Sponsored by Sengled
Time is a luxury, and between two kids and a demanding work schedule, I’m always trying to make my life easier. I’ve been reading up on various ways to automate our home, from vacuums that clean your home throughout the day to lawn mowers that know when to cut your grass, but most involve a pretty steep upfront cost.
I wanted to start with something a bit easier on the wallet, and we’re currently renting our home, so we had to take that into consideration as well. That’s why I decided to try out Sengled’s Element bulbs. They’re all Wifi connected and can be controlled via schedules or an app on your phone, and depending on the model, you can dim or control the color of the light they give off.
We started with 6 Element Plus bulbs in our kitchen and quickly added another 4 Element Classic bulbs in our home office and bedroom. Compared to a lot of other bulbs and home automation tech, these were pretty cheap. To start, you need a $39.99 hub that can talk to all of the bulbs in your house and comes with two bulbs. From there it’s just $9.99 for each additional Element Classic bulb that allow the scheduling and dimming or $17.99 for the Element Plus bulbs that allow you schedule, dim and change the color. Not bad when you consider each bulb has LED’s that are rated to last for 22 years.
When we moved into our current house the previous owner had installed bulbs in the kitchen that gave off the usual warm, yellow/orange tinted glow that many bulbs have. Our kitchen doesn’t get a lot of natural light from the windows, so we replaced them with some brighter 5000k daylight bulbs. These were great in the day, but at night the brightness and cool color temperature made them uncomfortable to look at.
That’s where the Sengled Element bulbs come in. Their Element Plus Bulb allows us to change not only the brightness of the bulb but the color of the light as well – so now we get the bright cool light during the day and the softer warmer light at night. What’s even better is that we can set up schedules so the lights change brightness and color on their own. It gets dark this time of year around 5:30pm here in Austin, TX, so at that time every night I have the bulbs changing from from bright cool light to a dimmer and warmer color. There are over 50,000 color and brightness combinations you can make, so it’s easy to create just the right color of light you want.
Unlike some other systems that require you to change out light switches, these were really easy to install. I just plugged the hub into my router and added each bulb with the app. If you have multiple bulbs in a room you can group them together to make turning all of them on, or setting them all to the same schedule really easy.
One feature I haven’t had a chance to try out is the ability to connect them to a home assistant like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. You can the turn them on or off with your voice or even “change kitchen lights to soft light” or “dim bedroom lights to 30%.”
When I was ordering more bulbs I ended up checking out some of the other bulbs they offer like ones with built in cameras, Wifi extenders, or what I thought was really cool – bulbs with speakers that can be used to set up surround sound with your TV. I would have bought some of those as well, but my toddler son rules the TV during the day, so I picked up one of their Solo bulbs that works as a Bluetooth speaker. We like to listen to music when we cook, and like hosting dinner parties, so it fits in perfectly above our dining table.
We’re really happy with our first home automation purchase, so stay tuned, I have a feeling we’ll be adding more soon.