Everything You Need to Know About Smart Lighting
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Everything You Need to Know About Smart Lighting

By Ring on June 12, 2024

Creating a smart home can feel like a feat only the tech savviest can achieve. In reality, all it takes to begin your smart home transformation is screwing in a few (smart) light bulbs. 

From hubs and hues to switches and schedules, this guide will explain everything you need to know about smart lighting and how to choose the best setup for your home. 

What Is Smart Lighting?

Smart lighting refers to any fixture, bulb, or switch that communicates wirelessly with other devices, enabling you to control it with your voice or smartphone. That means you can turn the lights on and off and adjust brightness levels from anywhere without touching a switch.

How Do Smart Light Bulbs Work?

Smart light bulbs often look just like regular bulbs and work in the same applications, from lamps to ceiling fixtures. The difference is that smart light bulbs contain a chip, enabling them to communicate wirelessly via Bluetooth, wifi, Zigbee, or another protocol. You may need a smart home hub, like a Ring Bridge or Amazon Echo, to control your lights away from home.

Once you replace a traditional bulb, you’ll need to leave the switch or fixture on since smart bulbs need a small amount of power to receive signals from other devices. That means you’ll need to use your phone or voice assistant to turn the lights on or lower the brightness. While you may have to get used to avoiding light switches, you’ll gain more customization. You can control each smart light bulb individually instead of using a switch to turn on two or four at a time.

How Do Smart Light Switches Work?

Like smart bulbs, smart switches connect with other devices using a wireless protocol. But smart switches control existing hardwired lighting, like can lights, under-cabinet lighting, and chandeliers, to provide smart capabilities without switching out every bulb.

Since they connect directly to your home’s wiring, you can turn the switch on and off without affecting controls. This convenience comes with a trade-off, though — if you have several lights wired to one fixture, smart switches will control them as a group instead of individually.

What Are the Features of Smart Lighting?

With these smart lighting features, you can feel like you’re living in the future:

Routines and Automation

Lighting plays a big role in your daily routine, providing illumination while you get ready for the day and a cozy glow when you wind down for bed. With smart lighting, you can integrate lights into that routine, so you never have to flip a switch when you arrive home from work.

Here are some ways you can automate your smart lighting:

  • Set lights to turn on when you’re home and off when you usually leave for work or go to bed.
  • Create a routine for your exterior lights to turn on at sunset and off at sunrise.
  • Use geofencing to turn lights on and off automatically when you leave and arrive home.
  • Keep daily automations running while you’re on vacation, so it looks like your home is occupied.
  • App Control

    Depending on the brand of smart lighting used and your smart home hub, if applicable, you can use a dedicated app to control power, routines, and dimness. Even if you’re at work or away on vacation, you can tap a few buttons on the app to control switches and bulbs.

    Voice Control

    Many smart lights work with voice assistants, like Alexa, to provide hands-free control. If your phone is charging in another room, for example, you can use your Echo device to ask Alexa to dim the living room lights.

    Smart Home Integration

    You can unlock even more capabilities when you connect smart bulbs or switches to other compatible smart home devices. For example, you can link certain smart switches to Ring Alarm to control everything from the Ring App.2 Or, if you use motion-activated Ring smart lighting outdoors, you can set your outdoor security cameras to begin recording if a light is triggered.3

    Smart Bulbs vs. Smart Switches — Which Option Is Better?

    You can’t go wrong with smart switches or bulbs when choosing smart lighting for your home. The best choice will depend on your lifestyle, goals, and current setup.

    If you have a lot of bulbless fixtures at home, switches are generally the way to go. Smart bulbs, like Ring A19 Smart LEDs, are a great option in rooms where you need to customize your lighting throughout the day.4 Ultimately, a mixture of smart home lighting options may be the best way to achieve your goals.

    When neither bulbs nor switches are the perfect choice, consider a third option. Smart fixtures provide the same customization as smart bulbs in applications or areas where bulbs aren’t a good fit. For example, you can install smart downlights in the kitchen, allowing you to control each light individually instead of using a switch that controls several. Smart landscape lighting fixtures, like Pathlights and Steplights from Ring, can also bring your smart home outdoors.5

    Factors to Consider When Choosing Smart Lighting

    Which Fixtures Do You Want to Replace?

    For hardwired lights without bulbs, smart switches are the way to go. Smart bulbs may be the best option for lamps, pendants, or sconces. Consider your budget and preferred level of customization when choosing.

    Do You Prefer Remote Control or Physical Switches?

    If you have kids who love to flip switches or frequent guests who are unfamiliar with smart lighting, smart bulbs may pose issues. Smart switches give you the option to use either your app, voice, or the physical switch, so anyone can turn on lights without affecting smart controls.

    If all the members of your household can commit to a switchless lifestyle, bulbs can enable you to embrace all the best features of smart home lighting.

    Do You Want the Option to Dim Your Smart Lights?

    Both switches and bulbs come in dimmable and non-dimmable forms. If you just want the ability to turn lights on and off remotely, non-dimmable bulbs can be the most cost-effective.

    When it comes to smart switches, you’ll want to look for options that work with your current lights. For example, if you have dimmable downlights at home, you’ll want a switch with dimming capabilities, and vice versa.

    With smart bulbs and some smart fixtures, you also have the option for colored LEDs. You’ll be able to adjust the hue from your smartphone to create a fun or moody vibe.

    Do You Have an Existing Smart Home Hub?

    If you already have a smart home hub or a device that doubles as a hub, like a Ring Alarm Pro Base Station, look for compatible bulbs and switches. You won’t have to buy a new device to control your smart lighting, and you’ll enjoy the added convenience of controlling different smart devices from one app.

    Switch to Ring Smart Lighting for Seamless Control

    Ready to experience smart home lighting for yourself? Ring has everything you need, from smart dimmable LED bulbs and landscape lighting to switches and dimmers that connect to the Ring App. With an Echo device, Alarm Pro Base Station, or Ring Bridge as your lighting hub, you can take advantage of simple smart controls, lighting schedules, and handy automations from the Ring App.1 2 Plus, Alexa can help you control your lighting without lifting a finger.

    Shop Ring lighting today to find the perfect setup for a smarter home.

    1 One Ring Bridge supported per household. Supports approximately 50 Ring Smart Lighting devices, including Motion Sensors (dependent on usage and other factors).

    2 Ring Alarm and all Ring Alarm accessories require a subscription for in-app features and digital notifications, including digital arming / disarming and integration with other Ring, Echo, Alexa, and third party products. Subscription sold separately. View ring.com/protect-plans for pricing and details.

    3 Ships to the US and Canada (excluding Quebec). Requires Ring Bridge for smart controls. Sold separately. One Ring Bridge supported per household.

    4 Bulb is dimmable through the Ring app and select Alexa-enabled devices only. Not for use with standard dimmer switches. Not suitable for use with standard wall dimmers. This device is not intended for use with emergency exit fixtures or emergency lights. Not compatible with photo sensors, motion sensors or timers unless specifically designed for Ring Smart Lighting.

    5 Batteries not included. Ships to the US and Canada (excluding Quebec). Requires Ring Bridge for smart controls. Sold separately. One Ring Bridge supported per household.

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