Affordable tunable white Zigbee bulbs? Dec 2022

One constant factor over my year with Home Assistant is frustration of trying to find affordable tunable white Zigbee bulbs. It seems impossible that there are no solid options at ~$10/bulb, but I’ve searched until my eyes bled with no luck. There are a lot of RGB options, but they’re more expensive and seem a waste since I would never use the colors. (Seriously, what are people using all these RGB bulbs for?? As someone with a RGB keyboard, RGB lights in my PC, etc., I still do not understand their place in a living space. But I digress.)

Here are the ones I have come across:

  • EcoSmart A19: These were IT for budget bulbs. If you could find them in stock, they were $10 for a 2-pack. The light they produce is subjectively nicer than other bulbs (somewhat of a rosy hue), their dimmest setting is quite dim, and they act as routers. Sadly, they’ve been discontinued, as I imagine Home Depot was selling them at a loss. I own 6 and wish I had bought more. My only complaint is that I suspect they cut some corners on the power conditioning, as they would flicker worse than the rest of my bulbs when my tankless electric water heater was running.
  • EcoSmart BR30: These are in somewhat of a different tier, as they’re BR type bulbs. However, the value is insane, and they haven’t been discontinued by Home Depot yet - IF you can find them in stock. I only have good things to say about the 4 that I own.
  • Sengled: These used to be cheap, which was the only thing they had going for them. They don’t act as Zigbee routers, and the fact that they use a lens instead of a diffuser means you’re very limited on the types of fixtures you can put them in. At their current price point of $60 for a 4-pack, there’s not a chance in this world I’d buy them. I own 8, and I have no complaints for what I paid ($24/4). However, I prefer my EcoSmart bulbs greatly.
  • Ikea TRÅDFRI: I have no experience with these, but people seem to love Ikea Zigbee bulbs. $14/bulb isn’t bad based on what I hear of the quality, and 1100 lumens is pretty bright (I think everything else listed is ~800), but it seems impossible to get these. They show unavailable for pickup, deliver, or in-store at stores I’ve looked at on both sides of the country. I would love to get my hands on one of these.
  • Aqara bulbs from AliExpress: I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone talk about these, nor do I have personal experience. I’ve had really good luck with other Aqara products, but AliExpress makes it a hard sell, especially when ~$12/bulb isn’t really that cheap.
  • Osram LIGHTIFY: There’s not a lot of recent info out there on these. $15/bulb isn’t too bad, but back around 2020 there was a lot of talk on this forum of Osram Zigbee bulbs having firmware issues.

It’s crazy to me that there aren’t more compelling options here. It seems impossible that Home Depot was able to sell bulbs for $5/ea, and the next cheapest is 2-3x that cost. Tunable white is such a game changer - is everyone just buying RGB bulbs and using them as tunable white? Or are people just throwing in the towel and using WiFi bulbs? I really liked my tunable white Wyze bulbs, but lack of purely local control was a dealbreaker. I also realize there are HA-friendly WiFi bulbs out there, but I like the convenience, security, and minimized load on WiFi of Zigbee. (Let’s not turn this into a discussion of Zigbee vs WiFi vs Z-Wave vs Matter yadda yadda yadda)

Anyway, do you guys have any recommendations for budget tunable white bulbs?

Oh, one last thing: while I think it would be valuable to open the discussion worldwide, I am personally in the US, so some options are not available to me. I think Innr makes a tunable white Zigbee bulb, but I cannot find it in the US.


Is no one else using tunable white bulbs?

I have been using 2 Philips Hue White/Warm un tuneable bulbs for the past few years in a room and they’ve become my favourite smart home integration thus far. I have it integrated with HomeKit and Google Home and I haven’t experienced any issues aside from having to reboot the hub from time to time.

I haven’t upgraded from 2 bulbs due to the price of getting tuneable white or even colour bulbs. Very recently I picked up some tuneable white Ikea TRÅDFRI bulbs for $13 a bulb which is far cheaper than Hue White tuneable bulbs. I was able to add them to my Philips Hue hub with one issue. While they do work with Google Home, Apple HomeKit refuses to add them into my ecosystem despite them being in the Hue app without any issues.

This issue has lead me to attempting to tackle Home Assistant again; I currently use Homebridge but I haven’t found an easy integration to add my TRÅDFRI bulbs into HomeKit through Homebridge.

Now that I have gone over the unnecessary details, based on my experience thus far, I would recommend the TRÅDFRI bulbs from Ikea. I have 2 tuneable white bulbs and 1 colour bulb but I rarely use the colour on that bulb. It belongs to a desk and the lower 800 lumens works well for that space.

The Ikea bulbs are very plentiful at my local Ikea (I’m in Canada) so I would think that they wouldn’t be out of stock for very long as they are a staple to the whole TRÅDFRI ecosystem, especially being very affordable.

Hmm, good to know the Ikea bulbs are available up there. Maybe I’ll just swing by my nearest Ikea to see if they have any in stock, despite what their website says.

I would definitely encourage making the leap to everything inside Home Assistant - it has been getting a ton of improvements lately. I’d first just make sure that all the devices you use have integrations with Home Assistant.
Zigbee devices in particular are super easy - you just need to have a hub connected to your Home Assistant machine (I use this one, though I think it’s now a bit outdated), add the Zigbee integration, and click the “add device” button whenever you want to pair a new device. It literally takes seconds to add new devices.
I will say, if you rely heavily on voice assistant controls, I might think twice. Not sure about Siri or Alexa, but it’s a bit of a chore to get Google Assistant set up with Home Assistant unless you pay for Home Assistant Cloud. If you don’t want to pay, and you aren’t very techy, I’d discourage doing it yourself.

If you are looking for low budget stuff that works, I don’t think it makes much sense to look beyond IKEA. They do that very well, whether it’s furniture or other stuff. Usually there is something else on the market that is better but more expensive while the IKEA product is better than the competition in the same price bracket. I haven’t yet figured out why for many brands WiFi lamps are cheaper than Zigbee lamps but there’s got to be some reason for it.

I will be going to Ikea next week to pick up a desk for my MIL and I will look at what they have.

That is called, clearance. We don’t want to sell them any more.

I just use a dimmer switch, either Z-wave or WiFi. Both from Aqara. Yes, it’s about $30 per switch, but then you just use the $5 Home Depot LED bulbs.

+1 for IKEA, I have 6 of them, 3 different types.

Nope, they were sold for $5/bulb for years, definitely not just clearance.

And a smart switch is great, but that kinda misses the tunable part doesn’t it?

Not completely. With a Z-wave or Zigbee switch you can still dim the lights.

How good are ikea bulbs in regards to dimming? I bought some Lidl bulbs to try zigbee and it’s dimming is horrible, it’s almost full on and then off. Also i like to turn my lights with 30second (or longer) transition and it just switches off, no transition

@stevemann @ghq -
(I know it has been a while but) I believe you guys are talking about 2 things.

  • Steve is thinking about “tunable” as in “dimmable”… in brightness.
  • and ghq’s original question was about “tunable white”, as in tuning the color temperature, for example from 2700k to 5000k.

So this question is still open:

… and yes, I, for one, am curious about what the forum members would recommendate also.

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Following up.

(This is Ikea US, but I figured other parts of the world would be similar…)

TRÅDFRI LED bulb E26 1100 lumen, smart wireless dimmable/white spectrum globe - IKEA
TRÅDFRI LED bulb E26 800 lumen, smart wireless dimmable/white spectrum globe - IKEA
So both the 800 and 1100 lumen versions are at the moment at the same $13.99 price tag, tunable white (yes!) from 2200k to 4000k.

Now, those are actually zigbee, right? I failed to find any mention of “zigbee” anywhere on the product page… or… does Ikea have wifi bulbs these days?

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Yes, while “tunable” could be used to mean “dimmable”, I am referring to the ability to change color temperature along a spectrum of cool/warm.

You are correct - those two links are the Zigbee bulbs from Ikea. It is strange that they seem to hide the fact that they’re Zigbee, but the fact that they’re advertised to work with the Styrbar remote is indication.

Unfortunately, I am 3hrs from the nearest Ikea, and they don’t seem to sell those bulbs online for some reason. Right now I am making do with the bulbs I have, but if I ever end up buying more bulbs (I will likely get some Aqara bulbs around next Christmas) I’ll update here. In the meantime, I’d love to hear peoples’ experiences with tunable white bulbs.

4000 k is not quite daylight temperature.
Here in Canada, other than Ikea TRÅDFRI, the cheapest I could find that has 2700k-6500k temperature is the Sengled Element Plus tunable white at 18$ CAD on Amazon.

And that’s what I’m about to buy because really there is nothing else. It’s like Zigbee white bulbs are non-existing here.

I’ve got a ton of the EcoSmart a19’s. I’ve moved over to hue. If you’d like to buy them from me, name a price. I think I probably have about 50 or so bulbs.

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I will send you a message