Why Are Smart Lights So Expensive? What Are the Available Options?

Why Are Smart Lights So Expensive?

Yes, they are amazing, but why are smart lights so expensive?! One of the major snags I encountered when getting smart lights for my home was with how much it cost to get the smart lights I wanted. Smart Lights can get quite pricey. As an example, the Philips Hue color starter kit goes for a whopping $150. These outrageous price tags are usually what put off a lot of prospective buyers who then opt to stick with the not-so-smart incandescent or halogen bulb option. Some Of the reasons why smart lights are expensive include:

  1. Smart bulbs use less energy to shine brighter than their non-smart counterparts 
  2. Smart bulbs add a big boost to your security system
  3. Some smart lights require a special hub to operate 
  4. Smart bulbs can be controlled remotely via apps supported by smartphones 
  5. Smart lights are dimmable 
  6. Smart lights can be made to glow in multiple colors 
  7. A smart bulb’s cost vs its value

There are a multitude of options when it comes to smart lights, but I have cleared that initial hurdle with an amazing discovery of a range of products that offered great performance at a much more affordable cost. Dirt cheap even. You can set up most of your home with smart lights for the price of one starter kit.

And without wasting your time, let’s dive into the basis for smart light pricing and how you can enjoy the smart light experience without breaking the bank. 

Why are Smart Lights So Expensive; The Top 7 Reasons

Why are Smart Lights So Expensive; The Top 7 Reasons

Some of these reasons have bigger implications than meet the eye. Let’s take a closer look at the implications of these reasons as they will determine to a great extent how much value you place on them. You will also get to appreciate the cheaper options a lot more.

Smart Bulbs Use Less Energy to Shine Brighter Than Their Non-smart Counterparts 

Smart LED bulbs produce a vastly more significant number of lumens of brightness (per a given number of Watts of power) when placed side-by-side with incandescent and other non-smart light bulbs. 

Put less technically, smart lights need a lot less energy to shine as brightly as their non-smart (and power-hungry) counterparts, and this fact alone will save you money. Spending some money to save more money isn’t a bad idea now. Is it?

Smart Bulbs Make a Great Add-on to Your Security System 

Smart lighting turns something as simple and straightforward as a light bulb into a high-tech perimeter guard. Smart lights outshine non-smart fixes like timers (which have been shown to attract burglars) because they are much easier to control. They also permit you to program them to better copy how a home’s occupants actually use lights (instead of depending on a predictable routine).

Smart lights can be integrated into your smart Home Security System as they can be linked to the motion sensors. In this way, they can be programmed to light up when the motion sensors are triggered. A very helpful add-on.

Some Smart Lights Require a Special Hub to Operate 

A feature of smart lights (or at least, some of them, such as Philips Hue) that contribute a significant amount to their cost is that they may come with a requirement for a special hub in order to operate. In a few cases, this hub is built right into one of the bulbs, eliminating the need for a separate purchase (though the bulb with an inbuilt hub could cost a tad bit more than bulbs without inbuilt hubs).

With the Philips Hue for example, you’ll need to make a completely separate purchase of a Philips Hue Bridge for your Hue lights to work. However, there are special kits available (like the Philips Hue White & Colour A19 Starter Kit) that come with the complete bundle of smart bulbs and a Hue Bridge. 

Smart Bulbs Can Be Controlled Remotely Via Apps Supported By Smartphones 

Ever left your house on a long-distance trip only to realize that you forgot to time your lights to turn on at 5 p.m. in the evening? With the Smart light, the ability to control your bulbs from a remote location comes in handy at this point. 

Smart Lights Are Dimmable 

One of the fundamental features of smart bulbs is that you are able to dim a lot of them without the need to install dimmer switches in your home. Simply screw a dimmable smart bulb into your lamps or chandeliers and dim or brighten them using the bulb’s corresponding app.

 The annoying occurrence of waking up early to the glare of an incandescent bulb can now cease to be an issue. With the smart lights, you’ll be able to dim your lights at night to improve the quality of your sleep. You’ll also be able to set your lights to slowly brighten up as your eyes make the gradual adjustment to light. 

Smart Lights Can Be Made To Glow In Multiple Colors 

Some smart lights come with the ability to glow in a million different colors due to a wide color spectrum. This could come in handy for that romantic evening you’ve planned or can be used as a party trick to have your guests in awe. 

Do Smart Lights Save Money?

Where smart bulbs really begin to outshine the competition is in the value they provide for the amount of money you’ll spend.

  • Minimum life span 
  • Smart bulb – 15000 – 25000 hours
  • Incandescent bulb – 1000 hours

The numbers indicate that you’d have to buy the same incandescent bulb 25 times for just one purchase of a common smart bulb. Even if the smart bulb were to be 5, 10, or even 20 times more expensive than the incandescent option, buying the smart light would still be bang for your buck. 

This applies to other traditional lightbulbs as well—although the numbers are not quite as bad.

The Best Affordable Smart Lights For Those On a Budget

Now that we’ve seen how important smart lights are as a basis for their pricing, let’s delve into the crux of the matter and unveil some of the best bang-for-your-buck options on the market.

We’ve outlined here what we’ve found to be the best, low-cost smart lights for those on a budget.

Cree A19 Connected LED BulbOpens in a new tab. (Lowest Cost Per Bulb) 

Cree A19 Connected LED Bulb

The daylight (5000K) dimmable Cree LED bulb is compatible with multiple platforms, including Amazon Echo, Wink, WeMo, and more. After connecting with a compatible hub (sold separately for $40), you can program your Cree bulbs to turn on/off at a particular time, regulate brightness, or even personalize them to work even in your absence as an extra security measure. Each Cree bulb has a value of 11.5 watts and is up for grabs at about $15. A real bargain, considering its 22-year lifespan. $15 at Amazon

Sylvania SMART+ A19 Color BulbOpens in a new tab. (Best Offer on Colors) 

Sylvania SMART+ A19 Color Bulb

With RGBW, tunable white, and soft white options, Lightify offers you a range of light temperatures to pick from as you decide what choice best suits your room. Simply download the Lightify app, and you’re well en route.

These bulbs fit into standard sockets, and the color temperature in the RGBW and tunable white bulbs are adjustable to suit your mood (whether you need a soft white mode to chill, or a daylight mode to help you stay awake). The bulb is compatible with any ZigBee hub such as SmartThings, Wink, or Amazon Echo Plus. $29 at Amazon

Flux Bluetooth LED stripOpens in a new tab. (No Wi-Fi needed) 

Flux Bluetooth LED strip

Flux makes color-switching smart lights that work via Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi like the other bulbs on this list, which means your ability to control them ends when you’re away from home. With this caveat off the plate, you still have the ability to program actions, like having the bulbs turn on when you’re away from home or to wake you up in the morning. This Flux LED strip comprises over 16 million colors, controlled directly from the Flux app. You can control the mode (strobe, shifting colors, etc.), and, what’s more, these will even sync with music on your phone to add that extra atmosphere to your dance party. $50 at Amazon

IKEA TRÅDFRI Opens in a new tab.(Best Remote-controlled Smart Light) 


You might find it hard to believe, but IKEA has some pretty amazing smart bulbs that are inexpensive and work just great. Their brightness is approximately equal to that of a 70-watt incandescent bulb and they are also dimmable via the Tradfri remote. 

In fact, you can control as many as 10 bulbs, panels, or light doors, which are all dimmable as well with no need for any hub. You could also decide to switch hue from a warmer-colored light theme to a cooler theme based on your mood and the time of day. $19 at IKEA

Yeelight (Best Low-cost Bulb With No Hub Required) 


Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, Yeelight’s dimmable 60W equivalent smart bulb features 16 million colors, the icing on the cake is that it requires no hub. The Yeelight app is available on both iOS and Android platforms, and you are able to set schedules, countdowns, and groups all from the app itself! $30 at Amazon

C by GE Starter KitOpens in a new tab. (Best Low-cost Smart Light With a Value Starter Kit) 

Although the C voice-controlled A19 bulbs from GE may not have all the bells and whistles of the high-end Philips Hue, its starter kit is dirt-cheap, offering anyone interested in checking out smart bulbs a chance to see what they’re all about. The starter kit is guaranteed to work with Alexa and has two adjustable white C-Life bulbs and the C-Reach Smart Bridge hub.

Sengled Smart LEDOpens in a new tab. (Amazon) 


The Sengled Smart LED ranks high among the best smart bulbs you can get at a dirt-cheap price tag. Going for a paltry $7.99 per bulb, you will be able to get up to 25 of them for the price of a Nanoleaf starter kit. 

The only snag to them is that Sengled Smart LEDs are operated using a hub, though not necessarily a Sengled-brand hub. They are compatible with Alexa devices that have a Zigbee hub (like the second-generation Amazon Echo Show), SmartThings and Wink

Alongside a fixed color temperature of 2700K these bulbs generate 800 lumens of light. With these bulbs, you have the ability to set up schedules, create specific scenes, and manage a sleep/wake mode where the lights dim or brighten at a time of your picking. 

Investing in a Sengled hub will cost you around $63. The bulbs work with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, but unfortunately, lack compatibility with Apple’s HomeKit.

If you simply want a functional set of smart bulbs, then these lights are great at getting the job done. 

Wyze Smart BulbsOpens in a new tab. (Amazon’s Best All-round Budget Bulb)

Wyze Smart Bulbs

At $12 per bulb or $39 for a 4-pack, and added to the fact that their bulbs require no central hub, Wyze is the best all-around budget bulb out there. The fact that they don’t need a central hub implies that you can connect as many bulbs as you want without filling up an extra Ethernet port on your router. 

Wyze is compatible with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Google Home. The IFTTT compatibility enables you to connect Wyze bulbs to other devices in your home. As an example, you can set your living room lights to turn on when you open your smart lock.

Additional Features include a temperature range from 2,700K to 6,500K and the ability to generate 800 lumens of light. As with other smart lights, you can set up schedules, switch the lights on/off remotely, and even program them to work as though someone were in the home. 

If you’re looking for one of the best plug-and-play smart lights, Wyze is a good place to begin your search. 

Eufy Lumos Smart BulbOpens in a new tab. (Amazon)

Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb

Eufy is a company that has been making a subtle advance to the top of the market by providing smart home products at an amazingly affordable price. The Eufy Lumos smart bulb does not deviate from the trend. The Lumos works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and the EufyHome app makes grouping multiple lights together to control them all at once a breeze.

The Lumos can support as much as ten unique lighting schedules. You can also enable Away Mode, which causes your lights to turn on and off at random, simulating the presence of someone in the home. 

Eufy Lumos bulbs can be controlled using any internet connection via the device app, which is available on Android and iOS devices. At $15.74 per bulb, the Lumos is quite expensive but remains a solid option for someone on a budget.

Philips Hue WhiteOpens in a new tab. (Amazon) 

Philips Hue White

Probably the most popular of all, the Philips Hue brand of smart lights, are at least partially responsible for getting smart lighting to the height it has attained today. 

Philips Hue is also recognized for being pricey, but theirs rank among the best smart lights on the market, and are still reasonably affordable. A set of two will cost you $29.99, which amounts to $14.98 per bulb. For a while now, all Philips Hue lights depended on a Hue Bridge (or Hub) to operate. However, you can now link ten of these A19 bulbs without using a Hub.

The range of the Philips Hue bulbs is one of the broadest of any smart bulb out there. They are capable of setting up a diversity of scenes and presets with a couple of taps of the app. In addition, these bulbs work with Google Home,  Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s HomeKit, the latter of which rarely has compatibility with most smart lights. 

Philips Hue has a multitude of additional features like the Hue Sync app, a free PC or Mac download. You can also buy extra accessories to broaden their use.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Smart Lights Cost?

 If you simply wanted to put a light on the timer a decent timer switch would cost you $30-$40. But if you just wanted a quality LED bulb it would cost you upwards of $10. Even if you only wanted a bulb that could change colors, one would cost you anywhere from $20-$30. These smart lights do all that and also give you smartphone/internet/Wi-Fi control, geo-fencing, animated colours, scenes, light temperatures, etc

There is, therefore, no doubt that they are worth every penny at $60. You could also find them sold for $40 – $50 in certain places.


Of course, they seem like such a privilege and an unnecessarily expensive “toy” when you don’t have them. However, I am yet to see anyone who failed to understand their importance after I showed them everything the bulbs could do and gave them a demonstration of how effective the bulbs really are. The smart lights really transform your life, bringing so much more convenience and that much-needed “Wow” factor.

Go ahead and make your pick from the list we have presented you with as you begin a colorful journey into the world of smart lights. 


Victor Patrick

A Biochemistry graduate that fell in love with tech. Passionate about smart devices and smart homes. Hobbies include DIY technical projects, hiking and chess. When not at my desk writing about the latest technology in the smart home industry, I can be found sparring on Lichess or taking piano lessons. You can always follow me on Twitter @aka_Vic_Thor for the latest developments on smart homes and the tech world in general. I follow back!

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