Best smart bulbs to buy?

If a user has a strong, very stable WiFi network, and is willing to manage IP addresses of home automation devices, then WiFi based devices are fine. If one reboots their WiFi router and/or access points frequently due to instability issues, then adding a bunch of WiFi home automation devices would not be recommended.

Zigbee and Z-Wave networks establish their own mesh networks, alleviating the need for multiple WiFi Access Points and IP address management. These mesh networks definitely have their own set of issues. For some users, these networks work great while for others, they are a challenge.

There are Pros and Cons to both approaches. :sunglasses:

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Years ago when comparing Hue, their color was nowhere near as good as the up and coming competition (lifx, osram, etc at the time). Has Hue gotten better?
In any case, I'm not looking to add yet another hub to my setup. I'd rather stick with wifi/zwave/zigbee bulbs.

Philips Hue for me as well. But I have to admit their tech support is useless. At least that was my experience with the Hue Sync Box. I have never had to call support for any of their other products.

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Z-Wave bulbs seem rare - I do have a few Inovelli left but they are not connected to my system.. the issue with those is you absolutely have to keep the power to the bulbs on at all times so need a smart switch with "smart bulb" capability. Zigbee bulbs seem a bit more resistant to those kinds of disconnects especially if they do not repeat. I know people's experiences with Sengleds have varied but I still like them (the people AND the bulbs haha). The Zigbee group messaging works really well for my den lights.

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I switched out all of my Cree, Osram and Sengled for Innr (if you prefer zigbee) and Inovelli (if you want Zwave).

The Innr are hue compatible (the founders came from Phillips working on Hue). While i like the Inovelli, I find them to be somewhat high maintenance. If i was inclined to retire them, i would replace them with the Innr. Innr also seems to be a bit cheaper than hue and sengled.

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Innr - interesting, I've never heard of these before. You say they are "hue compatible", but they don't require the hue hub, correct?
I have several Cree bulbs and they've been good. But I want to check out some better color bulb options.

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Interesting, never heard of innr. I might give the color ones a try. I don't see any white temp changing bulbs from them. In fact, all I see are 2700K white bulbs which tells me these guys don't really understand lighting if they are still trying to emulate yellow incandescent.

Do you know if the innr (or any zigbee for that matter) are repeaters? The Sengled ones I currently have are not and it hurts my zigbee mesh quite a bit.

Sengelds hurting your mesh because they do NOT repeat? Am I understanding you correctly here? Usually it's the opposite. You don't want bulbs repeating due to the ease in which their power gets cut. The general strategy is to have outlets or switches to augment your mesh.. Apologies if I missed something here! :grin:

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My bulbs are always powered. What's the point of having smart bulbs that turn off/on through firmware if you are just going to unpower them with a switch? When talking about anything "smart", I assume it's always powered. So yes, it hurts my mesh having something like 30 zigbee bulbs not being repeaters when they could have been.

You'd be surprised.. there are some in this community that have done that.

In my case it's Spouse Approval Factor - she likes to use real switches to turn things on and off. So I added a smart switch with "smart bulb" mode on which decouples the switch from the power. We also like the ability to change color etc so thats where the smart bulb bit comes in. Switch can also control scenes.

I have 8 Sengled color+ recessed bulbs in our den - and 2 in our den table lamps. They have been running for 2 years or so. I have had to replace 2 faulty ones over that time but the rest are fine. In terms of repeating - I'm not sure having all 10 bulbs repeating in the den would actually do all that much good..

I hadn't either. I stumbled across them one day and figured i would give them a try. They also do RGB.

Summary

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07SC4CJ7H/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_EDPMRACFSTSN5EYR4DSY

No, not repeaters. Most smart bulbs arent. Your Cree aren't either.

Do you by chance live alone? Hahah. I've had to go through the house and remove the knobs from the lamps and put covers on the light switches to keep my wife from turning them off manually.

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Even when they are "Powered" they make bad repeaters. when they turn "off" (go into a low power mode) ZLL based bulbs turn off their repeaters so anything routing through them can drop off the mesh and potentially effect everything. Sengled does not use repeaters and this is a good thing. The downside is that you do want zigbee repeaters for them to talk to if you have a big area. Zigbee 3.0 bulbs don't suffer from this.

I'd also point out most know to use a switch that has the smart bulb feature in it (maintaining power to the bulb but acting more as a scene controller instead of actually cutting power like a traditional switch) This allows you to use it as an off/on button without worry

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I use Picos for this. They work great and they mount nicely in an outlet box. Or not!

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No, 5 person family. Most of my switches throughout the house are inovelli switches with the relay disabled. They work just like any switch except the on/off goes through hubitat instead of the relay turning off/on. So no one has to "know" how they work when they come over, just use them like a normal switch. On the few lamps we use, I have a zigbee or zwave remote switch for those.

Anyway, apparently people are still using smart bulbs like old fashioned bulbs, which is fine, but does not apply to my situation. So I'm interested in bulbs that repeat if there are any. Not a deal-breaker in the slightest however. It would just be helpful.

If you were comparing the first- or second-generation Hue bulbs, then yes--the third gen and newer (and anything with "richer colors" written on the box, though they may have stopped doing that some time after it wasn't new anymore) addressed the most notable weaknesses those bulbs had, particularly in the green and blue areas But really, I spend most of my time in CT mode and not color mode, and I find all generations of Hue to do particularly well with shades of white (some other bulbs can't get below 2700K much or at all; one of my favorite dimmed scenes uses 2250K--though this is far warmer than most would use for day-to-day lighting).

My pick is Hue (with a Hue Bridge, which there are various options for integrating into Hubitat). If I had to pick something else, I think LIFX would be a close second now that Hubitat has native support, but I'm not about to swap out all my bulbs just for that. :smiley: (And they aren't that different in price, as much as people like to make fun of how much Philips Hue costs...) I've tried some bulbs directly paired, notably Sengled and a couple Z-Wave devices, but was never quite as happy. I also much prefer "real" Hue bulbs on the Hue Bridge, even though a variety of third-party bulbs are also compatible, because they support all Hue features (default power-on state, HomeKit support, etc.).

I know adding more hubs/bridges/gateways isn't fun, but I wouldn't discount Hue entirely just for that if it's otherwise appealing. (But...maybe LIFX if you don't?) Just my take!

I've never heard of ZLL bulbs "turning off" their repeaters--how would they repeat for other ZLL devices if they did? Can you link to a source for this? The consensus seems to be simply that some ZLL bulbs have "bad" firmware that causes them to eat messages instead of repeating like they should and that this seems to be a problem only when mixed with non-ZLL devices, despite the fact that per spec it shouldn't matter. Additionally, Zigbee 3.0 doesn't do anything in particular to solve this, and it is likely just coincidence that those bulbs (apparently?) have better-written firmware and repeat properly. (Behavior is likely to vary by brand/model regardless of Zigbee profile.) See this thread for more discussion:

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I like the look of the lifx products but I think Buddy Technologies, the parent company, is in receivership. Doesn't mean you should stay away from them and hopefully someone buys them, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Actually, just the opposite is what I have found. All Zigbee smart bulbs ARE Zigbee repeaters, with the exception of Sengled Zigbee bulbs. Sengled intentionally designed their Zigbee bulbs as End Devices (i.e. non-repeaters), so that powering them off would not impact any other devices in the Zigbee mesh network.

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That's why I only have Hue and Sengled bulbs...Hue are on a Hue hub so they play nicely via the Hue integration and don't interact with my HE Zigbee mesh, and Sengled don't try to repeat so they never cause any problems if they come or go. I use some Zigbee plugs sprinkled around to help w/my Zigbee mesh, much simpler and doesn't rely on my keeping any particular combination of bulbs in use/on.

I've had Sengled bulbs for about 2 years now - hopefully I won't hit a four-year wall. If I do, I'll likely replace them w/Hue bulbs.

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You obviously don't spend enough time with @bcopeland :rofl:

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I strongly disagree with this. I think a lot of the people who say that statement were likely burned by the bad osram and ikea bulbs that would drop half the messages they should have repeated due to faulty firmware or not enough memory. I would like all my permanently powered devices to repeat so it helps the mesh as much as possible. Would be a plus if that option was configurable for bulbs to make everyone happy but I don't think that is a thing.

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