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Smart bulbs can light your way when it counts

BeOn Bulbs

Battery backup

Philips Hue


Lutron Caseta

Cree Connected LED


Hold off on HomeKit

Smart bulbs offer convenience in the form of pre-scheduled, automated lighting changes -- but some can also light up in times of emergency. Click through for a look at your options.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

One of the most obvious examples of an emergency-minded smart bulb is BeOn, a connected light that's almost exclusively focused on safety and security. Each bulb has a built-in microphone that you can train to listen for the sound of your alarm system. If it ever goes off, the bulbs will come on. They'll also listen for your doorbell, then turn on if they hear it to help fool potential intruders into thinking you're home when you're not.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

BeOn bulbs also have built-in batteries, which means that you can still use them if the lamp is switched off -- or if the power goes out.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

Philips Hue's color-changing smart bulbs have an obvious novelty appeal. And if you pair them up with the Nest Protect Smoke Detector, they'll automatically switch to the shade that makes it easiest to see in smoky conditions if something is amiss.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

The Lifx color-changing LED works with Nest in the same way. You can also use its IFTTT channel to program color-coded weather notifications

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

They aren't smart bulbs, but Lutron's set of smart switches and remotes work with Nest too. It will let you pair your lamps up with your system regardless of what bulbs you use.

Caption by / Photo by Colin West McDonald/CNET

Generic, low-cost smart bulbs like the Cree Connected LED don't offer native, built-in emergency lighting features, but they'll work with larger systems like SmartThings. Sync them up as part of a DIY security setup, and you'll be able to set your lights to turn on automatically if a motion sensor catches someone sneaking into your home.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The same goes for the GE Link LED -- like Cree's smart bulb, it sells for just $15, making it a relatively affordable entry point into smarter lighting.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

There's a lot of potential for Apple HomeKit to offer comprehensive smart lighting solutions that can help light the way during an emergency, but the features haven't been well implemented yet. If safety-minded lighting is your game, give HomeKit a little more time before buying in -- other systems like Nest and SmartThings are further ahead at this point.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET
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