On the most recent IoT Podcast episode, John called in with a question to our Podcast Hotline. John’s been on the hunt for inexpensive Wi-Fi lights that can be managed with a physical remote control in addition to the standard phone companion app.
Currently, John has Philips Hue lights and Lutron Caseta switches, but he wants to add some smart recessed lights. When shopping around he found full-color recessed bulbs made by Wiz, which appear to fit the bill. Interestingly, Wiz was acquired by Signify, the company behind the Philips Hue brand. The Wiz bulbs John purchased use Wi-Fi and don’t require a hub. However, he wants either Wi-Fi control in his switches or a Wi-Fi remote. John is running into the problem that many of us with smart bulbs face. People in the home toggle the light switch, which can disable the bulbs when you don’t want them to. That removes your remote ability to control the lights because they’re then offline.
We weren’t aware of Wiz bulbs and therefore haven’t used them yet. But they do have attractive pricing: Full-color BR30 downlights cost roughly $17 each based on a two-pack, while the A19 variants cost $14 each when purchased in pairs.
There are a variety of Wi-Fi light switches that cost in the $22 to $50 range and also require some wiring effort on your part. Another, less expensive and simpler option, however, is to look for a Wi-Fi button. Unfortunately, since Wi-Fi consumes more power than a Bluetooth or ZigBee button, there aren’t many product choices in this area.
Wiz used to make both a remote and a button to control its bulbs but it appears these products have been discontinued. There is some good news though, provided John doesn’t mind adding another two Wiz bulbs to his home’s collection.
Amazon sells a Wiz package that includes both a pair of BR30 color Wi-Fi bulbs and the Wiz remote for $70. Another option would be to buy a $79 Flic Bluetooth button and hub, tied together with the bulbs via IFTTT. Folks in the EU might be interested in the myStrom Wi-Fi buttons, which cost 24.00 CHF and aren’t available in the US. Of course, you could always use your current phone, or an old one, as the remote for the Wiz bulbs.
Our take when choosing Wi-Fi bulbs is to first consider the ecosystem for the lights and then see which product options work best for your lighting needs. This way, you know in advance what kind of remote and optional support you’ll have before purchasing the bulbs.
To hear John’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: