Brightest LED smart bulbs 2021: The best for dark spaces
Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central
When times get dark, we need bright light to see our way out — and the brightest LED smart bulbs make it that much better. A high-lumen (unit for measuring the quantity of light) bulb can do the trick in a small or large room. Adding in some smarts to that bulb gives it the flexibility to control from your favorite smart speaker or phone. So whether you want a standard A19 E26 bulb or the BR30 for recessed lighting, there’s a bulb for you. The Feit Electric OM100 is our top pick for its incredibly high lumen rating and hubless smart controls, which means it only needs Wi-Fi and your phone to control.
Best overall: Feit Electric OM100 – RGBW
Source: Feit Electric
While Feit Electric may not be the well-known smart bulb, it’s been innovating and creating high-quality lighting solutions since 1978 — and the OM100 RGBW bulb continues that trend. Since this bulb doesn’t require extra hardware such as a hub, this Wi-Fi-enabled smart LED bulb is simple to set up. It has a peak output of 1,600 lumens, making it the brightest LED smart bulb on the list, equal to a traditional 100W incandescent bulb — that’s some serious light. You’ll get a tunable white with a color temperature range from 2700K soft white to 6500K daylight, along with millions of RGB colors to pick from.
Feit Electric not only created an ultra-bright LED bulb here, but it also made it so that integration with Alexa, SmartThings, and Google Assistant is a snap. The inclusion of 2.4GHz Wi-Fi means all you need is to connect it to your Wi-Fi, and you’re up and running. Feit Electric also has an app compatible with iOS and Android, so you have that option if you don’t have a smart speaker or prefer not to use voice commands.
Within the app, you can set the brightness of your bulb(s) and tune the colors. There are also some scenes and schedules that you can configure to automate your lighting. This bulb’s connectivity features allow you to take full advantage of its very high brightness to illuminate your darkest spaces best.
High 1600LM rating
No hub required
Google Assistant and Alexa integration
The app can be finicky
Brightest setting only applies to the white color tone
Limited preset scenes in the app
Feit Electric OM100 – RGBW
It’s so bright
Feit Electric OM100 is the brightest LED smart bulb that is also hubless. Meaning you all you need is Wi-Fi to get it just right.
Runner-up: Novostella 13W RGBCW
Novostella’s 13W standard smart bulb may have landed in second place due to its lower lumen count, but it still has plenty of great features. At 1300LM, it also has plenty of light to brighten up most spaces quite well.
It utilizes an RGBCW LED array to net you a tunable white color range from 2700K to 6500K while still garnering 16 million colors of fun as well. Using specific warm and cool white LEDs, Novostella’s bulb produces some of the most accurate white ranges of all the bulbs on this list.
Novostella included 2.4GHz Wi-Fi in terms of smarts so that you can use the bulb with an Android or iOS app without the need for separate hardware. You can group lights, control brightness and colors, set up schedules, and even use some preset scenes through the Smart Life app. Luckily, the bulb is also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and even IFTTT, so integrating it into your smart home is simple.
Great brightness with 1300LM
Works with multiple smart home platforms
App lets you control lights
The app is sometimes buggy
Color accuracy could be better
Some connectivity issues
Novostella 13W RGBCW
Twice as white
This bulb is very bright and has accurate whites due to the dual white LEDs and the RGB colors.
Best budget: Wyze Bulb Color
Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central
You may know Wyze for its low-cost Wi-Fi cameras, but the company also makes some pretty great smart LED bulbs too. Aside from being a good quality bulb, you can also get them at a great price.
Sticking with what Wyze does best, which according to the company, is to “make quality smart home technology accessible to everyone,” the Wyze Bulb Color provides a good level of brightness and smart features without breaking the bank. At 1100LM, this bulb is on the punches with the best of the other options on this list, but it comes with a white color range of 1800K to 6500K and 16 million colors to pick from. The bulb provides a good brightness level for most rooms, and setting the color temperature is a great bonus.
Because these bulbs don’t require a hub, pairing the light up to your Wi-Fi and phone is a simple process, and once complete, you can control brightness, color temperature, as well as set up schedules. Wyze Bulb Color is also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa for added voice controls. Wyze also makes some smart sensors called Wyze Sense that can be used to extend the Wyze Bulb Color features further.
Low cost of entry
Tunable white colors
Can control through an app or with smart assistants
Wyze Sense adds more features
Not as bright as other options
Wyze Bulb Color
A bright buy
Wyze Bulb Color is a low-cost Wi-Fi bulb that has tunable whites and 16 million colors. At 1100 lumens, it’ll get the job done.
Best BR30 style: KHSUIN Smart Light
KHSUIN makes a very bright BR30 bulb at 1600LM, which is a 150W equivalent! With this level of brightness, you’ll be able to make even the darkest room shine. One note to keep in mind is that you’ll want to be on the white color spectrum to obtain peak luminosity.
However, when not going to the ultra-brightness, you’ll have over 16 million colors to choose from. This ensures you’ll be able to find the perfect shade to get the mood just right. While it does offer a full range of colors, saturation isn’t very good at the higher brightness levels.
KHSUIN does include 2.4GHz Wi-Fi to connect to the Smart Life app, which allows you to control colors and brightness and set up some scheduling and scenes. Along with app control, you can also connect the bulb to your Alexa devices or Google Assistant-enabled speakers. IFTTT is another service that will work with KHSUIN bulbs for more smart home automation, but not Apple HomeKit.
Weak color saturation
Falls off-network periodically
Limited app functionality
Best BR30 style
KHSUIN Smart Bulb
See it all
KHSHUIN offers a bright bulb with good colors in a Wi-Fi-only budget bulb. The app is lacking, but simple functions are there.
Runner-up BR30 style: LIFX BR30 Multi Colored
While LIFX BR30 bulbs aren’t the brightest LED smart bulbs around, these do have the most vibrant colors. Bulbs from LIFX can be interwoven with your smart home without the need to add additional hardware to control the light. Since the bulbs are Wi-Fi enabled, connect them to your network using the LIFX app, and you’re ready to go.
The LIFX app is robust and full of preset scenes, effects, schedules, and more. For further controls, these bulbs are also compatible with popular smart assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings. These integrations allow voice commands and create more customized actions by linking to other services within your smart home setup.
The bulb is designed for floodlighting across surfaces, which is why it works wonderfully in recessed lighting fixtures built into ceilings and the like. Pumping out white color temps from warm 2500K to super-cool 9000K with up to 1100LM — these bulbs are bright. Aside from excellent brightness and a fantastic range of whites, LIFX is known for some of the best color saturation with its bulbs. They produce brilliant reds, blues, and greens to combine into millions of combinations to give you just the right vibe.
Amazing color vibrancy
Easy to connect with existing smart home
Extensive range of whites
Network connectivity can be inconsistent
The app can seem a bit cluttered
Runner-up BR30 style
LIFX BR30 Wi-Fi Color Bulb
All the pretty colors
LIFX is known for its brightness and ultra-saturated colors for its Wi-Fi-only bulb with an app packed with features.
Best overall standard style (Hub): Sengled Smart LED Extra Bright Soft White A19 Bulb
Sengled gave this smart LED bulb the moniker Extra Bright for a good reason since it cranks out up to 1500LM of brightness. That number puts these bulbs at number two for overall brightness on this list. The biggest drawback of this bulb is the color, though — let me explain.
Sengled gave this bulb extra brightness but took away the ability to tune the color temperature. So instead, you are locked at 2700K, a softer and warmer light, which is fine in most situations. The upside is there is no question as to what setting the light needs to be to ensure you can take full advantage of the full 1500LM of brightness.
In terms of smart controls, you get all of the scenes and routines you can expect from a smart light when pairing with the Sengled Smart Hub. You can set up the Sengled bulb with hubs like SmartThings, Wink, and Zigbee-enabled Amazon Echo devices. You can also use Alexa or Google Assistant voice controls, but a hub must connect to the bulb. So if you are good with a bulb that offers fantastic brightness in only a single color, then this is the bulb for you.
Even color temperature
Multiple hub connectivity choices
Only one color choice
Single color temperature
Best overall standard style (Hub)
Sengled Smart LED Extra Bright Soft White A19 Bulb
Warm and bright
This bright bulb from Sengled is locked to a single color temp, which is fine. It is easily set up on its hub for smart controls.
Runner-up (hub): Philips Hue A19 Smart Bulb
Source: Philips Hue
Philips is one of the most popular smart light brands, and for good reason. Its bulbs offer reliability, multiple form factors, and great connectivity. All of these come together to offer one of the best smart bulb experiences at 840LM. With so many smart LED lights out there offering 840LM, the experience must be top-notch — and with Philips Hue, it is.
Philips Hue has built a catalog of smart bulbs that consists of light bars, A19 standard bulbs, BR30 style, and many others that offer some of the best smart features. Using the Philips Hue Hub brings a wide range of preset scenes, color and brightness controls, as well as scheduling — also smart assistant integration. One of the best features that come with Philips Hue is the ability to set a Power-on Behavior. That lets you determine what happens when the power comes back on — like resume a previous state —when the bulb loses power.
At 800LM, Philips Hue isn’t the brightest bulb, but you won’t be straining to see either. Philips offers a tunable white, color ambiance, and a single-color bulb that all have a peak brightness of 840LM. If you stick with the single-color white bulb, then getting started isn’t too expensive. However, the price can go up quickly when you start adding colored bulbs and other form factors. Also, the newer Philips Hue bulb offers Bluetooth controls so you can go hubless, just with fewer features.
Extensive smart features
A lot of bulb options
Some bulbs can be hubless
Not as bright as other options
Some of the bulbs can be expensive
Philips Hue White A19 60W Equivalent Dimmable LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit
There when you need it
Philips Hue makes up for its lack of brightness with rock-solid connectivity, great integrations, and wonderful app features.
What is a hub?
Hubs have both good and bad sides to them. On one hand, the hub is an extra piece of hardware to set up and manage. On the other, the hub creates a more solid connection to the devices it manages. As the name implies, the hub acts as a central place for all the bulbs to meet up. Using a hub also takes the strain off your Wi-Fi network but takes all of those bulbs and talks to them directly via a language such as Zigbee or Z-Wave.
If you want to go the hub route, whether because your Wi-Fi may be spotty or the features the hub can offer, the brightest one on the block is the Sengled Smart LED Extra Bright Soft White A19 Bulb. At 1500LM, this bulb has plenty of brightness to go around. It’s set to only one color and temperature, but 2700K is a good middle ground to be on.
Come to the light
Studies have shown that spending extended periods in the dark or low light areas can adversely affect a person’s mental and physical health. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your space has to be lit up like Time’s Square, but a good light source is a great start. Using a high-lumen smart bulb is a fantastic way to give you a well-lit area and the ability to customize how the light can make you feel.
The easiest way to get started is with a bulb that doesn’t require a hub to control its smart features, and not only does the Feit Electric OM100 RGBW bulb offer just that — it’s also very, very bright. Coming in at 1600LM, it’s sure to illuminate almost any space you’re in — while at the same time offering a full range of whites and millions of other colors. Offering a simple setup using only your phone and your Wi-Fi allows for complete control of all of those darkness-killing lumens.
Regardless of which of these smart LED bulbs you decide to go with, know that all of these lights have the brightness to get your space from feeling dark and gloomy to bright and cheery in no time.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, Chris enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.
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