There are tons of smart LED light bulbs to choose from nowadays -- and they come in an array styles and specs to suit any smart home. Most of them connect over a local Wi-Fi network, your phone's Bluetooth connection or a Zigbee hub, each requiring a slightly different setup process.
This past week I bought some Wi-Fi-enabled Wyze bulbs, Bluetooth-enabled C by GE bulbs and Zigbee-enabled Philips Hue bulbs and spent a day installing them and taking notes. Here's my quick and easy guide to installing a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Zigbee smart light bulb.
Not only are Wyze's dimmable, white light, Wi-Fi LEDs top performers with plenty of features at a great value, they're also easy to install.
5. Screw in the bulb and turn the power off and on three times. Now you're in pairing mode (the bulb will flash).
That's it, you're done. The app will ask you to create a unique name for the light and then you can set up custom on-off schedules and connect your Wyze bulb(s) to Alexa or Google Assistant.
The C by GE Soft White Smart Bulbs come in a $25 two-pack. Unlike the Wyze bulbs, these GE LEDs connect over your phone's Bluetooth out of the box. Here's how to get started:
If you want to control these LEDs when you're beyond Bluetooth range, you have two other options. First, you can buy the C by GE C-Reach Smart Bridge for $50 -- or you can use a Google Nest smart speaker or display to act as the Wi-Fi hub for the bulbs. C by GE bulbs also work with Alexa and Siri via HomeKit, but you'll need a C-Reach hub.
Philips Hue's White Zigbee bulbs require an additional step than Wyze and C by GE. It has a hub Philips calls the Hue Bridge that connects to your Wi-Fi router. One Hue Bridge is included in Philips' $70 Hue White LED two-pack. The installation is still simple, but it takes a few minutes longer (and I'm not a fan of the app).
The Philips Hue app is by far the most fiddly of the three. The app asked me to share my Home Data to connect it to Siri and HomeKit over and over again, despite my lack of interest (the bulbs work with Alexa and Google Assistant too). Still, they connect quickly despite the additional step of the hub. And the app does offer a lot of features, from dimming to scheduling, grouping and creating scenes.
Want to learn more about LEDs? Check out this handy guide outlining the best bulbs to buy for each room in your house.
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