Once you outfit your home with smart lighting, it’s hard to go back. “Hey Siri, turn off the living room lights” is a daily utterance in my home. You can make lights turn on automatically when you come home, or at a certain time when you’re away. You can usually control brightness and sometimes color, too. After getting used to smart lights, your old switches and dimmers feel positively ancient.
But there are lots of different kinds of smart lights. Different networks, apps, and ecosystems used to control them. Some smart lighting solutions are only compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant, which will work with the appropriate apps on your iPhone, but to make a smart light seamlessly integrate into the Home app or with Siri, you really want lights that are compatible with HomeKit. This makes them easier to control with your iPhone or Mac, but also lets you integrated them into Automations that control several devices at once based on time, location, or the actions of other devices.
To make use of Automations, or to control your lights from outside your home network, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got either an Apple TV, HomePod, or plugged-in iPad on your local network at home to act as a Home Hub.
Our sister site TechHive reviews lots of smart bulbs, but if you’re into the Apple ecosystem, you may not care much about those that only support Alexa or Google Assistant; you probably want one that works with HomeKit (in addition to its own app features). These are the top rated smart light bulbs that are compatible with HomeKit.
Updated 02/22/21: Added several new products to the list of Homekit-compatible smart bulbs, though none of them claimed the spot as our top recommended pick for colored or white standard light bulb.
Best color LED smart bulb
LIFX is a very strong competitor in the smart lighting space and comes a very close second place in our roundup. LIFX no longer has just A19 and BR30 form factors to offer, and we really like its unique LIFX+ (which has an array of infrared LEDs that will help your home security camera see in the dark). Phillips’ new Hue bulbs with Bluetooth and Zigbee support may be the top choice for some users, but to use those with HomeKit you’ll need to add a Hue bridge. With the LIFX bulbs, no extra hardware is required.
Best white LED smart bulb
If you want a smart white-only bulb that doesn’t require a smart home hub, the LIFX Mini White is a great choice. While it’s slightly dimmer than the full-size LIFX bulb, it produces a 60-watt-equivalent 800 lumens—as much as many competitors.
Latest HomeKit-compatible smart bulb reviews
LIFX A19 smart bulb (2018)
Philips Hue White Ambiance A19 Starter Kit
Nanoleaf Essentials A19 Bulb
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Bulb Starter Kit (Hub and 4 bulbs)
Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus (2020)
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.