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Amazon Basics Smart Light Bulbs Review: can these CHEAP smart bulbs hold a candle to Philips Hue?

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Erin L

Erin L

Amazon Basics smart light bulb review

Smart lights have historically been really expensive. The bulbs cost a lot and then often you needed a hub or a bridge just to make them work. But that’s changing. Amazon Basics Smart Bulbs are a budget smart lighting choice for an Alexa-enabled smart home. They have excellent integration with the rest of the Alexa ecosystem, such as the Amazon Echo line of smart speakers, plus they’re also very affordable and offer a lot of bang for your buck, making them perfect for new smart homeowners or those who are looking to expand their current setup. Best of all, you don’t need to shell out for a hub or bridge! In this review I’ve bought a set of two Amazon smart bulbs; I’ll install them, test them out and see how easy they are to operate, how they integrate into my smart home, and if I can recommend them as a worthy alternative to pricier smart home lighting kits like Philips Hue Bulbs.

Amazon Basics smart light bulbs: What do you get?

These Amazon Smart Bulbs have regular standard bases, and you can choose between adjustable white which uses bluer or yellower white light, basic soft white, and color-changing options. They’re equivalent to a 60 watt bulb, using just 7.5 watts via LED, so they use less energy than old incandescent bulbs.

How do Amazon Smart Bulbs compare to others?

Amazon Basics Smart Bulbs are very easy to set up and use, which makes them ideal for beginners. However, they don’t offer as many features as some of the higher-end options such as the other Alexa-compatible Wyze lights or Philips Hue.

One glaring issue with these Amazon-branded bulbs is that they’re not compatible with other smart home platforms, like Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant. So if you’re looking for a way to control your lights from other devices besides Amazon Echo or Alexa-enabled speakers, these aren’t the bulbs for you.

Key Features

Color-changing, Dimmable, and Tunable

At $12.99, the Color-Changing option of the Amazon Basics Smart bulb is one of the least expensive smart bulbs of its kind in the market. It’s also one of the most popular options for smart home enthusiasts who want to add color-changing functionality to their existing setup

Amazon Basics smart light bulb review The second-tier Tunable version of the Amazon Smart Bulbs, on the other hand, allows you to change the warmth of the light, which makes it ideal for rooms where you want to have the ability to change the lighting atmosphere. Home offices, for example, can benefit from tunable smart lights that shift from cool white during work hours to warm white when it’s time to wind down.

And then there’s the Dimmable option, which allows you to change the brightness of your bulbs to suit your needs. You can set them to be dimmer than usual, or brighter than normal, depending on the situation you’re in and the ambiance that you want to achieve with these bulbs.

Alexa Integration

All options have Alexa integration which means that you can control them using your voice. You can ask Alexa to dim your lights, change their color, or turn the lights off and on. Or, you can also use the Alexa app on your phone when you’re not within earshot of an Alexa microphone.

Set up

Amazon Basics smart light bulb review Like most Alexa enabled devices getting these bulbs set up is easy. Just screw the lightbulb in and then head over to your Alexa app. Chances are Alexa will already have discovered your bulb, but if not, you can choose add device, choose Light then follow the instructions in the app. It takes you though step by step. In my case, by the time I open the app, Alexa had seen the bulbs and added them to my home already, including managing the Wi-Fi connection process. I basically needed to do nothing. I was then able to create a room for them so I could control them a little easier with my voice.

Using Amazon Basics smart light bulbs

Using the lights is just as easy as the set up process. You can simply ask Alexa to turn them on or off or adjust their color, or dim them to a certain percentage of brightness. You can of course also use Alexa Routines to have them turn on or off at certain times of day or night. I created a routine where the lights would come on automatically about an hour before I typically go to bed. I chose a soothing, soft light to make sleep enticing, and it was nice to be able to walk into the bedroom at bedtime to an automatic, soft glow. When I was ready to fall asleep, I could simply ask Alexa to turn the Bedroom lights off, or I’d just tap the command on the app if I didn’t want to wake my husband.

Amazon Basics smart light bulb review With routines, you can also integrate your lightbulbs into other processes. For example, you can say, Alexa, Good Morning and have your lights turn on, your smart speaker give you the weather, and your Alexa Hamilton Beach smart kettle turn the water on to boil for coffee. Or you could have a routine set up where if someone rings your ring video doorbell, you could have your smart lights turn on. Amazon’s routines are infinitely customizable and relatively easy to set up depending on what type of triggers and processes you’re looking for.

Overall review – Amazon Basics smart light bulbs

Overall, these are a super affordable and very capable, smart, lighting option. While they can be used only in an Alexa-enabled smart home with an Echo device to act as the central control hub, they work extremely well, they’re easy to set up and easy to control with your voice or the app.  I can absolutely recommend them to you if you’re looking to branch out to or expand your smart lighting. They sell for about $13US/$22CAD each or get a price break on a 4-pack. You can get them of course from Amazon.

 

**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada & TechGadgetsInternational is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Amazon Basics smart bulbs
5
Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

2 Comments

  1. Peter on August 20, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Philips Hue lighting is a terrible value and not all at worth the money. I speak first hand. This is true largely due to Philips being a terrible company…

    I use(d) primary the color br30 format bulbs for recessed lighting. Five or so years ago there was no good competition in this format so I invested $50! per bulb and bought the bridge for them. Now Philips is requiring an upgrade to the bridge, which is another $40 and I’ve discovered that for reasons no one can explain about half of my bills will not work with the new hub. I can’t continue to use the old hub because not only is it unsupported, but Philips has made sure the old software is unavailable via the app stores, websites and I can’t even find a version in Internet archives. So here I am with almost a thousand dollars in Philips lighting that’s useless. The customer support number for Phillips is of no help. They tell me to buy new bulbs, but they generously offer me twenty percent off(so $40 per bulb), a whole 5% more than anyone with an email address can get anytime. Philips created my problem by no longer supporting the old bridge (which I’m fund with), but also being sure old software is unavailable and apparently encouraging 3rd party software suppliers to also stop supporting it, making it unable. I guess Philips expects people to just swallow their exorbitant prices again. This business practice should be illegal. I will not be fooled twice.

    Today, I will buy $12 Wyse bulbs, no bridge required, to replace my Philips Hue trash and will never buy a Phillips product again. Wyse br30 bulbs are very highly rated by several organizations I’ve trusted for years.

    • Erin L on August 22, 2023 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience Peter. That sounds really frustrating.

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