Bulb

If you're looking to add some basic but still very smart lighting to your home, this guide is for you! To help you set up a Smart Lighting system that actually works on the first try, we've sorted through a huge range of gear to make sure that you're not getting something that's been over-hyped on KickStarter, or only reviewed in an office cubicle in New York City, but something that will actually make your real home smarter! We know these products not only work, but work well and work consistently. And that's a challenge in the Smart Home space, as a lot of start-ups have arrived with great new ideas, but their first-gen products don't always pass with flying colors in real-world testing.

For Spring 2019, things are getting simpler than ever, now that Amazon has established its Echo line of voice controllers as the de facto standard for Smart Home control. Several of its latest Echol releases include a Zigbee radio to allow them to control a wide variety of products, including our favorite lightbulbs, which come from Sylvania. And by using bulbs, you're guaranteed a simple installation process - it's literally as easy as screwing in a lightbulb!

Prices shown in this guide use real-time pricing engines, so they are always up-to-date. If you decide to purchase one of the cards we profile, please use the links we provide, which helps support continued development of this guide.

Basic Smart Home Lighting Kit - Spring 2019

    The Zigbee Hub/Voice Controller:

    Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Gen

    We'd been waiting years (literally) for Amazon's other foot to drop into the Smart Home ring after it released its first Echo voice controller in 2014, and it finally happened with the October 2017 release of the Echo Plus. Now, a year later, Amazon has outdone itself again, releasing an improved 2nd-generation Echo Plus for the same price. From the beginning, the Echo allowed for voice control of lights, but it always relied on third-party hubs for most of this functionality. With the Echo Plus lineup, Amazon has built the hub directly into the Echo Plus, meaning it's a "one-stop shop" for a true Smart Home experience! And the best part is that you can use either the Echo Plus as a voice controller, or the Alexa smartphone app as a manual controller and scheduler. You can set up routines to turn on all your lights at sunset, off at midnight, or alternatively off when you say "good night" to Alexa!

    The Guru's Tip:

    For a limited time, the Echo Plus even comes with a free Philips smart bulb! It will also work with the Zigbee-compatible bulbs we list below.

    The Bargain Smart A19 Bulb:

    Sylvania Lightify+ A19 Zigbee

    There are lots of connected bulb manufacturers out there, and even more peddling the "latest and greatest" LED bulbs. Among all the players, we think Sylvania is doing the best job making quality smart bulbs at a great price. They will work with the hub built into the Amazon Echo Plus, thanks to their use of the Zigbee wireless standard. This model offers a pleasing 2700K color temperature and an incredible price.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've found the Sylvania bulbs a bit easier to use than Philips bulbs, like the one included for free with the Echo Plus. They are also less expensive, which is another reason we recommend them instead of Philips.

    The Tunable Zigbee BR30 Smart Bulb:

    Sylvania Smart+ BR30

    If you need a smart BR30 bulb for use in track or recessed lighting, this is the best pick around. We set it up on the first try, and it took all of 30 seconds. That is a lot better than most smart bulb products! Better yet, it responds instantly to commands. And this one allows you to select a full range of color temperatures: we recommend 2700K-3000K for indoor use, and 4000K-5000K for outdoor spotlight use.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Again, this is a Zigbee-equipped bulb, allowing it to communicate with either the Amazon Echo Plus.

Optional Components

    The Bargain Voice Controller:

    Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

    Want to control your lights in multiple rooms? Then add an Echo Dot to each room you'd like voice control in!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The Echo Dot does not have a built-in Zigbee hub, so you'll still need at least one Echo Plus.

  1. The Zigbee Hub/Voice Controller Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Gen ($150.00)
  2. The Bargain Smart A19 Bulb Sylvania Lightify+ A19 Zigbee ($8.00)
  3. The Tunable Zigbee BR30 Smart Bulb Sylvania Smart+ BR30 ($20.00)
  4. The Bargain Voice Controller Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) ($50.00)