Smart lighting systems have endless possibilities and applications. But you may have also seen smart light bulbs on the market. So, if you are looking to add smart lighting to your home, which is better?

What is a smart bulb?

A smart bulb is a Wi-Fi capable light bulb that allows lighting to be customized, scheduled and controlled via your smart device. You will be able to turn the light on and off as you normally would or through an app on your phone. This allows you to control your smart bulbs from anywhere.

What is a lighting system?

A single-room or whole-home smart lighting system replaces your light switches instead of your light bulbs. Therefore, this is a permanent, integrated part of your home. One switch controls either an entire bank of lights or one fixture (depending on what the switch is wired to control) but you can also customize keypads to control multiple lights with the touch of one button. This can be done in either new construction or retrofit applications and your lighting can be controlled normally or through a smart device.

When should I get a smart bulb?

If you are looking to control lamps or add smart lighting to only a few lights in your home, then smart bulbs can be a good option. Also, if you are looking to create a fun mood with colored lights then smart bulbs may be the right choice as you can often change their color via the app. The important thing to keep in mind with smart bulbs is that each one creates its own IP address. Therefore, if you are looking to do a number of lights or rooms, we recommend going with a smart lighting system as the hub of your system creates only one IP address. Additionally, if the light bulb burns out it will need to be replaced with another smart bulb as opposed to a lighting system which uses regular bulbs.

When should I opt for a lighting system?

If you are looking to do an entire room or house then, a smart lighting system is often the better choice. It also has the most options for customization. A smart lighting system allows you to schedule your lights, customize scenes, control your lights via your smart device, integrate keypads or remotes throughout your home and much more. Plus, a smart lighting system is completely customizable so you can start with a single light or a single room and eventually go all the way up to an entire home or business.

Benefits vs. Costs

A smart lighting system will in all likelihood be more expensive than doing smart bulbs. Therefore, here are a few things to think about:

  • How many smart lights do you want? If you know you only want a couple lamps or lights then maybe go with the bulbs. But if you want to expand in the future or are unsure then go with the lighting system. Because with the lighting system you can start with one or two switches and expand in the future without overloading your internet with so many IP addresses.
  • Compare lights vs. switches. If you have one switch in your living room that controls 8 can lights, then the cost comparison would be one smart switch vs. eight smart bulbs.
  • What features are most important? If you only care about remote access then either will give you that. However, if you are looking for more customizable features, scenes, keypads, geofencing, etc…then go with the system.
  • Finally, compare the extra cost of a lighting system with the fact that you don’t need to worry about replacing burnt out bulbs and that the whole-home lighting system will become an integrated part of your home. A smart lighting system has been shown to increase a home’s value.

Overall, there are very few times that we recommend the smart bulbs over a smart lighting system because we know the capabilities that a smart lighting system can provide. However, we also recognize that smart bulbs do have a place and are sometimes the right choice. It is ultimately up to you to decide which features are most important to you and what will be right for your home.

If you have any questions or comments, contact Sasha at sasha@inthelitellc.com. As always, we hope we’ve made your day brighter!

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