Back in the late 90s, it seemed like every cool kid on TV had “clapper lights”. Back then, this was the epitome of an affluent, high-tech lifestyle: a sound sensor that would let you turn off the lights without leaving the couch, just by clapping! Learn more about the best cheap smart bulbs with google home reviews.
It has been over 20 years, and enough water has passed under that bridge. For those of us who want an automated life, the new goal is to get to order our appliances around using the voice control option. Thanks to the Google Home suite and other smart home apps, this reality is now within our reach – and often, with overnight shipping to boot.
If you are looking to automate your home, your smart bulbs are a good place to get started. In this article, we will explore the possibilities offered by Smart Bulbs, and we will help you choose the cheapest options that don’t compromise on quality.
Table of Contents
What Are Smart Bulbs?
Smart bulbs look like your regular light fixtures, such as LED lights or old school energy-saving light bulbs. However, they have a WiFi receiver that allows them to receive commands through your home’s internet. This will allow you to control them without dealing with any switches or leaving your chair.
Usually, smart bulbs and other “smart home” appliances don’t connect directly to your computer. Instead, they connect to either a smart home app, such as Kasa smart, or a Smart home hub like Alexa or Google Home.
If you choose to go the smartphone app route, this will effectively turn your smartphone into a command center. This will let you can schedule, synchronize, or operate any of these devices remotely.
For smart bulbs, this may mean:
- Turning them off and on by speaking a voice command into your phone
- Pre-setting a schedule so they turn on automatically
- Synchronizing them with light sensors, so they turn on when it gets dark
- Dimming or adjusting them by tapping your smartphone.
Do keep in mind that all these functions only work via your phone. So not only will you have to keep it around – but you will also need to ensure all your devices are compatible with the same app. If you wish to speak light into existence, you will need a hub.
What is Google Home?
Google Home is a new “smart home hub” system powered by Google. It is not set to be the main competitor to Alexa’s Echo and is being closely followed by the Apple Homekit.
At the centre of Google Home are their smart speakers. These stylish little gadgets look a lot like a Glade air freshener, and they combine a Wi-Fi smart receiver, a microphone and a speaker. You can place your Google Home hub in your home or office, and sync all compatible appliances to it. The microphone will learn to respond to a specific command (like “Okay, Google”) to turn itself on and will listen to whatever you say next. Then, the speaker will send the command to the receiver in your chosen appliance.
“Okay Google, turn the lights off!” – and darkness will fall.
The Alexa Echo system and Apple Homekit work in very similar ways. However, there are some extra benefits to working with Google systems.
First, Google is a larger company with a lot of software developers. Thanks to this, it will be easier to find support apps that can match the devices you have and even pre-programmed commands that do what you want them to do.
If you already have an Android phone, opting for a Google Home-based system also offer other perks: it will be easier to sync your devices with your phone and between them, for example, by using the speaker to play music from your phone. Google-based devices also tend to be cheaper.
What to Look for in a Budget Smart Bulb
If you don’t have already have a “smart” entertainment or security system and are not planning to get one, then the choice of the ideal smart bulb is left wide open for you. In such cases, you won’t be steered towards an Alexa or Google Assistant system. Instead, you will be chiefly looking at whether the bulbs work and how long they last.
However, “budget-friendly” doesn’t need to be synonymous with “absolute cheapest”. Depending on how much financial wiggle room, you may also be on the lookout for:
- Energy monitoring options
- Dimmable or transitional lights setting
- Colored lights
- Automated timers
- Low-heat creation
Our Picks for Cheap Smart bulbs with Google Home
Boxlood WiFi Smart Bulbs
The Boxlood WiFi Smart bulbs are easy to operate despite offering ample customization options. These light bulbs work with Amazon Echo and Google Home Assistant, although they do not require a hub.
They are both dimmable and offer a wide array of RGB colors, which works great if you are hoping to create a custom display or to liven things for a party. Both options are very easy to control using Boxlood’s Smart Life app. The interface is remarkably intuitive and easy to operate, with wide sliders that will let you adjust the strength and exact shade of color you are looking for.
These settings can also be set up to a timer, allowing you to slowly increase the amount of artificial light in a room around sunset. The app can also be synced with a weather app, in which case it will take into account the estimated sunset and sunrise times, or the local weather, to determine the degree of brightness.
If you just want to turn them on or off, then just shout a quick voice command to Google Home, Alexa Echo, or Siri.
The main flaw behind these lights is that initial installation can be a bit tricky. The lights respond to both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz connections, but the app only responds to 2.4 GHz. Because of this, you will have to disable the 5 GHz one during the initial pairing. It may take you a couple of times to pair them properly – but once you do, the 5GHz will allow you to send faster and more stable commands from your smartphone.
|Wide variety of colors and intensities.||Not all control options are available via voice commands.|
|Offer both warm and cool white lights.||Initial installation is a bit difficult.|
|Easy to operate using the app.|
|Best Cheap Smart Bulbs Reviews|
Gosund Led WiFi Upgraded Bulbs, 4-Pack
If you opt for Gosund’s model you will be getting a 4-pack for the price that most brands would just give you one or two smart bulbs. On the other hand, this will mean that you will have to give up on some of the more advanced customization options.
These LED WiFi bulbs offer a steady, warm white light that will help you look lively, but not yellowish when the company is around. More importantly, the yellow tint is just strong enough to block most blue light. This makes these bulbs ideal for bedrooms and sleeping areas, especially if you suffer from insomnia or other sleeping problems.
These lights are also dimmable and offer a pretty decent brightness range that can transition easily from full daylight to night mode. The LED technology will also help you save energy – although they are slow to “warm up”, so if you ever get home and need bright lights right away, you may need to rein in your patience.
Fortunately, these smart bulbs have a built-in defense against sudden darkness: Gosund’s app makes it relatively easy to schedule your lights ahead of time, in case you were ever to arrive home later than usual. If you would are fonder of immediate voice commands, you will just need to pair them with Alexa or Google Assistant.
|Dimmable.||Need some time to warm up into a bright light.|
|Can be controlled remotely using the Gosund app.||You can’t change the color.|
|Best Cheap Smart Bulbs Reviews|
Gosund Smart Light bulbs, 6-pack
The Gosund Smart Light bulbs 6-pack offer more and brighter light for a smaller price. They also offer similar energy efficiency and most of the same settings and possibilities as the “upgraded” version. This includes the possibility to pair them up with Alexa or Google, although they don’t require a hub or any other additional gadgets for their operation.
They also work with the same LifeSmart app, which is easy to use, although not as stylish as the Kasa app.
The main difference lies in the light hue: this option doesn’t invest as much to soften the brightness of LED lights. This option offers a whiter version that includes a higher degree of blue light rays. Because of this, it is best suited for a kitchen, hallway or bathroom, rather than a bedroom or living room.
These light bulbs are also dimmable, and on paper, they offer a similar brightness range. However, the nature of while lights will mean that they will create more instantaneous strong lights, but may not create a good soft or romantic ambience.
|Very budget-friendly.||White lights are not conducive to sleep.|
|Easy to sync with other Gosund lights.||The light remains sharp even when set to a low brightness setting.|
|Best Cheap Smart Bulbs Reviews|
Sengled Smart Daylight Light Bulbs
Featuring wide compatibility with different systems, and a pretty firm and sturdy finish, the Sengled “Daylight” smart bulbs are a cost-effective option for anyone looking for versatile light fixtures.
Just like many other manufacturers, Sengled offers its clients their app, with hopes of steering them towards buying their entire Smart Home ecosystem from the same brand. Using Sengled’s app will offer the fastest response times and the most precise brightness adjustments – which is particularly important for dimmable lights such as this.
Sengled is also very committed to offering deep energy savings, and they face these problems directly with this model: these smart bulbs use up to 85% less energy than regular incandescent lighting, which lets them compete on even ground with regular LED light bulbs.
Perhaps they are too successful at this: the energy savings come at two important costs. First, these light bulbs are only compatible with 2.4 GHz WiFi connections. Second, they offer the equivalent of a 60 W light bulb, rather than the standard 75 W.
Whether through the app, the Alexa Suite or Google Home, these lights can be operated via voice commands, or pre-programmed to follow a specific schedule. However, they also offer ITTT (If this, then that) programming, which allows them to be partially controlled by other gadgets in the house. This can turn them into a surprisingly effective way to complement a Smart Security system, whether it consists of cameras alone, or is accompanied by movement and light sensors.
|Very energy efficient.||Even at the highest brightness setting, they only offer moderate light.|
|Resilient: will last for years and may even resist a few drops.||They cannot connect to 5 GHz (high speed) Wi-Fi.|
|Compatible with ITTT.|
|Best Cheap Smart Bulbs Reviews|
OHLUX Smart WiFi LED Light Bulbs
Whether with an Alexa Hub or Google Smart Speaker or solely through the use of its app, the OHLUX Smart LED light bulbs fall on the upper tiers of “budget” light bulbs. However, they are a super option that offers a lot of light in a wide variety of colors.
The most notable feature of this option is the full RGB palette of colors you can access. This means that you will not have to choose between cool or warm white light. In addition, you will have access to bright oranges, purples, reds, and blues. Often, having too many options when it comes to colors comes alongside a lack of precision, where standard controls may not let you get the exact shade you want.
However, the OHLUX app offers surprisingly dexterous controls. You will be able to set each light to a very precise degree. If you choose a group control option, you won’t have to settle for the same uniform color either. You can set each shade to run at uniform intervals, which can help you make beautiful combinations for specific holidays (such as orange-to-black for Halloween, or red-to-green for Christmas).
In addition, the timer option can also be used to either turn the lights on completely or to progressively brighten them through a specified period, creating a “timed sunset” effect. These light bulbs promise to last for up to 50,000 working hours, and upon checking out the reviews from other users, we found this to be largely true. However, there were mentions of the occasional light bulb which quickly gave out – although covered by the warranty and promptly replaced, this is still a major hassle.
|Dimmable and color-changing lights.||Occasionally, some light bulbs may burn too soon.|
|The app offers very precise control.||A bit more expensive than other “budget” options.|
|Designed to have a long life.|
|Best Cheap Smart Bulbs Reviews|
Smart light strips and light fixtures are just one of the many possibilities offered by Smart Home suites and home automation. Voice commands and remote-controlled appliances will likely be ubiquitous in the future.
For early adopters, the priority should be of getting reliable light bulbs that answer quickly to voice control. Many budget options also offer extra perks, such as changing lights or dimmable brightness.
|Best Cheap Smart Bulbs||Title||Price||Prime||Reviews|
|Top||Smart Light Bulbs, Boxlood WiFi Smart Bulbs||Prime||See Reviews On Amazon|
|Top||Smart Light Bulb, Gosund Dimmable WiFi LED Light Bulbs||Prime||See Reviews On Amazon|
|Top||gosund Smart Light Bulb Compatible||Prime||See Reviews On Amazon|
|Top||Sengled Smart Bulb, Smart Daylight Bulbs||Prime||See Reviews On Amazon|
|Top||OHLUX Smart WiFi LED Light Bulbs Compatible with Alexa and Google Home||Prime||See Reviews On Amazon|