A Guide to Smart Home Lighting

What is smart home lighting and why would I want it?

As with all “smart” technology, the term “smart home lighting” can refer to a wide variety of products, and is a rapidly changing and developing field. Rest assured though, as we are going to break down all the options and give you an excellent stepping off point to make an educated buying decision when it comes to lighting in your home. The basic distinction between normal lighting and “smart” lighting is that smart lighting gives you options. Some of those options might include: automation, remote control, color changes, or even security features to protect your home. Here’s a few categories you might find helpful:

Basic lighting controls

This category is really one step above standard light switches, and generally isn’t even considered smart lighting, but it’s still worth mentioning, as they might accomplish what your looking for without the big price tag that often comes with smart lighting systems. These are things like Dimmers, Programmable timers, and wireless remotes. These devices are relatively inexpensive and offer a lot of versatility.  These will also all work without WiFi, which can be helpful in rural areas, and parts of your home outside the reach of a reliable internet connection.

Smart Bulbs

This is the easiest DIY solution for smart lighting. Smart bulbs can typically screw right into your existing light fixtures where your old incandescent or LED bulbs used to be. They don’t require new light fixtures or switches, and can offer a wide variety of features including color change, dimming, and even motion sensor capabilities. The down side to this type of smart lighting is that they require power, which means if someone turns off the light switch, your smart bulb goes offline. In addition, they are subject to replacement eventually. While LED bulbs will most likely last at least 15 years, it’s possible that they could burn up and need replacing earlier than you would like. This option can also be more expensive in light fixture that take multiple bulbs, when a single smart switch could give you much of the same functionality.

Smart Switches (WiFi)

Most consumer grade smart switches belong to this family. They usually can be installed individually and function, but work best when connected to a central hub, usually sold with the switches in a kit. These type of switches all connect wirelessly to one another via Wifi and the Hub. This is the most popular option for anyone looking to add some home automation, and give yourself the option of controlling things from your phone, without spending thousands of dollars on a full whole home automation system. Most brands offer a wide range of functions, from simple features like dimming, to setting a schedule, and even setting scenes to control all of your smart lights with one touch, all from your mobile device! These can also typically be integrated with Alexa, or other smart home devices, to make things as convenient as possible.

Whole Home Automation (Radio Controlled)

This is the king of smart home systems. These systems typically don’t require WiFi, and they are interconnected using their own radio frequency to reduce bandwidth usage on your home internet. These systems can be fully integrated with all of your other smart home systems including blinds, thermostat, and security. These typically have a very sleek design and can control every light in your home to create the perfect mood every time. These systems are proprietary, which means you’ll need to call a certified professional to have them installed. With that comes warranties and customer support, as well as customization and maintenance. Not surprisingly, all of these features can come with a hefty price tag, but might be worth it you want top of the line products in your home.

There are many great brands out there in the Smart Home Lighting market, but we recommend Caseta by Lutron. They often some of the best products on the market, and have a solution for almost any problem, all at a competitive price. If you would like us to install your Caseta system, or your choice of smart home lighting, give us a call today and get a free estimate! 816-588-9701