Buying and installing smart lighting can be confusing, so we’re here to give you some tips. We also have a separate guide on how to use smart lighting to transform your child’s bedroom.
Finding the ideal location for your smart lighting will maximize its impact. Consider potential reflections, especially if you’re installing them in a living room or office, as you don’t want smart lights reflecting off your TV or monitor. You’ll always need to connect the cable to a power outlet, so consider cable management to hide it as much as possible. Plug in the lighting and connect it via the app before installation. With the panel, design it first and make sure you’re happy with it before trying to put it on the wall.
Most smart lighting panels and strips come with adhesive on the back. You must prepare them properly before you start pasting. It is critical to clean the wall before installation and follow the instructions to make sure it sticks and stays put (if it says “press for 30 seconds” then do so). When installing, make sure to keep curious cats or dogs in separate rooms!
Removing panels and strips can damage your walls. I got cracks in my paint and plaster while removing some smart lighting. Slowly heating with a blow dryer can help reduce the risk of damage, but the difficulty of the process is a good reason to install carefully.
Brightness of lighting in lumens. For example, a standard 60 watt light bulb emits about 800 lumens. Since most decorative smart lighting is not designed to be the primary light source, its brightness is often very limited, so keep that in mind.
RGB (red, green, blue) is standard, mixing these three into other colors.RGBW includes proper white as well as red, green and blue, which provides more flexibility, which is important if you want high quality white light. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and listed as a range (for example, 1200K–6500K). This range determines how warm or cool your lighting can get. Perhaps counter-intuitively, red and orange are on the lower end of the scale, while blue is on the higher end. The last thing to keep in mind is the Color Rendering Index (CRI), where a score of 100 indicates how well the light simulates sunlight. It affects how the color of illuminated objects is displayed. For example, with a low CRI score, red might appear brown. A score of 80 or above will work fine in most cases.
Most smart lighting connects via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and is controlled by an app on your phone. You need a good Wi-Fi signal or within Bluetooth range. While connecting the lighting directly to Wi-Fi or using Bluetooth may seem straightforward, there are advantages to having a system with a dedicated hub. In the case of Philips Hue, connecting and responding to commands is much faster using a Hue hub than via Bluetooth in the app. Most smart lighting can be controlled by smart voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, but make sure to check compatibility before buying. You may want to install smart speakers or smart displays in the same room as your lighting.
Consider physical controls. Smart lighting must be plugged in and always on to respond. If it’s only app-controlled, it might be difficult for kids or visitors in the home to turn the lights on or off. Many light strips and panels also feature a control unit with physical buttons, and sometimes a button to cycle through colors or effects — something worth looking for if you have kids at home.
Check how many zones your smart lighting supports. Cheap smart light strips on the market may only have one area, which means the entire light strip can only render one color at a time. If you want multiple colors or animations, you need multiple areas (the more the better).
For light strips, please verify the length and measure it in your space before buying. Inexpensive strips may lack the protective coating of the LEDs, which affects the lifespan. If you want to cut the light strip to a specific length, make sure your preferred options allow this and follow the instructions very carefully. Some light strips can also be extended, but be sure to check before buying.
Smart lighting may have some privacy concerns. The ambient light here provides a reactive mode that changes the light to the beat of the audio in your space, and with a microphone, this feature works. This is something to be aware of, although these companies claim they don’t record the audio or send it anywhere, and everything stays on the device. \
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