For decades, home interiors reflected the slightly yellowish glow of incandescent lights until LED light bulbs arrived, offering a choice of warm white, natural white, and cool white lighting. Now, you have even more options when it comes to the color of light you prefer for your rooms. With today’s color-changing light bulbs, you can choose a soft green tint, a rosy red glow, a soothing blue tone, or hundreds of other flattering hues. The best color-changing light bulb for you will depend on the mood you want to create, how much you want to spend, and whether you’d like to be able to control the bulb remotely. Ahead, learn what to look for when shopping for a color-changing bulb, and find out why the following are tops in their class.
- BEST OVERALL: LUMIMAN Smart WiFi Light Bulb
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: ILC RGB LED Light Bulb
- BEST FOR A SMART HOME: Philips Hue LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit
- BEST WITH BLUETOOTH: Govee LED Light Bulb
- BEST WITH SPEAKER: Texsens LED Light Bulb Bluetooth Speaker
- BEST MINI: JandCase E12 Candelabra Color Changing LED Light Bulb
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Color-Changing Light Bulb
No special fixtures are necessary to use color-changing light bulbs—they come in standard bulb sizes and screw into light sockets just like other types of bulbs.
Brightness and Wattage
Color-changing bulbs are made to set the mood in a room and are typically not as bright when they’re emitting colors other than white. This makes them well-suited for lamps and accent lights, but they’re perhaps not as efficient where bright light is needed, such as in ceiling lights and task lights.
To get a good estimate of how bright a color-changing bulb is, look for its wattage equivalent. Today’s LED bulbs are often labeled by their incandescent equivalent. Although incandescent bulbs are a thing of the past, more people understand incandescent wattage ratings. For example, a 12W color-changing bulb may be equivalent to an 80W incandescent bulb, so when you select the white mode on the color-changing bulb, the light will be as bright as an 80W incandescent bulb. When you choose a shade other than white, however, the bulb’s brightness will diminish.
Color-changing bulbs feature red, green, and blue LED light diodes. Yet by emitting different intensities of light, the human eye perceives a wider variety of colors, including multiple shades of yellow, pink, purple, and blue. When all three diodes emit light at full capacity, you will see white light similar to a standard bulb. Depending on the bulb, you may be able to select and isolate your choice of millions of hues to enhance your mood or accent the room’s look.
The simplest color-changing bulbs come with a remote control that allows the user to select from a range of 12 to 20 hues by pressing a corresponding colored button on the remote.
Connectivity and Smart Technology
A near-limitless choice of colors is available with smart light bulbs that sync via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Some smart bulbs feature only one of these two methods of connectivity, while other bulbs come with both types of technology.
- Bluetooth: You can control color-changing bulbs with Bluetooth connectivity from a smartphone or tablet that is also Bluetooth-capable to turn the bulbs on or off and select a range of hues. As with all Bluetooth devices, you’ll need to be within range, which is typically about 30 feet, to control the bulb.
- Wi-Fi: The ultimate in smart bulbs, color-changing bulbs that sync with your home’s wireless network can be controlled from your phone, tablet, or even from a PC while you’re at work by using a downloadable app. Many bulbs also sync with other smart home devices, such as Alexa, allowing you to control the bulb by voice commands.
Our Top Picks
To be considered one of the best color-changing bulbs, it should fit standard light fixture sockets, offer a range of hues, and come with an app that’s simple to operate if it’s a smart bulb. The following color-changing light bulbs all emit a range of hues, and some emanate millions of color options.
If you’re looking for a color-changing bulb you can control remotely, check out the LUMIMAN Smart WiFi Light Bulb. This bulb, which comes in a pack of two, fits ordinary lamp and light fixture sockets and can be controlled via voice with a smart home assistant. By downloading the free LUMIMAN app, you can also change the light color from your tablet or smartphone. Besides choosing from 16 million available colors, the LUMIMAN bulb provides a soft white and daylight mode. All lighting modes are dimmable. Also, you can program the bulb to come on at pre-specified times from your digital device. A home Wi-Fi network is necessary.
- Colors can change to match music
- Dimmable and tunable for full light control
- Control via remote or voice activation
- Pack of two lights
- Disruption of power resets lights
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy color-changing bulbs, and you don’t need a Wi-Fi home network to use this color-changing bulb that comes in a pack of eight. This budget-friendly favorite puts out 12 colors and there are three brightness levels to choose from. Plus, you can control the bulb with one of four remotes (included). In addition to the color modes, you can also select a cool white lighting mode and program the light to turn on at preselected times. You can even select a light-cycling mode in which the color slowly changes from one hue to the next.
- 12 colors and three brightness levels
- Strobe or slow cycle options
- Pack of eight lights
This starter kit isn’t cheap, but you’re paying for the ability to sync the bulbs with an existing smart home system. The included hub acts as a central command center specifically designed to simplify bulb control, even if you’re techie-challenged. You’ll still need a Wi-Fi home network, and the Philips’ hub must plug directly into a router. The hub syncs with many smart home systems, including Alexa for voice control or Apple HomeKit for complete control of the included bulbs—in addition to thermostats, door locks, and other smart home devices. You’ll receive three color-changing bulbs, and additional Philips Hue bulbs can be added to the system as desired.
- Voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Hub controls up to 50 smart lights
- Millions of shades to choose from
- Comes with three bulbs and a hub
- Additional app needed for personalized controls
You can control the Govee LED Light Bulb from your smartphone without the need for a separate hub or a home Wi-Fi network. The Govee bulb syncs with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones or tablets (via a free downloadable app) to allow the user to choose from 16 million colors and to program colors and brightness in advance. The Govee app features eight preprogrammed scene modes to set the mood, including Relax, Vivid, and Romantic. You can also select a Sunrise mode that comes on dimly while you’re sleeping and then gradually brightens to mimic the natural light of a sunrise. The Govee doesn’t sync with Alexa or other smart home systems; however, your digital device will need to be within about 30 feet of the bulb to control it.
- Bluetooth connection and camera syncing for color choices
- Customizable timer and sunrise mode
- Colors can change with music
- App requires excessive personal permissions
- Only one bulb
Get the party started with this color-changing bulb that comes with a built-in speaker and Bluetooth technology so you can listen to your favorite tunes while hanging out with friends or working in your craft room or workshop. The Texsens LED Light Bulb comes with 12 colors that you can select by remote control (included). To stream music, download the free app and listen to the heavy bass effect from the bulb’s high-quality stereo speaker. The bulb’s colors are dimmable to suit your mood, and if you’re ready to turn the room into a dance floor, you can choose a strobing light effect with changing colors. The bulb does not sync with Wi-Fi, however.
- 2-in-1 light bulb and speaker
- Remote control included
- Dimmable light with automatic color-changing sequence
- No voice activation
- Larger bulb head may not fit in some recessed lighting spaces
If you’re looking for a color-changing bulb to fit smaller, candelabra-size light sockets, check out this option from JandCase, which lets you choose from 17 dimmable colors using an included remote control. This mini bulb fits smaller E12 sockets and can be programmed to switch off after an hour or longer, so you can leave the lights on when you go to bed without worrying about them staying on overnight. You can also select from warm white and cool white lighting modes when you’re not in the mood for color. You’ll receive two bulbs and one remote. The JandCase bulb does not sync with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
- Two mini lights work for alternate lighting
- Five brightness levels and 17 dimmable colors
- Timer and memory options with remote control
- Does not automatically turn back on after cycle finishes
- Remote needs to be close to work
Setting the mood is easy with the help of color-changing smart light bulbs, which is why the LUMIMAN Smart Light Bulb holds our top spot. It comes with two bulbs, millions of colors, and voice activation for total control.
How We Chose the Best Color-Changing Light Bulbs
All of our recommendations for color-changing light bulbs come with standard U.S. bulb sizes for the appropriate sockets. Beyond that, we narrowed our research to include a variety of bulb styles whether globe, flat, or miniature for small lamps. Each product comes with standard white and multiple (or even infinite) color options to suit anyone’s mood. Brightness and dimmability controls were also key factors in selecting these products, since a bright red hue works best when it’s not a blinding spotlight.
Our favorite models can be voice activated using Alexa or Google Assistant to manage the brightness, color, and use of each bulb. There are also Bluetooth bulbs and bulbs that only work with a remote control that includes many of the same features as smart light bulbs. As a bonus, we even included a unique color-changing light bulb that has an integrated speaker to stream music from any Bluetooth device.
FAQs About Your New Color-Changing Light Bulb
Colors add ambience and change the mood of a room, but if this is the first time you’ve shopped for one of these bulbs, you likely have a few questions.
Q. How do color-changing bulbs work?
Color-changing bulbs contain red, green, and blue light diodes that emit different amounts of light and intensity when you choose a specific color. Depending on the type of bulb, users select specific colors using a remote control or a digital app on a smartphone or other digital device. Some bulbs will also sync with smart home systems.
Q. Are color-changing light bulbs bad for your health?
According to Engineering.com, “There’s nothing inherently dangerous about any light in the visible spectrum, as long as the intensity isn’t too high.” However, different light colors may emphasize various emotions, so select light colors that make you feel the best; for example, shades of blue and green may have a calming effect. Be aware, some color-changing lights feature a strobe effect, and according to the Epilepsy Society, people with photosensitive epilepsy are most at risk of developing seizures from the flashing and flickering effects of strobe lights.
Q. Do smart bulbs work without Wi-Fi?
Some will. Some won’t. If the bulb has an additional Bluetooth connection, it will work without Wi-Fi, which might happen if your router is experiencing problems. However, if it’s a Wi-Fi-only bulb, you’ll need a functioning network for the bulb to work.
Q. How long do colightilor-changing light bulbs last?
According to Philips, their smart color-changing LED bulbs (#3 of the Top Picks above) can last up to 25,000 hours. Other bulbs may not last as long—depending on quality.
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Glenda Taylor is a freelance writer for the residential remodeling, homebuilding, and commercial roofing industries. She and her husband have been general contractors for over 20 years, and Ms. Taylor has written for leading media outlets as well as National Association of Homebuilders. In addition to her construction experience, Ms. Taylor is a Master Gardener, a former real estate professional, a universal design enthusiast, and an advocate for green building practices. The recipient of Journalism and Marketing degrees from the University of Kansas and Bauder College respectively, she enjoys life on a farm in the Midwest with her husband and their five Saint Bernards!