We’ve reviewed a lot of smart light bulbs here at PCMag, and while we’ve yet to find one that does it all, the Yeelight Smart LED Bulb comes pretty darn close. It’s dimmable, offers 16 million colors, and connects to your home network wirelessly, without the need for a hub or bridge. It supports Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and Alexa, Google, and Siri voice commands, and it’s relatively affordable at $25.99. It also offers a user-friendly app that lets you configure lighting effects and create lighting schedules. All this earns it our Editors’ Choice for affordable smart bulbs.
Design and Features
The Yeelight bulb is a dimmable bulb with a 16-million color palette, a 1700K to 6500K white color temperature range, and an 800-lumen brightness rating equivalent to a 60-watt bulb. It has an E26 base and will fit any standard lamp socket. The bulb is 4.6 inches in length and 2.2 inches wide, and has an expected lifespan of 22 years (based on three hours of use per day). Inside is a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio that is used to connect the bulb to your home network and mobile app.
The mobile app for Android and iOS is easy to use and offers some neat lighting effect features. It opens to a Device screen with tabs for all of your Yeelight bulbs that contain their name, status (online, offline), and an On/Off button. Tapping any tab takes you to a screen where you can customize the bulb by selecting a color from the color palette, choosing a white color temperature, setting the bulb’s brightness level, and selecting Flow Mode, which runs the color gamut between yellow and blue. Flow Mode settings let you control the flow speed for rapid or gradual shifts from color to color and adjust the brightness level while in this specific mode.
The app also offers preset color scenes such as Sunrise (reddish), Night Mode (dim and warm), Movie (blue), Romance (a gradual shift from dark blue to red), and Candle Flicker (mimics a candle), and there’s a Music Flow setting that changes colors based on music and other sounds using your phone’s microphone. Additional settings allow you to create lighting schedules and set timers to have the bulb automatically turn off after a set period of time.
Back at the Device page, there are three buttons at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Scene button to create a one-touch icon to have the bulb turn on or off and change color states. Tapping the Room button lets you create rooms and control multiple bulbs in a group, and the Device button takes you back to the Device screen.
The Yeelight works with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant voice commands, and you can make it part of your HomeKit home automation system and include it in HomeKit Scenes. It isn’t quite as versatile as Philips Hue bulbs, which work with a variety of smart home platforms including Logitech, SmartThings, Vivint, Wink, and Xfinity Home. That said, you can create IFTTT applets to have the Yeelight integrate with other IFTTT-enable smart home devices such as cameras, doorbells, and plugs.
Installation and Performance
Setting up the Yeelight is easy. I downloaded the app, created an account, and verified it via email. I tapped the Device button at the bottom of the screen, tapped Add Device, and selected the LED Bulb (Color) from the list.
Following the app instructions, I screwed the bulb into a lamp socket, tapped Next Step, selected my Wi-Fi SSID, and entered my Wi-Fi password. I then went to my phone’s Wi-Fi settings, connected to the Yeelight SSID, waited around 12 seconds for the bulb to be added to the Device list, and the installation was complete.
The Yeelight delivered rich colors and a wide range of cool blue to warm yellow shades of white light in our tests. It responded quickly to app commands to turn on and off, change colors, and dim brightness levels, and the Flow Mode, Schedules, Timer, and Music Flow features worked perfectly.
The bulb had no trouble responding to Alexa and Siri commands to turn on and off or change colors, and HomeKit scenes worked without issue. I created an IFTTT applet to have the bulb turn red when an Arlo Pro 2 camera detected motion, and it worked every time.
If you’re looking to add colorful smart lighting to your home without having to connect a hub to your router, the Yeelight Smart LED Bulb is one of the smartest bulbs out there for the money. Granted, it doesn’t offer quite as much interoperability with other smart devices as Philip Hue bulbs do, but it’s more affordable and works with the three top voice control platforms and Apple’s HomeKit (unlike our previous Editors’ Choice, the Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED), and you can make it interact with other connected devices using IFTTT applets. That makes it our new Editors’ Choice for affordable smart bulbs.