I’m a big fan of smart lights because they provide energy-efficient, multi-color lighting options indoors. For most people, it’s one of the first steps in setting up a smart home.
I have a lot of experience with smart lights. Recently, I built a DIY Infinity Mirror with flexible RGB light strips. I’ve never reviewed Sengled Smart Lights, but I like the fact that they have bulb and light strip options. Picking one brand over another is important because you’re committing to a lighting ecosystem. In this review, I look at three Sengled products: Smart LED Light Bulb Starter Kit, Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulbs, and the Smart LED Light Strip.
Sengled has two ways to connect lights to your smart home setup. The Smart LED Light Bulbs and Light Strip require a hub that connects to your router. The hub also connects the Smart Light Switch, which acts as a portable remote.
As the name suggests, the Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb connects directly to your wireless network—no hub required.
The light bulbs have the standard socket for most light fixtures and lamps. This makes it easy to replace existing light fixtures.
It’s literally like changing a light bulb, except these ones are smart and multi-colour.
The Smart LED Light Strip is a flexible 2-meter strip of small Red Green Blue (RGB) LED lights. The back of the strip features sticky tape to apply it under desks, over cabinets, etc. Users can cut the strip with scissors on the predefined cut marks. At the end of the strip is a button to manually turn the light on and off.
The setup is where things get interesting. After downloading the Sengled App, I followed the instructions and connected the hub to the router. However, the hub would not connect to the app, even after repeated attempts. This was frustrating, but my troubleshooting skills kicked in to identify the issue.
I use a mesh system, and I connected the hub to an Ethernet port on the back of the main mesh satellite. After some research online, I learned that the hub connects to the 2.4 GHz band. However, my mesh system has a single SSID. Thus, it automatically connects devices to the optimal band. Since I was right beside the hub during the installation, I was likely connected to the 5GHz band.
If I moved further away, the mesh system should switch over and connect me to the 2.4GHz band. I relocated to my home studio and continued the setup on the app. As luck would have it, the hub connected.
Since a lot of smart homeowners have mesh systems, I suspect others will have this issue too. You’ve been warned.
Adding lights in the Sengled App
Once the hub was connected, adding the three Smart LED bulbs and Smart Switch was a breeze. The Smart Switch is automatically detected, and the Smart LED Bulbs connect as soon as they are screwed into the light socket and turned on.
Setting up the Wi-Fi LED Light Bulbs was super easy. The Sengled Home App requires location permission to obtain Wi-Fi information.
If you have it disabled, you will need to enable it, but you can disable it right after. This is what I did, and the app guided me through that process.
The Smart LED Light Strip requires a hub for setup. In the Sengled App, I added the Light Strip to the hub. As I set up each light, I named each device and assigned it to a corresponding room (i.e., living room, bedroom, etc.).
Alexa and Google Home integration
I think smart lights went mainstream through the integration with smart speakers. It makes a lot of sense to change light colors through voice commands. The Sengled App makes it very easy to set up the lights with Alexa and Google Home devices. Step by step instructions made the whole setup super easy. I was up and running on both within 5 minutes.
If you go the voice command route to turn your lights on and off, remember that you’ll have to stop hitting the wall light switch. I put tape on mine to remind and train myself to use voice commands. If the light switch is turned off, the lights will not get power. Once again, you’ve been warned. Learn from my mistakes.
Sengled Smart Switch
I realize some people still want to turn lights off with a light switch. This is where the Smart Switch comes in. It can be mounted like a traditional light switch, but it’s powered by a small watch battery. There’s a magnet on the back of the mounting plate. I mounted it on my refrigerator. The Smart Switch is portable and comes off the mount. It can be used as a remote to turn lights on and off and adjust the brightness level. This is great for Netflix binging on the couch.
I really liked the Smart Switch. Not having a traditional light switch is one of the issues I have with my smart home setup. It’s always an awkward problem when guests come over—especially people who are not tech-savvy. I would definitely set up a couple of these to have the best of both worlds.
Creating light routines
If you spend the time and effort to install smart lights, don’t forget to set up routines to get the most out of your lights. With routines, I set up the light wake up and sleep schedules. One thing I recommend everyone do is to create a wake-up routine for bedroom lights. The trick is to mimic sunrise colour, temperature, and brightness.
In the Sengled App, I created a wake-up for 7:00AM with a 15 minute fade-in period. The lights slowly got brighter, which felt very natural. I also set a sleep schedule for the living room and kitchen lights. With a sleep routine, the light simulates a sunset, which is a great way to tell your body it’s time for bed. I found this to be very effective. It really helped me go to bed at the same time every day.
Used right, smart lights can transform homes and mimic the sun indoors. As an ecosystem, I would have no problem using Sengled Smart Lights. Setup was easy, and the app is intuitive. I also love the Smart Switch. It gives users a traditional and portable way to turn lights on and off.
In a busy household, I’m sure the Smart Switch will go missing between couches and under tables. It would be nice to have an alarm feature in the app to find the Smart Switch. I also wish they could find a way to do without the hub altogether. It doesn’t make sense to have some bulbs that connect to Wi-Fi and others to a hub.
Finally, I think Sengled needs to clarify installation procedures for mesh setups. As my experience shows, having a single SSID for both the 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands causes setup issues with the hub. I have a feeling others may have had issues as well.
Still, I was very happy with the performance of the Sengled Smart Lights. If you are looking for a smart home ecosystem, Sengled makes a very easy platform for setting up multi-color lights.