Pros and Cons of Smart Bulbs - Some thoughts and mini review

I currently use a variety of smart bulbs and LED strips through the house, all zigbee based, and I thought I would share my experience with these incase others find it useful.

Firstly, if you are looking to save money, I’ve yet to get a bad buy from aliexpress, but there is a caveat. The descriptions on the items can be confusing, and it can take some research to find the actual device you want. Also, even if you buy from the same seller again, the chances are that the device has changed in some way since you last bought it (if some time has passed) as the firmware on (especially!) tuya based devices seems to be constantly changing, even when the device itself looks physically identical. This can mean (in my case), that pre-existing ZHA quirks no longer work, and there can be some effort involved to get the device up and running. However, I’ve never yet failed to get a device working.

So… with that said, lets talk bulbs.

I bought a tuya smart bulb from aliexpress as a bit of an experiment, it was this one:-

Recognised in Home Assistant as a TS0505B variant:

in ZHA, pretty no frills device, only the light entity shows up, nothing else.
Its an RGBCW bulb, and the cool and warm white are great, really bright, no issues at all.
The coloured mode uses the RGB leds and they are pretty dim. Don’t expect them to light up the room in anyway the same as the WW/CW leds. Not much more than night light levels.

Next we have:

From a different seller, but identical description and physical appearance to the earlier bulb.
These are recognised in HA and in ZHA expose more entities:


Other than having some more entities to play with the performance of these bulbs is identical to the first one.
Both batches of bulbs also have a few quirks to make note of:

They both report as being dimmable… this is true to some extent. The RGB LEDs are not, but the WW/CW are, but only in a very small number of increments, perhaps only 4 or 5. (In contrast, I also have some IKEA Tradfri bulbs that you can dim with much more granular control).

Secondly, the bulbs really dont seem to like switching between RGB mode and WW/CW modes, and can get stuck if you do this too quickly.

And finally, despite setting the bulbs on and off transition to 0, the reality is that it still takes about a second for them to come on.

So they are cheap, and decent CW/WW bulbs, but the RGB element is a bit of a side show.
If you want brighter (RGB) bulbs, then perhaps there are other options. The IKEA E14 RGB bulbs are much more vibrant:

The only issue with these is that they are e14 socket only, and here in the UK, most overhead room lights are B22 type.

There are however, adapters you can get to convert those pesky lights, but you’re then trading a strong RGB display over brighter whites, as the IKEA RGB bulbs only go to 470 lumens, when the cheap Tuya stuff (when in white mode) are probably putting out 800-1200 lumens.

One last observation. The Tradfri bulbs (I have both RGB and just CW/WW ones) all seem to get a stronger signal with my zigbee network, as compared to the tuya bulbs. Its not a show stopper, but they are usally 20-30 LQI higher than the tuya bulbs, regardless of position in the house.

Hope that insight helps you a little with your bulb buying choices.


Thanks for the info and comparison. Very timely as I’ve had these

in my ‘saved for later’ for a few days while I dithered. I’ve noticed other reviews that describe them as dim in colour mode and I wondered if this might be overcome by going for the 18W variant. Perhaps not from what you’ve said.

I don’t fancy changing my E27 lamps over to E14 so maybe I’ll wait a while.

Adapters for pretty much any format to any other format are available on aliexpress, so I suspect you’d find one to convert a socket if you have bulbs of another type. If you shop around on aliexpress you can get these for as little as 10p. Similar adapters sold in the UK from places like IKEA are over £3 EACH.

For example:-

I’d also lay money that those you linked on Ebay are also Tuya TS0505Bs, so I suspect would perform very similarly to those I got from aliexpress. But for UK stock, thats not a bad price at all.

Question to the crowd in this thread: Could you help add, in your review, which bulb could go the dimmest at the dimmest brightness setting?

I came to realize that the quality of the smart bulbs (or any LED bulbs), at least these days when max brightness is front and center in the specs, really depend on how dim any bulb can go.

In the world of incandescent bulbs, it was easy enough to grab any dumb bulb with any dumb dimmer and get sub-candlelight level brightness.

Not very easy in the world of LED bulbs these days. So I am curious what you guys see in your review / comparison…

Good review, and amen to that.

I use zigbee2mqtt. I bought a few individual lamps to test and was quite surprised by the difference in rendering of warm white, in particular, between them. I settled on the MOES Zigbee lamps in GU10, E27 and E14 candle.

Except, somehow, when I ordered, I ordered the E14 candles in wifi :man_facepalming:

As it turns out, that might not be so bad as I have 60+ devices on my zigbee network. The good thing is that the zigbee lamps I did get are also routers.

The wifi E14 candles turned out to be EweLink, so that was another app :roll_eyes: and they also seem to be cloud only at the moment. Still, they work really well in the Sonoff integration from the HACS.

Interestingly, the zigbee GU10s show up as light controllers rather than lamps in zigbee2mqtt.

Screenshot_20230817_160418_Home Assistant

The EweLink/Sonoff wifi lamps show up as:

Screenshot_20230817_160527_Home Assistant

Both types work well in the custom:mushroom-light-card

The TS5050Bs don’t go very dim at all when in white mode. If you want a bulb that can dim to a low level whilst in white mode, then the IKEA CW/WW bulbs are great. That said, if you use the RGB mode of the bulbs, there are seriously dim already! As I mentioned in my review… not much stronger than a night light tbh.

I have these too, but didnt include them in my original comparisons review. Mine look physically identical to yours, but are identified as yet another TS5050B variant in home assistant:

Are you using multiple apps ?? I control all my various devices solely through home assistant using ZHA, no other integrations at all.,

Only for WiFi devices. All my zigbee devices are straight into HA with zigbee2mqtt.

Smart Home Hookup recently did a review:

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@JeeCee - interesting video, but these are just CW/WW non-smart LED bulbs.

If you want a review of a bunch of smart bulbs, this one is not bad:

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I actually would agree that in general non-smart LED bulbs would perform (in many cases a lot) better than smart bulbs, with better lighting quality.

So going back to the tilte, or as an extension to the title, personally would recommend smart switch controlling dumb LED bulbs.

That said, smart bulbs still has its use cases. So it is good to have reviews of smart bulbs all in one place. This thread has been very informative so far.

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In some use cases, I don’t disagree with that statement. Using a smart switch instead of a smart bulb has its pro’s and con’s.

However, once you start using dimmable or multi coloured bulbs, then having them as smart bulbs is far easier to use, rather than some cheap Chinese remote control.

Today I bought one of these:

In the UK they retail for £17, compared to the aliexpress tuya bulbs that are around £8-£10, so nearly approaching double the money… but are they worth it ?

A few direct comparions between the IKEA 806 RGB bulb at the TS5050B above.
Firstly, in cool white, the Tuya is brighter, there is no doubt about it. Given that the version I bought was rated at 18watts, this is not a surprise.

However, the difference is not that much, and 806 lumens is certainly enough to light a room.

Some other observations:

The Ikea bulb has a way better range of cool white to warm white, whereas the tuya is always towards the cooler/bluer white end of the spectrum, but it can go some way towards warm white.

The Ikea bulb has a MUCH better graduation of dimming, and also dims when not in white mode (which the tuya does not do).

The RBG colour brightness of the IKEA bulb is MUCH brighter than the tuya colour modes, which are little more than night lights.

The Ikea Bulb seems to struggle with Green. Green looks very yellowy. On the tuya bulb, green looks green (albeit very dim!).

The Ikea bulb is only available in screw thread e27 format at 806 lumens, so if you want to use these in the UK, where most ceiling lights are B22, you will need an adapter. Ikea also sell these at about £3 each, but you can get them super cheap from aliexpress at about 10p each!

Signal strength - Positioned in the same place, the IKEA bulb clearly has a much better antenna design, as its LQI score is nearly 100 more than the tuya bulb. As a consequence they (tuya bulbs) make really poor repeaters.

Is it worth the extra money… definitely.

If we dim both to 1%, which one would go dimmer…?

(so that… the bulb actually would feel closer to 1% and not 15%)

Without a doubt the IKEA, by a big margin. Its dimming graduation is far far superior to the tuya and goes much lower.

So, I’ve decided to retire my cheap Tuya bulbs listed above, a couple of issues to note:

I think I mentioned previously that switching between RGB mode and white mode causes these things to lock up frequently, this is highly annoying. You have to unplug them from the socket to get them working again.

At least one bulb regularly just doesn’t respond to commands, even though HA thinks it has.

And finally, unless you filter them out of your logs, you’ll get absolutely spammed with errors like these:

Error… blah blah… because Data is too short to contain 1 bytes.

This happens hundreds of times a day, and doesn’t given me confidence its not causing stability issues with my network.

So they’ll go in the emergency bulb spares, and I’ll stick with IKEA bulbs for now.
If it wasn’t for IKEA green colour being very yellow, they would otherwise be perfect.

Does someone have experience with this (or similar) WiFi light bulb holder from Aliexpress/Ebay?


If you search this web site listed below with the term “socket adapter” or similar you may find some information. The struggle with these wifi devices is that they are changing their WiFi MCU from the ESPxx devices to others. Some of these new chips can be controlled. However, finding which MCU chip is in the device you are buying can be difficult.

For example:

According to one comment on the web site you referenced, this device may be even more ‘left field’ : ‘not working with smartlife app it needs its own app’

Good hunting!

Thank you @dproffer!