Best smart lights 2023

A set of blue panel lights mounted to a wall above a gaming setup.
Credit: Yeelight

The best smart lights can help bathe your home office in a vibrant warm or cold glow, and will work with whatever smart assistants you like to use.

Smart homes are becoming not only more common, but also cheaper, and a lot easier to set up and control in general. It's because of this that the best smart lights have seen a surge of interest alongside other smart tech like some of the best budget smart rings around.

We all grew up wishing we could turn the lights on or off while still in bed, and with the smart lights, that's actually achievable. All you need to know is how much you're willing to spend and what features you want.

From Philips to Nanoleaf and budget-friendly brands like Govee and Yeelight, there are plenty of products with different use cases, price points, form factors, brightness levels, colour variability, and smart assistant compatibility to choose from. Fortunately, our guide will illuminate some of the best smart LEDS, strip lighting, and bulbs available today. Let's dive in...

Best smart lights

  1. Nanoleaf Shapes
  2. Yeelight Smart LED Light Panels
  3. Philips Hue Gradient Smart Lightstrip
  4. Govee AI Gaming Sync Box
  5. Govee RGBIC LED Neon Rope
  6. Govee Glide
  7. Wyze Bulb Color
  8. Philips Hue Iris
  9. WiZ Luminaire
  10. Philips Hue Lily
Nanoleaf Shapes product image of purple, pink, orange, and yellow hexagonal panel lights next to their white box.
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Credit: Nanoleaf

1. Nanoleaf Shapes

Best smart light panels

Works with: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings, and Razer Chroma

Good lighting protects you from bumping into furniture in the dark. That much is obvious, but that’s not all it is. It can also be a totally mood-changing, experience-enhancing factor in your home. Our favourite smart light panels perfectly encapsulate this, as the Nanoleaf Shapes are modular geometric wall-mounted panels you can place anywhere. A beautiful statement piece to add to your gaming setup or home entertainment centre, this product is truly where the worlds of smart lighting and art combine.

Shapes come in black or white, and in three forms: hexagons, triangles and mini triangles. You can mix and match any of Nanoleaf’s Shapes. This makes for a great level of customizability: you can use the panels to create abstract mosaics or form them like tangrams into representations of symbols, animals, and pop culture references. Nanoleaf provides a Layout Assistant, which is a little better on the smartphone app with AR activated. Here you can create your design before popping it on the wall, ensuring you make the best use of your available space. You need to be aware of the energy consumption of each panel but there is a handy calculator on the Nanoleaf site that'll tell you if all your panels will run off a single 42w power supply included in your starter kit. If not, 75w PSUs are available for purchase separately.

Once you’ve set up your Shapes, there are several ways you can control them. The most basic of these is the physical touch-sensitive control panel, but this features limited customisation and you'll have to reach over whenever you want to change something. For more in-depth modifications, you’ll have to connect your panels to the Nanoleaf app across a 2.4GHz WiFi network. Here, you’ll have access to 16 million colours across the RGBW wheel as well as music visualisation, screen-mirroring, and scheduling features. You can create custom light shows known as ‘Scenes’, or pick from a breadth of user-generated Scenes shared in the community Discover tab. Extensive virtual assistant support means you can have Alexa, Google, or Siri entirely save you the trouble of picking up your phone to change your Shapes’ colour or Scene. And, as a nice perk, Razer Chroma integration means your lighting can maintain absolutely *chef’s kiss* colour coordination with your gaming peripherals.

The cheapest entry point to get started with Nanoleaf Shapes is a 5-panel mini triangles starter kit. Meanwhile, the most expansive (and expensive) starter pack is a 15-panel hexagon kit. Factor in the temptation to pick up one of the expansion packs and you can ring up a serious price tag, but the product’s quality is truly reflective of that.

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Yeelight Smart LED Light Panels product image of pink, purple, and blue triangular panel lights next to their black box.
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Credit: Yeelight

2. Yeelight Smart LED Light Panels

Best cheap smart light panels

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Razer Chroma, and Samsung SmartThings

While we may love the look of premium smart home tech, sometimes our bank account isn’t so keen on the idea. Fortunately, budget-friendly alternatives aren't a painful compromise. Yeelight Smart LED Light Panels come with a reduced price point while maintaining the core functionality and style of their more upmarket counterparts.

These triangular RGB light panels are available in packs of six, but with three-piece expansion packs, you can create an interconnected display of up to 12. These pack all of the same features as the Nanoleaf Shapes, which you can activate smartly via the Yeelight App or voice controls to Alexa or Google (no Homekit support though — sorry, Apple lovers). One unique addition is its audio adapter. After connecting it to a pair of headphones with a 3.5mm jack, you can sit mesmerised by glowing colours synced to the music in your ears. How meditative!

Predictably, there are some small downgrades buried in the details. The control panel is bulkier with clicky tactile buttons. Included in the box is a less high-tech answer to the Layout Assistant in the form of paper templates. And as the lights are RGB as opposed to RGBW, they can only produce an off-white and offer less scope for displaying pretty pastels. However, if your main goal is producing a variety of gorgeously saturated colours, Yeelight Smart LED Light Panels are ideal.

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Philips Hue Gradient Smart Lightstrip product image of a white smart light strip next to their box featuring an image of the lights in pink and orange on it.
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Credit: Philips

3. Philips Hue Gradient Smart Lightstrip

Best smart light strips

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit*, Google Home, and IFTTT

Teens on TikTok are well attuned to the value of a good LED light strip. They’ve been a cool, moody addition to the perimeter of bedroom ceilings everywhere since early 2020. But as your aesthetic tastes mature, your light strip needs a glow-up. The Philips Hue Gradient Smart Lightstrip offers just that.

The base kit is a 2m strip which can display multiple RGBW colours simultaneously with a brightness of up to a dazzling 1,800 lumens. While the Philips Hue Gradient Smart Lightstrip is perfect for fancy accent lighting under cabinets or in wardrobes, you can tailor it for almost any space. There are also 1m extension kits you can add for a total length of up to 10m; you can cut strips shorter to fit compact spaces and its flexible silicone casing is perfect for bending around awkward corners. The silicone casing also provides a subtle level of opacity which diffuses the colour in a lovely glow.

You can cycle through a varied assortment of lighting effects on the Philips Hue app. If you pair the light strip to a Google Nest or Amazon Echo, you can make changes hands-free, however, you can only use it with Apple Homekit by using the Zigbee-based Hue Bridge. You can synchronise the lights with your Windows or Mac PC directly using the Hue Bridge, too, but you'll need to throw a Hue HDMI Sync Box into the mix if you want to hook it up to a TV or monitor without one. Philips Hue is a top-end line of smart lighting products so depending on your needs, its ecosystem may be a worthwhile investment.

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Govee AI Gaming Sync Box product image of two tall blue, purple, and pink gradient lights next to a black box.
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Credit: Govee

4. Govee AI Gaming Sync Box

Best interactive smart lights for gaming

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home

If the popularity of >55” televisions, ultrawide monitors, and VR headsets shows one thing, it’s our desire to feel wholly immersed in a gaming experience. The Govee AI Gaming Sync Box is a smart lighting system which extends the visuals of what you’re playing beyond the boundaries of your screen.

The Sync Box connects via HDMI to your monitor and your PC or games console. It is then connected to a strip light which can be affixed to the back of any 27”-34” monitor, and two light bars which diffuse a glow against the wall behind it. Its 360° DreamView feature means you also can coordinate other Govee lighting products.

With 99% accuracy, it analyses the colour on the screen within a 12x6 grid and mirrors it. A few games even support Govee’s AI image recognition, allowing for the production of colour-coded lighting reactions to key in-game moments like taking damage or using a health kit. As the Sync Box is compatible with a 240Hz refresh rate at 1080p, there’s little worry about your lights lagging behind the action.

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Govee RGBIC LED Neon Rope product image of a pink, blue, and orange strip light next to a phone and box.
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Credit: Govee

5. Govee RGBIC LED Neon Rope

Best smart LED lights for desks

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home

Only the best gaming desks boast built-in RGB features, but hope isn't lost if you already own a table and don't plan on replacing your slab, or wood, or metal any time soon. If you have a perfectly good desk that just needs a glowy little upgrade, the Govee RGBIC LED Neon Rope is just the thing.

At 3m long and 1.5cm thick, the rope light can wrap around pretty much any desk. The only obstacle we had was trying to fit it to the Secretlab Magnus Pro, since the standing desk features a control panel baked into the edge that you don't want to cover. Otherwise, it'll bend around the corners of tables easily and there's a bracket for the inverted corners on L-shaped desks.

When setting it up, it's best you pace yourself as you'll want to get it right the first time. The rope light sticks on with adhesive, which is far more versatile than Secretlab's magnets, but it'll lose strength if you peel it back too many times. Once on, it won't budge unless you want it to, gripping tighter than a paranoid dad holding a Nintendo Wii remote so it doesn't fly into the TV.

You can control its fifteen individual segments independently with its inline remote, the Govee app, and through Alexa or Google. Animations aren't the smoothest since the LEDs are fairly spaced apart, but the single-colour glow is bright and transforms the room around you. And, for those fond of a desk-chair boogie, its 11 Music Sync modes are a fun little inclusion as well

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Govee Glide product image of blue and pink lights next to a phone and box.
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Credit: Govee

6. Govee Glide

Best smart neon light bar

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, Razer Chroma

The Govee Glide has less capacity to create complex arrangements than geometric panels or flexible lightstrips. Nevertheless, the Glide is bright, angular, and makes a strong statement in your space. It's a series of long flat tubes and corner pieces that slot together to form a line, an L shape, or a combination of the two. There’s something very “mysterious pipe of neon cyberpunk goo” about its design once affixed to the wall, which is oddly appealing in a retro-futuristic kind of way.

Adding some flash to this deceptively simple light feature is easy with its 40 lighting scenes and 6 distinct music synchronisation modes. Alternatively, you can produce a custom effect with solid colour, or a gradient of up to 57 colours at a time. You have great options for matching your Govee Glide to other RGB elements in your gaming set-up. Either employ the Govee 360° Syncview to have the Glide coordinate with other Govee lights (may we recommend their AI Gaming Syncbox or their RGBIC LED Neon Rope?) or connect it to Razer Chroma to create cohesion between it and your gaming peripherals.

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Wyze Bulb Color product image of two white lights with multicoloured bulbs.
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Credit: Wyze

7. Wyze Bulb Color

Best smart bulb light

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT

How many smart light owners does it take to screw in a smart light bulb? Just one, and it’ll be far quicker than dealing with double-sided tape and adhesive strips! A coloured smart bulb is a quick and renter-friendly way to transform the vibe of an entire living space. The Wyze Bulb Color is the best of the entire bunch.

This E24 bulb comes in two, four, and six-packs, all of which are superb value given their quality. They have a massive range of dimmability, maxing out at 1,100 lumens but easing down to 30 lumens for comfy evening vibes.

A host of clever perks make this product more than just a pretty light. Sleep routines help you wind down after a long day and gradually ease you awake in the morning. Meanwhile, vacation mode intermittently turns your bulb on while you’re awake to fend off would-be intruders. The bulb can be linked with one of Wyze’s motion sensors to automatically turn on upon your entry. No Apple HomeKit integration is a bit of a downside, but it can be used with the Wyze app, Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

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Philips Hue Iris product image of a white, cylindrical light facing upwards next to its box.
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Credit: Philips

8. Philips Hue Iris

Best smart table light

Works with: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Homekit, IFTTT

Some situations just require a more concentrated source of light. You need a smart light that adds to the ambience in a room without overwhelming it. Enter the Philips Hue Iris Table Lamp.

Modern and globular, there’s a funky mod sensibility to Iris’s design that makes it just as pretty to look at off as it is to look at on. When it is on, 570 lumens of white and colour light are cast upward through the lamp’s face while simultaneously being diffused back through its rounded translucent casing. Its structure makes it perfect for casting floods of mood lights onto walls and for use as a nightlight.

The Iris comes in five sleek-looking colourways - white, black, gold, silver, and rose gold - meaning it can be fabulously harmonised with any decor. Bluetooth controls via the Philips Hue app are available right out of the box. However, a Hue Bridge is necessary to control the Iris using voice commands. Once a Hue Bridge is linked, you handily can have Alexa, Google, or Siri alter the lamp’s brightness and colour. The introduction of a Hue Bridge is also a prerequisite for accessing Iris’s wake and sleep routines, features which further cement this product as the ultimate smart bedside lamp.

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WiZ Luminaire product image of a white lamp emitting yellow and blue light.
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Credit: WiZ

9. WiZ Luminaire

Best portable smart light

Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Home

Do you want to explore the world of smart lighting but are feeling a little commitment-phobic? The WiZ Luminaire Mobile Portable Light is an ideal way to add a pop of accent light to a space … and then to another space … and then to another space. It’s compact and lightweight, and its handle makes for great ease of movement. Its rechargeable battery with up to 10 hours of battery life means wherever you take it for the day, you don’t have to worry about recharging it.

A decently powerful 400 lumens of light can emanate 180° around its pod-like shape in solid colours or themed colour displays. Whether you want to nestle down with a good book with the ‘fireplace’ effect or bring the nightclub to you with "party", this fun-size smart light has you sorted.

The white plastic casing on the top and bottom provides a great canvas for these colours to pop against but it does mean you have to be especially wary about mucky discolouration if you decide to take it out in your garden for some evening ambience. Another cog in the works for those who want the Wiz Luminaire to accompany them on their outdoor adventures is that it’s not waterproof. So, be sure to check the weather forecast before bringing it along!

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Philips Hue Lily product image of a black outdoor light next to its box.
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Credit: Philips

10. Philips Hue Lily

Best outdoor smart light

Works with: Amazon Alexa and Google Home

Why should the joy of smart lighting stop beyond your four walls? The Philips Hue Lily is a premium outdoor spotlight with a range of impressive smart features. It does require a Philip Hue Bridge to function. But if you’ve decked out the inside of your home with Philips Hue products already, you’ll be happy to know how much the inclusion of Hue Bridge expands their functionality too.

There are two variations of the Philips Hue Lily to choose from. The original is 600 lumens and comes in a starter pack of three and a single extension pack. Meanwhile, the Philips Hue Lily XL is a slightly larger spotlight with almost double the brightness. Both produce a broad spectrum of white and colour light.

In terms of placement, you have plenty of choices. The Philips Hue Lily can be mounted onto walls or gates for a downlight effect. Alternatively, they can be poked into a lawn or flowerbed with the included ground spike. With the introduction of a monitor sensor from Philips, the Lily can even be utilised as a simple home security solution.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Don't worry if you've got a few questions. We've answered some of the most commonly asked queries below.

Are smart lights worth it?

While smart lights might not be worth it for those without smart hubs or ways of controlling them, although we'd argue that they still are, those with smart assistants can really benefit from them.

They're just a lot more convenient than standard light bulbs, and while it takes getting used to, it's always worth it.

Do smart lights raise the electric bill?

Generally speaking, we'd say no. Even if the bulb itself does use more electricity, which is rare, the extra control you have over it, including being able to set timers and whatnot, should lower your usage substantially.

Lower usage means lower costs, and that's always a very good thing.

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