The price of connected light bulbs has dropped considerably over the last year. When we reported the availability of INSTEON’s first generation LED bulb a while back, we might not have guessed that the major lighting companies like Philips, TCP, and GE would all have connected bulbs of their own for sale in your local home improvement store. But that’s exactly what’s happened.
This is a quick comparison of the latest wave of connected LED bulbs. All of these bulbs require the use of a hub controller (meaning you can’t just buy the bulb alone and control it from your phone without some sort of controller in your home), and each conforms to the form factor of a standard, medium-base (A19) bulb. Though some of the lines offer bulbs of different color temperatures and brightness, the products we tested were all 60W equivalent, warm white (2700K) bulbs. All of these bulbs are rated for a 22.8 year life, though that calculation is made assuming just 3 hours of use a day (a standard, though somewhat unrealistic, factor in light bulb ratings).
*Prices are shown as listed at Home Depot.
**Retail outlets listed for US only.
Of the products considered here, the TCP Connected and Philips Hue Lux bulbs cast the warmest, even light. Home Depot and GE received lots of attention with the announcement of a sub-$15 entrant in this space, but the GE Link seems first gen and could use some iterative refinement. At nearly $30 (already $10 lower than their originally announced retail price), Philips may have priced themselves out of this competition, particularly considering the quality of and increasing support for TCP’s offering. Meanwhile, we know that LG, Samsung, Belkin, and possibly CREE may be on these manufacturers’ heels with offerings of their own soon.
Updated 2/17/2015: Noted Revolv’s support for GE Link and pēq’s support for Hue Lux
Also check out our comparison of some newer connected bulbs: WeMo, Cree Connected, and LG Wireless