Anyone getting into the smart home craze, or anyone that already has some smart home devices already, has thought about getting smart bulbs to control their lighting. The one big question that comes to mind is how long the bulbs last because they can be a lot more expensive than your regular run of the mill fluorescent bulb. You can normally pick up cheap bulbs at your local store for under 10 dollars, but smart bulbs can be triple that or more depending on what brand and color you get. That is a huge difference in price if they are going to last less time than a typical bulb. We are going to take a look at some well-known manufacturers of smart bulbs and see how they actually rate compared to the old style bulbs and see if there is really any added benefit of making the move. One thing to keep in mind is that smart bulbs have a bit more technology behind them, so they are always going to be more expensive than the average bulb that you buy. On average, the normal light bulb will only last about 1,000 to 2,000 hours at best. Your typical LED non-smart light bulb will last about 50,000 hours, depending on the usage, or 11 years, whichever comes first.
How long do smart bulbs last? The average smart light bulb will last between 15 and 25 years, or between 15,000 and 25,000 hours, or whichever comes first. Because of the LED technology, they are built to last long timelines in a home but have a slightly less lifespan than a non-smart LED bulb. Below is a breakdown of the lifespan of the most commonly purchased smart LED light bulbs on the market:
- Phillips HUE: Rated for roughly 15,000 to 25,000 working hours.
- Element Classic: Rated for roughly 25,000 working hours.
- IVIEW-ISB600: Rated for roughly 20,000 working hours.
- Sengled Element Classic: Rated for roughly 22,000 working hours.
- LOHAS Smart LED Bulb: Rated for roughly 30,000 working hours!
- Kasa Smart Wi-Fi LED: Rated for roughly 25,000 hours
As you can see, the working hours are pretty similar with an average of about 20,000 working hours, but most come with a one to three-year manufacturers warranty if something were to happen. Since these bulbs have a lot more working pieces, there is a lot more to go out than just the bulb itself. Keep your receipt and warranty information when you buy the bulbs in case you need to return them within the warranty period.
Hub or Hubless
The first thing you need to decide when picking a smart bulb is whether you want to run it from a HUB, or just off your wifi (Hubless). This will narrow down your search margin by a lot, so if you already have something like Amazon Echo, or Echo Dot, you know you should get something that Alexa can control. If you already have a HUB, there is no reason to go to a hubless that will most likely have its own mobile application. There is one great thing about hubless bulbs, and that is that most of them will actually work WITH a HUB, but it is not required because it does have an app. I typically buy bulbs that will work with my Amazon Echo and let Alexa control everything for me. If you do not want to a HUB right now, do not worry, you can add one in the future and not need new bulbs at all.
Picking the Right Bulbs
When picking a bulb, there is a lot more to consider than the watts like the old bulbs. New smart bulbs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it important to know what type of bulb you want. Here is a brief list of different things you can choose from in a smart bulb:
- Wattage: Most are now under 10 watts.
- Color: Do you want a soft white, or do you want multiple colors like, red, blue, green, purple.
- Lumens: This is how bright the bulb will be, and are measured in Lumens or lm. Most are around 600 or more and are a softer brighter white.
- Shape: You can get different shapes like the old round style, or the newer cone style that fits in canned lighting.
- Smart Connection: This is the option you will choose if you want to use a HUB, or wifi, or voice commands. This is where the selection process should start for you.
Now, it is time to go through those points of selection and pick what type of bulb you want, and then you can find the best one to suit your needs. Answering the above list will narrow down your list of light bulbs by a huge margin and should only have a handful to select from.
Is LED Really Better?
Yes, LED, even the not smart bulbs are much better than the old filament, and fluorescent bulbs by a long shot. Older bulbs were not made to last as long and used a lot of electricity to run them, that is why they are rated for such low hours. New LED bulbs are much lighter and do not take nearly as much electricity to run, so they can last for a very long time. LED bulbs are much more energy efficient and will cut down on your electric bill a lot. Even if you decide not to get a smart bulb, I would highly recommend that you look into replacing some, if not all of your home/apartment bulbs with LEDs.
Do Different Colors Matter
For the most part, it does not matter in terms of lifespan if you get different colors or not when choosing a smart bulb. Some smart bulbs come designed to be able to switch from different colors, and are not just a one color bulb. Most of the bulbs that come with multi colors, last just as long as the normal white smart bulb, and will last roughly 20,000 working hours. Color bulbs work great for kids rooms, and living rooms where you might want to have a dimmed color on one light to give off a different glow. The price of a colored can be a little bit more in cost, but it not usually by much, and it will depend on if it is a single color or a multi-colored bulb.
Is It Worth The Money
In terms of electricity costs and longevity of having to replace bulbs, Yes, smart bulbs, and LED bulbs, in general, are very much worth the money, and will actually save you money in the long run of having them. Typical bulbs, although cheaper to buy, will have to be replaced many times over compared to a smart bulb. Smart bulbs will have a higher cost out of pocket up front but will last you years before they have to be replaced depending on usage. A typical bulb is run for about three hours per day, so if you have a light that you like to leave on, your smart bulb may burn out faster, but will still have a longer life than a normal bulb.
Will Hubless Smart Bulbs Work With A Smart Hub
Yes, in fact almost all hubless bulbs will work with with a HUB if you decide to buy one. Typically hubless bulbs might cost a little more up front because of the software that is needed to run them, but that should not deter you from buying them now and upgrading to a HUB later. If you plan to buy a hub, please read the ratings before you buy a hubless bulb because there some bulbs that need to run off of their own software.