There's no shortage of smart lights that work with Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa -- fortunately, that now includes at least a couple of decent options that won't break the bank. One of the latest comes from the team at Anker, a company better known for popular USB chargers. Turns out they make a pretty decent smart bulb, too.
It's called the Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb, and it costs $20. Eufy (rhymes with "goofy") is an Anker offshoot of smart home devices that work with Alexa and don't cost very much, relatively speaking. They're essentially store-brand Alexa gadgets -- and like a lot of store-brand products, they offer pretty decent value.
The Lumos LED is the first of them that I've tested, and I'm impressed. It connects directly with Alexa over Wi-Fi and worked like a charm in all of my tests. Plus, with nearly 900 lumens to its name -- well above the 800 lumens it claims -- it's noticeably brighter than its main competitor, the TP-Link LB100. That Alexa-friendly bulb also costs $20, but it only claims a light output of 600 lumens.
Like you might expect, the Lumos LED is pretty basic as far as features are concerned. Most notably, it doesn't change colors (though you can spend an extra $10 to get "="" version="" that="" changes="" color="" temperatures"="">) and it doesn't work with much else outside of Alexa -- no Google Home, no Apple HomeKit and no IFTTT, among other omissions.
That's not much of a concern if you've already bought in with Amazon's assistant. If you're just looking for an affordable light that she can turn on and off or dim up and down, then look no further.
I tested two of Eufy's bulbs on a couple of different Wi-Fi networks, and used a variety of different first- and third-party Alexa gadgets to turn them on and off. I never had a problem with them. Simplicity is a selling point, here -- just screw the bulb in, turn it on, pair with it in the Eufy app, enable the Alexa skill in the Alexa app and tell Alexa to discover it. You'll be up and running within minutes.
You'll notice that I made no mention of a hub in that last paragraph. The Lumos LED doesn't need one. It broadcasts using a built-in Wi-Fi radio, so it doesn't need another device to translate the signal for your router. That makes it a more appealing pick if you don't have a hub and don't want to get one.
That said, if you already have a smart home hub from a name like Wink or SmartThings, or if you're using an Amazon Echo Plus, which includes a built-in Zigbee hub, then you'll want to shop around. Alexa-compatible Zigbee bulbs from names like Sylvania, Cree, and Philips Hue all cost a little less than the Lumos LED, and should work just as well.
It's also worth noting that you don't need to be an Alexa user to connect with this bulb -- all you really need is the free EufyHome app on your Android or iOS device. In that case, though, you might be better off going with a competitor that offers some alternative paths to automation. That $20 TP-Link bulb I mentioned earlier works with IFTTT and the Google Assistant, for instance.
Still, Eufy's app does a really nice job of connecting you with the bulb, then offering you clear, easy-to-use controls. Aside from turning the bulb on and off or dimming it up and down, you can group multiple bulbs together to control them all at once, save a specific lighting setup as a favorite to return to it later with just a tap, or schedule automated lighting changes to run at specific times.
You can also turn on "away mode" lighting, which randomly cycles your lights on and off to make it look like you're home when you really aren't. That's a nice touch.
The controls err on the basic side, though, especially when it comes to those scheduled lighting changes. You can't, for instance, schedule the bulbs to gradually fade on over a custom length of time to help ease you out of bed in the morning. You also can't schedule lighting changes to run at sunrise or sunset, which at this point is a pretty elementary feature as far as smart lights are concerned.
Fortunately, this seems like the sort of thing that Eufy could fix with a firmware update. I reached out to Anker to ask if one is in the works, but didn't hear back before my deadline. I'll update this space if I get a response.
As for the Alexa controls, you can ask Amazon's assistant to control your bulb using whatever name you've given it in Eufy's app. You can also group your Lumos LED with other Alexa-compatible smart lights in the Alexa app, then control everything all at once with a single command (or, thanks to a recent update, control your bulbs directly from the Alexa app itself).
The Lumos LED promises a 60-watt-equivalent light output of 800 lumens from a power draw of just 9 watts. I used our spectrometer and integrating sphere setup to measure that light output for myself, and clocked it well above the target at 889 lumens.
That makes it one of the brightest Alexa-compatible options money can buy, and also pegs its efficiency just shy of 100 lumens per watt, which is excellent. Using it for an average of three hours per day will add a little over a dollar to your energy bill each year. Dial the brightness down a little bit and it'll cost even less, while still doing a bang-up job of brightening your room.
I was also impressed to see that the Lumos LED only lost 7 percent of its initial brightness during the course of my 90-minute test. All LED light bulbs will see a slight, gradual dip in brightness during the hour or so after you turn them on because of the heat produced by their electrical components. After that warm-up period, most bulbs will stabilize somewhere around 85 percent of their initial brightness (by the way, this end-point is also where we take our final, official lumen readings). The Lumos LED finished the test 93 percent as bright as it started, which is better than just about every other smart bulb I've tested.
Though not completely conclusive, that's indicative of a design that does a good job of managing heat, and means that Eufy's smart bulb might be a good pick for an enclosed fixture, where the heat gets trapped with the light (that's of course assuming that it'd fit -- the Lumos LED is a little bigger and longer than most standard-sized light bulbs).
I also made sure to check out the bulb's dimmable range. Though you won't want to use it on an actual dimmer switch (smart bulbs have their own built-in dimming mechanisms -- using them with an extra, external dimmer can cause them to flicker badly), you can dim the Lumos LED on a 1-100 scale using either the app or an Alexa command.
At the 1 percent brightness setting it puts out 57 lumens, which is actually 6.4 percent of the max setting. Anything below 10 percent is good enough for me, but some folks might like a light that gets down a little lower at its minimum setting.
This one's pretty simple. At the moment, $20 is as cheap as you'll find for a reputable smart bulb that works with Alexa and doesn't need a hub. And, relative cheapness aside, the Lumos LED is a pretty good smart bulb in its own right. It offers ample brightness and solid efficiency, it features a good-looking app that doesn't over-complicate things, and it works reliably well with Alexa.
If you want something you can play with on a variety of different platforms, then look elsewhere, because with Eufy, Alexa is all you get. But if that's all you need, then there really isn't much of a reason not to pick one up.