Top 10 Smart Home Lighting Products (2023): Decorative Panels, LED Strips, and Ambient Lights

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Buying smart lighting and installing it can be confusing, so we have some tips for you. We also have a separate guide on how to use smart lighting to transform your child’s bedroom.

Finding the Perfect Location for Your Smart Lighting Maximizes Its Impact. Consider possible reflections, especially if you’re installing them in your living room or office, as you don’t want your smart light to be reflected on your TV or display. You always need to run a cable to an outlet, so consider hiding it as best you can. Connect the lighting and connect it through the app before installing it. With panels, make your design first and make sure you like it before you try to put it on the wall.

Most smart light bars and strips come with adhesive on the back.. You must prepare them properly before you start gluing. It is extremely important to clean the wall prior to installation and follow the instructions down to the letter to make sure it sticks and stays (if it says “press for 30 seconds”, do it). Don’t forget to lock a curious cat or dog in another room during installation!

Removing panels and slats can damage walls. I had cracks in the paintwork and dents in the plaster when removing the smart lighting. Slow motion and heat with a hair dryer can help reduce the risk of damage, but the complexity of the process is a good reason to be careful when installing.

Lighting brightness is measured in lumens. For example, a standard 60W light bulb emits about 800 lumens. Since most decorative smart lights are not designed to be used as a primary light source, their brightness is often quite limited, so keep that in mind.

RGB (red, green, blue) is the standard and mixes these three colors to make other colors.. RGBW includes proper white along with red, green and blue, which allows for a lot of flexibility and is important if you need high quality white light. Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin (K) and is specified as a range (for example, 1200–6500 K). This range determines how warm or cold your lighting can be. Perhaps, ironically, red and orange are at the bottom of the scale, and blue at the top. The last thing to keep in mind is the Color Rendering Index (CRI), a score out of 100 indicating how effectively a light can mimic daylight. This affects how the colors of illuminated objects look. For example, at low CRI values, red colors may appear brown. A score of 80 or higher is fine for most situations.

Most smart lights connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and are controlled by an app on your phone.. You need a decent Wi-Fi signal or be within Bluetooth range. While it may be desirable for simplicity to connect lighting directly to Wi-Fi or use Bluetooth, systems with dedicated hubs have advantages. For example, with Philips Hue, lights connect and respond much faster with the Hue Hub than with Bluetooth in the app. Most smart lighting can be controlled using smart voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, but make sure you check compatibility before purchasing. You will likely need a smart speaker or smart display in the same room as your lighting.

Consider Physical Control. Smart lighting must be connected to a power source and always on in order to respond. If it is only controlled by the app, it can be difficult for children in the house or visitors to turn the lights on or off. Many light strips and panels also come with a control box with physical buttons, and sometimes a button to switch colors or effects – something worth considering if there are children in the house.

Check how many zones your smart lighting supports. Smart light strips in the cheap end of the market may only have one zone, which means the entire strip can only display one color at a time. If you need multiple colors or animated effects, you need multiple zones (more is better).

For light strips, please check the length and measure it in your space before purchasing.. Cheap light strips may not have a protective coating for the LEDs, which will affect durability. If you want to cut a light strip to a certain length, make sure your preferred option allows you to do so, and follow the instructions very carefully. Some light bars can also be extended, but always check before buying.

There may be some privacy concerns with smart lighting.. Ambient Lighting here, which offers a reactive mode that changes light to the rhythm of the sound in your space, has microphones to operate this feature. This is something to be aware of, although the companies claim that they don’t record the audio and send it anywhere, and that everything stays on the device.

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