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10 smart light bulbs that work with Amazon Echo and its virtual assistant, Alexa

Michael Brown | Sept. 19, 2016
Here’s how an Amazon Echo, Tap, or Echo Dot can light up your smart home.

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi series: Best-known for producing routers, TP-Link has jumped into the smart lighting market with three products. As the series’ name indicates, these A19-style bulbs connect directly to your Wi-Fi router and therefore don’t need a hub to also connect to Alexa. The LB100 is the least expensive at $20, but it produces only 600 lumens of brightness (equivalent to a 50-watt incandescent). The $25 LB110 is more comparable to the typical incandescent bulb, putting out 800 lumens of brightness. Both of these put out a warm light rated at 2700K.

TP-Link’s $35 LB120 bulb also produces 800 lumens but you can tune the color of its light from a warm 2700K to a cool 6500K. All three of the bulbs can be dimmed, but only via an app or from the cloud. They cannot be used with physical dimmers. These bulbs were selling for much more than MSRP when we checked prices on Amazon. We found the LB110 at Home Depot selling at its $25 list price, but the LB100 and LB120 were both priced $5 higher than MSRP.

An alternative approach to smart lighting

Installing connected light bulbs isn’t the only way to get smart lighting. I’d argue the better alternative is to install smart light switches, especially if most of your home’s lighting comes from ceiling cans, pendants, or lamps plugged into wall outlets controlled by switches. It’s a little more expensive in the short run, but it gives you much more freedom in the long run.

All of the bulbs described above cost much more than the typical dimmable LED because they all have radios built into the them. And a large majority of those bulbs cannot be installed in fixtures that are controlled by dimmer switches. If you’re going to have to replace a dimmer switch to install a smart light bulb, it might be more cost-effective to replace it with a smart dimmer switch and put a dumb dimmable LED in the socket. That way, if you have a broader smart-home system, you can link the switch to your door or motion sensors, so that the light turns on automatically when you enter the house or a room. You can also connect most smart switches to Amazon’s Alexa, but you will need to install a hub.

 

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