control button if there’s ever a connectivity issue with your home network.
These smart outdoor lights are comparable to exterior wall lights from bigger brands that are twice the price but don’t have the same build quality as Linten’s smart up-down light. The company’s app and interface may not be as intuitive as Hue, but you won’t be disappointed with the features, design, or price.
|Choose from up or down lighting.||The app can feel a bit clunky.|
|They are rated IP65 with aluminum housings.||There is a lack of reviews.|
|You can sync music with multiple scenes.|
|They have memory mode.|
How to Pick the Best Smart Outdoor Lights: Step by Step
Buying outdoor smart lights isn’t that different from purchasing ones designed for indoors. When looking for the best smart outdoor lights, the same rules apply. There are a few things you’ll need to worry about that wouldn’t be a concern with indoor lighting, however.
- Weather resistance
Electricity and water don’t get along, and you don’t need to know much about lighting to understand that. Unless you want to damage something electrical, it’s better to keep it away from water unless it has a weather resistance rating.
If you’ve purchased a pair of True Wireless earbuds, a smartphone, or a smartwatch in the past decade, you’ve probably come across the IP rating system. The Ingress Protection Code was created to give consumers a way to understand how resistant a device is to water and dust. This also holds manufacturers to certain standards while keeping consumers safe.
The first number in the rating is for solid particle protection while the second is for liquids. An IP8 rating is the highest against dust, but rare to see with certain types of tech. IPx7 means a device can withstand submersion in water up to 3 meters in most cases, but an IPx4 rating only protects against water splashes.
For example, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds are IPx7, so they have no real dust protection, although they can withstand more than a splash. Unless you plan to use smart outdoor lights on a covered porch where they’ll have protection from the elements, you’ll want to consider the IP rating before anything else.
Even if your lights are completely resistant to rain and dust, they still rely on power. That can complicate things for a variety of reasons. Dealing with unsightly cables or cords is an issue, but so are outlets on the opposite side of your home.
Before purchasing a smart lighting kit for the outdoors, think about how they need to be powered. While most simply require a standard outlet, some add-ons allow consumers to use solar power. You’ll also want to consider the length from the outlet to where you plan to install the lights.
Philips and other companies make additional accessories to help extend the range with outdoor lighting. That’s not ideal and could raise the cost substantially depending on the size of the area you want to illuminate. This is also where the cord length comes into play, along with control boxes for certain lighting systems.
If you’ve wrapped lights around enough Christmas trees, you’ve probably noticed a gap between the power outlet and the first bulb. With outdoor lights, that gap is even more important. If it’s too short, you’ll likely need an extension or you could have trouble with placement.
How’s your home Wi-Fi network? The good news is smart lighting doesn’t take up much bandwidth. It will leave a minimal impact on your network, even if you’re running a hub with dozens of bulbs. With that in mind, getting that signal outdoors can be challenging, so you’ll want to think about range.
Outdoor smart lights are connected in more ways than one. While you don’t have to worry about getting multiple strands to sync outdoors, the signal from inside your home could be a problem. That can be solved with router placement or by moving a connected smart hub, especially if you have a multiple-story home.
If you’re able to connect to Wi-Fi while walking around your property, connectivity with outdoor lighting shouldn’t be a concern. How you control the smart lights is the other half of the equation, however. Some allow easy access through a smartphone or tablet and most of the top models work with voice assistants like Alexa.
When you buy a “smart” light, you expect it to do more than simply turn on with a remote control or by using an app. We found that most outdoor smart lights live up to their namesake, but how many features you get largely depends on the brand and price tag.
The ability to control outdoor lights with Alexa is by far the most common feature. Many devices are compatible with Google Assistant and Apple Homekit as well. That can make narrowing the field tricky, especially when many smart outdoor lights have dedicated mobile apps. These mobile apps allow you to set lights up on schedule, but some provide the option to set up or sync to scenes based on your mood or the environment.
Simply put, the intelligence of smart outdoor lights is capped at a certain point. Even the smartest devices are limited by design, so don’t overpay for features that are common from one model to the next.
If you want to add a set of smart bulbs to your home, it’s something anyone can do without digging too deep into their bank account. Interior lighting is affordable, and single smart bulbs are priced anywhere from $15-$30 each. When you decide to add lighting outdoors, the price of these lights can jump considerably.
The first thing to keep in mind when preparing a budget for outdoor smart lights is to consider coverage. If you need more than three to four landscaping lights, Philips Lily may not be the best choice compared to more affordable options. We found that while many manufacturers provide a discount on combo sets, the savings are minimal.
In addition to the lighting, you’ll need to pick up a controller or hub if you don’t have one already. Some devices as simple as an Echo Dot could get the job done, but you’ll need to use certain companies’ hubs in other cases. When you factor in extension cables, the cost to highlight a large home with smart outdoor lighting can be in the thousands.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Smart Outdoor Lights
Adding smart outdoor lighting to a home can be considered an investment if you plan to go all out. If you’ve never experienced smart lighting or previously scoffed at the idea, it’s good to know what to expect beforehand.
As with most smart devices, smart outdoor lighting makes life easier through automation while making traditional light switches a thing of the past. You can control the smartest models by using your voice through a popular virtual assistant from Amazon, Google, or Apple. Even lights without this feature have an app, which is where you’ll find some of the more unique features covered in our guide.
Outdoor smart lighting is simple to install when it’s a plug-and-play device. For spotlights and accent lighting on the exterior of your home, you’ll want to consider the cost of a professional installation unless you’re comfortable with dealing with wiring.
Using the Best Smart Outdoor Lights: What It’s Like
Whether you just need a handful of lights for a short walkway or want to illuminate a 4,500-square-foot home, the best smart outdoor lights will provide impressive results. Some are smarter than others, but all will bring a measure of automation to the exterior of your home. If you’re looking for more connected devices for your home network, check out our list of the best smart home devices to upgrade your life today!
|Smart Outdoor Light||Pros||Cons|
|Philips Hue Lily Outdoor Spot Light Kit||Seamless smart home integration, 50,000 shades of white light, 16 million colors, Highly configurable||It’s pricey, They could be brighter|
|Ring Smart Pathlight||Solar charging, Motion detection, Ease of use, Sleek design||The Price tag, Feel a bit cheap|
|Philips Hue Discover Outdoor Floodlight||16 million colors, Alexa, Google, and Apple integration, Custom scenes, Scheduling||No motion detector, Weather resistance rating|
|XMCOSY+ Smart Edison Bulb String Lights||Dimmable from 1-100%, IP64 water resistance, Custom lighting effects, Voice and app-controlled||The style isn’t for everyone, No color option|
|Lintem Smart Up and Down Wall Lights||Choose from up or down lighting, IP65 with aluminum housings, Music sync with multiple scenes, Memory mode||The app can feel a bit clunky, Lack of reviews|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/Virrage Images.