Amazon offers an affordable way to start building out a voice-activated home automation system for your house or apartment with their Amazon Echo and Echo Dot powered by their A.I. assistant, Alexa. On its own, you can use Alexa to play music and find news, sports, and other information. But things get really interesting when you start to connect Alexa up to smart devices, including connected LED bulbs and smart switches, around your house.
There are many light options compatible with Alexa. We’ve broken things down based on the different brands and ecosystems that each have their own compatibility with smart lights and smart switches that you’ll ultimately be able to control via Alexa on your Amazon Echo.
Philips Hue is the leader in smart bulbs, and are downright cool. You can connect up to 50 Philips Hue bulbs, lamps and lighting strips via the Philips Hue Bridge, so chances are you could convert all your home’s lighting over to the Philips Hue system. Whether you’re looking for 60W equivalent white LED bulbs, bulbs that feature 16 million colors, or LED light strips for futuristic accents, there’s a reason why so many people have gone with Philips Hue.
Alexa syncs right up to the Philips Hue Bridge, which means you’ll be able to set up different lighting groups for your rooms and IFTTT recipes on your phone, then also control everything with the sound of your voice via your Amazon Echo. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, as Philips Hue lights can be synced up to your music for epic dance parties, and otherwise customized in countless different ways to suit your lifestyle.
If you’re interested in getting started with Philips Hue, you’re best off getting a starter kit. There are a couple of different options to consider:
No matter which starter kit you choose, the beautiful part of going with Philips Hue is that it’s super easy to add extra bulbs or other elements to your ecosystem later.
SmartThings provides a full suite of options for home automation, which includes a few options for smart lights. You’ll need a SmartThings Hub ($98) to get started, but from there you can connect plug-in smart switches for appliances, lamps and outdoors, and in-wall dimmers which support dimmable LED and CFL technologies along with legacy support for incandescent, halogen, Mark 10, and magnetic lighting loads.
You can also connect smart bulbs from Philips Hue or Osram to your SmartThings Hub, along with a host of other super handy home automation products that all work within the SmartThings ecosystem.
If you’re mainly interested in smart lights, you can get a SmartThings Hub and an Osram bulb bundle ($109). If complete home automation is your ultimate goal, you might be more interested in the SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit ($169.99), then build your own lighting arsenal from the available SmartThings-compatible lighting options.
Insteon’s offerings for smart home lighting mostly include in-wall dimmers and switches and plug-in dimmers. They do offer their own programmable, dimmable 8W LED bulbs ($29.99). You can use the Insteon app to set bulbs into groups for scheduling and creating scenes, then take control via Alexa.
To start building out your Insteon smart lighting ecosystem, you should get the Insteon Starter Kit ($99.99), which comes with the necessary Hub, and two Dimmer Plugs, perfect for setting up a voice-controlled bedside lamp. From there, you’ll need to buy compatible bulbs as you need them.
Insteon’s system is a decent option for those looking for home automation, but overall their lighting options are somewhat lacking.
WeMo switches and outlets
WeMo offers Wi-Fi enabled smart switches and outlets that you can control via Alexa. The WeMo Light Switch ($40.99) can be used to replace any light switch in your home, letting you schedule and control your lights and appliances without the need of a central hub.
This one is better for the DIYers out there who are interested in manually creating their own home automation network with in-wall switches and plug-in adapters to control lamps and other small appliances. Those looking for hassle-free installation and smart bulb options are best looking elsewhere.
Lutron dimmers and switches
Lutron Caseta Wireless products offer a selection of smart dimmers and switches that connect via the Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge. Connect your Smart Bridge to Alexa allows you to control all the dimmers and switches with your voice.
Check out the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting In-Wall Dimmer Kit ($189.99) or the Plug-in Dimmer Kit ($189.99) to see what this system is all about. This is another route that’s going to require DIY effort with initial setup and is also lacking branded LED bulb options, but the Hub is compatible with a bunch of other smart devices from leading brands including Ecobee, Nest, Honeywell, Logitech, and Sonos.
LIFX smart bulbs
LIFX offers a range of smart bulb selections for indoor and outdoor use that are compatible with Alexa. Not only can you turn your LIFX bulbs on and off using only your voice, but Alexa can also control and tweak your bulb color or light temperature, so you always have complete control over your bulbs.
You can buy them individually or save money by bundling them into multipacks so you can upgrade bulbs around your home and link them all together via Alexa. They also sell bulbs with built-in infrared to enhance your security cam’s vision, as well as LED strips to add some futuristic and colorful accents to your home. Check ’em out!
GE Link Smart LED Bulb
You can get a standard A19 bulb for $29 (great if you already have a compatible smart home hub), or you can opt for the GE starter kit which includes two A19 bulbs and a compact GE Link Hub for just $75.
Other bulb sizes are also available.
TP-Link offers smart bulbs that connect to your home network via Wi-Fi and do not require a standalone hub. There are four bulb options, from a standard white dimmable bulb to a fully-customizable multi-color bulb.
All of TP-Link’s bulbs are pairable with the Alexa app which allows you to control your lighting with your voice. TP-Link sells other smart home devices such as smart plugs which are also controllable via Alexa, as well as cloud-based cameras which are not.
Nanoleaf Aurora Smart LED Light Panel – 9 Pack
Not all lighting options need to be bulbs. The Nanoleaf Aurora are Smart LED Light Panels that you can connect to create an entirely custom and unique lighting solution for your home office, gaming corner, or wherever you want to show them off.
The best place to start would be the nine-pack kit that comes with nine panels that can be configured however you’d like, and you can add up to 30 panels if you desire. The nine-pack is available on Amazon starting at $220 and they might not be the most practical lighting solution but damn they’re cool. Add in Alexa functionality and BAM! Suddenly you got the coolest living room on the block!
Check out the full review of these modular lights.
Smart lights are awesome.
Hey Alexa, Turn them on.
The future is now!
All poetry aside, these light fixtures are stylish and premium smart lights to consider if you’re renovating your home and want to massively upgrade your home lighting with something you can control with Alexa.
Beyond Alexa voice control, these fixtures include built-in motion sensors that can be set up to instantly illuminate the room when you walk in and turn off when you leave. You can install them indoors or outside, and they also include Haiku’s Smart Lighting technology that measures the ambient light in the room and automatically adjusts the lighting level to ensure consistent lighting throughout the day.
These are highly reviewed on Amazon, are available in multiple styles and colors to match your decor, and start at around $199. Check it out!
Smartika Smart Home Lighting
Smartika has been making stylish and functional smart home lighting options since 2014, developing a line of smart LED fixtures that would look great in any home.
They’ve got some cool looking stuff like the Indoor/Outdoor wall light pictured to the right, along with a track-light fixture and pot lights that can all be linked to a Smartika Central Control HUB ($35).
Which should you get?
Thanks to Alexa’s compatibility with a variety of smart light systems, you’ve got several great options for automating and customizing your home. Which system you go with will greatly depending on your current living situation.
If you’re living in an apartment and are just looking to control some funky lighting options via Alexa voice controls, Philips Hue is your best bet. Buying a starter kit is a great investment that you can take with you as you move — and with the lifespan of LED lighting well exceeding a decade, you’ll enjoy the freedom to rearrange, expand and easily move your Philips system wherever you go.
If you’re a homeowner looking to integrate IoT devices throughout your home, you’ll want to buy an Alexa-compatible hub that shares a wide range of compatibility with other brands and products, such as SmartThings or even a Wink Hub 2, then build out your smart bulb and other devices to the exact specifications of your home.
And if you’re in the process of planning a home renovation, it might be worth looking at WeMo, Insteon, and Lutron’s in-wall switches or dimmers to convert your existing home wiring into a smart lighting system that you can then control with your voice. Don’t just update the look of your home — upgrade its functionality, then let Alexa control it all with the power of your own voice.
Updated June 2018: Updated pricing information and removed options that are no longer available.