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Out of LIFX's selection of smart light bulbs, the LIFX Plus is the best option for those looking to buy. It not only provides smart controls and a wide range of colors but it has infrared to aid in night vision for any security cameras you might have.
The best bulb in town
$60 is a lot to spend on a light bulb, but the LIFX Plus is bright enough to fully light a room at 1100 lumens, and even illuminates night vision security cameras by emitting infrared light that's invisible to the naked eye.
Who should buy this bulb?
The biggest difference between the LIFX Plus and the Color 1000 is the Plus's infrared emission, which invisibly illuminates dark areas for infrared-detecting security cameras — perfect for distant spots in a camera's field of view, like the outer perimeter of your yard. If you don't have security cameras, you probably don't need the LIFX Plus and are better off buying the cheaper Color 1000.
Is it a good time to buy this phone?
Yes! While LIFX regularly adds new products to its lineup, like the Tile and Z LED Strip, it rarely refreshes or replaces its existing selection. Now's just as good a time as ever to buy the LIFX Plus.
Reasons to buy
- Doesn't require a hub
- Infrared helps security cameras see in the dark
- 16 million possible colors
- LED rated for 22 years
Reasons not to buy
- Doesn't work with dimmer switches
The best smart bulb money can buy
Smart bulbs are one of the easiest ways to get into home automation, since they're relatively affordable and fit into any standard E26 light socket, making for an easy conversion from traditional bulbs. The LIFX Plus is the most feature-packed bulb in LIFX's lineup, and moreover, it's the best smart bulb on the market.
Unlike similar options from competitors like Phillips, LIFX bulbs don't require a hub to control.
The LIFX Plus gets extra bright at 1100 lumens — easily enough to light up even larger rooms with a single bulb, though if need be, you can buy additional bulbs and assign them to a room to easily control multiple LIFX lights at once. You can choose from any of 16 million colors, both through the LIFX app and by using your voice, since the LIFX Plus integrates with Google Assistant, Alexa, and HomeKit, and even Cortana.
You can choose between two form factors for the LIFX Plus: the A19, and the BR30, which each direct light differently. To be clear, these aren't different versions of the bulb — they're the same price and have the exact same features and specs — but the BR30 with its wider shape and reflector is better suited for use outdoors or in ceiling lights. For floor lamps and most other fixtures, the A19 is a better fit for most people.
While $60 sounds like a lot to spend on a bulb (and don't get me wrong, it definitely is), the LIFX Plus is rated with a 22.8-year lifespan, and includes a 2-year warranty in case anything goes wrong early on.
Alternatives to the LIFX Plus
The LIFX Plus is may be the best bulb around, but the infrared capabilities that give it the Plus moniker are wasted if you don't also have a security camera. There's no reason to spend more to get a feature you won't be able to use, especially if you plan on buying more than one bulb, so one of LIFX's cheaper options may be a better fit for you.
LIFX Color 1000
Essentially the LIFX Plus without infrared.
The standard LIFX bulb, otherwise known as the Color 1000, is completely identical to the LIFX Plus save for a lack of infrared light. If you don't own a night-vision security camera, this is the smarter purchase.
Just like the LIFX Plus, the Color 1000 is available in either A19 or BR30, and can even be purchased in a four-pack if you're ready to outfit more than one room with smart bulbs.
A smaller, cheaper bulb that fits better in lamps.
An even cheaper option, the LIFX Mini doesn't get quite as bright as the other bulbs at 800 lumens, but its 250-degree beam angle spreads light around more of the surrounding room.
If you don't mind sacrificing a bit of brightness, the LIFX Mini has most of the same features as its pricier siblings; it's still rated for nearly 23 years and emits 16 million colors. This is a perfect fit for desk lamps, kitchen lights, and other small fixtures.
LIFX Mini White
Smart lighting without all the color.
If you just want the convenience of a smart bulb but don't care about the myriad of colors, the Mini White is the absolute cheapest bulb in LIFX's catalog.
The LIFX Mini White doesn't change colors, instead of sitting at a comfortably warm 2700K, but you can still adjust the brightness levels and turn the light on or off through the LIFX app or your voice assistant. This cost-effective, no-frills option makes the most sense for those looking to replace every bulb in the house with LIFX.
The LIFX Plus is the perfect full-featured option for shoppers who already own a night-vision security camera, or at the very least plan on buying one. It may be expensive at $60, but no other smart bulb can match its combination of brightness, wide range of colors, and infrared output.
If you aren't interested in security cameras, though, the Color 1000 will give you the same experience for $10 less, and the LIFX Mini gets even cheaper — especially if you go for the white-only version.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and associate editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman. Got a tip or inquiry? Drop him a line at [email protected]
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.
Tom Westrick is a U.S.-based freelancer. He's been poking and prodding at Android phones since 2011, and covering various topics for Android Central since 2017. He can often be found with multiple laptops in his backpack and a cup of iced tea in his hand. Follow him on Twitter at @TomWestrick1.