SmartThings Community

Cheap lighting (UK)

(Craig cooper) #1

Hi I’m sorry if this has been covered loads but I’m new on here can anyone tell me if there is a cheap way to control my light with my st everything i have looked at had been expensive. Ps I’m in the uk

(Mark) #2

What do you consider cheap vs. expensive?

(Craig cooper) #3

I’m trying to work out which way is cheaper some kind of switch or a bulb but I didn’t really want to have to buy like a full Philips hue bridge and all of that and I was hoping for something sub £20 I don’t know if that’s possible

(Mark) #4

I can’t speak to the prices exactly (I’m in the US), but you can look for z-wave bulbs, which wouldn’t require their own bridge. Wifi bulbs would be another possibility but compatibility with SmartThings wouldn’t be assured.

In the US at least, most smart bulbs aren’t exactly “cheap,” and if you plan to smarten up more than just one or two light fixtures, then wall switches are likely to be more economical (though again, not necessarily cheap).


GE bulbs that you zigbee work with SmartThings unofficially as long as you don’t have a conflict on your router with the channel you’re using they are pretty reliable

(Craig cooper) #6

Thank you so what is a z-wave bulb. This is the thing if I want a smart home it’s going to be an expansive job :frowning:️ nevermind I will just have to do it a bit at a time

(Craig cooper) #7

Thanks for the reply I’ll have a look online now at thos

(Mark) #8

Do you mean what are some brands of bulbs that use z-wave?

Or what is z-wave?

(Craig cooper) #9

Both lol I don’t know what z wave is lol sorry

(Mark) #10

You might want to read up a bit on some basics of home automation.

This seems like a reasonable article from toms guide.

Google is your friend :slightly_smiling_face:


Individual zwave bulbs will typically be more expensive than individual zigbee bulbs. Since one Hue bridge can support up to 40 bulbs, if you buy it in a starter kit, it should work fine with SmartThings and if you intend to ever have more than six bulbs total, the Hue solution should end up costing less.

The available solutions at the low cost end will depend on exactly what you were trying to do and how reliable you need it to be. As with many electronics, some of the very least expensive solutions will be less reliable. It’s not a one to one correspondence, but it is a factor.

So, are you looking for smart bulbs, plug-ins, or wall switches? The solutions are different, but all can provide lighting.

Smart Bulbs

A hue white bulb should cost around £15. This is a good reliable bulb and widely available. Sometimes it cost a little less if you get it in a set, typically £25 for a set of two.

Although the hue bulbs can be connected directly to the smart things hub without using the hue bridge, that method is not officially supported and can introduce other problems into your network, so I don’t recommend it.

You can get a starter pack with the current generation for about £49, which means you only paid about £15 for the bridge itself which is why as long as you’re going to have several bulbs, the extra cost will still be within your total budget.

There are some other individual bulb brands which will also work with the hue bridge and might save you a few pounds per lamp.

The Innr brand is popular, but will require that you have the hue bridge to get them to work with SmartThings. This is a good GU 10 style.

IKEA has said that their new Tradfri brand is going to work with the hue bridge soon, but last I looked it didn’t yet. Once it does, that again might save you a couple of pounds per lamp if you want to go with those.

But these are all in the same range as the hue white, so I don’t know that you really need to bother with the bargain brands unless you want to start looking at the color changing ones. Then the savings are more significant.

In contrast, the least expensive Z wave White – only bulb will probably cost 35 pounds. So you don’t have to buy a bridge, and if you only need one lamp, then the zwave one will be cheaper. But as soon as you go to two, the zigbee solutions will generally cost less in total.

Plug in Modules

We call these “pocket sockets” in this forum to distinguish them from in wall outlets and micro controllers.

Greenwave makes a good budget line of this which typically run about 20 pounds for one, or as little as 15 pounds when bought in a multi pack. Vesternet carries them at a good price for the UK plug style.

You will not require an additional bridge device with these, they use Zwave. So this is a good simple solution for things which plug-in.

Inline wired devices

We usually call these “micros.” They go in the wall behind the light switch. There are some very nice ones like Fibaro and Aeotec. They have lots of features, are fairly simple to wire, and have full safety certifications. However, they are not going to fit your budget.

There is a Chinese WiFi alternative which some community members use, but they will require cutting and splicing wires and some significant technical expertise to set them up. For example, you’re going to have to flash the firmware. If you don’t already know what that means, I wouldn’t suggest going into these. But they do exist, so I am going to include them for completeness.

The best brand of these, and the only one I think should be considered for safety reasons, it is Sonoff. You can buy these on Amazon. Prices will vary from about 9 pounds to about 20 depending on the features and how much work you have to do yourself.

If you are interested in pursuing this option, talk to the people in the following thread:

Noncertified Devices

There is also a line of inexpensive home automation devices from a very big Chinese company, Xiaomi. These are zigbee, but not certified for the same profile that smartthings uses, and they can be quirky. And I believe twice they have all stopped working for a while after SmartThings firmware update. They are popular because they are cheap, but they are really intended to work with their own hub, and you are going to have to do a lot of hands-on fiddling to get them set up and keep working.

I’ve seen some, and they’re not badly engineered, they’re just not really intended to be working with any other brand’s controllers, so they didn’t bother to get them certified.

They have bulbs, pocket sockets, some switches, and sensors. All very low cost when purchased through GearBest. But community experience tells us you will have more ongoing issues with these then you will with the other brands mentioned so far. So make sure you talk to people in some of the Xiaomi threads before jumping into this brand. It’s definitely not going to be a plug-and-play experience. :confused:



So those are some of the least expensive options available in the UK.

My personal recommendation would be just to use Hue White smart bulbs with the Hue bridge (£49 for a starter kit of bridge and two lamps) And then eventually maybe add some of the IKEA devices if they turn out to be hue bridge – compatible. And use the TKBhome pocket sockets where you need that kind of device. This approach will be simple, flexible, reliable, and should fit the budget that you gave. :sunglasses:

If you really want to save every penny, you can start looking into Sonoff or even Xiaomi. But both of those are going to require a lot more hands-on work to set up and keep running.


Note that for technical reasons I no longer recommend connecting any brand of zigbee bulb directly to the SmartThings hub except for the sengled element. There is an ongoing problem where these bulbs can lose messages passed to them from other devices like sensors. This then becomes a very hard problem to troubleshoot, because it looks like it’s the sensor that’s acting up when in fact it’s the bulb. :rage::bulb:

Bulbs connected via the Hue bridge will not have this problem, as your ZHA sensors won’t even try to ask them to pass along messages.

And Z wave bulbs will not have this problem.

But so far all the brands of zigbee bulbs have some problems in this area, and it just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

(Craig cooper) #13

Thank you so much for that I’m going to have a good read through but the Philips hue sounds like the best thing to get. I did just want something for testing out lights and having a play to be fair but I think I will just go with a hue kit. I have got one of those sonoff WiFi switches on its way to me do you know how you wire them up do you need a neutral to connect them up

(Bob) #14

If you are going down the smart bulb route, how about the Belkin Wemo bulb.
These connect directly to the ST hub.


Honestly just get zwave switch and it will be cheaper. I have a few. It will control a group of lights like a fan, or recess lighting. The downside is that the wife constantly turns the switch off so I had to put colored tape on them so she remembers not to turn the switch off.

(Mike) #16

is it a plug in light or an overhead main room light ??

if it is a plugin light then simply add a plug adapter, vesternet do single greenwave plugs for £20

(Stephen Hill) #17

Just to add my thoughts…

If they’re plug in lights e.g. lamps, uplighters etc… then you’ll be ok with smart bulbs.

If they’re overhead lights e.g. main switches, then go down the relay route and fit it in the back-box. It’ll mean your missus doesn’t get annoyed when she can’t use the switches anymore.

I made the mistake of getting too many bulbs when I first started when I wished I’d saved money and gone down the relay route.

(Craig cooper) #18

Hey hilly IV brought a couple of sonoff relays but I don’t know how to wire them in to my lights o don’t suppose you have a how to do you please

(Stephen Hill) #19

I bought the Fibaro FGD-212 250 W Universal Dimmer for my outside lights. I don’t have a guide as such, but if it helps here is how the wires looked like after getting help from various people on here.

Luckily my back box has a bit of depth to it which allows me to fit everything in (JUST!) :slight_smile:

P.S. I don’t have a neutral wire.