Playbulb's Bluetooth Smart LED light bulb is also a speaker!Josh Miller/CNET
Smart bulbs aren't your average LED. They don't just sit in a socket and light a room like your basic bulb. That's boring. Smart bulbs can do so much more.
Smart bulbs are called smart for a reason. They can wirelessly connect with phone apps, a capability that opens up major possibilities.
Here are just a few things smart bulbs can do.
1. They dim
One of the basic features of smart bulbs is that you can dim many of them without having to install dimmer switches in your home. Simply screw a dimmable smart bulb into your lamps or chandeliers and dim or brighten them using the bulb's corresponding app.
2. They can be controlled from anywhere
Some smart bulbs, such as the Belkin WeMo LED and GE Link Bulbs, have scheduling features which let you control your lights when you aren't home. This a great security option for when you are on vacation because your home never looks empty. This also means you can come home to a lit house without leaving your lights on and wasting electricity. Most light brands offer a hub that can sync all of your lights together so you can control all of them with one app.
3. They change colors
Dimming the lights to set a mood is okay, but you can take it a step further. Many smart bulbs also change color. In fact, some, including the Flux Smart LED Light Bulb, can produce a range of over 16 million colors. You can select the exact color you want by tapping a color wheel in the bulb's app. With the Philips Hue, Siri can even change your lighting whenever you ask.
Why would you want a bulb that changes color?
- Want to warm up the feel of a room? Change your light color to a golden yellow.
- Want to cool it down? Change your light color to light blue.
- During parties you can match the theme's color with your lighting.
- During the holidays you can turn your smart bulbs red and green for Christmas, black, red and green for Kwanzaa or blue for Hanukkah.
- Hate your wall color? Change it without painting by adding a little blue, yellow or red hue with a low intensity setting to your everyday lighting.
4. Some can play music
Imagine not having speaker wires everywhere, but still being able to hear your tunes in any room of the house. Smart bulbs with built-in speakers can make it happen.
For example, the Playbulb Color has lights that pulsate and change colors to match the mood of the music coming out of it speakers. It's like a party in a bulb. In my experience, the only problem with this bulb is that it isn't very loud. You really can't hear it if you are walking from room to room. It's perfect for a teen's bedroom, though.
If you want better sound quality and don't want colorful lights, the Sengled Pulse is a great choice. It offers high-quality audio and is also dimmable.
5. They can help you sleep better
Smart bulbs can even help you sleep better. The C Sleep emits several color temperatures that are designed to help regulate natural melatonin production in the body. Its light settings help suppress human melatonin levels during the day and increase melatonin as you near bedtime.