FAQ: Best smart light bulbs to use

I think you will be pleased. I second all the previous comments. I have 8 Cree bulbs. They give light just like incandescent, paired easily, and have been 100% reliable for me.

Sorry for being thick here, but Cree bulbs.
Who is the manufacturer who makes these bulbs?

Cree are the make. Not available in the UK.

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Ah okay.
I have a couple of Cree torches and I thought Cree was the type of light/bulb not the manufacturer.

This is a little dated but for the most part the bulbs are still on the market and the popular choices.
It gives a good look at the light pattern of the Cree, Hue, and GE Link. At the time that was pretty much the only options. Hue white only will look the same of course. No LIFX shown. This video is what lead me down the road of Cree’s. Now I’m putting in more Hue’s mostly cause of how stable Hue is. I dont care for the Hue light pattern for a typical ‘lamp’. If you are in an enclosed socket Hue’s are great since they are primarily out the top light.

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An update for Fall 2017: Zigbee Bulbs that Can Lose Messages from Your Other Devices

Over the last year, a number of network problems have been reviewed by both community members and SmartThings staff, and it’s now been established that some, but not all, zigbee lightbulbs when connected directly to the SmartThings hub Will be marked by the network as available repeaters, but will in fact fail to pass on some messages from some of your other zigbee devices. :disappointed_relieved: This can make it seem, for example, like an open/close sensor is failing to report when in fact it is reporting, but the bulb is not passing the message on.

Cree bulbs seem to work OK if you have less than 10, but can start dropping messages if you have more.

This is an extremely annoying problem and one that is difficult to diagnose if you run into it.

Avoiding the problem by choosing the right brands

If you are connecting your zigbee bulbs to the hue bridge, you won’t have this problem, because the bridge forms its own mini network and your other zigbee devices will not even know that the bulbs exist so they won’t try to use them as repeaters. Note that using the Hue bridge is also the only officially supported method for Hue bulbs:

But if you are connecting the zigbee bulbs directly to the SmartThings hub, the following brands are known to have problems in this regard as of October 2017:

GE Link
Hue if connected directly to the SmartThings hub
IKEA Tradfri
WeMo Link bulbs
Cree bulbs if you have more than 10

Brands that don’t have this problem as of October 2017:

Cree Connected if you have fewer than 10
Sengled (these won’t lose messages, but they won’t act as repeaters either)
Anything connected to the Hue bridge

If you know of other brands that do or don’t have this problem, let us know.

At this point, the only zigbee bulbs that I could recommend for use with SmartThings would be anything that is actually connected to the hue bridge or the Cree when connected directly to the SmartThings hub or the Sengled if you don’t need a zigbee bulb that acts as a repeater.

other protocols

Zwave Bulbs and WiFi bulbs don’t have these issues, and in fact, in general zwave bulbs make very good Z wave repeaters. It’s just zigbee bulbs that have shown the problem.

if you already have problematic bulbs

There is a workaround, but it’s really annoying.

If you were going to add a new zigbee device to your network and you want to make sure it doesn’t try to use one of the problematic bulbs as its parent, first take any of the problematic bulbs off power all together. Not just turned off from the network, but actually switched off current.

Now add your new device. It should choose one of your other zigbee devices as its parent and its messages won’t get lost.

Then turn the bulbs back on power.

Also be aware that if at any time your house loses power, you may have to repeat this method or your other zigbee devices might select a problematic bulb as a parent when the power is restored.

I personally like Hue bulbs connected to the hue bridge and that’s what I use at my house. I was going to recommend the Cree bulbs, but then was reminded that they have a problem if you have too many of them, so now I honestly don’t know what to say.

You can go ahead and try any of the brands, but if you start having problems with other zigbee devices appearing to lose messages, run a test by taking all the bulbs off power first, then do a zigbee heal, and see if anything improves. It may be the bulbs are receiving the messages but not passing them on. :rage::bulb:

Thanks are due to @tpmanley , @johnr , and @Sticks18 who helped to diagnose these issues.


Nice writeup @JDRoberts. I’d add sengled bulbs to this list too because they are end devices and therefore don’t route messages for other devices.

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Done. I’ve edited my post above. :sunglasses:

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I wasn’t aware that the Ikea bulbs were causing problems too. Can you point me to the thread(s) where that was discussed? I looked briefly but couldn’t find it.

I have a friend who’s been testing the IKEA bulbs for a commercial installation and saw the same problem. I don’t know if anybody’s reported it in this forum yet.

And JD I dont know if things have changed but to my knowledge the Cree’s still have the bug if you have >12 bulbs with them dropping messages. I know they have not received any firmware updates. I upgraded from a v1 to v2 hub and didnt get any updates to those few Cree bulbs I have connected to ST directly.

I still say they are one of the best bulbs for quality of light. But they destabilized my zigbee network the last time I had a lot of bulbs on it.

Yuck. :disappointed_relieved:. I thought that one was fixed last year. @tpmanley ?

Not yet but we recently received a update from Cree that we have just started testing. I believe it addresses some routing issues but not sure yet if it will fix this particular issue.

So at this point there are no bulb brands that are reliable zigbee routers (repeaters) when connected directly to the SmartThings hub?

Although not perfect, the OSRAM/Sylvania bulbs are pretty reliable once the firmware has been updated to at least version 01020492.

I’m not familiar any routing problems from Ikea and directly connected Hue although that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

One more to add to the problematic list is the Wemo Zigbee Bulb. It uses the same radio as GE Link and the older OSRAM/Sylvania products but doesn’t have a firmware update available to fix this issues.


The Hue problems have been confirmed by several community members, including @JohnR (who created the CoopBoss Device and has authored multiple articles on Zigbee).

For IKEA, I only have the one report from my friend who is a network engineer and has been testing them for an industrial installation. But there aren’t very many people using them yet except with their own controllers.

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Just came across this information as I am in the market for some smart bulbs. What I am wondering is if the non hues bulbs can be connected to the hue bridge and then used in smartthings. I found this article that explains how to connect non hue bulbs but once they are connected to hue bridge can I then connect them to ST? Also, this is from 2015 so I am wondering what other bulbs can connect to hue bridge? Are there zwave bulbs?

Some can, some can’t, you just have to check the product descriptions. If a bulb can be used with the hue bridge it will usually say so, since that helps sell more of them.

I believe any bulb that can be connected to the hue bridge will then be available through the official SmartThings/Hue integration. That may not be true of some of the older Philips iris products, and is not true of the “accessories” like the dimmer switch for the motion sensor. But for regular bulbs it should work fine.

I’m having issues getting the OSRAM/Sylvania BR30 color working. With the RGBW DH, I get the UI for it in the app, but the device doesn’t respond to any commands. If I change the DH to Sylvania Ultra iQ, it responds to on/off/brightness from the app, but presents no color control.

I thought that I had the latest firmware (see below), but since you say it should be at least 01020492, maybe not. If doing Check Now for firmware update in IDE doesn’t update it, what does?

Current Version: 0x00102090
Target Version: 0x00102090
Last Updated: N/A
Last Checked: 2018-02-10 1:41 PM EST - Check Now

While my question about the proper firmware level stands, I have resolved the DTH question. Turns out there’s a “Zigbee RGBW Bulb” that I needed instead of “RGBW Bulb”.

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