Can You Use Smart Bulbs Outside?

Increasingly popular, smart bulbs allow you to control your home’s lighting remotely.

You’re likely to use a phone or tablet to control when your lights switch on and off. You can create automated routines or manually control your smart light bulbs.

Many allow you to dim the lights, change colors or make your lights respond to different inputs.

Using smart bulbs in your home, you could set your lights gradually brighter as the sunsets.

Then, they could automatically switch off at your usual bedtime. Your lights could change from blue light to keep you awake while you’re working to a soothing orange or yellow that will help you relax before you sleep.

You could set your lights to activate automatically when somebody walks past your front door or to switch on a few minutes before you get home from a long day at work.

Many smart bulb features are perfect for outdoor lighting.

Will smart bulbs work outside? Is it safe to use them outdoors, and how can you ensure that your smart outdoor bulbs don’t get damaged?

Smart bulbs can be used outside, but they are usually not designed for inclement weather and won’t do well in wet environments. You will need to make sure that outdoor smart bulbs are properly protected from the elements. You’ll also need to make sure that there’s a strong enough WiFi connection to link them to their hub.

As you learn more about using smart bulbs outside, I’ll explain:

  • Whether or not smart bulbs will work outside
  • What IP certification means and whether smart bulbs are IP certified
  • Problems you might face with outdoor smart bulbs

Will Smart Bulbs Work Outside?

Philips HUE smart bulb

There’s no reason that a smart bulb will not work outside, as long as the conditions are suitable.

There are growing ranges of smart bulbs specifically designed to be used outdoors. Still, all smart bulbs can be used outside as long as they’re properly installed.

These bulbs are not usually designed to get wet, so you will need to make sure they’re protected from rain to avoid any damage or danger.

Direct sun can also be a problem, so make sure that your bulbs have been properly positioned for year-round success.

This means you either need to use protective housing for your fittings to keep out water, or you need to angle the fitting away from the sunlight.

For example, recessed fittings pointed downwards, for example, spotlights on a porch, are some of the safest options. Still, even they aren’t always protected from water splashes.

You will need a weatherproof smart bulb if the elements are a concern. Most outdoor light fittings will offer protection from wind, rain, and direct sunlight, but not all are entirely suitable or properly sealed.

Smart bulbs are LEDs. LEDs are typically very good at withstanding temperature changes.

Fortunately, this means that the winter weather shouldn’t cause a problem of its own – LEDs are excellent in the cold.

Just make sure they don’t overheat by being in direct sunlight. You can check the packaging of any smart bulb to find its operating temperature.

Are Smart Bulbs IP Certified?

raining

IP stands for ‘International Protection’ or ‘Ingress Protection. If something is IP certified, the letters’ IP’ is usually followed by a couple of numbers.

Together, these indicate that the object’s casing has been tested to see what it can withstand.

The first number is for solids, like dust, and the second is for moisture, like water.

IP67 certified is safe from dust and is splashproof or can be lightly and quickly submerged underwater.

If something is IP68 certified, it is safe from dust and can be submerged underwater.

Solids or liquids can get through the casing. They may stop the item from working or could be a safety hazard.

Unfortunately for you, the majority of smart bulbs are not IP certified.

This means it’s up to you, when installing the bulb, to make sure that there’s alternative protection in place.

The bulb hasn’t been certified to withstand getting wet, so you must make sure that there’s a cover to protect it from the rain.

Can You Control Smart Bulbs Outdoor?

smart light control app

A smart bulb isn’t smart unless you can control it remotely. Otherwise, it’s simply a light bulb that you’ll turn on and off with a switch.

To control your smart bulb remotely, it must be connected wirelessly to the hub or device that controls it.

Most smart bulbs work by connecting to a hub or bridge.

Every smart bulb in your house will connect to the same hub, and it’s this hub that routes and sends commands you’ve provided using your phone.

As you raise the brightness with a slider or change the color with a tap of your phone screen, your commands are sent via the hub to the bulb that you’re trying to adjust.

If the smart bulb cannot connect to the hub, it won’t respond to the commands being sent.

Some smart bulbs do not require a hub, but still need to be on your WiFi network.

A smart bulb placed outside may have poor connectivity. The WiFi connection may be weak, especially if there are walls and other objects in the way.

Obstructions will weaken your WiFi connection and reduce the distance it reaches.

You might find that even though you can install a smart bulb safely outside, you’re unable to control it from your phone.

If the connection isn’t strong enough, your bulb loses its ‘smart’ functionality.

You may be able to use WiFi extenders to make your connection stretch further.

As an additional bonus, this means you can sunbathe and watch your favorite YouTube channels on your smartphone!

If you can’t extend your WiFi, you’ll need lightbulbs that connect via Bluetooth, but then you’ll only be able to control them when you’re at home and within range.

In case you didn’t know, the bluetooth’s range is around 30 feet.

Final Words

There can be many benefits to installing smart bulbs outside, from improved home security to a relaxing atmosphere for evening drinks on the porch.

As long as you can install it safely and protect it from the challenging weather, your average smart bulb can be used outside.

To make the most of the bulb’s smart features, your home’s WiFi connection must reach it.

Otherwise, the smart bulb can be used as a standard bulb and simply controlled from the light switch.

You might need to use a WiFi extender if your household connection isn’t strong enough.

It is up to you to make sure that the bulb won’t get wet or be damaged by dust or other small solid particles.

How would you use smart bulbs outdoors? Have you had problems controlling your smart bulbs if they’re a long way from the hub?

Use the comments below to share your experience of using a smart bulb outside.