GoControl’s Smart Light Bulb
For the last few weeks, I’ve been researching different kinds of smart light bulbs. I have specs on everything from Philips Hue, to TP-Link, to GoControl. Do they integrate with SmartThings or Amazon Echo? Do they need their own hub? These are all questions that I wanted to answer before I went ahead with my purchase.
There’s a lot of competition in this area for a reason: there are a lot of features to offer. You have light bulbs that can change color. Light bulbs that can dim. Light bulbs that have speakers built in. What I wanted to do was find a smart light bulb that was pretty basic and didn’t break the bank. I think I found it.
I wanted a no-frills, easy to set up, smart light bulb that didn’t require anything more than I already have. Light bulbs such as the Philips Hue require a hub. They provide a lot more features, but they were features that I didn’t really need. The GoControl Smart Light Bulb, at $18, was straight forward.
With the TP-Link light bulb being so similar, I had a hard time determining which one to go forward with. What made me choose GoControl Smart Light Bulb was, despite the fact that it was a lot cheaper, it still had a 4.5 star rating on Amazon across 248 reviews. That speaks very highly to the product. TP-Link does have a light bulb at the same price point, but it only has a 13.7 year lifespan rating. Lastly, I couldn’t find any good information on how to get the TP-Link product linked up with SmartThings. TP-Link devices come with their own Kasa app, but I’m trying very hard to have a single app to control all my smart home devices and not have to switch back and forth between different proprietary apps.
So let’s start with the unboxing.
On the back of the box, you have some specs that tell you how much money you’re going to save. It also reminds you that as long as you don’t use the bulb for more than 3 hours a day, you should be good for 22.8 years. I’ll let you know if they last that long.
Inside the box, you’ll find some instructions as well as an interesting little plastic ‘lock’. After screwing this onto your light switch, you can lock out the actual light switch so people can’t turn these off from the wall. By powering the light switch off, you won’t be able to control these bulbs with your phone. What is this, 1999?
Since my home isn’t just about me, I opted not to install this.
Here’s your light bulb. It looks just a little bit fancier than your regular light bulb. The materials seemed high quality and the fit and finish was excellent. The install is pretty straight forward. First, let’s do the general disclaimer.
Important Note and Warning: I know this seems silly, but if you are not comfortable doing electrical work, please hire a professional to install your smart light bulb. The $60 it’d cost to have someone knowledgeable do this is much cheaper than the hospital costs of you potentially messing up and shocking yourself, or worse, you killing yourself. Please don’t start a fire.
As silly as it may seem, you shouldn’t be doing any of these smart home mods without knowing how to turn off power and knowing how to verify that there’s no power going to your receptacle.
That being said, if you follow the instructions included in the box, you will very quickly have these up and running. Once they are, simply go into your SmartThings app and click on “+ Add A Thing”. Your SmartThings hub will now go into search mode.
What I found helped here was toggling the lights on and off every few seconds. I did have a bulb that just didn’t want to participate, so I followed the instructions on resetting it. If you have one that just doesn’t show up, what you want to do is within a 4 second time span, turn the lights on and off 4 times. After you’ve done that, quickly turn them back on. The light bulb will start flashing and that will mean that it’s been factory reset.
Once found, you can rename them in the app and change their icons. I named mine, appropriately, Bedroom Light 1 – 4. Make sure you verify that you can turn them on and off. I also went ahead and created some automations to be able to control all of them at the same time.
Since these are dimmable, you can also dim them using the SmartThings app.
Overall, I’m really happy with my GoControl Smart Light Bulb. Install and setup were straight forward. I can control them with my SmartThings app, which contains all of my other smart devices. They also instantly turn on, so I can easily use them like regular light bulbs if I wanted to.
Our previous light bulbs had a whiter hue, so it’s going to take us some time to adjust to this yellower hue. Their website claims that they are 2700k, which seems about right. With a 22.8 year life span, the cost makes a bit more sense.
Another perk of these is since they’re Z-Wave, they also act as repeaters. My GE Outdoor Smart Switch was having issues receiving commands. I attributed this to signal loss due to it being so far from my SmartThings hub. I’m happy to report that after installing these light bulbs, that issue went away completely since the Outdoor Smart Switch is right on the other side of my bedroom wall. The light bulbs simply bounce the command over to the outdoor smart switch now.
Will you get more features if you go with other bulbs? Probably. The question you need to ask yourself, though, is if you need them. How often are you going to dim your entire room blue? With so many smart home devices out there and none of them particularly cheap, it’s important that we spend our money wisely to get what we want. With the money I saved by going with the GoControl Smart Light Bulbs, I can go ahead and order a Garadget or something else that’s fun around the house.
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