Nearly 200 years after it was first demonstrated and 150 years after Thomas Edison significantly improved it, the electric light continues to evolve through extraordinary innovations.
One such change was the LED, or light-emitting diode light, which added more flexibility in size, color, and efficiency.
And you don’t need to control it with a flip of a switch or plug: you can now connect LED lights to your phone to program it wherever you are with our easy guide.
Connecting LED to Your Phone
There are many so-called smart LED lights on the market today, but the general procedure is about the same.
Simply pick out the lighting technology for you, download a compatible app onto your phone, connect to your WiFi network, Bluetooth, or hub, and start controlling your LED lights instantly.
Everything You Need to Know About Phone-Controlled LED Lights
While controlling your LED lights over the phone couldn’t be easier, it’s what leads up to that which can be slightly complicated. With so many choices of not just LED lights but related apps and set-up procedures, it pays to do a little bit of homework before investing in your LED system.
Here’s our guide to everything to consider when you’re looking for LED lights to control on your phone.
Picking the Right Lights
The good news: phone-controlled LED lights are available in multiple places, both through large online retailers, brick-and-mortar big-box stores, and more. You just need to know what you want before you buy.
There are many aspects of LED lights to consider. Do you want a specific color of light or for your LED lights to have the option of changing color? Would you prefer more traditional LED light bulbs or LED strip lights since both have the potential to be controlled over the phone?
Also important: their use. Are they lights for everyday use in your home, for example, in your living room, bedroom, or kitchen? Or do you plan to use them as holiday decorations or as strategically placed strips to add some flair to your décor?
LEDs also have measurable energy output, but incandescents are measured in lumens, not in the typical watts of traditional light bulbs. To get a sense of the level of LED brightness, you can compare it to wattage, though.
For example, a 60-watt bulb is equivalent to 800 lumens, a 100-watt bulb is about 1,600 lumens, and a 150-watt bulb is about 2,600 lumens.
Prepare For a Higher Upfront Cost
When LED lights were first widely available, they were considerably more expensive than incandescent bulbs. That has changed drastically, though LEDs are still relatively more costly.
You get a lot with that bump in cost though. For a little bit more cash, an LED draws more energy while putting out substantial light, so you end up saving money on your electric bill over time.
LEDs are also significantly longer lasting than incandescents, so you’ll save cash from not replacing them as frequently.
Another big plus: you can’t control incandescent bulbs with your phone, of course.
Know Your Options
There are various ways to control your LEDs from your phone or tablet, so you’ll need to pick out your preferred platform and set your budget. Smart lights are as wide-ranging as ever, so you have flexibility.
Many gravitate toward all-in-one strip LED light packages, especially since illuminating window frames, kitchen cabinets, or hallways are all currently popular. These light strips range in price; we’ve found some as low as $15 and upwards of $70.
A large number work with such popular products as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa through a smartphone. Many can also work with music or changing colors.
There are also individual LED lights or sets of lights similar in size to incandescents that can be controlled similarly — through an app connected to a hub or WiFi network or through a mobile app.
How to Connect LED Light to Your Phone
Once you’ve picked the right LED light set up for your home, it’s easy to get started with your smartphone. Your preferred light platform will dictate your options for connecting them to your phone.
Some platforms include apps where you can schedule times for individual lights or groups of them to turn on and off at different times.
You may also have the option of pairing your smart LED lights with various voice assistants through Apple, Amazon, or Google.
Check to see how best to start using your smart bulbs. Some of the LED lights have WiFi that’s built-in, so they can connect to your router directly. All you need is a stable internet connection.
In addition, other lights may connect to your phone through Bluetooth technology. You’ll likely need a hub of some form to control Bluetooth-capable LED lights.
Such hubs directly connect certain devices to the internet so you can remotely control the lights.
Gaining in popularity are various forms of LED lights that work by sending signals to a smart device local wireless network. Those lights usually need a specific wireless network hub, such as Z-wave or ZigBee, to be plugged into a router in order to control the lights on your phone.
You’ll Likely Be Using An App
Do you make bank deposits on your phone or use it for assistance to navigate through traffic every day? You are pretty much ready to control your LED lights through your phone, too.
All you need is a compatible app that either works directly with the LED product you’ve chosen or generally can be used to control smart devices in general.
You’ll either be using an app devised for one device, called a single-tasking app, or one that controls multiple smart devices in your home in one place called a multitasking app.
There are multiple smart device apps that can work with both iOS and Android forms. Some are more generic smart device apps, such as Smartlife, which can work with not just your LED lights but allow you to control water sensors or garage doors.
With a Philips Hue App, you can organize lights in different rooms, control the color or light brightness, and more. Some apps go even deeper, linking your LED lights to your Apple Watch and supporting multiple lighting brands.
Other apps, like Yeti, are compatible with multiple brands of smart gadgets.
One simpler approach is to go with the downloadable app that will come free with many LED lighting devices. However, if you have multiple smart devices in your home or want to link them to music or different colors, a specialized app may be better for you.
Many of those advanced apps are free as well.
Though there are many devices and options, the process for connecting LED lights to your phone is similar across the board. Pick your product, install your LED lights or strips, connect it to your WiFi, through Bluetooth and a hub, and download your app of choice.
Once you connect your lighting system to the app, you can begin controlling your lights right away from anywhere you please.
Other Aspects of LED Lights to Consider
LED Lights Cannot Be Used in all Fixtures
You can make the most out of the longevity of LED bulbs by knowing where they are appropriate to use in your home. Since an LED bulb runs cooler and does so by releasing heat from its base into the air, it doesn’t work well in enclosed fixture housing where it will overheat.
Overheating in an enclosed fixture will greatly reduce the lifespan of LED bulbs.
Apps Let You Easily Schedule LED Lights
When you go on vacation or leave your home for large chunks of the day, chances are you adjust your thermostat accordingly. Many use an app for this purpose too, either setting daily heating and cooling timings or shutting off your HVAC system completely.
LED light apps offer you the same approach, making it easy to set various timers and schedules for either a lighting strip or lights in various rooms. This can help you save money on your electric bill but also protect your home from potential burglaries.
Many use timers for either LED strips or bulbs at various times of the night to make it look as though you are home even if you’re out for the night or away for longer periods of time.
You May Be Able To Tailor LED Strips to Your Home
If you’re looking to custom-fit LED strips into very specific places, such as a kitchen cabinet or along a hallway’s baseboard, you’re in luck.
Many products give you the option to cut them to fit; just look for available cut lines indicated on a strip. If they don’t have them, it’s not the best idea to cut into your new strips.
Your LED Lights Can Last a Long Time
The lifespan of your LEDs depends on different factors, such as their size, lumen rating, and function in your home. On average though, many LEDs can last all the way up to 50,000 hours.
If you use an LED light 12 hours a day, it will last more than a decade. Eight hours? It will probably live nearly 20 years. That’s 50 times longer than an incandescent bulb usually lasts.