Smart Lights

Can Smart Lights Be Used Outside?

Isn’t it interesting how creative advancements in lighting technology have continued to impress and amaze us?

Among the many inventions, smart lights have certainly carved out a unique space within smart home devices. These ingenious devices, we can all agree, have significantly transformed the ways we illuminate our homes.

Today, we explore an equally important and intriguing question – can smart lights be used outside? Strap yourselves in for a comprehensive journey into the exciting realm of smart lighting.

A Beginner’s Guide to Smart Lights

At their core, smart lights work similarly to any other light bulb. The distinguishing factor – they’re digitally enabled. This feature allows smart lights to connect to Wi-Fi and be controlled remotely.

Now, whether you’re lounging on the couch or away from home, your lights can be controlled from your couch or the beach with app control. Neat, right?

In the world of smart lights, functionality stretches beyond mere on-and-off controls. You get to play with colour temperature, dimming, scheduling, and even synchronising the lights with music.

In conjunction with voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you’ve got a handy means of operating your lighting systems.

Types of Smart Lights and Their Functions

There are different types of smart lights available based on their function or form.

Smart light bulbs are the most traditional form of smart lights. From colour-changing bulbs to bulbs that interact with other smart home devices, there’s a smart bulb to suit every mood.

You’ve then got light strips, which are perfect for creating ambient or accent lighting effects. Thinking of stepping it up a notch? They have smart ceiling lights, too!

The Philips Hue range, for instance, offers a full suite of smart lighting options. Don’t forget the Nanoleaf Canvas with modular panels to create vibrant lighting effects on your walls, too. With the right lights, a living space can be completely transformed.

Smart Lights 2

Here are more types of smart lights to explore:

  • Smart Light Bulbs

These are the most common and your first port of call in the wonderful world of smart lighting. You can control them remotely through special apps like the Philips Hue app and even voice assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. They’re a breeze to install – just stick them into an existing light fitting like any regular bulb.

  • Smart Light Strips

Reckon you’ve got a creatively curved or hard-to-reach spot that needs lighting up? Smart light strips are your answer! These flexible light-emitting diode (LED) strips can be stuck onto any surface to visually jazz up your living spaces. They also come with a colour-changing feature, so you can really set the mood in any room.

  • Smart Ceiling Lights

Ever thought of taking smart lighting to new heights? Smart ceiling lights allow you to do just that. These devices can be controlled using apps or voice commands and are perfect for even light distribution in larger rooms.

  • Smart Lighting Panels

If creating a vibrant light show is your thing, smart lighting panels are on the go. Each panel can be controlled individually, allowing you to create stunning patterns and scenes right on your wall. Check out the ones from Nanoleaf if you’re keen.

  • Smart Light Switches

Want to make all your lights smart without replacing every bulb? Maybe a smart light switch is your solution. Once installed, it connects to your Wi-Fi and allows you to control all linked lights through an app or your voice. You can even set schedules for the lights to be turned on and off.

  • Smart Outdoor Lighting

These types of lights are useful if you want to smarten up your outdoor areas. They are weather-resistant and can be controlled remotely. From garden paths to patios, smart outdoor lighting can turn your backyard into a real spectacle.

  • Smart Table Lamps

To finish up, let’s take a look at smart table lamps. They offer all the best smart top features you’d expect but in a compact form. Great for bedside tables or desks, and you can control them just like other smart lights.

Are Smart Lights Suitable Outdoors?

Now that we’re all caught up, let’s address the elephant in the room. Can smart lights illuminate the great outdoors? The short answer is, yes. Smart lights can brave the elements and brighten up your backyard, patio, or driveway.

However, it is important to verify whether the lights have been designated for outdoor usage by the manufacturer. Exposure to conditions like humidity or extreme temperatures could damage lights not suited for the outdoors.

There is definitely a myriad of interesting and beneficial ways that outdoor smart lighting can be utilised. Imagine throwing a backyard party with the perfect lighting effects, or having your garden path illuminate as you stroll through it just like the Philips Hue motion sensor.

Outdoor smart lights can even double as security lighting, allowing you to set schedules for when they turn on and off.

Suitable Smart Lights for Outside

Figuring out if a smart light is suitable for the great outdoors can be challenging. Here’s a quick checklist to help you make sure you’re on the right track.

Firstly, it’s absolutely crucial to check if the smart light you’ve taken a fancy to is specifically designated for outdoor use. The key is to look for terms like “Outdoor” or “Weatherproof” right there on the packaging.

The deal with outdoor lights is that they’re built to endure the elements – they’re tough. They can hold their own against rain, shine, even snow, and humidity. Indoor lights, unfortunately, just don’t cut it under such conditions.

So, if a light bulb is tagged as an “Outdoor bulb”, it’s not enough just to take it at face value. You’ve got to make sure it actually can stand up to the specific weather conditions in your place.

Another significant factor is whether the light fixture will be directly exposed to the elements. If there’s some sort of shielding or cover where the bulb’s going to be installed, you might have a bit more wiggle room in choosing a bulb.

When in doubt, the best course of action is to always refer to the manufacturer’s guide. Seeking advice from a pro also wouldn’t hurt. Just tread carefully, since using an indoor light in an outdoor setting could potentially lead to damage and put your safety at risk.

Smart Lights 3

What to Consider Before Buying an Outdoor Smart Light

Now that you have the basic pointers on outdoor smart lighting, here’s a run-down of what to keep in mind when you’re hunting for one:

  • Weatherproof rating: The most critical factor is how well your smart light will stand up to the great outdoors. Look for an Ingress Protection (IP) rating on the packaging. This will tell you how resistant the light is to dust and water. Ideally, you’d want a rating of IP65 or higher for an outdoor smart light bulb.
  • Temperature range: The outdoor climate in your area is important, too. Some smart lights might not work as efficiently in extreme cold or hot weather. Check the operating temperature range specified for the smart device by the manufacturer.
  • Brightness and coverage: Outdoor lights usually need to cover more space and be brighter than indoor ones. Check the number of lumens for brightness and angle of coverage to be sure it will light up the spaces you want it to.
  • Connectivity: Most smart lights use Wi-Fi, but the further they are from your router, the weaker the signal will be. For outdoor lights, consider ones that use a hub with a robust wireless protocol, like Zigbee or Z-Wave, to secure a reliable connection.
  • Compatibility: Just like indoor smart lights, your outdoor fixtures need to fit in with your smart home system. Whether you use Alexa, Google Assistant, or HomeKit, make sure that your outdoor lights can be controlled using your smart lighting system.
  • Energy efficiency: Since outdoor lights are often left on for long durations, consider energy consumption. LED lights are generally more energy-efficient than other types.
  • Installation and maintenance: Think about the installation process and maintenance. Solar-powered lights might be easier to install than wired ones, but their brightness can be affected by the day’s weather. Also, consider how easy it will be to change light bulbs when they die.
  • Security features: Some outdoor smart lights come with built-in security cameras or motion detectors. Consider if these features suit your needs.

Remember, when it comes to choosing outdoor smart lights, it’s not just about picking the most high-tech or priciest option. It’s about finding something that fits your needs and will stand the test of time – and weather!

The Importance of Consulting a Professional

While the idea of smartly lighting your entire home sounds like an incredibly fun way to improve your home’s aesthetic appeal, it’s important to tap into professional guidance.

Setting up smart lights outdoors poses different challenges to indoor setups. Factors such as weather, quality of Wi-Fi, distance from the hub, and where the light fitting is all come into play.

Professional electricians or smart home advisers can offer the best possible solutions for your outdoor lighting, while also making sure they connect seamlessly with other devices in your smart home ecosystem.

They have the expertise to streamline the setup process, and they might even introduce you to technologies you didn’t know existed!

There’s More to Explore

From Philips Hue to Nanoleaf, there’s an extensive variety of smart lighting options available and a multitude of creative lighting effects to experiment with.

While understanding how smart lights work might take a bit of effort, it’s undeniably a rewarding learning curve.

Remember, though, that while you have a lot of control and flexibility with smart lights, including turning your lights into smart lights, you can’t use a smart bulb without a hue bridge hub or similar to control it. And not all smart bulbs support Alexa out of the box.

Still, the magic of transforming your home’s vibe with just a tap on your phone screen is indescribable.

So dig out that wish list, add the best smart lights around to your cart, and start exploring the world of intelligent illumination.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.


Published: 2023-11-28

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