FAQ: Best smart light bulbs to use [2015]

I have only used the Cree connected for about a month.
The light quality is perfect. Just like incandescent.
Zero flicker and zero hum.
My only wish is for a quicker response time for them to turn on in response to motion detection. Perhaps the new hub will be faster.
CAUTION: I bought 4 from Home Depot. One of them would not connect and had to be returned. Keep your receipt. Don’t just buy the bulb and store it away without checking.

@clevewaterman I just have 1 and have it setup right now to turn on when the wife and I leave the house so the dog is not in the dark. I have watched the response time via camera and it’s about a 30 second delay once we leave the home. I have not tried to use it as motion yet.

I just discovered that two more of my Cree bulbs are staying on at a very low level. Much dimmer than the last one but still faintly lit.

My GE link bulbs are doing the same thing but I have them linked to my Hue hub. Not sure why they do it but the Hue bulbs don’t. Not all of my lights are responding to my “all lights off” routine either. The lighting is pretty messed up right now.

What I really want are in-wall switches, AND hue-like bulbs. 99% of the time no one would ever though the switch, but when they do, ST would need to be aware and handle accordingly.

Some people just wire in zwave switches with the load disconnected, but I’ve had enough times where I need to reset my bulbs that would make for a huge annoyance. Hue bulbs have always been solid though.

I’m waiting on my smart WiFi switches to arrive from Ube/Plum. They supposedly will play nice with ST and smart bulbs. I just wish they were Zwave instead.

The Plum Lightpad looks like a nice WiFi switch. That said, I haven’t seen anything that says it will “play nice” with a smart bulb. It will control a dimmable LED, but that’s not the same thing.

Unless there is special handling built into it, and again I haven’t seen anything to indicate that this is true for the plum, any smart switch, regardless of protocol, that controls the current to the light fixture that the smart bulb is in in is essentially turning the smart bulb into a dumb bulb. Because once the switch cuts the current to the fixture, the smart Bulb is powered off completely and cannot hear any network commands. This may still be OK for some use cases, but it means you always have to use the switch (either manually or via network) to turn the light on before you can give the bulb any other commands.

If there is some additional live current feature built into the plum for use with smart bulbs, please include a link for it. I may just have missed it, but I didn’t see anything on their site.

Meanwhile, the following discusses some of the other options for switches with smart bulbs.

I personally don’t think I’ll be buying anything but Hue bulbs from now on. Sure, SmartThings is great, but the huge variety of what you can do with the hundreds of apps that plug into the Hue ecosystem just makes it so much better to have a Hue bridge and Hue system available.

Which is why so many of us have a hue hub with hue bulbs integrated into our ST…

Options options options!


For the Plum WiFi switches, the Hue compatibility is mostly rumors or ramblings. I swear I saw it mentioned in one of their kickstarter updates, but I’d have to check again, plus that doesn’t mean it’s true.

To me, it seems like you could use a connected switch on the Hue bulb, by basically reactivating the switch later and immediately powering off the bulb via Zigbee. Just thinking out loud here, but don’t some bulbs support permanent fade on or delay, or is that only in response to smart commands?

If you could place a 2 second delay on smart bulbs, that means we could power on the wall switch and power off the smart bulb before it lights up.

Pipe dream? Probably. I just think these smart bulbs need more cached settings for true power on scenarios.

I am new to SmartThings and have yet to even hook up my system so I am on a mission to learn. I currently have a hue bridge and some hue bulbs and those are connected to a WeMo switch. The Hue bulbs work pretty well when power is cut/resumed and using Wemo Manager as my smartphone app has been wonderful for turning hue on/off because it is instant.

However, I have 6 BR30 lights in my kitchen all on a Lutron dimmer switch that is not LED compatible so needs to be replaced once I switch over to LEDs. I often dim the lights from the switch but would love the ability to change the color of the bulbs from a smartphone/tablet especially using the mic to listen to inputs.

What I really want to do is be able to turn the kitchen lights on/off from the switch, dim from the switch, but still be able to change the colors from a smartphone/tablet. Can someone recommend the best way to do this?

Ideally the switch would not actually cut/pulse power to the bulb to dim but would rather somehow connect to ST to tell each bulb to synchronously dim each bulb. Is that even possible? I could not find this answer in my initial searching. If the switch just pulsed power like a lutron LED dimmer that would surely mess up the wifi of the bulb and may not even work.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Right, that’s what I meant to imply. Earlier in this thread I suggested using Osram Lightify Color Temperature adjustable bulbs to supplement my Hues, but even those I’ve decided to phase out because of the flexibility of the Hues.

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I have thee ST Hub v2 and I really like the Cree Connected bulbs. I use about 4 OUTSIDE and so far 3 inside. I have them set on a timer in ST to come on at 5:45 p.m and go off about midnight. They really give off a lot of light outside and I am pleased with them. I think though I am going to go with the switches and outlets to give my self a little more functionality. With the bulbs you have to get your families used to using the App and not going to the switch. Sometime they can get out of sync.

Using all HUE bulbs, including their affordable hue white (available for $15 at Best Buy), the HUE color bulb (very nice), HUE lightstrip (new ‘plus’ version massively brighter) and the HUE Go (portable). Thru the HUE app they appear to all work seamlessly, every time, nice color effects. Having some intermittent issues with some thru the ST app tho (as I am with a LOT of the ST functions) and wondering if it’s due to their being more distant from my hubs (but the issues are only with ST, not with the HUE hub and app).

Distance won’t affect a SmartThings/Hue bridge integration as they talk to each other over your local network and SmartThings does not talk directly to the bulbs. Only to the bridge.

Lots of people have had lots of issues with the integration, unfortunately. Search the forums for discussion.

The Lightpad certainly will control the Hue, and the update will be released soon. It does function using special handling and never shunts power to the lamp…because there is nothing worse than a dumb smart bulb.


Are there any reliable, stand-alone bulbs that can be paired with the Smartthings system?

By stand-along, I mean bulbs that don’t require their own hub.

I’ve been using a couple of GE Link bulbs for the past 9 months and I have to reset them by the switch at least a couple of times a month to keep them operational.

I only need a couple (not doing the whole house), but I need something more reliable than what I’ve got.


I still think the best looking bulb is the Cree’s. If you don’t get more than say 8-10 bulbs, the Cree connected are quite nice. They produce light very similar to incandescent bulbs in both the color of light and the light pattern. At 15 dollars they are reasonable as well. I never had to do much in terms of resets in the 8-10 months I used them directly on the hub.


I like the Cree bulbs. No other hub required. They resemble incandescent bulbs more than any other LED bulbs. Most LED bulbs cast light on one direction, up and away from the base. Cree bulbs cast light up and also down. In a lamp they, it’s hard to notice the difference from incandescent bulbs. Just pay attention to the wording on the box. If it says soft white, it will be more like incandescent with a slight yellowish warm color rated at 2700 K. If it says daylight, it is a sharp white almost bluish light rated 5000 K. About $15 at home Depot.

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I also like the Cree Connected bulbs. Have not had any problems, Smartthings finds them with no problems.

Sounds like I will give a shot to the Cree. Looks like they might be more reliable than the GE.

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