Do Smart Bulbs Use Electricity When Off?


do smart bulbs use electricity when off

We all know that smart bulbs are always considered as the best energy-saving bulbs on the planet. Ahem! You may also have the notion that they save you a lot of money in the long term over the traditional bulbs. Indeed they do, but do you know for how much extent is it true?

And for your knowledge – yes, smart bulbs they do consume electricity even when off. Now, whether or not you should concern about this technical fact, is merely depends on the amount of power a smart bulb consumes. And for clearing the dust around this topic, I have this detailed guide for all the unawares.

Adding to our reader’s convenience, below, I have also researched and reviewed a few popular brand’s smart bulbs on the basis of electricity they ideally make use of when off.

How much power do smart bulbs use when off?

The amount of power smart bulbs use when the light is off, is an unnoticeable small amount of energy that’s very less. In order to remain in connection with your home’s Wi-Fi or hub, smart bulbs ought to consume a little bit of power.

This is the very reason why you are able to turn on/off your home’s light remotely. And this way, smart bulbs weigh more to the pros and less to its downsides.

  • First and foremost, smart bulbs don’t require much electricity compared to your old regular bulbs.
  • As already mentioned, it posses the functionality of being operated remotely. For instance, this morning, you were in a hurry to leave for your office and expectedly – as usual – you forget to off your lights. So what’s now? Take out your phone, navigate to the corresponding app, and simply turned your smart bulbs off with the ease of your fingertips.

Now you may ask even if the amount of electricity smart bulbs withdraw when off is negligible. Still, there must be some energy that’s being used and costing you some penny. Yes, but it depends and slightly varies on the smart bulb you are using.

Since there are not accurate or official data available, I have endeavored to come up with some popular and widely used brands smart bulb to give you a basic idea on how much power your smart bulb could use up to while it’s not in use.

Philips Hue White Bulb

When I tested Philips Hue using Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor – the unit that showed up was maximum 0.3 watts. The amount is so less that would go unnoticed otherwise.

However, if we do simple math for the sake of pulling out the average costing of the electricity consumed by the Philips Hue White bulb. It can be done using the following formula:

wattage × hours used ÷ 1000 × price per kWh = cost of electricity

Let say, on an average, your bulb is drawing 0.15 watts of power per hour when it’s on standby, so it would take around 6,600 hours or 9.17 months before a Hue bulb uses up 1 kWh of electricity. And for example, if the price per kWh in your area is 15 cent, this way, for you, a Hue bulb in standby mode would cost around 1.6 cents per month.

The cost for a single kWh of power varies widely from states to states in USA because the cost electricity per kWh is different for each states, and significantly from locality to locality within a country, so using that you can apply the same formula for evaluating the cost of running a device.

According to research, turning a regular light bulb for 30 minutes consumes more electricity than a Hue bulb on ‘standby’ would use in a week.

Eufy Lumos Wi-Fi Bulb

For Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb, Kill A Watt reading was 0.5 watts so doing the math, Eufy Lumos WiFi bulb would take around  2,000 hours or roughly about 2.78 months to spend 1 kWh of power on standby. Again, taking 15 cents as an example for the cost of 1kWh, it would be going to costs you around 5.4 cents per month.

For any standard WiFi bulb, you may found the above figures near around, except for the cost of electricity (price per kWh).

Now you know that the amount of power used by smart bulbs when off isn’t much enough to make a dent in your pocket or even something to concern about. However, there are still some factors, a few I have stated below that would help you understand the concept of smart lighting and energy-saving to a bit deeper level.

Should you turn off the switch of your smart bulb?

No. You should never do that. Having the physical fixture switched off, means you have turned your smart bulb into a dumb one.

As previously mentioned that smart bulbs require constant power to be flowing in order to maintain a connection with your hub or WiFi. If you break that flow by turning off the wall switch, the smart functions of the bulb will cease, and they no longer be in your control.

If you grew up in an environment where you just had access to the traditional way of home lighting, then you must be accustomed to using wall switches for turning off and on your lights instead of mobile apps.

Perhaps you also have had awkward situations where you want to off your ceiling bulb and as soon as you initiate your inherent instinct kicked in, and you flipped that physical wall button. Bam!

The bottom line is, always keep your smart bulbs switched “ON” and use mobile app functionality for turning the bulb on/off as per your requirements and no more reaching out to the wall switch.

Do smart bulbs really save you money?

This question becomes the must since you have switched your home lighting from old incandescent or standard LED bulbs to smart bulbs hoping that it could save some amount on your electric bill year-round.

Unquestionably, smart bulbs are much more energy-efficient than the incandescent bulbs, but the higher upfront costs make them the least cost-effective on your pocket.

For instance, Philips sells its pack of 24 Non-Dimmable A19 Light Bulb at the price of just $30 which averages $1.25/ Piece; whereas a single, smart bulb from brands like Philips Hue or LIFX can cost as much as $60 per bulb, depending on the shape, size, and other factors. We guess, from here you can do the math further.

Even if you think of the shorter life span of Philips’ standard bulbs (11,000 hours) over Hue smart bulbs (25,000 hours) considering the cost factor, you could still buy hundreds of regular LED bulbs within or less than the same price you’ll pay for a few Hue lights.

With no doubt, smart bulbs will save you quite a bit annually, but we often forget to take the substantial costs of the smart bulbs into account.

However, in reality, buying regular LED bulbs which certainly are an inexpensive alternative, hence tends to yield the same annual costs without the significantly higher upfront costs.

Lastly, I’d say, for smart bulbs, you should not go with a mere intent in your mind of saving money, but features and convenience over cost-efficiency are what make sense for buying the high priced smart lighting.

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