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A guide to getting started with smart lighting: When to use smart switches and smart bulbs - The Verge

A guide to getting started with smart lighting: When to use smart switches and smart bulbs  - The Verge

How to use smart lighting and which products to choose: Philips Hue, Lutron Caseta, Leviton, Wyze, and Wemo are all good options to get you started with smart lighting in your home.

Smart lighting is the most important innovation in lighting since the invention of the lightbulb. It adds so much functionality to such a key part of our lives, elevating the concept of lighting our homes beyond just the utilitarian.

But smart lighting is something you have to experience to really understand its benefits. To many people, it just seems complicated, fiddly, expensive, and way too hard compared to screwing in a “dumb” lightbulb. Here, I’ll explain why and how to get started with smart lighting, how and when to decide between smart bulbs and smart switches, and explore some good options for each.

Philips Hue’s line of smart bulbs and light fixtures can add some color to your life.

Image: Philips Hue

The benefits of smart lighting
Smart lighting is when your lights are controllable remotely using a wireless connection and a smartphone app. You can set timers for your lights and create schedules or routines to turn them on and off at a set time or based on specific actions. You can sync your lights with sunrise and sunset, dim or change their color, control groups of lights on more than one circuit simultaneously, and have lights turn on and off automatically based on motion and / or occupancy. You can also control the lights using voice commands or with programmable wireless buttons and remotes.

Smart lighting has a lot of great uses, here are just a few:

There are two categories of smart lighting: smart bulbs and smart switches. You do not have to pick one over the other. In fact, the most effective smart lighting setup in a home will likely be a mix of smart bulbs and smart switches (though it’s unwise to use smart bulbs on a smart switch — more on that below). The challenge here is that there are very few companies that offer both. So, rather than opening three different apps to control your lights, you’ll want to use a smart home platform such as Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, or Amazon Alexa to control all your lighting.

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