The Best Smart Light Strips of 2020 1
LIFX Z

Credit: LIFX Z

The Best Smart Light Strips of 2020 2

We fell in love with the LIFX Z LED strip lights for their incredibly simple set up, ease of use, and variety of awesome features.

Govee WiFi RGB LED Strip Lights

Credit: Govee

The Best Smart Light Strips of 2020 3

Govee’s smart light strip is the perfect blend of affordability and smarts.

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, I’m Rachel Murphy, Reviewed’s smart home staff writer. I live in a smart home that’s full of smart home devices like cameras, plugs, speakers, and an oven. During my tenure at Reviewed, I’ve tested smart plugs, smart water leak detectors, and other gadgets that can be controlled remotely or via smart assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. I spent a couple of months testing 11 popular smart LED light strips in my home to find out which one you should buy.

The Tests

For this roundup, we put each light strip through a series of in-depth, hands-on tests to fully understand each one’s capabilities, features, and downsides.

We set the lights up in a variety of indoor locations throughout my home, testing to see which ones work the best in low light, offer the best connectivity, and integrate with smart assistants to make your home easier to control. We also tested the companion apps on both iOS and Android devices to get a feel for their connectivity, ease of use, and features.

What You Should Know About Smart Strip Lights

Smart Home Integration

There are a few things to consider when purchasing smart LED strip lights for your home. First, check to see whether or not the light strip requires a hub. Many of the strip lights we tested, including options from Sengled and Philips Hue, must be paired with a hub.

Unless you already have a smart home hub, we’d recommend avoiding the extra cost and choosing a smart strip light that doesn’t need another device to work, like Govee’s Smart WiFi LED Strip Lights or the Lifx Z WiFi Dimmable LED Light Strip Starter Kit.

The second thing to remember is to select a strip light that easily integrates with your existing smart home environment. We tested models that work with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, like the best light strip from Lifx. However, not all of these strip lights are compatible with all three popular smart assistants. For comparison’s sake, the C by GE Full Color Smart Light Strip we tested only worked with Alexa and Google Assistant. And other string lights, like Minger’s DreamColor LED Strip Lights, won’t connect with any smart assistants but are simple to control from their own apps on your smartphone.

Finally, while most of the lights we tested connect over WiFi, some use only Bluetooth, and others can do either one. We found Bluetooth connections to be unreliable and slow at times, which is why we’d recommend selecting a strip light that offers WiFi, like our best value pick from Govee.

Installing Smart Light Strips

Strip thickness

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Govee’s strip light (pictured in front) was the thinnest strip we tested, making it easy to install but less ideal for moving around multiple times. For comparison’s sake, the C by GE light strip (pictured in back) is much thicker and harder to arrange around corners.

All of the smart light strips we tested had an adhesive backing. Before installing, make sure to dust, wipe down, and dry the surface where you’ll be placing the lights. Skipping this step can decrease the grip on the back of the lights, lessening their lifespan.

And on that note, you may be wondering if you can move the lights from place to place. The short answer is yes. During our tests, we relocated each light strip to a new location after the initial installation. Almost all of the strips had no problem resticking a second time, but we wouldn’t recommend doing this more than once because, of course, the more you move them, the less they stick.

If and when your lights do lose their stickiness, you can try replacing the adhesive backing heavy duty double-sided tape for strip lights.

Strip Light Placement

Where to put

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The bathroom and bedroom are two areas of the home where we tested smart strip lights.

This leads us to a final point you should consider: think strategically about where you need extra lighting. You may think that smart strip lights can only be used with a home theater set up, but the bendable and sticky lights are a quick and easy way to brighten up the dark spot in your home. During our testing, we installed the strip lights around TVs and mirrors, along baseboards and door trim, on bookcases and office desks, and under kitchen cabinets.

If you’re unsure about where to place your strip lights, try arranging them in an area of your home and lightly secure them in place with tape. We recommend using a gentle tape like painters tape that won’t leave any damage behind.

Another factor to consider is whether or not the light strips can be adjusted to the size of your space. The good majority of strip lights we tested can be cut to size or extended with additional light strip sections. However, not all of the lights are as customisable. For example, our best value pick from Govee only offers a way to cut, not extend, the lights. And, with any of these light strips, once the strip is cut, it cannot be reattached.

LED strips are a versatile lighting option that can be added almost anywhere in your house (but not outdoors). Smart strip lights are also a popular choice to line the interior window sill when decorating for the holidays. Some smart strip lights we tested, like TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Strip, offer in-app, pre-made holiday light settings that flash red and white like a candy cane.

Other Smart Light Strips We Tested

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Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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