Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

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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: Rhythm Edition

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

From $229.99, | 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, | Amazon

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. 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.

One of the coolest things about the Nanoleaf Canvas is that it's touch enabled. This basically means that you can tap on the squares and play some games. Soon, you'll be able to play a version of Candy Crush, Whack-A-Mole and even Pacman, right there on your fancy colored wall.

In the third quarter of the year, you can look forward to a mounting grid for the Canvas that'll make it much easier to set up.

Nanoleaf Rhythm

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit


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, | Amazon

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 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.

Nanoleaf also has two lighting fixtures for showing off its light bulbs. There's the $44.99 Pendant, which comes with an inline dimmer switch and hangs from the ceiling, and the $59.99 Lamp Base, which is a block of wood with a light switch.

Coming soon

Nanoleaf Hexagon

Nanoleaf essential guide: Getting started with the smart lighting kit

Announced at CES 2019, Nanoleaf's latest wall panels are Hexagons. Six sides enable much more combinations than the four on the Canvas and three on the Tiles. You'll get up to 500 Hexagons per Control Hexagon, but you'll need extra power for every 25 Hexagons. Even better, they'll be touch enabled like the Canvas so you can play games. There's no word on pricing yet, but you can expect them in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Our recommended Google Home compatible devices

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Lifx smart light bulb
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TAGGED   lighting

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