Best Edison-style filament smart bulbs to make your home glow

Vintage-style filament bulbs from Hue, Bulbrite, Ikea and more tested and rated

Best filament LED smart bulbs
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Filament smart bulbs pair modern intelligence and LED efficiency with that classic candlelight glow we all remember from those power-sucking incandescents. Put simply, these Edison-inspired bulbs have got both brains and beauty.

While LEDs have come a long way from the days of the blue haze - with white tunable and color changing you really can have any color under the sun - sometimes all you need is a nice warm glow.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Enter the Edison bulb. This style is known as a filament bulb because its "electric" filament is visible through its tinted glass, and it resembles the very first light bulb designed by Thomas Edison way back when. Only today, you can do way more than Edison ever dreamed, including controlling your light bulb with your voice or your smartphone.

Buyers guide: The latest and greatest smart lighting systems and bulbs

Why would you want an old-fashioned bulb in your smart home? Let’s be clear, these bulbs aren’t for task lighting, they’re all about that ambiance. Most offer between 550 to 800 lumens with a temperature color somewhere around 2100 kelvins (for comparison Hue's white bulbs are 800 lumens and 2700 kelvins).

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Where filaments really shine is in those decorative light fixtures in your dining room, sitting room or possibly bedroom that are designed to feature the bulb as part of the look.

In general, smart bulbs don't look that pretty, their opaque white enclosures are designed to be out of sight, whereas most filament bulbs have an elegant, tinted glass and an industrial chic reproduction “filament” wire inside.

So, they light up a la bulbs from a century ago and give you a vintage warm light with a retro look that's super cool. Pop them in a pendant light fixture, table lamps or cage style chandelier and show off your smart bulbs in style.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs to make your smart home glow

For a while there, finding a smart filament bulb was a fruitless hunt, but now there are at least six brands with Edison offerings, and more coming soon. Plus, you’re not just restricted to one style or shape, there are globe, standard and elongated Edison-style, and plenty of compatibility with your smart home. All work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and some with Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings.

We've been living with these smart, filament bulbs for a few weeks now. Read on for our reviews of Philips Hue, Sengled, Innr, Ikea and Bulbrite's offerings, plus a round-up of the other options out there.


Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Best filament smart bulb: Hue's Filament Smart Bulbs

Buy Now: meethue.com | from $24.99

The versatile, expansive and always excellent Hue line has the best-looking filament smart bulbs on the market. Available in three shapes: traditional A19/A60 ($24.99), a ST19/ST64 “tube” shape that’s more traditionally “Edison” in its look ($27.99), and a G25/G93 globe bulb for ($32.99), these bulbs will fit seamlessly into any Hue smart lighting set-up.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Of all the filament bulbs we tested we liked Hue’s design the best. The bulb has a black base instead of white so blends in nicely in an exposed fixture. A white base, no matter how small, just ruins the look this type of bulb is meant for. Additionally, Hue's curly filament is more aesthetically appealing than the stick filaments of most of the competition and the amber tinted glass gives a warm glow without diminishing the light.

Ultimate guide: Everything you need to know about Philips Hue

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Hue’s filament all shine at the same brightness of 550 lumens with a locked temperature color of 2100 kelvins. You can dim and brighten in the app (and through all the usual smart home controls - HomeKit, Alexa, Google, SmartThings), but there is no tunable white light here, just dimmer or brighter.

You also don’t need a Hue hub to use the bulbs as they can connect via Bluetooth, but without a hub you don't get remote access or the ability to set up routines.

What we love

  • Elegant black base
  • No hub required
  • Works with HomeKit (with a hub)

What we don't love

  • No tunable light
  • Expensive

Read our full review of the Philips Hue Filament Smart Bulb here.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Best all-around filament smart bulb: Bulbrite Solana Edison Filament

Buy Now: Amazon | $18.99

Bulbrite's Solana filament bulb are our favorite all-around smart filament bulbs because they are the only ones that offer tunable white light. This means you can actually use them for task lighting if you need, as they have extra "filament" threads in them that boost their kelvin power all the way from a soothing 2200 up to 6500 kelvins.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Bulbrite’s filament bulbs come in a classic A19 shape, ST18 (the more typical Edison style) and the globe-shaped G25, each offering 600 lumens. We tested three bulbs in a light fixture over our dining table and found the range it offered ideal for doing homework in the afternoon under invigorating bright lights and then dimming down to a soothing, warm glow for supper time.

Solana bulbs operate over Wi-Fi, so no hub required, They require a 2.4 ghz network, but worked fine on our dual band mesh network. The app lets you dim, adjust the color temperature, set scenes and create schedules and they're compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Compared to Hue they definitely struggle on the brightness scale, being much dimmer at the top level and much brighter at the lowest level. We also disliked the white base, which was not hidden in our cage-style chandelier, plus they only come in a white glass, there's no smokey or amber glass options.

For purely decorative purposes these are not as nice-looking as some of the other options. But as an inexpensive, hub-free filament bulb for your home with a versatile range, they're a great option.

What we love

  • No hub needed
  • Good price
  • 3 style options

What we don't love

  • Low range of brightness
  • Ugly white base
  • White glass only
  • No HomeKit

Read our full Bulbrite review here.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Best budget filament smart bulb: Sengled Edison Filament Bulb

Coming soon | $29.99 for a two-pack

Low-priced smart bulb pioneer Sengled debuted its first filament bulb at this year's CES, and it's a beauty.

Boasting an all-glass design (no plastic casing at all), it's got a subtle tint, not too brown, and an elegant, slightly elongated Edison shape. With the same 2100 kelvin color temperature as Hue's filament option, it's also one of the cheapest filament bulbs, at just $15.99 a pop.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

While Sengled has Wi-Fi bulbs, the filament is Zigbee-based so requires a hub to work - either Sengled’s own or any Zigbee-enabled hub - such as an Echo Plus or SmartThings.

We got to test an early review unit and were impressed with its brightness range and design, although there was quite a bit of flickering when dimming and brightening, especially compared to the Hue and Bulbrite bulbs.

Sengled works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and if you opt for the inexpensive Sengled Hub ($40), you can get HomeKit support.

What we love

  • All glass design
  • Inexpensive
  • Works with HomeKit (with a hub)

What we don't love

  • No tunable light
  • Requires a hub
  • Flickering during dimming

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Another good budget option: Ikea Trådfri filament bulb

Buy Now: Ikea.com | $9.99

The newest entry to the Swedish furniture makers smart lighting line-up, this smart filament light bulb is catchily named the "Trådfri LED bulb E26 250 lumen wireless dimmable warm glow, globe brown clear glass." Any questions?

See also: How to get Ikea Trådfri bulbs working with Philips Hue

It offers a warm 2200 kelvin glow and works via the Trådfri hub ($79.99), or you can pair the bulb with an Echo Plus or Hue hub courtesy of its Zigbee powers.

At just $9.99 for a single bulb this is the cheapest filament bulb out there, plus it has a snazzy curly filament and a brass base (no garish white here) and a nice tinted brown glass for that extra smokey bistro vibe.

Ikea’s Trådfri supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit, the last one meaning you can also use Siri to control your lights

What we love

  • Nice brass base
  • Inexpensive
  • Works with HomeKit (with a hub)

What we don't love

  • No tunable light
  • Requires a hub

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

A great UK option: Innr filament smart bulbs

Buy Now: Amazon | from £15.99

This Dutch brand was created by a group of ex-Hue and Ikea employees, and the result is what you'd expect: affordable, easy-to-use, good quality smart light bulbs. While the rest of the lineup is available in the US, currently its retro filament lineup is only in Europe and the UK.

Innr has four different filament models all offering 2200 kelvins. There's a regular bulb, an Edison-shape and a great big Globe bulb, all with options of tinted glass or white glass.

Read This: How to connect Innr bulbs to Phillips Hue

As with most of the other filaments we tested these don't offer the same warmth range adjustments of the regular white LEDs - as they are designed to always look warm for that retro feel. But you can adjust the brightness.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs: How to make your smart home glow

Zigbee-powered these need an Innr hub or any Zigbee controller, such as a Philips Hue bridge, an Amazon Echo Plus or a Samsung Smart Things hub. They're good bulbs, not as premium as their Hue counterparts and there's no HomeKit compatibility, but they do work with Alexa and Google.

What we love

  • Works with Hue hub
  • Inexpensive
  • Tinted and white glass options
  • Brass base

What we don't love

  • Not available in US
  • No HomeKit

Read our full review of the Innr line-up here.



Best Edison-style smart bulbs to make your home glow

The best of the rest

While we've yet to test out these filament bulbs, here's a rundown on the specs, prices and compatibility of the other options so you can compare. We'll update this guide as and when we get our hands on these.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs to make your home glow

Yeelight Edison Smart LED Filament Bulb

Buy now: Amazon | $16.99

Another brighter budget option is Xaomi’s Yeelight filament bulb. Outputting 2700 kelvins, there's only one style, but it's dimmable, works over Wi-Fi and is compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple's HomeKit.

It does have a white base and clear glass, however, so won't look as nice in a fully-exposed fixture.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs to make your home glow

Sylvania Smart+ Bluetooth Clear A19 Filament

Buy now: Amazon | $24.99

Sylvania’s smart filament bulb is a bit brighter thank most - offering 2700 kelvins - plus it works with HomeKit, Alexa and Google all without a hub, because they use a Bluetooth Mesh system.

There's only one style and it has that pesky white base, only comes in clear glass and is a bit on the pricey side.

Best Edison-style smart bulbs to make your home glow

Lifx

Coming soon | $29.99

Ding ding, we may have a new winner. Lifx's new filament range debuted at CES and are gorgeous.

There are two styles - ST64 Teardrop (pictured) and a G95 Globe with “Sticks” LEDs. They come in three glass options - smokey, amber and clear glass - making this the broadest rage out there in terms of glass.

Read this: Lifx - the complete guide

These are still only single, warm white dimmable - no tunable light. But they have an elegant black base and will give you lots of options for your lighting decor.

Lifx's line is Wi-Fi-powered and the bulbs will work with Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit when released later this year - we can't wait to try these out.


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