Illuminating Those Warm Nights: Smart Outdoor Lighting Tips
Adding lights to your home’s exterior used to be a tedious project involving wires and electrical challenges. Today’s gadgets are much safer and easier to install than ever before. Smart outdoor lighting uses the Internet, your personal devices, and attractive fixtures to create a celebratory mood in any front or backyard. Explore the best outdoor smart lights and their core features right now.
Understanding Smart Gadgets
Before you dive into the world of smart outdoor lighting, understanding its basics is critical to your shopping success. Smart fixtures, switches, and bulbs connect with your smartphone or tablet through various pathways, including Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. An app on your device allows you to control the lights through either manual or automatic processes.
Giving you hands-free control of the lighting provides safety and beauty for your property. Every product, however, has its advantages and drawbacks. Consider a few questions as you learn about smart outdoor lighting, such as:
• Are you away from home a lot?
• Will the lights be mainly used for security or mood-lighting purposes?
• Do you have a stable Internet connection?
With this information in mind, you can look at key features and decide which product works for your needs.
Focusing on Key Details
Generally, smart outdoor lighting comes in several forms. You’ll find fixtures with included bulbs sold separately or in kits, for example. Alternatively, look for smart bulbs, smart switches, and smart plugs. All of these products have their applications and specific connectivity with your home’s Internet.
Take a look at the details below that can be part of each product. Depending on your preferences, some features are more important than others.
One of the most common ways of creating a smart light system is by using Wi-Fi-enabled products. Many products, including the Philips Hue outdoor lights, use Wi-Fi as a way to give you complete control over the system.
Generally, the lights connect to your home’s router, which provides Wi-Fi connectivity from your Internet provider. Any smartphone or tablet can then talk to the lights. Adjust the lighting, create a schedule or even turn on a single fixture to check on something. Wi-Fi gives you control at home or when you’re away for optimal security.
If you have a busy household with multiple devices connecting to your Internet, adding another product could create traffic issues. Consider Bluetooth outdoor lights as a clever alternative. These lights have Bluetooth technology built into their design. Simply turn on the Bluetooth feature integrated into your smartphone or tablet, and you’re instantly connected to the lights.
There are no wires involved. Your Internet isn’t crowded with another device added to it either. Bluetooth outdoor lights are a great choice when you want a local way to control the illumination around the property.
Bridges or Hubs
Your home’s router offers a clear connection to the Internet through radio waves in most cases. Most smart lights, however, cannot talk directly with the router’s output. That’s where bridges or hubs come in. A hub, such as Wink, connects to the router and supplies a solid connection to your outdoor lights. Although it’s another item to add to your light-array purchase, the hub does provide some speed enhancements. As you adjust the lights through the app, they’ll respond with lightning speed as the hub does its job.
Pricing will always vary when it comes to different brands, fixture types, and other details. Always shop around as you perform your research. Some brands offer kits with basic parts at a reasonable cost, for example. Add to these kits as you see fit.
Purchasing fixtures separately will cost more in the long run. Consider a trusted brand, but don’t overlook well-reviewed products that don’t have much marketplace recognition. There may always be a quality device ready to be discovered as you light up your exterior spaces.
The competition among Wi-Fi enabled and Bluetooth outdoor lights translate to unique features that include more than just white lights. Some products come with the ability to support multiple colors from different bulbs or one bulb on its own. Additionally, other products support only one color from a single hub, which means that multiple hubs may be necessary for a multi-color effect.
Read over each product’s specifications when it comes to color. If you simply want white lights, a product’s hue may not be exactly white when it’s illuminated. It could have a tinted appearance, which may not work for your property. Read over the color details and possible reviews about that model before making a decision.
Most products come with an app that you can download onto your personal device. These apps are free. If you find an app that asks for a fee, look for the manufacturer’s approved application. You’ve paid for the product, which means that controlling it with a free app is included.
Depending on the product, you may want to connect it to your household systems, such as Google Assistant or Alexa. Many products have this feature but verify with a specific brand before purchasing it. There can be limitations in this area based on industry standards.
Exploring the Latest Models
Technology continues to evolve as you visit the local, home-improvement store. Understanding the key features that you want in a product is an intelligent place to start. Take this information, and compare it to the best products available today. There are a few products that stand out for their value, features, and reliability.
Philips Hue Outdoor Lights
Philips is a well-known name in the lighting world, so it makes sense that their outdoor lights would be a popular choice. They offer products sold separately or within a kit. Choose from spotlights, lanterns, floodlights, and even light strips for your lighting array.
Philips Hue outdoor lights connect to their proprietary hub so that you can control them from the free app. Because Philips offers so many different fixtures, light colors, and other options on their system, you might see them dominating both local stores and online shops today.
Belkin WeMo Wifi Switch
When you’re looking for a smart way to control your outdoor lights, the Belkin WeMo Wifi switch is an inexpensive option. It installs as a basic light switch, but it connects to a free app with its design enhancements. Use the switch as a traditional type, and access enhanced controls for automation on the go.
For instance, turn on any connected lights as you set up a random schedule. This function is particularly helpful when you’re away from home. Install more than one WeMo, and you can control several light systems with one tap. If you have outdoor lights already installed with no automation right now, this switch is an easy purchase to make.
Govee LED String Lights
When you’re looking for a more party-like style in your outdoor lights, turn to the Govee LED string lights. They connect to each other like wired holiday lights, but they have
When you’re looking for a more party-like style in your outdoor lights, turn to the Govee LED string lights. They connect to each other like wired holiday lights, but they have smart features too. Program the light colors, adjust them to change on a periodic basis, or sync them to music. You can even adjust the brightness through your smartphone or tablet.
The string lights come in fixed lengths, so you can select as many as you need. Simply connect to them through Bluetooth.
LIFX Outdoor Bulbs
Most smart lighting depends on a fixture for its technology. LIFX bulbs are different because they contain smart technology within their design. Keep your fixtures intact, and simply replace the bulbs with LIFX products.
Download the associated app so that you can instantly control the lights. These bulbs are famous for their multiple colors that remain vivid over time. Simply keep your fixtures turned to the on position, which allows you to control the bulbs directly from the app. You don’t have to connect anything else, such as a hub, to your home’s Internet either. The bulbs speak with the app, and your system is free from any additional traffic.
GE Z-Wave Outdoor Smart Plug
A clever alternative to swapping out your outdoor lights is installing this GE smart plug. It’s essentially an electrical outlet with smart technology. Plug your existing outdoor lights into this plug for nearly instant control through your smartphone.
This plug does require a hub, however, in order to use your Internet connection. Control outdoor lights with a phone, and there’s no reason to replace perfectly good fixtures at your property. Keep in mind that you’ll have minimal control over the lights. You’ll be able to remotely turn them on or off and schedule a future time to do so. Dimming the lights and other features won’t be available with a basic plug.
Choose the best outdoor smart lights based on your research, budget and personal needs. With so many products in the marketplace today, you’ll have plenty of options to explore. Watch your yard spring into life as attractive lights give you a view into the evening.