So what’s my conclusion about the best bulbs to live with? Well I’ve split it into areas to try to help people choose the most appropriate for their own situation.
The LIFX hardware is excellent, aside from the “outdoor” bulbs which corroded too quickly. The Tuya bulbs feel lowest quality and the Hue bulbs are somewhere in between but closer to LIFX than to Tuya. Nanoleaf feels somewhere between Hue and Tuya. LIFX says its bulbs will last 22 years but I doubt that somehow, although I have some coming up to six years’ old now. The build quality of the Hue seems appropriate to me, with the LIFX over-engineered and the plastic feeling Tuya bulbs somewhat under-engineered; I have already had a couple of Tuya bulbs die in less than a year so I don’t think it’s the most sustainable of choices.
NB: The LIFX GU10 bulbs won’t fit in a lot of GU10 fittings so check the dimensions to ensure they will fit before you buy!
Here are images of the LIFX, Hue and an AJAX brand Tuya GU10
The Hue app is brilliant, as is the Nanoleaf, the LIFX app seems OK but the LIFX bulb setup is such a clunky, time-consuming process I just cannot recommend it. Tuya bulb setup is as great as Hue so not much to choose here but the Hue App is really focused on lighting, making it quick and simple to use.
I never have an issue controlling my Hue, Tuya and Nanoleaf bulbs, they just do what they’re asked. But somehow the LIFX bulbs just don’t always respond or they’re not available or they work for me but not my wife, or just something stops them working reliably. If you use the LIFX app then they nearly always work but I hardly ever use that so I’d say the integration reliability must be low. I should also point out here that I use LIFX and Nanoleaf via IFTTT and not directly in Apilio through the Tuya and Hue integrations - so that may also cloud the cloud issues - but IFTTT is normally reliable if a little slow for the Nanoleaf so I will leave you to draw your own conclusions.
OK so if there are multiple power cuts (>3) that can cause the Tuya bulbs to reset and they all start flashing. It’s a pain but at least the app makes it very easy to setup the bulbs again and stop the flashing. But I won’t use the Tuya bulbs in any bedroom for that reason. And every now and again after a power cut the LIFX bulbs will all come on even if they don’t reset (requires >6 power cuts in rapid succession) but Hue seems to have thought through power cut scenarios best, allowing you to choose how the bulbs recover after a Power Cut.
It’s worth pointing out here that Hue also uses a bridge hub whereas neither Tuya nor LIFX bulbs need that. I HATED the idea of a bridge but actually it does work well and so I am happy to leave that plugged in.
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Tuya wins here, having every sort of lighting product imaginable but actually the Hue range is pretty comprehensive these days and the outdoor bulbs really do work outdoors. I think the Nanoleaf range is actually fancier than the tiny LIFX range and as Nanoleaf already works with the Thread protocol I would definitely recommend them above LIFX.
Tuya colours are terrible, don’t expect to be running any fancy colour shows, but they’re a good value smart light bulb. LIFX just wins for brightness and colours but Hue is a pretty close second and they’re just releasing higher luminosity bulbs which should knock them into the top spot. Nanoleaf colours and brightness come in just below Hue for me.
LIFX is pricey for no good reason I can see. Hue is expensive but I’d say represents a value choice with Nanoleaf becoming a real value challenger - unfortunately I don’t have enough experience with the brand yet but will update once I do. Tuya Smartlife bulbs are the clear winner on price, but I just don’t feel they provide the longevity as they are the only bulbs I’ve had fail without due cause.
So Hue is the clear winner for me. They just do what they’re supposed to do reliably and they are run by a great app that’s already directly integrated with Apilio. Let me know if you have any different POVs!
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