The Best Smart LED Light Bulbs (2024)

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Who this is for
  • How we picked and tested
  • Our pick: WiZ 60W A19 Color LED Smart Bulb
  • Runner-up: Meross MSL120 Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb
  • Also great: RCA Smart Wi-Fi A19 LED Bulb
  • What to look forward to
  • Other good smart LED light bulbs
  • The competition

Why you should trust us

For a decade I covered smart-home technology at CNET. I’ve wrangled robot vacuums, jumped inside washing machines, hated on smart displays, and appeared in videos as a creepy electrician and Santa—for science.

Who this is for

Smart bulbs are a great option for anyone who wants fast, inexpensive and easy installation and control of the lights in their home. The connectivity packed into a smart bulb sets it apart from regular LEDs by adding the ability to check on the status of, and make changes to, your lights from your phone, with smart app controls or with a smart speaker or smart display.

Smart LEDs can adjust from a warm soothing white light when you’re settling down for the evening to a cool task-oriented light when you need to focus and get something done.

In addition to being able to adjust their white light color temperature between warm and cool, many smart bulbs also have color-changing capabilities so you can add a little flare for festive occasions or you know, make your room purple, just because.

In years of testing we’ve learned that smart lighting in general, and smart bulbs in particular, appeal to many who have accessibility or mobility limitations, by making it especially easy to automate, schedule, or remotely control lighting. That may mean turning on or off lights while sitting in a chair across the room, or having them set to go on or off at specific times of the day without requiring input.

You might want to add multiple smart bulbs throughout your home and automate them via advanced features like Scenes or Routines—or even use them alongside other types of connected devices, like a smart lock or a smart garage door opener controller.

Just like any other bulb, the physical installation is simple: Just remove any existing bulb and replace it in seconds with a smart LED. As long as the bulb goes into a compatible fixture with the correct maximum wattage and has the same base size and bulb shape as the old bulb you’re replacing (in this guide we focus on the standard E26 base size and A19 bulb shape), it should work exactly the same.

Download the bulb’s companion app to be led through the setup instructions and in minutes you’ll be turning the light on and off from your phone, setting custom schedules based on your daily routine, and saying to your smart speaker: “Turn off the living room lamp.”

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How we picked and tested

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In order to be considered for testing, the smart LED bulb candidates must:

  • be standard A19-style, ranging from 800 to 1,100 lumens (60- to 75-watt equivalent)
  • include an app with on/off control and scheduling
  • offer adjustable color temperature for white-light LEDs
  • support at least one smart home integration beyond app control (Amazon Alexa, Apple Home, Google Home)

In addition to the above criteria, we prioritized bulbs that offered:

  • advanced features like Vacation Mode or Scenes
  • RGB color-changing capabilities
  • support for more than one smart-home integration beyond app control

In testing we looked for models that provided:

  • a simple DIY installation
  • straightforward app control
  • voice control/third-party integrations that mirror use in the app
  • reliable performance (repeatable results; minimal/no false notifications or other errors)
  • a good overall value for the money

To test each bulb’s smart capabilities and overall reliability, I started with basic app features, like on/off control and scheduling. I then tried out any advanced options, like Scenes, Vacation Mode, and music syncing, when available. I also experimented with voice commands using Alexa via an Amazon Echo Dot with clock, Google Assistant on a Google Nest Hub Max, and Siri on my iPhone 14 Pro Max.

For a further reliability test, I set up a Routine in the Alexa app. Every time the door to the backyard (outfitted with an Aqara Door and Window Sensor) opened, whatever smart bulb I was testing at the moment in an outdoor light fixture turned green. This is a version of a signal we already use with our neighbors behind us to let them know our dogs are outside and vice versa. (Our dogs bark wildly at each other, and this helps spare our other nearby neighbors from their spirited conversations.)

Lighting companies today typically advertise lumens, or the maximum potential brightness of a given bulb. Lux, however, is a measure of illuminance, or how much of that light actually projects onto any surface in its immediate vicinity at a given level of brightness compared with other LEDs at the same brightness. We think lux is the better indicator of real-world performance.

I measured the performance of each LED in lux using a digital light meter. I set each bulb to its coolest white light color temperature, used a measuring tape to consistently hold the meter 12 inches away from the bulb, and took the average of three measurements on the top and side of each bulb at 100%, 50%, and 10% brightness.

Our pick: WiZ 60W A19 Color LED Smart Bulb

The Best Smart LED Light Bulbs (2)

Our pick

WiZ 60W A19 Color LED Smart Bulb

The best smart light bulb

This affordable bulb was a standout in testing and easy to set up, and includes a collection of fun and useful modes and Scenes.

Buying Options

$11 from Amazon

$11 from Lowe's

$11 from Best Buy

Compatible with: Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri Shortcuts, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

The WiZ 60W A19 Color LED Smart Bulb is the best smart bulb, thanks to its great lux performance, simple app setup, wide color temperature range, and large selection of Scenes. This bulb is also one of the more affordable models we tested.

It connects easily over Wi-Fi in the WiZ app, and in about a minute or two you can start turning your light on and off, adjusting the white light color temperature, changing the light to any one of the “16 million colors” WiZ says it supports, creating Schedules, and trying out more advanced features like custom effects and automations.

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Note that, while WiZ is owned by Philips Hue, the WiZ app operates separately from the larger Zigbee-enabled Philips Hue app and ecosystem.

It beats the competition at 100% brightness. The WiZ bulb has strong lux performance at all brightness levels, but it scored the best out of all of the other 800-lumen, 60-watt-equivalent bulbs we tested at maximum brightness. That means more of the bulb’s 100% brightness reached the light meter I was holding 12 inches away than any other bulb with the same specs at the same brightness and measurement distance.

For day-to-day purposes, the WiZ bulb at full brightness will illuminate whatever is in its path—a notebook, your cat, a really juicy cheeseburger—better than the competition at the same level of brightness.

It’s a great way to keep things simple. Despite being our top pick, the WiZ bulb isn’t complex or confusing to use. It’s a totally great option if you want to stick with the plain and simple basics: on/off light control, adjusting brightness, changing the color (or color temperature) of the bulb depending on what you’re doing, designing a custom schedule that fits your daily routine, and sharing app access with family, friends, visitors, or caregivers.

But you can still go all-in if you want. The WiZ 60W A19 Color LED Smart Bulb also has a great collection of additional options. You can create custom Scenes or choose from a selection of preset themes, like Relax and TV time, that are activity-centric. There are also 19 preset “dynamic effects,” such as Ocean, Sunset, and Jungle, that cycle through colors in a thematic way. The Jungle effect, for instance, cycles among various shades of green and yellow—it’s a nice effect as it subtly shifts from one color to the next.

You can deeply customize the app to your habits. For example, a circadian-rhythm mode changes the light throughout the day according to your particular wake and sleep schedule. Another feature, SpaceSense, is supposed to automatically adjust your lights to your preferred setting when you walk into a room via the WiZ bulb’s built-in motion-sensing technology. (It didn’t always change settings when I was in close proximity to a bulb, though, and felt more like a beta feature as a result).

Privacy and security snapshot

  • WiZ may collect personal information, such as your name, email address, or phone number, when you use its products or services.
  • WiZ may use cookies to collect your IP address, browser, and other details.
  • You can contact privacy@wizconnected.com if you have any questions or concerns about what information WiZ collects and how it’s used.

For more details, read WiZ’s privacy statement.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

You get Siri Shortcuts but not Apple Home. While this bulb has a lot of smart-home functionality, it relies on the more pared-down Shortcuts app rather than the Apple Home app. You can still use Siri to control your WiZ bulb with Shortcuts, but you won’t be able to use any of the advanced automations you can only find in the Home app.

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Runner-up: Meross MSL120 Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

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Runner-up

Meross MSL120 Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Best for Apple Home users

While this bulb works with all of the major smart-home platforms, its solid Apple Home support will be particularly appealing to Apple users.

Buying Options

$29 from Amazon(pack of two)

Compatible with: Amazon Alexa, Apple Home, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings

The Meross MSL120 Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb offers impressively consistent lux readings across the entire bulb (measuring from both the front and sides of the bulb). It also responds quickly and reliably to commands and also to automations.

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Major smart-home apps work, but Meross pushes you to use Apple Home. Even if you begin the setup process in the Meross app, the app prompts iPhone owners to scan the code on the bulb to add it to the Apple Home app. Scanning that code ended up being the only fiddly part of setup, because in order to access the code when the bulb is screwed into a lamp with a shade, we had to unscrew it and then quickly scan it, then screw it back in and turn it on (another editor couldn’t scan the bulb at all and had to input it manually; he later found the code is also on a sticker in the included instructions).

The Home app will identify the bulb and ask you to designate a location for it, like “Living Room,” or, in my case, “Backyard.” Then you can control it from the Home app or with a Siri command without ever having to open the Meross app again, if you so choose.

Quick responses to custom smart-home automations. The Meross bulb responded the fastest to the testing Routine I created in the Alexa app, using an Aqara Door and Window Sensor and each smart LED. When the door to my backyard was opened, the Meross bulb would turn on glowing green lightning fast (and my neighbors knew to take precautions as the hounds were loose)—and there was no lag time or misfires.

Consistent light from all angles. Some bulbs have a notable difference in light performance between the top and side of the bulb at the same brightness. The Meross bulb returned the closest readings of any of our picks from both directions, meaning you’ll get comparable light quality no matter the fixture you use or the light angle.

The app is a bit clunky. While the Meross app isn’t difficult to use, it is quirky enough that we think it may be off-putting to some—parts of it feel a bit like a beta version of a social media platform.

For instance, after interacting with the app in one way or another I would be awarded a few “coins” via a pop-up alert. The coins are designed to encourage app use—you get 100 coins for creating an account, another 30 if you post in the forum, and 300 if your post gets over 500 likes. But we haven’t found any explanation of what you can do with these coins or if there’s a way to opt-out of the program, other than a little “Coming soon…” note on each screen.

Fortunately, all of the key features to control the bulb are easy enough to find, if you can get past the coins. Also, if you connect it through the Apple Home app, you never have to use the Meross one.

Privacy and security snapshot

  • Meross might gather information about you when you register as a user, such as your email address, username, password, and other data.
  • The company requires your “precise location” when it looks for nearby Meross devices to pair to the app during setup.
  • Meross does “not currently recognize or respond to browser ‘Do Not Track’ signals,” according to its privacy statement.

For more details, read Meross’s privacy statement.

Also great: RCA Smart Wi-Fi A19 LED Bulb

The Best Smart LED Light Bulbs (8)

Also great

RCA Smart Wi-Fi A19 LED Bulb

Best for fine-tune control

This dependable smart bulb has a great app and was the top performer at low light levels, but it doesn’t offer as many third-party integrations as WiZ or Meross.

Buying Options

$24 from Amazon(pack of two)

Compatible with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home

The RCA Smart Wi-Fi A19 LED Bulb had the best lux performance when dimmed to low light levels of any model we tested. The RCA Smart Home app used for setup and control is especially clear and intuitive. It provides a useful roster of features like scheduling, a timer, Scenes, a do not disturb mode, and music syncing. (I wasn’t sure of the appeal of having my lights change colors in rhythm to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” but I did it!)

The Best Smart LED Light Bulbs (10)

Low light levels are superb. The RCA emits light that maintains a high lux level at every level of brightness—even when it was dimmed down to 10%, it earned a higher lux score than any of our other picks.

In practice this means that even at night when you’ve dimmed the lights, it never feels muddy and hard to see. So you can continue to read without eye strain, or have the ability to locate the remote control that got wedged between the sofa cushions.

The app simply works. The RCA app isn’t particularly sleek, but its interface is blissfully clear, with controls that are easy to find and just as simple to use. On one uncluttered screen, you can view the current status of your bulb, adjust its brightness, turn it on and off and change either the color temperature or the color. Three additional tabs hold RCA’s lineup of 34 existing Scenes, its music syncing feature that changes your bulb’s color to the rhythm of whatever music you’re playing on your phone, and additional options like scheduling, a timer, and a do not disturb mode.

Privacy and security snapshot

  • Third-party companies working with RCA gather and use personal information only when it’s required as part of a service they perform. Be sure to check those company’s privacy policies separately.
  • Email support@rcalights.com if you have any questions about your privacy and security when using RCA products and related software.

For more details, read RCA’s privacy statement.

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What to look forward to

We plan to test a few recently announced smart bulbs for a future update to this guide.

  • The TP-Link Tapo L535E Multicolor Smart Light Bulb produces 1,100 lumens and is Matter-enabled.
  • The U-tec Bright A19 1100LM, a 1,100-lumen color bulb that’s the first to use mesh Wi-Fi, which should provide better and more stable wireless range.

Other good smart LED light bulbs

While the following models didn’t make it onto our list of favorites, they’re decent bulbs that might still suit some.

If you prefer Bluetooth when you’re home: The Govee Wi-Fi+ Bluetooth RGBWW Smart LED Bulb (H6008) relies on Bluetooth when you’re within range and Wi-Fi when you aren’t. However, its app is cluttered and difficult to use.

If you want a scalable Zigbee-powered LED ecosystem: The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit is an excellent choice if you prefer Zigbee over Wi-Fi and plan to add more products from the lighting platform’s large selection. That said, the starter kit is expensive, and additional standalone bulbs cost a shocking $55 a pop. These pricey LEDs also didn’t perform as well as our winners.

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The competition

For this update we tested several bulbs that we don’t recommend for reasons that may include performance, features, or price.

The Amazon Basics Smart A19 LED Light Bulb was easy to set up and use in the Alexa app, however performed poorly in our light meter tests.

The GE Cync Dynamic Effects Smart Bulb offers a nice range of features, but it costs more than our picks despite weaker performance, and we found its app trickier to use.

The Nanoleaf Matter Essentials A19 Smart Bulb boasts a cool design, but its glitchy Matter setup gave me nothing but trouble from the beginning.

Previous authors of this guide have tested a number of smart bulbs, which we either dismissed or no longer recommend compared with the value and performance of our current picks (some may simply be discontinued).

Those tested include:

  • Abode Color Bulb
  • Bulbrite Solana Smart LED Bulb
  • Cree Lighting Connected Max Tunable White + Color Bulb
  • GE Sync Direct Connect Smart Bulb
  • Geeni Prisma Plus
  • Kasa Smart Light Bulb KL125
  • Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Bulb Multicolor KL130
  • LIFX Color A19 Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
  • Peace by Hampton Full Color A19 LED Smart Wi-Fi Bulb (discontinued)
  • IKEA’s Trådfri Smart LED Bulb
  • Ilumi A19 Color Smart Bulb
  • Sylvania Smart+ Bluetooth Mesh LED Bulb
  • Sylvania Smart+ LED Wi-Fi Full Color Bulb
  • Sylvania Smart+ Zigbee Full Color and Tunable White Bulb
  • Tapo Smart Light Bulb L530E
  • Treatlife Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb
  • WiZ 100W Equivalent A21 Color LED Bulb

This article was edited by Jon Chase and Grant Clauser.

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