When starting out creating your own smart home, we often recommend lights as a good place to start. Smart lights are generally energy efficient, easy to install, and often many practical benefits. Having the ability to control and schedule your lights from your phone or smart personal speaker is a convenience that once tried, is hard to live without.
Disclosure: LIFX brightened up my day by providing me with four Color 1000 bulbs to review.
What is a LIFX smart bulb?
Smart bulbs are light bulbs that plug into normal screw-in light bulb sockets, but are controllable from your smart phone or other device. Controlling your bulbs from the app gives you control over the color, brightness, timing, and color themes.
Why You Need It
Discuss its key features, convenience, and safety (if applicable). Give examples if you can. [1-3 sentences]
Example: “Smart Doorbells enables you to see who’s at the door from your phone. You can even communicate with the person like the UPS delivery guy waiting at your front door – while you’re grocery shopping. It makes life so convenient that I’ll never go back to a basic doorbell ever again.”
Installation & Ease of Use
The LIFX bulb installation is the same as any other bulb, taking literally just few seconds. Of course, your fixtures might be a bit more complicated.
Like most smart products, the LIFX bulbs have an free app in Apple store or Google Play that you then need to sync with the bulbs. There is no hub to set up, which makes coordination very easy.
Personally, I found the set up a bit difficult because on some Android devices you must put your phone in airplane mode in order to keep a stable connection to the bulbs during the set up process. This little fact is not clearly published anywhere. However, LIFX’s customer support by email was very responsive and followed up even to make sure everything was working right.
Once you connect your device to the bulb, arranging the bulbs into groups, setting the colors, and controlling the bulbs is relatively easy.
The price of each bulb is $59.99 on Amazon, which is a lot more than a standard LED bulb so outfitting your entire home with these bulbs could be a pricey proposition. However, I believe that for areas of your home that you spend a lot of time in or that you value some automation, they are definitely worth it.
I’ve listed below some cool ideas I found on how to use the LIFX smart bulbs.
Wake Up With Soft Lighting
Get up refreshed with a gentle soft light in the morning.
Waking up in the morning is often difficult for me, especially in winter, because it is still dark outside. Normally my phone’s alarm wakes me up suddenly, and the battle between adult priorities and my inner laziness starts. Even when my responsible self wins, I never felt refreshed in the morning.
However, I installed a couple of LIFX lights in my bedroom and set a ‘Schedule’ to turn my lights on gradually to a nice warm light starting 30 minutes before I woke up. Although I will never consider myself a morning person, I much preferred to be woken up by a gradual soft light than I do a nerve jolting alarm clock.
If you are looking for a more pleasant way to start your day, I definitely recommend a set of LIFX bulbs, and a smart coffee maker.
Set a Reminder To Sleep
Set the lights to dim blue to gently enforce your bedtime.
On the flip side, going to bed for me always seems like a huge burden. I often get my creative juices flowing when writing late at night, and my wife often like to read a bit before going to sleep. But how many times during your nightly cool-down routine have you heard the siren’s song in your head saying, “Just one more chapter”, “Just one more episode”, or “Just one more story”?
I have tried setting an alarm at night to remind me to go to bed, but that is all too easy to ignore. With the LIFX bulbs, I set a ‘Schedule’ for my lights to gradually turn blue, and then gradually turn off. I think of it as the 15 minute warning. Plus, if I’m working in bed and decide I don’t want to get out, I can close my laptop, put it on my night stand, and trust that my lights will be off shortly.
Mood Lighting For The Bedroom
Probably the best use for LIFX
We at Ideaing love the idea of Smart Home, and the bedroom is no exception. Turning down the lights is just so much more fun when you have 16,000,000 colors to choose from! You can even set color changes to Random, and let the mood lighting change nice and slow.
I recommend using an app like Light DJ to tie in color changes with your favorite music!
Nightlight for Children
My one year old sleeping easy
Children are often just as loath to go to bed as we are. Sometimes my son is all tuckered out and ready to ride the sleep train, but other times his energy seems boundless. Also, waking up in the middle of night always leads him to crying.
Just to see if it would help, I installed a couple LIFX bulbs in his room to see if it would help him sleep better through the night. What I discovered was that a low blue light helped him sleep easily at bedtime. I also noticed that either he wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night, or that he wasn’t crying if he was.
He also seems to enjoy the color changing lights during playtime as well, which is a lot of fun!
Use IFTTT to Connect With Ring
Integrate With Other Smart Home Devices Through IFTTT
LIFX bulbs do not need a hub to communicate with other smart devices, so long as they are IFTTT compatible. IFTTT (Short for “If This, Then That”) is a simple to use capability that allows you to craft ‘recipes’ that tie in the activity of one smart device with another. For example, I set a recipe to turn on my porch lights if someone rang my Ring Doorbell.
Setting recipes are super simple, takes only a minute or two, and does not require you to be tech savvy at all. To set a recipe with LIFX, first register on the IFTTT website. A quick search for “LIFX” in the search bar brings up over 300 recipes. You can choose something pre-existing, or you can make your own!
Use IFTTT to coordinate with LIFX with these products
I wish I had about 30 of these bulbs to fill my entire house with. I can imagine using them for all sorts of notifications, or for setting the mood for entertaining guests, etc. Despite the mark-up in price over regular bulbs, smart lights are definitely on the must-have list for any Smart Home.
Do you have any smart lights in your home? Let us know what you use them for in the comments below!