Whole Home Lighting Recommendation

Good morning! New to the forum and new to HA but not new to the home automation world. I’ve been constructing a new house and plan to have Home Assistant at the center of it. As such, I’ve been planning all the devices I want to bring into the eco-system. I have many of the devices selected from Thermostat to Garage Door openers and light switches but I haven’t yet selected my smart lights.

I’m really looking for smart lights (in addition to smart switches) to take advantage of color changes (both visibly color and temp) for the whole house.

It’s a larger house with more than 150 can lights (BR30) plus many other styles of bulbs. The expense up front will be large so I really want to get it right.

The key for me is finding a stable smart light eco-system that will be around for a while and not suddenly stop working or be difficult to source parts. Some rooms are quite large and have at least 15 can lights so replacing one with a different brand likely means replacing the entire room at minimum.

I’m planning to run HA on a mini PC sitting in my data room.

On the brink of Matter standards becoming more and more available, I’m torn on the right technology, brand and setup procedure. I’m also not against some reliance on cloud for initial setup which seems to be somewhat common for smart lights in my research.

I tested OHLUX brand first and it seems to work well but they have a limited selection of bulb sizes and it seems their bulb sizes act a little different, even inside their own app when testing A19 vs BR30 sizes.

I then moved to test Linkind and they are on their way. They seem to have every bulb type I would want and also hit the $10 (or less) price point. Searching seems to have some mixed results about their compatibility with HA but recent posts seem to show a lot more success.

In the end, good bang for my buck is required given the size of the installation but I don’t want to be constantly messing with them either.

Can I get some recommendations on the best smart lights? Any must have accessories or hub/connectors that I’ll need to make it the best possible setup?

Depends on country and location for sure.
First off, I’m surprised that BR30 will be used for the can lights. I recently built in the US and was told that standards were moving away from those. That could have been just specific to the city I was in.
I moved again to another newly built house and it uses BR30, but in a different city.

I would avoid Sengled for this because they’re non-repeating and you’d need a ton of additional repeaters. This is in reference to their Zigbee bulbs.

I’m using Lifx now and have been happy, but they’re quite expensive.

The requirement to be able to change color and color temperature means the bulbs have to be smart as you can’t make dumb bulbs change color. With this many devices I’d say Zigbee is the way to go IMHO as a 100+ WiFi devices is likely to turn your home WiFi into a mess. I use a Sonoff USB Zigbee stick and Zigbee2MQTT and those work great. Used to use a Conbee stick but had constant issues with devices dropping out and commands being occasionally dropped.

I use Hue Ambient bulbs (only temperature, no color) in most places indoors since they can dim lower than IKEA Trådfri bulbs and have a wider color temperature range. In places where I don’t care about being able to dim the lights really low (like in the cellar and outside the house) - I save some money using IKEA Trådfri bulbs.

That many Hue bulbs will cost you some serious $$$ though :grimacing:

Teckin sells BR30 in bulk for dirt cheap with esp8266.
You can replace the firmware with tasmota and esphome.
I’m leaning to tasmota because I’ve recently started using tasmesh that allows to control the lights from the switch without relying on wifi/ha. It does greatly improve the WAF because it just works

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Another one for Philips Hue. I have 24 (if I counted correctly) bulbs connected to a Hue bridge. They’ve been spot on reliable.

I have some INNR bulbs also using the Hue bridge and they’ve been hit and miss with updating to the correct color/CT setting when the first change occurs (e.g., switch from white to red at night the first time they’re turned on). These are grouped in with Hue bulbs that never miss a beat so I doubt it’s an issue with the bridge.

I do have a handful of Sengled bulbs connected with Z2M and have had no issues with them either (aside from a bug in a Z2M update). However, I have a litany of dedicated IKEA repeaters scattered around the house to compensate for them not functioning as repeaters.

One thing to consider with smart bulbs are the switches. I have Zooz switches throughout with the internal power relay disabled so I don’t have to worry about a bulb being powered down and interrupting the mesh.

How can they sell them for that cheap? 8x less than others.

I too would recommend Hue

Ive been using them for years and have been mostly happy with them. Full color bulbs are going to cost you more. Other more affordable bulbs exist that are only color temperature and yet more affordable bulbs that are warm white and dimmable. Watch ebay for deals, I’ve saved a good bit of coin buying used.

One of the big benefits is that when you group bulbs in the Hue bridge, at least as I understand it, they are grouped within the zigbee network so that profile/scene commands are sent to all bulbs simultaneously instead of sequentially which results in a better experience. The profiles/scenes can be then used with a service call in HA. It’s definitely not a perfect system and takes some planning to get it working the way you want. In the last ten years there have been some great stability and feature improvements.

Another benefit is that you can set up motion sensors and switches within the hue app and they’ll work completely independently of HA. This is nice when HA is down or having issues. The motion sensors and smart switches/buttons can then also be piggybacked in HA for added functionality.

Third party device support isn’t great but it seems like they have higher quality standards which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you want things to just work.

Another option to look at is zwave switches when on/off functionality is all you need. I have numerous three way switches in my home and nothing is more frustrating than not being able to use native switches to use lights. I installed a few Aeotec switches that integrate nicely with three way switch wiring to allow digital control of existing lighting while maintaining seamless use of your existing switches. This is a big selling point for significant others that don’t want your “toy” to interfere with their daily life.

The market for these devices is pretty good now days. My only caution would be to stay away from wifi devices. I prefer something that uses zigbee or zwave. 802.11 wasn’t designed for IoT and isn’t a very stable option for many bulbs.

Good luck in your search!

No idea, but I’d buy the whole lot if I lived in the states.
You don’t get many option nowadays for bulbs with eso8266

In your experience, if I hook these up to a normal switch to start and eventually get HA and smart switches automating them, is that possible? is there any delay or flashing or other impact of cutting power to them via a normal switch to start?

Don’t use normal switches because it cuts power to the smart lights.

You need smart relay (shelly mini) or smart switch (cloudfree) so you can enable detached mode. Basically keeps the power to the lights and buttons can be configured to send on/off commands and other actions

For my setup, I’ve enabled tasmesh with the switch as mesh broker and the lights as mesh nodes connected to the broker only. I can still control them from HA

Nah, you can use normal switches if that’s how you want to get started until you can get your smart switches deployed.

That’s how I did it in a few rooms until I had HA, motion sensors, and smart switches. You’ll need the bridge to get it all set up anyway so as long as the light switch is on, you’ll still have full control of the bulbs with your Hue app. It’s honestly a better way to get started IMO because you aren’t investing in anything but the bulbs and can experiment without heavily modifying your homes native lighting set up.