Smart Home Lighting and Alexa #17

Tue Mar 13 2018 (20:23)

In this episode, Teri talks about the options for smart home lighting and talks about his experience and recommendations for Alexa-controlled smart lighting.

Smart Home Lighting and Alexa

As you will recall, in Episode 12 of this podcast, I interviewed Jesus Gallardo about smart home automation. He suggested that the easiest way to get started with home automation was through smart lighting.

Well, I decided to take his advice and once I started doing some further research, this is what I discovered…

My Research on Smart Home Lighting

After the conversation with Jesus Gallardo, I started to look at the different types of smart lighting you can choose to buy. I discovered that there are 3 different categories, each with their own pros and cons:

1. Smart light bulbs


  • Very simple to setup; you simply replace the lightbulbs.
  • This is the only option that allows you to change the colour of the lights.
  • You can use the light colours to alert you to various conditions, such as weather, alarms, etc.
  • You can setup scenes using the colours (e.g. sunset mood, sunrise mood, etc.).
  • You can dim these lights.
  • Good for areas that do not have a neutral wire in the switch electrical box (see below).


  • Some smart lightbulbs require a hub.
  • The lightbulb will only respond to your voice or your app IF the wall switch is on. If the wall light switch is turned off, you must use the wall light switch to turn them back on before you can control them with your Alexa or the app.
  • Can be expensive, if you need to replace many light bulbs.

Recommended Brands

Bottom Line

Great for people who want control of the colour and intensity of their lights.

2. Smart outlets


  • Very simple to setup; you simply plug the outlet into your wall socket and then you plug your lamp (or other device) into the outlet.
  • This will work well for lights with a plug (i.e. table light, desk lamp, etc.)


  • This will not work for lights that are hard wired into you home (i.e. you control them with a wall switch)
  • You cannot change the colour of the light.

Recommended Brands

Bottom line

Great for people with floor lamps, desk lamps with plugs, and do not care about changing the colour of their lights.

3. Smart light wall switches


  • This option gives you the most control of your lights – you can control your lights through your app, Alexa, or the switch itself at ALL times. This is because there is always power going to the switch (as long as you have a neutral wire in the electrical box of the switch)
  • Less expensive if the switch controls a large bank of ceiling or wall lights (i.e. you only need to change one switch instead of multiple light bulbs).


  • This requires some electrical work. If you do not know what you are doing make sure to ask someone who does, or hire an electrician.
  • You need a neutral wire. You can check this by turning off your power and then looking inside the wall electrical box – you should see a white “extra” wire.
  • You cannot change the colour of the light.

Recommended Brand

Bottom line

Best for people who want to have the most control of their lighting, and are comfortable doing some simple electrical work.

What do I think of using Alexa for Smart Home lighting?

When I first installed the smart lighting, I wasn’t sure how much I would use it. Now that I have it, I love it!

I have discovered some really great use-case scenarios. I have two levels in my home and it’s nice at the end of the day when I’m going up to bed upstairs to just say “Alexa, lights off” and all the downstairs lights just shut off together. I don’t have to worry about running around to check if any lights are still on.

It is really great when I am coming to home and my hands are full. Sometime I’m hauling hockey equipment behind me for my kids and I’ve got a bag on my shoulder and we can just say “Alexa, entrance hall light on” or “Alexa, family room light on” and it just gets done.

I’m very happy with the product that I’ve got, I do not hesitate to recommend them at all and hopefully you will enjoy using your Alexa-controlled smart lighting as well!

List of resources mentioned in this episode: