You’re on a budget but you still want to try smart lighting. It’s a smart choice: the right smart lighting system can save you a ton of money, by turning off lights when you don’t need them and turning them on when  you do. But what should you be getting?

First: The Cheapest Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs are plug-and-play; you just replace your current bulbs with a smart bulb and you can immediately get started. But you should also know that light bulbs have a huge range of prices, from $13 to $70 each. If you want to deck out a specific area in light bulbs, you can focus on that. If you want to transition your whole home, you might have to find another solution.

Smart bulbs are notorious for being dead on arrival, so make sure you have some form of warranty or a trusted brand. If you can avoid it, off brands are often a bad idea; not only could they potentially fail quite quickly, but they likely run on difficult to use software.

The IKEA Trådfr bulbs began as $11.99 individually, and a starter kit will sell for $79.99, where a starter kit for Philips Hue costs $70, but a Philips Hue bulb costs $15 individually. Both Philips Hue and Trådfri are built around the ZigBee Light Link standard for connected lights.

Once you’ve found the cheapest smart bulbs, you can begin slowly transitioning your home. But keep in mind that these also work with a hub, which will be an additional cost to consider.

Second: Think About the Retrofit

Automated light switching and dimming are another option for those who want smart lighting, but don’t want to have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Automated light covers can be placed over light switches, and then triggered as needed — either on a schedule or as desired.

This is an option for those who don’t care about colors, but instead just want to be able to turn off or dim their lights on command. Advantages include:

  • Not requiring any wiring or significant installation.
  • Being affordable and working with practically any system.

However, they do require batteries (and thus battery changes), and they do require that something be placed over the existing switches and dials.

Third: Get a Bundle

If you’re thinking about transitioning your home, figure out what you need for it and commit. Purchasing a bundle all at once is going to be significantly less expensive than trying to change over your home a bulb at a time. Think about the features you need, whether you absolutely need color lighting or you might be fine with dimmable lights.

Bundles should include the amount of lights that you need for your home as well as a hub through which they can communicate and your phone or other device can control them. There are even bundles that come with major hubs.

Many security systems will also come in a bundle and include features such as smart lighting. Often, these are best because they let you pay a low cost for both security and smart lighting. Smart lighting can be used for security in a variety of ways, such as motion sensitive lighting that can be used to alarm or warn an intruder.

Smart lighting doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but if you’re on a budget, you may want to be careful about how you implement it. For more information, contact the experts at Protect America.