Are Smart Lights More Efficient Than Regular LEDs?

Looking at the plain numbers, smart bulbs aren't quite as efficient as the best 'dumb' Eco LEDs you can get on the market, but they're close. Philips' non-Wi-Fi enabled bulbs use 7.5 watts (a measure of energy usage) to produce 600 lumens (a measure of brightness), while the Hue bulbs draw around 8.5 watts for the same brightness. While they're far better than a traditional 50 watt lightbulb, they're still a tiny bit more of a drain than a regular LED.

Let's also have a look at LIFX — their standard bulb runs quite a bit brighter at 1100 lumens, needing to draw 11 watts to produce that brightness. Other comparable LED bulbs need around 12-14 watts for the same brightness, so the LIFX may in fact be more efficient than other LEDs, but at $US60 a bulb, it's a steep price to pay.

The other advantage of smart bulbs is, of course, the ability to control them remotely. This means that you can turn them off as long as your phone is nearby, whether someone has left the lights on while no one is home, or you just forgot to turn something off at the other end of your house. Smart lights are also dimmable — so if you don't need their full brightness, you can turn them down to consume less power.

So while smart lighting isn't necessarily any more efficient than non-connected LED bulbs, if the other benefits of the system outweigh the initial cost of buying them, they can be a worthwhile investment.

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