Need help picking lights

I'm JUST starting off with home automation and am strongly considering getting an HE (are there any sales coming up? It costs $175 incl. shipping to Austria which is quite pricey). I'm looking at buying as much second-hand gear as I can (jeez is this smart home stuff is expensive).

I want to start off by changing the lighting in my living room and kitchen. Not having enough daylight at home during winter seriously sucks, so I'm looking at buying a bunch of smart bulbs and/or LED strips. I'd love something that can simulate daylight (around 6500K with as good a CRI as I can get). RGB isn't essential but would be a nice touch.

We live in a rented flat and aren't allowed to make any changes to the place, so smart switches & dumb lights are unfortnately not an option right now. Besides, all the switches are embedded in the walls and it isn't possible to open them without messing with the paint; the couple of non-embedded switches that I did manage to access have completely stripped screws so I can't remove them, FML.

I've been lurking a bit and it looks to me like if something isn't on the HE list, there's no way to tell if it will work till you actually buy and try. From what I understand, I need to look out for either ZigBee or Z-Wave devices, but then even if they're ZigBee or Z-Wave, they may or may not work?
I don't mind tinkering a bit to get things working, but I don't want to get something that will need to be reconfigured frequently because it un-paired or broke somehow.

Do you have any recommendations for bulbs that might work? Ideally something that would be available in Austria / Germany (since I could order off of Amazon).

  • It seems that Hue bulbs work pretty well, but they're pretty polarising - some people love them others say they are overpriced.
  • What's the consensus on Lifx bulbs? They seem to be pretty highly praised. They're also pretty expensive, but I found a set of 4 bulbs for €100 on (Prime Day); I'm thinking of getting those if they'll work with HE.
  • Osram Lightify, Innr and Yeelight are pretty commonly available here - do those work reliably with HE?
  • Would you recommend those cheap, Chinese bulbs like Govee, Gosund and the countless others out there?

I've had very good luck with the Sengled bulbs which I've order off Amazon. They work very well with Hubitat and use a built-in driver. They are Zigbee devices, but are not repeaters.

Hue are the best in my opinion. Yes, they are expensive but you get what you pay for. They are rock solid on the Hue hub. I also use Gledopto (lamps and strips/controllers), which work nicely with HE and also with the Hue hub, are a bit cheaper but frankly do not have the same color performance/brightness. Lifx are expensive and a wifi interface as I understand it. Personally I'd stick with zigbee.

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I use mostly HUE bulbs and also some IKEA Trådfri ones. If color and dimming properties are important, then definitely HUE is the winner. Where that doesn't matter so much IKEA could be an alternative. Their white bulbs are fine where you are not so picky, same goes for their colored ones. IMHO that is. :slight_smile:

I'll check these out on Amazon DE, thanks. At what point would I need repeaters?

Would I need a Hue Hub as well? There are a few people selling those on the local seconds website. Should be pretty easy to get. Anything to look out for when buying one?

They seem to be available here as well. But if the brightness isn't good enough, I might as well stick with Sengled.

Yeah, they normally are, but with Prime Day going on, I can get themfor about €25 a pop right now and that's quite tempting. I'm just curious if they will work properly.

I guess I'll continue looking around for Hue lights, then :slight_smile:

From reading the forum postings, my understanding is you don't want zigbee light bulbs as repeaters. So, I made sure none of my zigbee light bulbs are zigbee repeaters. I do have other zigbee devices that are repeaters (e.g., Securfi Peanut outlet, Inle wall switch, Ikea USB adapter repeaters). For my home, I think I have a sufficient Zigbee mesh for all of my devices.

No. Hue lamps work directly on the HE hub. Or you can use them on a Hue hub and link that to HE. Choices :slight_smile: There are a few pros and cons but nothing major (like for exampls... pro: if you wanna separate your lamps onto a separate hub - which can be useful - then a 2nd hand Hue hub can be found real cheap. And example con: HE has to update its status for a Hue lamp using polling, so the HE dashboard can be out of step for a short while if you make a change using the Hue app instead of using HE).

For whites (at any temperature), mine are super bright. But for colours they are quite dim. Certainly they are not as effective in RGB mode as Hue lamps.