What are LED light bulbs?
Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are considered the most sustainable light bulbs that currently exist on the market. First introduced in the 1960s, LEDs are now becoming the standard light source in bulbs. LEDs offer similar lighting to incandescent bulbs and are more durable than Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) bulbs. CFL bulbs also contain small amounts of mercury and shouldn’t be disposed of in your normal trash bins.
LED bulbs emit white light when electrical current passes through a microchip to a mixture of red, green and blue colored LEDs. LED bulbs are best suited at providing directional light which means lighting an area the bulb or light fixture is pointing towards. In contrast to incandescent and CFL bulbs, the smart bulb is very low heat.
When selecting an LED bulb, be sure to check out the Lighting Facts Label to make sure you have the desired brightness, dimmability, and color temperature. The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the ability of the bulb to perform like a natural light source as close as possible.
Smart light bulbs are LED light bulbs controlled by a hub, mobile app, or voice assistant through a wireless communication module (e.g., Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) built into the bulb. The ability to control your home lighting offers several benefits but let’s first discuss how much it affects your wallet.
Cost of smart bulbs
To decide whether smart LED bulbs are worth the money, you will have to consider the upfront cost compared to the lifetime cost, which comes from their energy efficiency.
The Upfront Cost
While the price of LED bulbs has come down considerably in last 10 years, smart bulbs are still relatively expensive. Replacing all the light bulbs in your home with smart bulbs could end up being quite an investment. The average cost for a best-selling brand runs about $20-$60 per smart bulb, which doesn’t include the cost of the hub needed for some smart bulbs to function properly. The wide price range is due to the different sizes, shapes, and features a particular smart bulb offers.
The Lifetime Cost
Even before being smart, LED bulbs are very energy efficient, approximately 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. A 12-Watt LED bulb is about equal to a 60-Watt incandescent bulb. This means that the LED bulb draws less power to provide the same amount of light that the incandescent bulb provides, which saves you money on your energy bill.
The durability of one smart LED bulb from Fox&Summit is 20,000 hours compared to the incandescent bulb which only last 1,000 hours in its lifetime. So, for every incandescent bulb that costs $1, you will need to spend $20 to get the same number hours of light that a $20 smart LED bulb would provide. On top of the annual energy cost savings, the smart bulb saves you $5 over the estimated lifetime while reducing your overall carbon footprint.
Two more factors you should consider before opting for smart LED bulbs in your home are whether you are staying in the house long-term and for how long do you use your lights. If you plan to stay in your house for a longer period, then you should switch to LEDs.
Benefits of Smart LED Bulbs
Easily Controlled from Anywhere
Smart LED bulbs are different from average LED bulbs since they can wirelessly connect to the internet, which allows you to control the smart bulbs through a mobile app from anywhere. Say you are away from home and would like to turn on a light in the living room. Just use the mobile app to turn on the lamp at night and make it appear someone is home.
The scheduling or timer feature enables you to set when the light will come on. This provides some security for your house while you are on holiday. Some smart bulb apps allow you to sync or group all your bulbs together to allow for easy control.
One of the most basic features of a smart bulb is that they can be dimmed without the prospect of installing dimmer switches in your house. You can simply screw a smart bulb into your lamps or fixtures and use the bulb’s corresponding app to dim or brighten them. Some smart bulbs also integrate with voice assistant platforms like Alexa and Google Assistant.
Ability to Change Colors
Depending on the internal circuitry and how many red, blue, and green LEDs, many smart bulbs have the option to change colors and offer a wide range of colors to choose from. You can tap a color wheel in the mobile app to choose the exact color and easily set a desired lighting mood for any room with a smart bulb.
Ability to Play Music
Some bulbs can even play your desired music with built-in speakers. You can hear high-quality music from anywhere in the room.
Assist in sleeping
Some bulbs claim to emit particular color temperatures that supposedly help individuals sleep better. This is because they are specifically designed to assist in the regulation of melatonin production in the body. Others provide soothing light that do not disrupt their sleeping patterns.
Even with LED bulbs dropping in price, the initial investment for smart LED bulbs can still be a barrier for most people. In the long run though, the costs even out. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the additional features of a smart bulb along with the additional durability and power efficiency is worth it for your home.
Here at Fox&Summit, we say it is worth it. Check out our Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb.