How to use smart lights to fight seasonal affective disorder

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Smart lights are of one the simplest (and least expensive) connected gadgets to install at home. And they can make it easier to get through those long, dark days of winter, letting you wake to a light-filled home instead of stumbling through the dark.

It can take time to adjust to controlling lights with an app instead of a switch, but it’s both possible and easy.

What follows is a comprehensive look at some of the better smart lighting products on the market and how to make the most of them this winter.

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No hub, no problem

Haven’t installed any smart home devices yet? Don’t worry — lightbulbs are a great place to start. Some manufacturers make smart bulbs that only require Wi-Fi to connect. All you need is an Amazon speaker and an Alexa skill.

One of the cheapest Amazon-certified bulbs is the $25 Yeelight, which contains 16 million colors and has its own Alexa skill. Heelight (a different brand) also offers bulbs that can be controlled without a bridge or hub device. The WiZ Advanced skill can be used to control any of this brand’s smart bulbs without a gateway, hub, or bridge.

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Lamps, sockets and switches

You can use Alexa to turn normal lights into connected devices. The Wow Lamp for Smart Home skill can be used to control a Wow-brand LED desk lamp, while the Brilliant Light Control skill is easy to learn (of course, you also need the light itself).

Finally, you can also operate Noon-brand switches, Emberlight sockets and Savant Lamp Controls with their respective Alexa skills.

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Bulbs & sockets

Want to keep all your devices under the same brand? Many companies make bulbs, outlets and plugs so that you can control all of your lights with one Alexa skill. These companies include Vivitar, Geeni, EufyHome and Hive.

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Hubs & bulbs

Philips’ Hue skill can work with all Philips Hue bulbs if you have a bridge device handy. Houm and Stack Lighting bulbs also require a hub, but you can ask Alexa to manage the entire setup.

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Hubs & switches

The NuBryte skill can let you chat with all or one of your bulbs. It can also integrate into most smart home security systems.

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Skills that go beyond lights

The Luminous skill is a versatile Alexa utility that lets you discover both local Luminous bulbs and nearby smart devices. Meanwhile, the Tuya, Gideon and Smart Life skills can control smart bulbs from almost any brand, which makes them a must if you own bulbs from multiple manufacturers. The Control4 skill is available for a monthly fee — subscribers can use it to integrate their lighting and entertainment setups.

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Bright, secure, entertained

Kuna, Wink, Home8 and other security systems can also be used to control lights. This means that you can integrate your lights and security if you have the right skills and an Amazon device. Though some skills can control multiple brands of lights, most skills can only be used to manipulate a single brand of hub or bulb.

Visit GearBrain’s What Works with Amazon Alexa to see gadgets that are compatible with Amazon Echo and Alexa-enabled devices.

This article originally appeared on GearBrain and was syndicated by

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