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Using Smart Light Bulbs in Regular Fixtures: What You Need To Know!

There are plenty of reasons to use smart light bulbs. You can control the lights without getting up, and the bulbs can change color and light temperature easily. You can change the mood in a room simply by switching the bulb’s color or turn the lights on with your smartphone, or dimming them. However, as convenient as smart light bulbs are, you might be wondering if you can use them easily in traditional fixtures like in ceiling fans which I’ve talked about before.

Smart light bulbs can be used in all types of regular light fixtures, but you may need a hub for your smart bulbs to work properly. If you want to use traditional bulbs (like in a chandelier), you can use a smart switch to gain functionality.

Thankfully, you don’t have to replace your old light fixtures when you want to switch to smart bulbs. However, it’s worth your time to understand how smart bulbs and regular bulbs work, that way you can make an informed purchase. Additionally, you’ll be better suited to deal with any errors or malfunctions if they come up.

How Smart Bulbs Work

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Smart bulbs, such as this Treatlife set from Amazon, can work as a network or solo. With a smart switch or an app (which we’ve discussed at length elsewhere on the site), you can adjust the brightness, change color, and you can program others to turn on before you walk in the room. It also functions as a regular light bulb. If you want to use it as a smart bulb there’s a downloadable app that you can control with your smartphone or tablet.

Along with using your mobile device, you can also control some smart light bulbs with your voice. If you have Google Home or Alexa, and the bulb comes with support for these assistants, you can use them to control the lights. In this case, you’ll also need to connect a hub to your router which is fairly simple to do.

A hub, such as the Sengled Smart Hub (on Amazon), is a small device that wirelessly connects the smart bulbs to the Wi-Fi network in your home. Along with controlling the lights at home with a mobile device, some smart light bulb systems come with an “away from home” feature, which allows you to control the lights when you’re at work or on vacation. But getting the right hub matters.

Not all smart light bulbs come with a hub, some connect to your Wi-Fi network without an additional device. With a hub, the bulbs should connect automatically, but when connecting bulbs to your home’s internet system, you’ll use the downloadable app. You’ll need the password for your Wi-Fi network during setup. The main difference between the two types of smart light bulbs is one does not need a hub since it comes Wi-Fi enabled (more on smart lights in our tutorial). It can also mean a higher price.

Can You Use Smart Light Bulbs in Normal Fixtures?

Smart bulbs are compatible with all types of light fixtures, even regular ones, and there are a variety of sizes and styles to choose from. You can find traditional round and oval bulbs, along with pendant shaped bulbs. Fixtures in floor and table lamps, along with those in-ceiling and the walls work with smart bulbs.

There is one potential complication: any light with a smart bulb must continuously receive power. You don’t have to leave the actual light on, it can be dimmed, but it does have to stay plugged into an outlet or the wall switch has to stay switched on. But since it is a smart bulb the energy use won’t be as high.

In order for a voice assistant or a smartphone application to work, the light bulb must have power. Without power, it can’t connect to the internet. If it’s not connected, the bulb won’t receive the signal which tells it to switch on. With that said, unless you frequently unplug your lights, it shouldn’t be a problem to continuously send power to the bulb. And for wall light switches, you’ll quickly get in the habit of not using them if you commit to smart lights.

You Could Use a Smart Light Switch/Dimmer Instead

You can avoid the problem of leaving the light fixture on by attaching a smart light switch like the Gosund Smart Dimmer Switch (on Amazon. A smart light switch works similar to a traditional dimmer, only it packs all the smarts into the switch itself. If you use a smart switch with a smart bulb, the controls will compete and clash with each other, but if you have something like a chandelier in which you don’t want to put smart bulbs, installing a smart switch can give you the functionality you want.

When you use a smart light switch, the bulb isn’t on but the switch is still getting power. Since the smart dimmer switch is connected to the Wi-Fi network, it will receive the signal to turn the lights on when it’s sent via an app or a voice assistant. There can also be some complications with smart light switches, though.

Issues with Using Smart Light Switches

There can be some issues with smart light switches that you might not expect, the first being the design. Smart switches were intended to be used with traditional light bulbs, rather than smart bulbs. The reason is simple, standard bulbs are designed to be turned on and off, while smart ones aren’t.

You can use a smart switch on a smart bulb without causing damage, as long as you’re not using it on a regular basis. Smart bulbs aren’t meant to be turned on and off, however, they can handle it but just not all of the time or multiple times per day. If you don’t want to leave the light on but want to save the bulb, it’s best to use a smart dimmer switch. The bulb will still be on, but the dimmer switch will make it seem like it is turned off.

Long story short, you should be picking either smart bulbs or a smart switch, but using both is going to lead to complications.

When to Use a Smart Light Switch/Dimmer

If you still have a mix of traditional and smart light bulbs in the house, a good idea is to dedicate rooms to each type of bulb. In rooms where you spend most of your time with the lights on, it makes sense to install energy-saving smart bulbs with smart dimmer switches. Smart bulbs can also set the mood by using a dimmer or changing colors.

There are always rooms in a house where someone forgets to turn off the lights. Children’s rooms are the most common but everyone’s home is different. If you want to ensure the lights are off, use a smart switch with standard bulbs. It’s tempting to use a smart switch with a smart light bulb, but it’s not always the best match.

If you get clever and connect everything up correctly, you can easily have all the smart bulbs and smart switches in your house in one easy-to-use app, enabling you to, for instance, simply schedule all the lights to go off at a certain time each night, just in case any were left on.


Smart bulbs reduce energy consumption and they’re also incredibly convenient and easy to use because you can control your lights remotely, with timers, etc. In addition to having a dimming capability, some of them come with a feature where the bulb’s light change color. While smart light bulbs work with regular fixtures, you may need to do a little research to figure out if they need a dedicated hub or if they can connect directly to your Wi-Fi.

And in situations where you don’t want to use smart bulbs because the light bulbs themselves are cosmetically useful, like in the case of a chandelier, you can always use a smart switch to move the “smarts” into the right place.