Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

Your new favourite statement lights

Nanoleaf: Essential guide

Never heard of Nanoleaf? Well, that's about to change because we're big fans of the smart lighting experts here at The Ambient.

To help you get started, we thought we'd break down what the smart home company's all about, what products it has and what's coming up – plus what Nanoleaf lighting works with in your home. So without further ado…

Nanoleaf: Getting started

Nanoleaf was founded in 2012, it has offices in Shenzhen, Toronto and Paris and so far it's been focused on doing one thing – 'personalised lighting experiences' – and doing it well.

Read this: The missing manual to August smart home kit

To start with, choose one (or a few) of the smart lighting bulbs or devices from the list below. As you'll see, some of the panels are statement pieces that you'll need to think about where to place – on a feature wall, up the stairs, around your desk etc, more than you would with a bulb or lamp.

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

The panels also need mains power so you'll need to think about how to hide cables. Installation, though, is very straightforward via a SIM-style chip and sticky tabs – no need for screws.

Nanoleaf has its own app for setup, onscreen controls and scenes as well as its own controller, the Nanoleaf Remote. And all Nanoleaf gear works with the big three smart home ecosystems: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit & Siri. HomeKit integration is particularly strong with easy scene selection via iOS devices. Nanoleaf stuff also works with IFTTT opening it up to more home automation routines.

Its main smart lighting rivals, when it comes to showy connected home lighting, are Philips Hue for smart bulbs, lamps and LightStrips, and Lifx, particularly its similar Tile and Beam range.


Nanoleaf smart lighting devices

Nanoleaf Light Panels

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

From $229.99, nanoleaf.me | Amazon

This is Nanoleaf's current modular, colour changing lighting panel, previously known as Nanoleaf Aurora, and the starter kit now comes as a Rhythm Edition. That gets you nine triangular panels, a base station as well as the add-on Rhythm module (see below) which you can plug in to get your wall lights to change colour to the music you're playing.

After that you can buy extra panels separately and there are also bundles of 15 and 30 panels. In the Nanoleaf app, you can create, share and switch between themes, both static and animated, set schedules and light alarms and change the hue, colour temperature and brightness of individual panels.

Nanoleaf Canvas

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

From £179.99, nanoleaf.me

This is the upgraded version of the Light Panels which comes with square panels rather than triangles but with all the same features and compatibility including with Rhythm. Due in November, up to 1,000 Canvas panels can be connected in one space and Nanoleaf says the edge-lit design gives it a marble-like finish. Look out for a review on The Ambient very soon, and you can sign up for info here.

Nanoleaf Rhythm

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

$49.99, nanoleaf.me

If you bought the Lighting Panels before the announcement of the Rhythm module, you can also buy it separately as an add-on. As you'd expect, it turns your smart lighting into a real time, colour changing music visualiser. You'll need the panels themselves to get going though, obviously.

Nanoleaf Remote

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

$49.99, nanoleaf.me

Something a bit different now. The Nanoleaf Remote not only controls Nanoleaf lighting, it also works as an Apple HomeKit controller. It's a truly unique dodecahedron Remote that connects to your tech over Bluetooth. The way it works is that you can program each of the remote's 12 sides in either the Nanoleaf or the Apple Home app. You need a Rhythm module too, though.

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

Nanoleaf smart lightbulbs

From $9.99, nanoleaf.me

Nanoleaf also has a few smart lightbulbs in its collection. The Nanoleaf Smart Ivy is a $9.99 design lightbulb that comes in 'love' (bright pink with hearts), 'leaf' (leaf patterned) and black models. It can be controlled via the app, the Apple Home app, voice via Alexa etc and there's Zigbee on board too. The Smart Ivy requires a Nanoleaf Hub which you can get as part of a Smarter Kit with two smart bulbs.

That same signature look continues in Nanoleaf's affordable and environmentally friendly Classic series, which includes the Nanoleaf One and Nanoleaf Bloom, both of which you can get as an E27 or B22 bulb. Both of these lightbulbs are made from folded PCB and have a huge 30,000 hour lifespan. There's no app or voice controls here but the Bloom uses nifty programming and switch controls to make it a dimmable lightbulb that doesn't need a dimmer.


Our recommended Google Home compatible devices

Lifx smart light bulb
Lifx smart light bulb
Amazon
$54.99
TP-Link Kasa smart Wi-Fi plug
TP-Link Kasa smart Wi-Fi plug
Amazon
$29.27
Nest Cam Indoor
Nest Cam Indoor
Amazon
$190.95
Philips Hue starter pack
Philips Hue starter pack
Amazon
$54.99

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