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September 30, 2018

LIFX bulbs too pricey? Here are some cheap but smart alternatives

by John_A


LIFX is one of the biggest brands around when it comes to smart home lighting, offering a wide range of bulbs, strips, and panels to brighten up and color your room. Its selection isn’t perfect, though — the bulbs are pricey, and there aren’t many accessories to control them. If you’re shopping for smart bulbs and don’t want LIFX, there are plenty of other options from brands like Philips Hue and Flux.

Popular pick

Philips Hue White and Color Ambience


Philips Hue is the most well-known competitor to LIFX, and offers a similarly wide range of smart lights. The most popular bulb is the White and Color Ambience, but you can also buy light strips, lamps, and accessories like remote dimmer switches and motion sensors.

$48 at Amazon

Cheaper alternative

Xiaomi Yeelight


Xiaomi doesn’t just make phones; it actually has a massive collection of smart home devices, including its Yeelight smart lights. Like Philips Hue, Yeelights come in a wide variety of form factors, so you can buy what works best for your home — whether that’s a bulb, lamp, night light, or even a candela.

$30 at Amazon

Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

Flux Smart LED Bulb


Flux doesn’t have the broad selection that LIFX and Philips Hue offer, but its bulbs are more affordable and can still be controlled through Wi-Fi — though some of its bulbs actually utilize Bluetooth instead, which cuts costs even further but means that you won’t be able to change your lights away from home.

$36 at Amazon

No hub necessary

TP-Link LB130


TP-Link is an established smart home brand, and its LB130 bulb is a good option that, like LIFX’s bulbs, doesn’t require a hub to control. Get this if the LIFX bulbs are too expensive or your local store doesn’t have them in stock.

$35 at Amazon

Back to basics

GE C-Life


If you don’t care about colors and all you want is a light you can turn on and off from your phone, GE’s C-Life bulb is as simple as it gets. By default, it can only be controlled over Bluetooth, but you can buy a separate hub if you’d rather use Alexa or Google Assistant. Best of all, it’s very inexpensive.

$8 at Amazon

Light panels

Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm


Nanoleaf doesn’t sell light bulbs, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the LIFX Tile, the Aurora Rhythm is a fun and eye-catching product that lets you light up your room and even coordinates colored lights with music. What’s more, you can buy a hardware controller to change the colors of the panels.

$226 at Amazon

There are plenty of smart lights to choose from, and the best options will come down to your wants and needs. I’ve been using LIFX bulbs for years, but I just bought my first Philips Hue bulb because the included wall-mountable remote works perfectly in our guest room that doesn’t have a light switch, and a few people on the team swear by their Nanoleaf Aurora panels. Find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to buy into multiple brands! After all, almost all of them can be controlled by your virtual assistant.

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