Out of the many smart products that you can shop for smart bulbs are one of the most fun ones to own.
Ironically, those are the ones that I haven’t discussed at all yet, here on Yantraas.
I want to change that, alright. Don’t be too hard on your homie.
So, what better way to introduce this segment to my awesome audience by creating a helpful QnA article around the topic.
This is because I am fairly sure all or most of you must be aware of what smart bulbs really are.
For the select few who are unaware of what smart bulbs are and what they can do, don’t worry I will share a section with you relaying some basics about them.
But keeping in tune with the QnA theme of the article let me begin this article by answering the most asked question.
Do You Need A Smart Switch For A Smart Bulb?
No, you don’t necessarily need a smart switch to make your smart bulb work. You will still be able to turn your smart bulb on or off using regular switches. However, most likely you will have to keep the switch ON all the time in order to have full control or automation.
With that core question regarding smart bulbs addressed let’s go into a little more detail and actually learn what is the deal with smart bulbs, why are they special and what can you do with them.
By the way here are some other articles that I think you will cherish reading.
- Do smart home devices slow down Wi-Fi?
- How to convert a monitor into a smart TV?
- Do smart thermostats work without Wi-Fi?
- Do smart plugs need Wi-Fi?
- Best alexa compatible thermostats.
What Are Smart Bulbs & How Do Smart Bulbs Work?
Simply put smart bulbs are lighting fixtures that give you the capability to control them wirelessly. While in addition to being able to eliminate the need to turn them ON and OFF manually, you can even control their intensity with ease. Provided of course they have the dimmable feature.
Now things get really interesting once you pair them up with a smart switch. Now smart switches aren’t essential to operate smart bulbs. However, you will need to make use of the smart bulbs to their fullest extent.
Using a smart switch, you will be able to schedule your lighting, trigger scenes, and create customized settings.
We will discuss these attributes of smart bulbs in a little more detail in the upcoming sections, but here is a quick rundown of how smart bulbs actually work.
What separates a smart bulb from your regular bulb is that you have the capability to control them using an app on your smartphone, iPad, tablet, or similar mobile device.
In order for instructions to get transmitted the smart bulbs need to be a part of an automation hub.
This is usually accomplished using communication standards like Bluetooth, Z-wave, or Zigbee.
When both the smart bulb and your smartphone or tablet is on the network you can command your lights to behave the way you want them to.
How Do Smart Bulbs Work With Regular Switches?
Alright so now that we have smart bulb basics out of the way let’s discuss in a little more depth how exactly smart bulbs work with regular switches.
As explained briefly earlier, in order for automated control to be possible, the smart bulb needs to receive power all the time.
And yes, many of you will ponder whether this results in more electricity consumption. The answer is yes but it won’t be too extravagant.
So, it’s like a TV on standby mode, the bare consumption of electricity is there even if they are off.
Therefore, if you decide to get a smart bulb that you are going to use with a regular(dumb) switch you need to work up an arrangement where the switch is always on.
Understand that not keeping the bulb on won’t damage it however, you won’t be able to turn it off or on using an app or voice.
How Do Smart Bulbs Work With A Smart Switch?
Things get really interesting when you use smart bulbs in combination with smart switches.
With increasing demands smart gadgets manufacturers are developing smart switches such that they tune in well with other smart devices like smart bulbs.
In addition to turning them on or off like regular switches they also have the facility to supply constant power to the smart bulbs.
While some switches have this capability built-in, more advanced smart switches have the feature where you can disable the power relay which would otherwise provide consistent supply to the smart switches.
Additionally, there are also smart switches that have dimming capability. However, these switches achieve dimming using voltage modulation in the bulb fixture. The ideal way of modulating voltage when it comes to electronics is PWM.
- Read all about pulse width modulation here.
Modulating voltage directly as is the case with some of these smart switches and bulbs can cause glitches or sometimes even permanent damage.
With the latest developments, however, most smart switches work well with smart bulbs.
There are many situations that will benefit from having a combination of a smart switch and a smart bulb though.
For example, smart switches are perfect for situations where you want to switch off or on multiple lights at once.
Like for instance, in a kid’s room where you wish to ensure that you have switched OFF all the lights.
So, in conclusion, you can make a smart switch and a smart bulb come together to address certain situations, just be aware that it may not be a suitable combination in all situations.
But before you purchase just to make sure that they are compatible with the bulbs.
Is It Beneficial To Just Use Smart Switches?
With respect to the fundamental fact that smart bulbs need to be on all the time in order to be controlled using voice or an app.
The next very logical question that must pop up in your head is whether it is beneficial to just use smart switches to control the lighting.
Well, this totally depends upon the use case. For example, if you are working up a theme and you want an accent or mood lighting, it makes sense to get smart bulbs.
Similarly, if you wish to create a situation where you can dim the lights in certain places, it won’t be worth your while or money to upgrade your wiring for a smart switch.
It’s better to get a smart bulb.
In other places where you do not want any complex modulation like changing light on beats of music getting a smart switch makes much more sense.
One very common application that I can think of is that of motion detection. You can create a situation where the switch and hence the light automatically turn on when you enter the room.
In conclusion, you see whether you need a smart bulb or will you be good with having just smart switches totally depends on what kind of problem you need to address.
Smart bulbs do have their limitations and so do smart switches. But it can be safely said that you can achieve a great degree of automation by strategically using just smart switches.
And you can take the automation to a completely different level by using smart bulbs with or without smart switches.
Smart Switch, Smart Bulb Related FAQs
I hope I was able to provide a lot of clarity on the core topic of do you need a smart switch for a smart bulb and related topics around it.
I very well understand when it comes to query posts like this that there are going to be other questions around the main topic that my readers might be interested in.
And for the very same reason here are some other queries that I feel most or at least some of you might be having.
If your query isn’t covered here, don’t worry, just let me know in the comments section below and if the query is potent enough I will add it here and answer it.
Are Smart Switches Worth It?
If you are interested in providing a certain level of automation to your home, smart switches and smart plugs are the best smart gadgets to get started with. Once you are well versed with the different things you can do with them, you can then dabble with much more advanced smart gadgets.
Do Smart Bulbs Use Electricity When Off?
Yes, smart bulbs tend to use electricity even when they are off albeit very little. This is because smart bulbs offer an alternate route of control via app, or voice that you can use to change their state. So, they just like a TV use electricity in standby mode, so that they can be activated using an app or voice commands.
Do Smart Bulbs Work Without Wi-Fi?
Yes, it is possible for most smart bulbs to operate even in the absence of Wi-Fi. They can remain operational using other communication protocols like Bluetooth and Z-wave.