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How to control your home lights by voice command

Family using a Smart Speaker
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Ever had your hands full while trying to navigate a dark room? Or maybe you just jumped into a warm, cozy bed... but forgot to turn off the lights? 

Learning how to control home lights by voice command is a boon for anyone with a smart home. And if you don't have a smart home, now's definitely the time to upgrade. Using your voice to turn your lights on and off can leave your hands free, and the rest of you less stressed.

But as convenient as using your voice to control your lights may be, it can be a pain to set up automated lighting. Before buying a smart bulb or smart switch, there are a few important factors you should consider. Here's how to control your home lights with your voice, and the right equipment to do it with.

Top smart lights in this article: 

Buy the best bulb: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulb, $50

Midrange but mighty: Wyze Bulb Color smart bulb, $14

Budget price but still nice: Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED light bulb 2-pack, $17

What is a voice-controlled smart light?

A voice-controlled smart light is a bulb that lets you adjust your home lighting by using simple phrases. It's connected to a smart device, like a speaker, that "listens" to commands. When a command is received, a clip of the audio is sent to a remote server to "understand" what is being asked. 

Then, those instructions go back to the smart device to carry them out. You might, say, use Alexa on a device like an Amazon Echo to say "Alexa, turn on the lights," or something similar. These lights are often connected either via Bluetooth, a smart light switch, or a smart hub.

What do you need to control your home lights by voice command? 

To set up voice control with your home lights, you'll need three pieces: smart lights, a device (think switch, plug, or hub with voice assistance compatibility), and a stable Wi-Fi connection. Once that's settled, you can even control your smart bulb and switch remotely via app, along with your voice, with AI-driven assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. 

Some smart lights can simply connect to Bluetooth and grant you control from there. But others require a hub for full functionality, like light timers and dimming options. If you choose to connect your lights to a smart light switch, you may end up with less functionality, but you can still use your voice to turn your lights off and on. 

How do you set up voice-activated lights?

To issue voice commands for your smart light, you'll need to use one of three voice assistants. That includes Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple's Siri. Once you've chosen your smart speaker, you'll use Alexa Skills, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. Though platforms vary, each is perfectly acceptable for relaying your voice commands to your smart lights. 

When you've installed the smart light of your choice, you'll need to connect it to the smart platform it works with. For instance, a Philips Hue smart bulb can be connected via Bluetooth to a smartphone-controlled app or a separate hub. You can buy the hub, or use a compatible device for voice control. Example: A Philips Hue bulb can connect to an Alexa-enabled device via Skills.

When your smart bulb is connected to the correct platform, all that's left is learning what commands to use. You may already be familiar with Alexa, which wakes when you say -- you guessed it -- "Alexa," or Siri, which triggers with "Hey, Siri." 

You can issue directives like "turn on all lights" or "turn on kitchen lights," for example. Each bulb and assembly comes with a specific set of phrases -- or light "recipes" -- you can use to customize how you'd like your lights to perform.

It's very simple to set up your lights if you use one of the aforementioned platforms. Many require you to only connect via Wi-Fi or app, and install or activate the skill required to communicate with your light. For most smart devices, it only takes a few moments to sync your lights and turn on voice commands. 

The best smart lights for voice control

The best smart lights you'll find come with a variety of color choices, Bluetooth support, hub compatibility, and easy, stress-free installation. Check out these top-rated Philips, Wyze, and Sengled smart bulb options for a versatile and reliable voice-controlled setup. 

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulb

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulb

This smart light boasts exceptional quality, with more than 16 million shades, including brilliant white. It's also very simple to set up. Adjusting voice control settings can be done directly from the Bluetooth-enabled app, which lets you manage up to 10 smart bulbs at a time. It boasts a whopping 25,000-hour lifetime. Heavy users can purchase a Hue Hub (sold separately) to unlock additional features, including timers and routines. 

An Amazon customer called this smart light bulb one of the best on the market: "These are some top of the line smart bulbs. Can you find cheaper bulbs as far as costs is concerned? Yes, you can. But the saying goes, 'You get what you pay for.' And that holds true with these bulbs. If you are willing to invest into the Hue System, you won't be disappointed."

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance smart bulb, $50

Wyze Bulb Color smart bulb

Wyze Bulb Color smart bulb

The affordable Wyze Bulb Color is a midrange option that can hold its own against the incomparable Philips Hue smart bulb. It offers 16 million colors to choose from, and a connected Wyze app to adjust scene changes, hue, and lighting temperature control, with no hub or bridge required for additional features.

An Amazon customer praised the bulb for its excellent value and reliability: "These bulbs do everything promised and are very reliable. I've used them for a few weeks and I'm ordering another 4-pack to use in a second floor lamp in my living room."

Wyze Bulb Color smart bulb, $14

Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED light bulb 2-pack

Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED light bulb 2-pack

This budget bulb is the cheapest option available, and you get a 2-pack for less than the price of its competitors. It offers 16 million colors and works with both Alexa and Google Home, though it does not support Apple HomeKit. 

It does, however, come with a variety of features, including scheduling and routines, without the need for an additional hub. For simple voice-controlled lighting with additional remote setup options, Sengled's bulbs are viable and frugal buys that come with a few of the bells and whistles their competitors offer. 

One Amazon customer proclaimed they love these bulbs and that there's no hub required: "Overall, I highly recommend the Sengled smart bulb to anyone looking for an easy and convenient way to control their lighting. It's a great investment that pays off in both convenience and energy savings."

Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED light bulb 2-pack, $17

The best smart plugs for voice control

The best smart plugs on the market are quick and easy to install. They're affordable and simple options for enabling voice controls that work with a variety of voice assistants. These Wemo and Kasa plugs are everything you need to put together a reliable voice-controlled lighting setup.  

Wemo Smart Plug

Wemo Smart Plug

This smart plug is one of, if not the best, you can buy. Its compact footprint and budget pricing make it an excellent pick for any household. Plus, it works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, unlike some of its other brethren. Plus, it also has a special "Away" mode that you can program to turn your lights off and on automatically for while you're away.

An Amazon customer called it a great compact controller: "For what it is and does, the Wemo Smart Plug is a great device. I have no complaints and recommend it for smart home use or even something as simple as a timer or standalone appliance or light controller."

Wemo Smart Plug, $27

TP-Link Kasa Ultra Mini Smart Plug

TP-Link Kasa Ultra Mini Smart Plug

This budget-priced smart plug is the cheapest on the market. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth buying, not by a long shot. In fact, it's well worth its lower price, with a wealth of automation features. It supports both Google Assistant and Alexa, while offering the ability to schedule lights and control them via your favorite automation platform. It also has a great app for simple, breezy setup. 

One Amazon buyer praised it for its simplicity: "I have my whole house set up with smart lights. This plug let me light up my tree. Let the laziness ensue! Very easy to set up and connects to Alexa in a snap."

TP-Link Kasa Ultra Mini Smart Plug, $10

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