Whether you're the type of person who forgets to turn off your lights, or you just want to save on your home's energy bills, a connected smart lighting system can help. These systems let you control multiple lights in your home with a push of a button. Some newer systems even come with apps that let you control those lights from your phone, tablet or work computer.
With a homekit connected smart lighting system, you'll never again worry about whether you left the lights on while at work or whether your home looks dark and appealing to burglars while on vacation. While there are a few different types of lighting systems available, one you may want to look at is something called a switch. A switch plugs into an outlet and has its own outlet on top. Once you plug any lamp or device into that outlet, you can control it with the app on your phone.
Something else you may want to consider is a hub. A hub lets you control multiple devices from your phone or computer. Some hubs have battery backup power hidden inside, which will keep controlling connected items for up to 10 hours during a power failure.
Those new to the world of smart lighting may prefer one of the starter kits that come with one or more gateways. Unlike other systems that can take some time to set up, these kits lets you get started in as little as five minutes. You simply screw the gateway into an existing lamp or lighting fixture, download the app, add your bulb and make sure the app detects the gateway. You can connect multiple hubs, gateways and switches together to completely control your home.
Most of the smart lighting systems feature an app that turns your phone, tablet or computer into a remote control. With the included app that you download, you have control over those items. If you want more flexibility, you might look for lighting systems that come with a remote control too.
While some kits work with the existing bulbs that you use, some of the module designs will only work with bulbs you buy directly from the manufacturer. Make sure that the bulbs available come in the wattage that you need and the color you want.
When shopping for a lighting system, make sure that you select one that you can install on your own. Some of the newer automated systems are more expensive and require professional installation done by a licensed contractor or electrician.
The cost of a simple switch that works with both lamps and other electrical items may cost a little under $50 or less. When you want to completely automate your home and your lighting system, it may cost hundreds of dollars or more for all the products you need.
In addition to the amount you spend today, you also need to consider the amount you will spend in the future. Lighting systems that require special bulbs made by just one manufacturer may cost $20 or more for a single bulb. Keep in mind that some of these newer bulbs can last for a decade or longer.
Phillips now offers a starter kit that comes with a bridge that can control up to three lights. You can use that bridge alone or with other bridges that you buy. Phillips includes the bulbs needed for that bridge and a cord for connecting all those devices together. You can choose from traditional soft white bulbs or colored bulbs that react based on the choices you make from your tablet or phone.
When you want to control more than just lights, consider investing in the WeMo switch. This switch plugs into any existing outlet and has its own outlet that you can use for a lamp, coffee maker, computer or an appliance. Download the attached app to control anything plugged into that switch. Some of its switches are even WiFi-enabled, and most work with the voice command units that you can buy.
Choose when to turn lights on or off with Z-Wave products from General Electric. GE created these products to help renters and home owners control their lights while inside or away from their homes. The gateway lets you plug in a lamp or any other electrical device and then control that device with your phone, computer or tablet. It also works with voice command devices from Alexa.
Keep a close eye on your home while on vacation or stuck at the office with home monitoring products from Control Products. Its most popular item is the MarCell Home Monitoring System, which connects to your smartphone. You'll receive instant alerts of temperature changes, electricity usage and other problems, and you can then make changes to any connected items from your phone.
With products from TCP, you can turn your home into an automated smart home. Its starter kits come with one or more wired gateways that you screw right into your existing lamps or lights. You can then control those lights with the app that you download. TCP also sells bulbs designed for different types of lamps inside and outside of your home and a remote control that you can use to control all those bulbs.