Smart lighting has come a very long way in just a few years. Now you can walk into a Bunnings and find a comprehensive range alongside traditional light bulbs, the latter almost seem prehistoric these days.
One of the brands I’ve been playing around with at home is LIFX. This brand offers a number of smart lighting options including outdoor and indoor, feature lights and LED light strips.
In fact, I’d suggest right now LIFX provide the most comprehensive range of smart lights, even more so than Philips Hue.
You need to have some understanding of what you plan to do as a result. LIFX sell 100mm Downlights, GU20 Downlights, white and colourful screw-in and bayonet bulbs for inside and out. The feature lights include Beam which is a series of bars that connect together forming a light bar. The Z LED strips can be extended by up to six metres via add ons. The Tile feature light paints a wall in colour, with any combination or design you like, think of it as a living artwork. There are also bulbs that emit an invisible infrared light that enhances night vision for security cameras.
In terms of smart connectivity LIFX supports Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and the Google assistant. But the best part about the LIFX system is that there’s no need for a hub! All lights connect independently to your Wi-Fi network, this gives LIFX somewhat of an edge over Philips Hue. Some people just don’t like having base stations hanging around.
Now back to my house. I’ve used the Beam to light-up spaces under our kitchen bench, kitchen draw and behind our TV unit. In the garage I’ve managed to install a Z LED Strip on top of the rail that supports the garage door when it’s rolled up. That light which is triggered via an Eve sensor is bright enough to light the whole garage.
Outside the LED strip is placed above a sliding door, which again is so bright it illuminates the entire back deck with ease.
Now to the price. LIFX lights are not cheap but right now LIFX has sale on. The Z LED Strip will set you back $103.99, with extensions ranging from $31.99 for one-metre to $191.94 for a six-metre pack. The Beam kit comes in at $239.99, the Tile $319.99.
Some of the more advanced infrared bulbs such as the A60 and BR30 range from $87.99 upwards. Downlights start from $67.99.
I have way, way more Philips Hue lights in and outside my house mainly because they seemed to be the first to really interest the market. But I have to say LIFX gives Hue a run for its money. The LIFX app isn’t as user friendly as Hue’s plus they lack at this stage serious outdoor lighting solutions.
So, it all comes down to a matter of choice. But for me LIFX has introduced a different style of lighting to my house and in retrospect just nudges Philips Hue into 2ndposition when it comes to smart lighting.