Starting your smart home journey can be somewhat of a minefield, with so many different products available. As if that wasn't complicated enough, there are a multitude of brands competing for your attention across each product category, with smart lighting being one of the most competitive markets for smart home devices.
So where should you start? Well, we've got you covered - here's a top-five list of the best smart light bulbs available on the market today.
Philips Hue kit
The Philips Hue lighting system (From £14 per bulb)
One of the best-known systems on the market, the Philips Hue smart lighting system is incredibly flexible, offering starter kits for those that are totally new to the smart house world, as well as individual bulbs.
Earlier kits require a 'hub' to use, which will set you back considerably more than the latest models which are standalone and work via bluetooth - we'd recommend those as the easiest (and cheapest) way into the world of Philips Hue lighting.
With a variety of levels available from simple white lights to full-on technicolour marvels, Philips Hue bulbs give you endless possibilities for creating atmosphere and ambience within your home.
Hue bulbs are controlled from your smartphone, and whilst the standard app works perfectly fine, if you want to get more from your lighting setup there are a multitude of aftermarket and third-party apps available - we've even given you a rundown of available apps right here.
LIFX A19 bulbs (From £34.98 per bulb)
Whilst the Philips Hue system may be somewhat paired-back and 'normal' the LIFX system of lighting is designed to inject some vibrancy and excitement into your home, offering a fresh take on smart lighting with bright colours and fun interaction; Making them perfect for use as feature lighting in conjunction with 'normal' coloured bulbs.
Whilst the initial colours may be a bit of a shock, users can use the apps colour wheel to scroll through all of the available colours and adjust the brightness settings from 1-100%, meaning the level of 'shock' is adjustable.
Whilst the vibrant colours may not be for everyone, there is no denying that they certainly add a touch of excitement to even a boring, dull environment. Smart lighting made fun!
Nanoleaf Light Panels (Kits from £179.69)
If you like your bulbs less... bulb-like, then the Nanoleaf light panel may be the perfect solution for you. Taking the form of modernistic, triangular shapes; Each panel can be arranged in tandem with the next to form geometric patterns and shapes on your wall.
With 16 million colour options available through the Nanoleaf app, you'll never run out of mood lighting options for your room; Whilst the separate Rhythm Module allows the Nanoleaf panels to take audio cues and translate them into lighting shifts, reacting to the sounds that are playing in your room. There are also pre-loaded 'scenes' that run through a sequence of gently-changing lighting modes to fit your mood.
Not only are the Nanoleaf light panels able to be arranged into wacky shapes on your wall, but they can even 'bend' around corners or onto the ceiling thanks to the Nanoleaf corner clips, giving nearly endless configuration possibilities.
LIFX Mini Colour (From £16.49 per bulb)
We've already mentioned the LIFX system of smart lighting in this article, but we would be wrong to discount the 'baby brother' of the LIFX range - the aptly-named Mini Colour.
Much smaller than the A19 bulbs, the Mini Colour system of bulbs is one of the cheapest (and smallest, as the name may suggest) ways to get into the world of smart lighting, with individual bulbs retailing for well under £20. With the same 16 million colour options available, they are ideal for adding some fun colour or ambience to small rooms or individual areas of your home; Perfect for highlighting certain aspects of your decor or creating different mood spaces in each room.
Whilst the LIFX Mini Colour can be controlled via the app, they are also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and IFTTT systems for hands-free lighting changes and commands.
IKEA Tradfri Light bulbs (From £6 per bulb)
Low-cost smart lighting doesn't get much simpler than the Tradfri system of smart lighting from IKEA. Famous for making items simple and without all the unnecessary frills, the Tradfri smart lighting system follows this ethos perfectly.
Available in a number of styles and fittings, the most basic Tradfri bulbs are simple on/off white light affairs, with options for dimmers and colour-changing bulbs also available.
With in-built Alexa support, Tradfri starter kits will only set you back between £50-£70 depending on your specification, making this a fantastic way to start your smart lighting journey, and are well worth a look for those that want simple and affordable smart lighting systems.