Cree Connected LED Bulb

Cnet rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The good: The Cree boasts solid lighting specs, strong ease of use, a wide range of control options, and a terrific price.

The bad: Unlike standard Cree LEDs, the new connected bulbs won’t dim very well on dimmer switches due to interference from the built-in ZigBee dimming smarts. Also, the all-plastic aesthetic might not appeal to everyone.

The cost: $26

The bottom line: With tried and true hardware inside the bulb and smooth performance on several platforms, this smart bulb is a smart bet for connected lighting.

Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: The basic version of Philips Hue’s smart LEDs don’t change colors, but they do enjoy all of the benefits of Hue’s well-connected platform. They’re also bright, good looking bulbs with easy-to-use smarts, and you can add extras to your setup for just $15 each.

The bad: At $70, the two-bulb starter kit comes with a fair amount of sticker shock.

The cost: $70

The bottom line: Philips Hue is one of the best-developed DIY smart-home platforms money can buy, and this white-light starter kit is your most affordable entry point. It’s practically a must-buy if you’re serious about smart lighting.

Stack LED Downlight Starter Kit

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: Stack’s smart bulbs are both feature-rich and relatively easy to use. You can schedule lighting changes, sync them up with IFTTT or Nest, or just set them to automatically adjust brightness and color temperature on their own throughout the day.

The bad: Though you can adjust the color temperature, you can’t change colors like you can with Lifx or Philips Hue. App-initiated lighting changes can be a touch sluggish at times.

The cost: $99

The bottom line: These bulbs aren’t cheap, but they cost less than Lifx or Philips Hue and do more, thanks to the built-in sensors for presence and ambient light.

Lifx Color 1000

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: The Lifx Color 1000 is brighter and more efficient than the first generation of Lifx bulbs, and the colors are just as true. The easy-to-use app offers a good number of features, and integrations with IFTTT, SmartThings, Nest, Windows and Amazon Echo make the bulb a good choice for a wide range of users and homes.

The bad: At $60 and up per bulb, Lifx is an awfully expensive smart light. It also won’t work with Apple HomeKit (or Siri) like Philips Hue bulbs will.

The cost: $59 to $69

The bottom line: This flat-top smart bulb is the most well-rounded color-changer money can buy — and a superior option to Philips Hue.

The following Cnet staff members contributed to this report: Ry Crist and Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit