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How to use smart lights better

Why it’s smart: People are habits – see the light switch, must flash. But it’s a habit you have to break, or at least accommodate, when using smart bulbs, since they need continuous power to do all their nice tricks – turn off the switch, and the bulb will not respond to your app or voice commands. If you add smart accessories to your smart lighting system, you can continue to use a hardware switch while still having smart bulbs.

How to do it: If you use smart bulbs (instead of smart switches, see below), you can control them with a compatible smart remote control or smart button that does not disable the bulb̵

7;s smart functionality, but still allows you to use the light in a more traditional way. So your housemates can use a hardware switch if they want, and you still get the benefits of smart lighting. Win-win.

The Philips Hue series, our upgrade option for smart bulbs, has a remote control and a smart button that you can mount on the wall for a more traditional but wireless way to control smart bulbs. But you are still left with the original switch, which some may inadvertently swing. Lutron Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer solves this problem by installing on an existing toggle switch and locking it in place. Then just turn the light on or off with one of three button presses. Just attach it to the switch, set it up in the app to control up to 50 Hue lights, and use it to turn them on, turn them off, set up a scene, or dim them. (Note that it does not work with wide rocker-style switches.)

If you want to use your existing light bulbs and fixtures, but add smart controls to them, consider installing smart light switches that control the fixtures directly, instead of using smart bulbs. Such switches require fiddling with wires (depending on your skills, you may want to hire an electrician), but you can still control them remotely using an app or your voice, as well as put them on schedules or incorporate them into routines, scenes and automations.

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