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The best smart bulbs without a hub that you can get

Some models may still require a Matter controller and/or a Thread border router, but you may already have those in your home.

Published onMay 23, 2023

LIFX smart LED light bulb stock photo 5
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Let’s say you want to install smart home lighting, but you don’t want to deal with first-party hubs, or third-party ones for Zigbee or Z-Wave — you want a light that connects out of the box. We get it, and we’re here to help with our guide to the best hubless smart bulbs.

All of the bulbs on this list are A19 models that fit into an E26 socket, which you can read more about in our general bulb guide. They rely on Wi-Fi, Thread, or Bluetooth — the first two being preferable, since you’ll otherwise be limited to controlling lights at home from a mobile app. Just be aware that too many Wi-Fi bulbs can oversaturate a router, especially if it doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6. Thread bulbs need to connect to a Thread border router, and any product paired via Matter will need a Matter controller.

The best smart bulbs without a hub:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best smart bulbs regularly as new ones launch.

1. Philips Hue

Philips Hue Hubless Bulbs

While Philips Hue bulbs previously required a dedicated hub, that’s no longer the case. Many recent Hue bulbs have Bluetooth, so all you need is the company’s smartphone app for setup and control. They are best with a hub, however, since that enables remote access and automations, as well as integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. In fact, we’re including Hue on our list solely because of that flexibility. If you’re militantly opposed to hubs, consider other brands.

Also, we’ve linked a pack of white Hue bulbs here since they’re the cheapest, but there are color-changing and White Ambiance models, the latter supporting “shades” of white from warm to cool.

2. Wiz A19 Smart LED

Wiz A19 Smart LED

If Philips Hue bulbs seem appealing but too expensive, Wiz may be an alternative. The brand’s lights connect via Wi-Fi, and can be controlled via the brand’s phone app as well as Alexa and Google Home. You can pair with HomeKit after a Matter-enabling firmware update.

We recommend you start with the 60W-equivalent base model. It’s dimmable, and offers a warm 2700K color temperature with 800 lumens of brightness.

3. Nanoleaf Essentials

The Nanoleaf Matter A19 bulb and an Amazon Echo 4
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

Nanoleaf Essentials bulbs do support Bluetooth, but the real star of the show is Thread, which joins them to a mesh network with instant response so long as you have a compatible Thread border router. At the moment, some examples of border routers include the 4th gen Echo, HomePods, Nest Hubs, Eero Wi-Fi routers, and Nanoleaf’s Lines, Shapes, and Elements panels.

The latest Essentials models support Matter, which means you can pair them with Alexa, HomeKit, or Google Home. At the moment, you’ll need an Android phone to pair with Home. All Matter accessories need a device that doubles as a Matter controller, such as many modern smart speakers and displays.

4. LIFX Color (1,100 Lumens)

A LIFX Color 1100 lumen bulb

LIFX is often considered the king of Wi-Fi bulbs. The brand has been around since 2012, and offers a range of options, including some of the most powerful bulbs you can get. Like Philips Hue, it’s committed to supporting HomeKit alongside Alexa and Google.

Leading the LIFX lineup is a 1,100-lumen Color bulb, bright enough to be the only source of illumination in some rooms. It also offers the best color saturation in the market, so if setting the mood matters, this should be on your shortlist. 

5. Sengled Wi-Fi LED Multicolor A19 Bulb

Sengled Wi Fi LED Multicolor A19 Bulb

Sengled was one of the first companies to make smart bulbs without a hub, and the tradition continues. The Sengled Wi-Fi LED Multicolor A19 operates over Wi-Fi and can be controlled with a mobile app, Alexa, or Google.

Its app features and technical specs are pretty standard, but that’s arguably the point. You can buy four for $30, which is less than some individual rivals cost.

6. Wyze Bulb Color

A single Wyze Bulb Color

Wyze has made a name for itself in the smart home world by selling low-cost accessories that punch above their weight, the Wyze Bulb Color being a prime example. The product tops out at 1,100 lumens, putting its brightness on par with LIFX models more than twice the cost. Wyze also claims better color accuracy than most LED bulbs, so that scheme you’re envisioning should look the way it’s supposed to.

Platform support includes Alexa and Google. We’ve linked a single bulb below, but a little searching should turn up 2- and 4-packs. 

7. Kasa KL135P2

Kasa Multicolor Bulb 2-Pack

The official name is a mouthful, but this Kasa bulb is rated at a strong 1,000 lumens, putting it nearly on par with LIFX and Wyze’s offerings. Platform support includes Alexa and Google. You can currently get a 2-pack for just $23.

8. Yeelight Smart LED Bulb W3

The Yeelight W3 bulb and its box

Though Xiaomi’s Yeelight brand isn’t that well-known in North America, the W3 has some surprisingly solid specs for a budget bulb. Its brightness is rated at an above-average 900 lumens, and it’s compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and Razer Chroma. If there’s a drawback, it’s that color accuracy is below that of alternatives like the Wyze Bulb Color. 

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