Bulbs and lights are the first thing we think of when the word “home automation” or the concept of “smart home” comes to mind. Assistants and mobile devices have helped interested people to control them without having to touch a switch again: a simple voice command or action from the mobile and the living room, kitchen or bedroom is already lit.

Yes, it’s true that being at home seems very “lazy” to resort to these advancements so you don’t have to get up from the sofa, but it’s very useful for setting automatic on and off schedules or to simulate that we are at home by handling them remotely to deter potential thieves.

There is a wide variety of connected bulbs compatible with the iPhone and which do not break the bank. We’ve got some of the best solutions to accompany your smartphone or tablet with the bitten apple, but first…

Compatible with iPhone is not the same as compatible with HomeKit

It is very important to keep in mind that an accessory with these characteristics that can be controlled from an iPhone or iPad does not mean that it can be integrated with Apple HomeKit. This company’s software allows users to configure, communicate and control “smart” devices for use at home. Auto parts and actions can be created to be performed with voice commands using the Siri assistant.

Not all commercially available light bulbs, outlets, routers, cameras, and sensors with “smart” capabilities are compatible with Apple HomeKit. It is possible that many of them work “only” with Alexa and Google Assistant, but it is not so common that they include compatibility with the Cupertino proposal.

To know for sure if an accessory is compatible with Apple HomeKit, you just need to check that the manufacturer or brand specifies it. This is usually done through the label “Works with Apple HomeKit” (works with Apple HomeKit), which guarantees that the device works properly with the system, Siri and the rest of the company’s devices.

That said, a light bulb, socket, camera, alarm, or window sensor can work with the iPhone if there is an app available on the App Store that can control it. In this there is usually no problem: almost any home automation accessory usually has an app for iOS and Android. Through the app it is possible to adjust the settings and configure them to our liking, in addition to receiving real-time notifications depending on the device (if a door/window has been opened with a sensor or if a person was detected if we are talking about a camera).

Types of light bulbs and aspects to consider

Often we get carried away with products that have higher ratings or lower prices without knowing if they are the most suitable options for us. Beyond the systems with which they are compatible or if they are RGB, the bulbs have several details that we must pay attention to if we want to make the right purchase.

types of light bulbs

Incandescent bulbs: they consume a lot of energy and were abandoned in 2009. They have been gradually replaced by more efficient ones that can offer a similar amount of light (see LED).

LED bulbs: the queens of homes. They emit no CO2, contain no mercury and can last up to 50,000 hours. In addition, they are more energy efficient, which translates into a lighter bill. They light up instantly and are recyclable.

Compact fluorescent bulbs: i.e. low consumption bulbs, up to 80% more efficient than conventional bulbs and with an approximate lifespan of between 6,000 and 10,000 hours. Its ignition is more progressive.

ECO halogen bulbs: they are 30% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, they give off heat and their lifespan is approximately 2000 hours. They light up instantly.

Things to keep in mind about a light bulb

Type of socket: this is the part that fits into the socket. If in doubt, it is best to take the bulb that we currently have in the lamp and check with our own eyes which socket it has. The most common have a screw cap and can be thick (E27) or thin (E14). However, there are also GU10/GU5 (track and recessed spotlights) or G9/G4 for wall or pendant lights.

Lumens: This is the amount of light a bulb can generate. A few years ago incandescent bulbs were very common, but since LEDs have been around they have been superseded as they are much more energy efficient and provide the same light. For example, an “old time” 60W bulb is equivalent to a bulb of about 6.5/7W. Therefore, LED bulbs are the most interesting to save. The more watts (W), the more lumens and the more light.

Kelvin Degrees and Light Tone: There are bulbs that are RGB and can be configured with a wide variety of colors, but white shades are specified with Kelvin degrees. There are three types: pure white, cold and warm. Each is more suited to specific room types. For example, warm (more yellowish tone) looks great in living rooms or rooms where a more welcoming atmosphere is desired. On the contrary, the cigar is best in kitchens or bathrooms.

Warm light: 2,700 to 3,500 K -> more welcoming atmospheres and to be used in bedrooms, living rooms, hallways… Neutral light: 3,500 to 4,500 K -> they are generally used for bathrooms and kitchens . Cold light: 4,500 to 6,500K -> offices, garages, storage rooms… Lifespan: the duration of a bulb varies according to the model and its characteristics, but LEDs are the ones that generally last the longest. They can last 10,000 hours or more and hold up to frequent shutdowns quite well. To give you an idea, if they are used for around three hours a day, they can last around 10 years.

iPhone-compatible Wi-Fi LED bulbs

TP-Link TAPO L510E

The TP-Link TAPO L510E (9.99 euros) is one of the best-selling “smart” LED bulbs for its good value for money. It is available in cold white and warm white depending on the room in which we want to use it. Its light is dimmable and the brightness can be adjusted from 1% to 100%. It can be controlled by voice with Alexa and Google Assistant, but also by the app for iPhone and Android. It has scheduling and timer function.

TP-Link TAPO L520E – Smart LED Bulb, WiFi Bulb without Hub, Neutral White 4000K, Dimmable, E27, 8.7W/ 806lm, Compatible with Alexa, Echo and Google Home

TP-Link TAPO L530E

This model is very similar to the previous one from TP-Link, with the particularity that it is RGB and can be configured with 16 million different colors. It has reduced power consumption compared to the normal 60W and also has “smart” capabilities. The pack of two bulbs costs 22.22 euros.

TP-Link Tapo L530E 2-Pack – Wi-Fi Connected LED Bulb, Multicolour, Dimmable, E27, 8.7W 806lm, Compatible with Alexa and Google Home

Nanoleaf Essentials

It does not require a hub and with a polygonal design that differentiates it from the rest. The Nanoleaf Essentials bulb ($19.99) provides super bright white light that can be cooler or warmer and can also be configured with 16 million different colors. It is possible to create dynamic scenes that change color with personalized movements such as Face, Highlight and Random to create an environment that matches our mood. It is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri (Apple HomeKit).

Nanoleaf Essentials bulb – E27

Philips Hue White

Controllable via Bluetooth or remotely away from home using the hub, the Philips Hue White bulb (15.97 euros) offers warm white light with a color temperature of 2,700K. It can also be controlled with voice assistants, and to get the most out of it, you want the Connection Bridge.

Philips Hue – Smart bulb, E27, Dimmable warm light, 9W, Compatible with Alexa and Google Home – Pack of 1 smart LED bulb

Xiaomi Mi LED Essential Smart Bulb

Xiaomi’s proposal (19.70 euros) has a luminous flux of 950 lumens with a temperature range that varies between 1,700 and 6,500K. It has an on/off cycle of 125,000 cycles and connects to 802.11n Wi-Fi networks. It is compatible with Android and iOS devices. It can be configured with 16 million colors and has a timer function.

Xiaomi Smart Light Bulb MI LED SMART BULB ESSENTIAL WHITE AND COLOR – 9W – E27 – 950 LUMENS – 1700-6500K – WIFI – APP MI HOME

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