Photo of Smart bulb

Do Smart Bulbs Use Electricity When Off?

People always tell you that buying a smart device saves you money. But paying $20 for some smart bulbs feels pretty ridiculous.

If you consider that lightbulbs can last forever, it starts to make sense. But it might cause “nonsense” based on the question above. So, do smart bulbs use electricity when off?

Smart bulbs are constantly on. As a result, they are known to be vampire devices that take up electricity regardless of whether they are on or off.

Thankfully, standby mode typically only costs under fifty cents per month.

In the rest of this article, we will run a comparison between smart bulbs and standard bulbs. We will also go through the details of what vampire appliances are. 

Smart LED Bulbs vs. Standard Bulbs – Which is Better for Your Electric Bill?

Typically, the short answer to your question is yes, smart bulbs reduce your bills. A 60 Watt Incandescent bulb takes .06 KWh (kilowatt-hours).

That means after 1,000 hours, these old-fashioned light bulbs will cost you six and a half dollars.

To better understand this, let’s compare this with the most popular brand of smart light: Hue Lights.

Philips Hue Bulbs vs. Incandescent

Philips Hue is one of the most iconic models of smart bulbs.  While there are others, this is one of the few light bulbs that contain a three-year warranty that also has 22 years or 25 thousand lifetime hours. 

Incandescent bulbs last up to two thousand hours (on average). So the higher price tag is justified knowing that you will have to buy 12 different lightbulbs. 

Given that Philips Hue bulbs have comparable brightness to 50W incandescent bulbs. Compared to the advertised 10W of Hue’s primary offering, that’s a significant difference. There may be a minor 0.5 watts difference, but that isn’t much of a difference.

Combine that with the potential for voice control and ease of turning off the lights from an application, and you have a convenient measure combined with energy savings. 

Philips also has a hub you can purchase if you want to automate your lights and control them away from home. You can even sync them with movies and music. 

But how do they compare to other kinds of bulbs?

Philips Lights vs. Fluorescent, CFL, and Halogen Bulbs

Excluding LED, the other kinds of lights include the following: 

  • Fluorescent: These are otherwise known as tube lights, best for commercial applications. A chemical reaction inside of the tube produces the light. 
  • CFL: Compact Fluorescent Lights are condensed versions of the gas-powered tube lights. They are known to save money over incandescent bulbs. You can identify them by looking for their twisty pattern.
  • Halogen: Halogen lights use halogen gas to increase light output and life. They can also come in “tube form.”
  • LED: Emits light with high energy-efficiency and light. These lights also have the best longevity. 

Note that most smart bulbs are a kind of LED bulb. Smart bulbs are loved because they are LED-style lights. They also have the most outstanding longevity. 

By converting your bulbs to LEDs, you may be able to make up a significant difference. As a result, the proper comparison between lights is standard LEDs vs. Smart LEDs.

So let’s run a quick comparison between the two.

LEDs or Smart LEDs?

If we narrow down two focus areas on lightbulbs (LEDs vs. smart bulbs), the question of “which is better” becomes challenging. Using our 60W brightness on incandescent as a standard, we can understand that the LED equivalent is about 10W. 

A standard LED light costs about $1 assuming 24 hours of usage. Comparing this to incandescent bulbs makes this a no-brainer, but what about throwing in the “smart” side of things?.

If you are like me, you are probably forgetful about your lights. Unless you have an exception to the rule, you will probably not leave your lights on longer than 10 hours. This habit may increase your energy bill by 50 cents.

If you do this daily, having a smart LED with an “auto-off” program can turn that 50 cents into two or three cents. So if leaving your lights on is a regular habit for you, Smart LEDs are a good investment.

What are Vampire Appliances?

Whether you have a smart light switch, smart lights, or your overall smart home, your life is full of these things called vampire devices. However, vampire devices aren’t just limited to smart homes.

Instead, they include anything that draws from a continuing source of energy. 

Modems, charging laptops, night lights, and clocks are all common non-smart examples. However, smart bulbs and plugs are two modern examples that have received more attention.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that Americans lose $19 billion on inactive electronics. Smart bulbs are not common offenders of this problem. Instead, it is typically older appliances. 

Tips For Energy Saving and Vampire Appliances to Save You Money

  • If you have a habit of leaving your lights on, purchasing a smart light bulb will reduce your energy consumption.
  • Unplug appliances that you do not regularly use. 
  • Purchase newer, energy-saving products that will reduce your electric bill. 
  • At the very least, replace your incandescent bulbs with LED light bulbs
  • Purchase surge protectors that you can turn off quickly, providing you greater control.

Final Thoughts 

Smart light bulbs can be a significant part of your home. As a potential energy-saving measure, you don’t have to fret over whether or not you left it on. Instead, you can direct that attention to your oven. 

The savings is most effective for a forgetful bunch. That’s completely alright, as entire families can suffer from this forgetful ailment.

If your family is looking for a good set of bulbs, check out our article detailing some of our favorites

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