Once you outfit your home with smart lighting, it’s hard to go back. “Hey Siri, turn off the living room lights” is a daily utterance in my home. You can make lights turn on automatically when you come home, or at a certain time when you’re away. You can usually control brightness and sometimes color, too. After getting used to smart lights, your old switches and dimmers feel positively ancient.
But there are lots of different kinds of smart lights. Different networks, apps, and ecosystems used to control them. Some smart lighting solutions are only compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant, which will work with the appropriate apps on your iPhone, but to make a smart light seamlessly integrate into the Home app or with Siri, you really want lights that are compatible with HomeKit. This makes them easier to control with your iPhone or Mac, but also lets you integrated them into Automations that control several devices at once based on time, location, or the actions of other devices.
To make use of Automations, or to control your lights from outside your home network, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got either an Apple TV, HomePod, or plugged-in iPad on your local network at home to act as a Home Hub.
Our sister site TechHive reviews lots of smart bulbs, but if you’re into the Apple ecosystem, you may not care much about those that only support Alexa or Google Assistant; you probably want one that works with HomeKit (in addition to its own app features). These are the top rated smart light bulbs that are compatible with HomeKit.
Updated 01/20/22: We’ve updated our list with several new products and reviews from our smart-home sister site TechHive.
Best color LED smart bulb
Philips was one of the first players in this market, and the company’s experience shows. Physically, its Hue Color and Ambiance bulbs haven’t changed much since their introduction in late 2012, but the latest generation lasts a lot longer and the company has added a Bluetooth radio that obviates the need for the Philips Hue Bridge (but most smart home denizens will want the Bridge anyway).
Best white LED smart bulb
Our choice won’t surprise anyone who’s been following this market. Philips dominates this space and is also our top pick for best color LED smart bulb. The latest Hue bulbs can be controlled via Bluetooth or Zigbee (the latter requires the Philips Hue Bridge), they deliver high-quality light, and are backed by a strong warranty. We received the BR30 form factor for our review, but the bulb is also available in A19, candelabra, and even with vintage-style LED filaments.
Latest HomeKit-compatible smart bulb reviews
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.