Proper use of tech can make your connected home more energy efficient in a number of ways, great news for your bank balance and the environment. Last week, we looked at smart thermostats and how automating climate control can save you money. Today, we’ll keep it even more simple. We’ll be looking at some different approaches to energy efficient light bulbs.
By focusing on your specific requirements and finding the best match in terms of lighting, you can automate lighting while reducing energy consumption at the same time.
Before we showcase seven of the best energy efficient light bulbs, we’ll give you a breakdown of what to look out with light bulbs.
The Basics: Types of Light Bulbs
You have three main choices with light bulbs:
- Halogen Incandescents
LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are a form of solid-state lighting best known for their extreme energy efficiency.
All EnergyStar-certified LED lights use less than one-quarter the energy of incandescent bulbs while lasting 20 times longer.
You can easily buy replacement LEDs for most traditional incandescent lighting.
LEDs are also often used for track lighting, lamps, and cabinet lighting.
Since they stand up well to colder conditions, LEDs work well for outdoor lighting, too.
Although LEDs are not the cheapest light bulbs, when you consider the lifespan along with reduced energy costs, you could recoup costs with LED light bulbs sooner than you might imagine.
If you’re running outdoor lighting for lengthy periods, running CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) can bring your costs down.
These light bulbs are just scaled-down versions of the fluorescent strip lighting. You’ll use much less electricity than with traditional incandescent bulbs. By using one-quarter the energy, you’ll increase lifespan by a factor of 10.
You can get CFL bulbs in a range of colors and temperatures. These bulbs can be extremely energy efficient for certain applications.
A halogen incandescent bulb has a capsule inside holding gas round a filament. This leads to an efficient bulb although, frankly, there are superior options for you in terms of performance and economy.
If you have this type of lighting, you might want to seriously consider updating it.
We’ll assume you’re likely to roll with LEDs or CFLs, so what else do you need to think about on the buying trail?
What Else to Consider with Energy Efficient Light Bulbs?
Once you have established the most appropriate bulbs for your needs, think about connectivity.
Do you want to use your lights in sequence with other smart devices? If so, which ones and are they compatible?
Would you like remote access? What about using voice control? Is this important to you?
Are you interested in the ease and convenience that comes with app-controlled lights?
The level of smarts you want baked into your energy saving lighting will determine whether or not you need to consider a home hub.
We’ve covered an array of light bulbs below catering for all requirements, so you can browse through our suggestions when you’re done with this quick guide.
Fitting and Voltage
Make sure you get the type of fitting right – is it screw or bayonet? – and this will ensure you also get energy efficient light bulbs at the right voltage.
Check for sizing closely before committing to purchase.
The shape of the bulb is about more than just aesthetics. Bulb shape affects how light is thrown.
You can choose from a good chunk of designs with energy efficient light bulbs such as spotlights, reflectors, candles, globes, and spirals.
Brightness of incandescent lighting is expressed in watts. The brightness of LED lighting is described in terms of lumens.
To replace a 60W traditional bulb, you’d be looking at an 800-lumens LED. This is based on countries like the US using 120 volts.
The temperature or warmth of lighting is measured in Kelvin.
Orange candlelight is about 1500K. Warm white at 2700K is roughly comparable with a traditional incandescent bulb.
You can step things up to natural white (3000K) and cool white (4000K) before the light starts turning blue.
Think closely about the mood you’re looking for in your home. Think, too, about the intended use of the room. A study environment and a setting for watching movies have completely very different lighting needs.
So, we’ll jump right in now and walk you through a handful of smart lighting solutions that can generate savings by optimizing energy consumption.
7 Best Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
- Philips LED Non-Dimmable 60-Watt Equivalent
- Philips Hue Smart LEDs 2-Pack
- Lumiman Smart Color-Changing LED
- Cree LED 100W Daylight Smart Bulb
- Energy Smart CFLs 60-Watt Equivalent
- Sengled Smart LED Soft White
- Philips Hue Starter Kit
If you fancy retaining the classic styling of an incandescent bulb with the ability to save money through reduced power consumption, these Philips LEDs are a wise bet.
Projected lifespan for each bulb is in excess of 10,000 hours and you’ll get a pack of 16 bulbs with this value pack.
The soft white is rated at 2700 Kelvin and this 8.5-watt bulb can easily serve as the equivalent of a 60-watt bulb. You’ll use up to 80% less energy with these non-dimmable bulbs.
Bulbs are designed to fit E26 screw bases.
If you’re already invested in the Philips Hue line of lighting, you should pass these bulbs up since they are not compatible. These are not intended for connected use.
If you’re looking for smart lighting to build out with other devices, these bulbs don’t make a good fit. If, on the other hand, saving energy is your core goal, the value pack of 16 makes perfect sense.
We mentioned Hue right above and it’s undeniably the connected Hue line that snatches all the headlines for Philips these days.
If you want to invest in the ecosystem at a very reasonable price-point, this 2-pack of smart LEDs gives you a great deal of flexibility.
One method of control is to take helm using the Bluetooth Hue app. If you already have the Hue Hub, you can continue taking control just as you always have. Buying the hub allows you to build in up to 50 lighting devices, giving you a connected home capable of saving you money over time.
If you fancy broader smart home control, but you’re not sure about getting locked into an ecosystem like Hue, why not consider picking up Echo Plus? This classic smart speaker from Amazon features on integrated Zigbee hub giving you voice control and smart home integration rolled into one.
Interoperability is first-class. Hue lights play nicely with Samsung SmartThings and Apple HomeKit giving you plenty of options. PC software allows you to sync your lights in-app on your desktop or laptop.
The lumen output of these lights is 800 and brightness levels are roughly in line with a 60-watt incandescent bulb. The main draw is the greatly improved lifespan and reduced energy consumption from LEDs.
With this set of energy efficient light bulbs, you can save energy costs through automating climate control and cutting wastage. Building out sensors to help with occupancy detection lighting can make a difference over the course of a year. You’ll also make direct savings from the increased energy efficiency of LEDs over traditional light bulbs.
If you are looking to dip your toes into smart lighting with a core focus on saving money, LEDs are the obvious solution.
Lumiman offers up another low-cost and user-friendly entry point with these color-changing smart bulbs that don’t call out for an external third-party hub. While a hub is the foundation of any ambitious connected home, you might not want one when you’re starting. Lumiman appreciates this while still providing remote access and hands-free control.
You can manipulate your smart bulbs in-app, even if you don’t have a hub in place. This allows you to enhance energy efficiency at home and put an end to those forgotten lights blazing away when you’re out.
The palette of 16 million colors is choice bordering overkill. You certainly won’t find a problem getting the lighting of your dreams. You can take the tedium out of setting up mood lighting by saving some presets. This will give you settings like movie mode, study time and reading mode.
These energy efficient light bulbs come backed by a solid 2-year warranty for your complete peace of mind.
The only thing to watch out for is that you have a 2.4GHz WiFi network in place. These bulbs don’t work well with 5GHz networks.
Considering the remarkably low pricing, these smart bulbs are one of the most effective ways to save money on your energy costs without any real effort at all.
We mentioned at the start that you need to consider various use cases for lighting. Out in the kitchen, you should shoot for lighting that replicates natural daylight.
While you should be looking for extremely bright lighting so you can chop your way through those veggies safe and sound, you don’t always want piercing floodlights. If you’re relaxing in the kitchen with a book, you’ll want a less invasive glow. Cree has you covered with this dimmable daylight smart bulb.
Crank the brightness all the way out to 5000 Kelvin with these 100-watt equivalent LEDs that won’t cost you a fortune when your power bill drops. Indeed, with annual operating costs of just $2, you’ll be kicking yourself for not filling your house with these LEDs sooner.
The shape of the energy efficient light bulb is such that the light is directed around through a full 360 degrees.
For rich and natural lighting in the kitchen, alongside the ability to use much less electricity to achieve it, check out these Cree bulbs and brighten up your connected home on a budget.
If you have plenty of lamps and fixtures scattered throughout your home that aren’t LED-friendly, this pack of CFLs steps in to save the day.
While they might not have quite the lifespan of the best LEDs, these bulbs are still rated for 12,000 hours, while using only one-quarter the energy of incandescents. They draw down just 13 watts but give off the equivalent power of 60 watts.
Temperature is 2700 Kelvin and the T5 bulbs slot into E26 screw-in bases.
EnergyStar-rated, these CFL smart bulbs from GE are a savvy alternative to full-bore smart lighting. Use them for all those assorted appliances, lamps, and fittings where LEDs don’t make a great fit and start saving money right away.
Sengled is a heavyweight in the smart lighting space and this simple soft white LED is a neat way to shave a few bucks off your power bill.
Available individually or in a 2-pack and 8-pack, you need a hub to get the most out of these bulbs. As for a hub, you should use Wink or SmartThings hubs. Add in an Echo device and you can start using Alexa. Google Assistant is also supported if you get yourself a Home smart speaker.
The Sengled app is intuitive and provides detailed energy reporting so you can isolate any problem areas where energy consumption could be improved.
Set up and pairing are straightforward. Once you’re up and running, it’s equally easy to schedule and automate your lighting.
If you’re looking to go all-in on smart lighting, but want a gently sloping entry-point, we’d strongly recommend giving Sengled a shot.
We’ve saved the best for last with the classic Philips Hue starter kits. These kits come in a bewildering array of configurations, so take your time finding one that meshes with your needs.
The kits feature the Hue Hub giving you the ability to control up to 50 devices. Kits come with various bulbs thrown in whether white, white ambiance or white and color.
You’ll generally get 4 bulbs thrown in to get you started. Simply screw these into any compatible outlet then pair the bulb in-app with the hub.
The Philips Hue ecosystem is diverse. Get creative with motion sensors and a dimmer switch to start reducing your energy costs further while making your life easier.
Well, we hope by now that you have a little inspiration for energy-efficient light bulbs. You should also be confident that you can reduce energy consumption at home without needing to make sacrifices or invest huge sums of money. Get going for as little as $25 and build out your lighting over time.
Don’t forget to bookmark our blog for all the latest smart home news, too.
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