Are you turning all the smart lights in your home off one by one every evening? It might be time to group your lights! Grouping lets you control several lights at once. In this blog post, I explore how you can group smart lights in your home.
Smart lights can be grouped using a smart hub or an app. You can select the different lights in your home and group them into rooms or floors. For example, all the smart lights in your living room can be placed into one group. Different combinations are suitable for different homes.
If you want to group your lights but have no idea where to start, this blog post is for you. I explore the different devices that can be used to group smart lights. I also look at different smart light combinations for different homes. And I discuss why grouping smart lights in your home can make your life much easier.
- What Does It Mean to Group Your Smart Lights?
- How to Group Lights Bulbs With a Smart Switch
- How to Group Your Smart Lights With a Smart Hub
- Controlling your lights
- How to group your smart light without a hub
- 8 cool smart light groups to create for your home
- 3 benefits of grouping the smart lights in your home
- 4 things you need to group the smart lights in your home
- Does grouping my smart lights have disadvantages?
- Disadvantages of using Google Home to group smart lights
- Disadvantages of using Alexa to group smart lights
- Disadvantages of using Philips Hue to group smart lights
- Disadvantages of using Apple HomeKit to group smart lights
- Disadvantages of using the Ring app to group smart lights
- Disadvantages of using the Hive app to group smart lights
- Home Streamliner’s Take:
What Does It Mean to Group Your Smart Lights?
If you have more than one smart light in your home, you can group them. Grouping smart lights means placing them into one category in an app. This app can be stand-alone or linked to a smart hub. All the lights in the group can then be switched on or off, dimmed, or change color at the same time.
For example, imagine that you have three smart light bulbs in your living room. One is in a lamp and two are screwed into fixtures in the ceiling. Each light bulb can be connected to one app. You can then use the app to create a group called “living room” and place each of the three light bulbs into that room.
You can then control the lights in your living room as a group. For example, you can select the “living room” group and turn it off. This turns off all three lights with one tap of your phone.
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If you have a light fixture that can take more than one bulb, being able to group light bulbs is also important.
If you don’t group all the light bulbs in a light fixture you will have to switch each light bulb on and off separately.
Take note that different brands’ apps use different names for smart device groups. Terms used include “rooms,” “groups,” and “zones.” I will explain these for each example below.
How to Group Lights Bulbs With a Smart Switch
The cheapest way to group the light bulbs in one room is to connect them to a smart switch.
If you have a smart switch that can connect to multiple light bulbs, you do not need to buy smart light bulbs. You can buy regular LED light bulbs which are much cheaper.
You will have to connect the light bulbs to the smart switch by wiring the smart switch to the correct circuit(s).
The smart switch can then be connected to an app. You can use the app to control the switch. This lets you turn all the light bulbs on and off at once. You can also use a smart switch to dim the light bulbs.
Shortfalls of using a smart switch to group lights
- The colors of regular LED light bulbs cannot be changed with a smart switch.
- It becomes complicated to connect LED light bulbs from different rooms to one switch. You would have to install one smart switch in each room. This prevents you from being able to create greater zones that link the lights in many rooms.
- If the smart switch breaks, you can’t control any of your lights. You avoid this problem if you have multiple smart light bulbs.
How to Group Your Smart Lights With a Smart Hub
Some smart light bulbs do not function without a hub. The Hive Active Lights, for example, need the Hive Hub to work.
Other smart lights can function without a hub. But, if you have a hub anyway, you will probably want to connect your lights to it. You can then control the lights via the hub.
Before grouping your smart lights:
- You will need to download an app that controls the hub. The hub then sends the signal to the lights. If you have already been using the hub, you probably already have the app.
- I recommend connecting all your smart light bulbs to your hub before you start grouping them.
Grouping Smart Light Bulbs via Google Home
If you are using a Google device as your hub, you will need to download the Google Home app to group your smart lights.
Google devices that act as a hub include:
- The Google Nest Hub Max
- The Google Home Smart Speaker
- The Google Home Mini
- The Google Nest Hub Smart Display
Take note that Google Home has two grouping options.
A room is a set of linked smart lights. A group is a set of connected speakers. You will want to create rooms to group your smart lights.
Once you have linked your smart lights to
Once you have linked your lights to your Google Home app, follow these steps to create a room:
- Select the light you want to add to a room.
- Tap “Add to a room” at the bottom of the screen.
- Select “Home” and tap “Next.”
- Tap “Move Device.”
- Select the room you want to add your smart light to (or scroll to the bottom to create a “Custom Room”).
- Tap “Next.”
- Repeat for all your smart lights
Controlling your lights
You can use the name of the room in a command to turn the lights on or off. For example, if you say “Hey Google, turn off the kitchen lights” the lights in the kitchen will switch off.
If your Google hub device is in the same room as the lights, you can just say “Hey Google, turn off the lights.” The lights in that room will turn off.
Grouping Smart Light Bulbs via Alexa
In Alexa, a group of lights is simply called a group.
Once you have linked your lights to your Alexa app, follow these steps to group them:
- Make sure you are in your Devices tab (select it in the bottom right corner)
- Tap the + icon in the top right corner.
- Tap on Add Group.
- Choose a group name (or scroll to “Custom Name” to make a new group)
- Tap all the lights you want to add to the group.
- Tap “Save” at the bottom of the screen.
Controlling your lights
You can use the name of the room in a command to turn the lights on or off. For example, if you say “Alexa turn off kitchen,” the lights in the kitchen will switch off.
You can also control the group in the Devices tab of the app.
Grouping Smart Light Bulbs via the Philips Hue app
Take note that there are Philips Bluetooth smart light bulbs. These can link to the Philips Hue app without a hub. You can also link these to a Google Home or Alexa speaker.
Other Philips smart light bulbs only work if you have the Hue Bridge to connect them to the app.
In the Philips Hue app, a group of lights is called a room. You can also create a zone that groups bulbs from multiple rooms.
Once you have linked your lights to your Philips Hue app, follow these steps to group them:
Once you have linked your lights to your Hue app, follow these steps to group them:
- Start at the home screen.
- Tap the 3 dots in the top right corner.
- Select “Rooms & Zones.”
- Select “Create.”
- Select “Create zone.”
- On the “Create New Zone Screen,” enter the name of the zone.
- Select an icon for the zone.
- Add lights to the zone.
- Tap the checkmark in the top right corner.
Grouping Smart Light Bulbs via the Apple HomeKit app
Like in the Philips Hue system, HomeKit has both room and zone options.
A room is a group of devices.
A zone is a group of rooms.
There is also the option of creating a group, which groups devices that perform the same function. For example, a group could include all your lights or all your smart plugs.
Once you have linked your lights to your HomeKit app, follow these steps to group them:
- Enter a light’s menu by tapping on the light’s name.
- Tap “Details.”
- Tap “Group with other Accessories.”
- All the lights will appear grouped by room.
- Create a name for the group.
- Tap the lights you want to group.
- Tap “Done” in the top right corner.
Grouping Smart Light Bulbs via the Ring app
You will need the Ring Bridge to place Smart Lights in a Group in the Ring app. Echo devices can replace a Ring Bridge.
You can connect up to 50 smart lights to the Ring Bridge.
Once you have linked your lights to your Ring app, follow these steps to group them:
- Tap the device you want to add to the group.
- Tap “Device Settings.”
- Tap “Group.”
- Tap the name of the group you want to add the light to.
Grouping Smart Light Bulbs via the Hive app
You can group Hive lights using Hive Actions. This is definitely a more complicated process than in other apps.
Once you have linked your lights to your Hive app, follow these steps to group them:
- Go to the menu and tap “Actions.”
- In iOS, tap the “Discover” tab. In Android, tap the + button.
- Choose the devices you want to group and define what they should do by tapping on the “When,” “While,” and “Then” boxes. Select the available options to create a group.
- Tap “Done.”
- Tap “Next.”
- Name the Action.
- Tap “Save.”
How to group your smart light without a hub
Many light bulbs function without a hub. You can group and control these lights using the Smart Life app.
Grouping Smart Light Bulbs via the Smart Life app
Once you have linked your lights to the Smart Life app, follow these steps to group them:
- Select one of the lights you have set up in the app.
- Tap the three dots in the top right corner.
- Select “Create a Group.”
- Add the lights you want to add to the group.
- Tap “Save” in the top right corner.
- Type the group name in the pop-up menu.
- Tap “Confirm.”
8 cool smart light groups to create for your home
You can create a group of smart lights for each of the following rooms or areas in your home. Here are some ideas for each space:
You could use ceiling lights in your kitchen and group them with under cabinet light strips. These light strips can light up your working surfaces in the kitchen better. Once you are done, you can turn off all lights at the same time.
2. Living Room
You can group both ceiling lights and lamps in your living room.
Some smart device apps can create scenes with grouped lights. These scenes are preset at a specific color and light brightness. This can create a specific mood in your living room.
You can select different scenes if you are watching TV, reading, or spending time with your family.
3. Dining Room
By grouping the smart lights in your dining room, you can easily change the brightness of your lights. For a comfortable family meal, you may want to use brighter lights than for a romantic dinner. This can be adjusted with one tap of your phone.
If you have more than one smart light bulb in your bathroom, turning them off at the same time is practical.
It would also be nice to be able to dim all the lights at the same time if you are using the bathroom in the middle of the night. You don’t want to be bombarded with bright lights as you use the toilet.
Consider installing lights that you can control individually, even when they are grouped. At night, you may only need one smart bulb to provide light.
In your bedroom, you are likely to have ceiling lights and extra bedside lamps. Having these lights grouped and scheduled to turn on at a specific time is good for smart wakeup.
But, as for a bathroom, I suggest using lights that can be controlled in a group and individually. This will let you have your bedside lamp on without the ceiling lights shining.
If you group the lights in your basement you can switch all the lights on at the same time. This lets you see all parts of the basement as you enter it instead of only the entrance being lit.
This is a good security feature.
It also helps you find something more easily if you have a good overview of the whole space.
If you have a double-story home, you can also create groups of lights for each floor.
7. First floor
If you spend most of your day on the first floor, you can turn on all the lights on the first floor during the day.
You can schedule your lights to turn off at a certain time in the evening when you are already upstairs in bed.
8. Second floor
If your bedrooms and bathrooms are on the second floor, grouped lights can help wake the whole family at a set time. Simply schedule a group of lights on the second floor to turn on at a specific time in the morning.
3 benefits of grouping the smart lights in your home
Grouping the smart lights in your home saves you time. It’s a convenient way to control multiply lights in your home simultaneously.
The more lights you have, the more you can benefit from grouping them.
If light groups can be scheduled they can also assist in waking the family early enough each morning.
And turning all the lights off at a specific time each evening ensures that you get to bed early enough.
2. Creating a mood
Since many smart light apps let you set scenes for light groups, you can easily create a certain mood in your home.
You can change the colors and brightness of multiple groups at the same time.
You can even make use of preset scenes. This lets you create a romantic atmosphere, or a relaxing one, or one that keeps you focused.
3. Saving electricity
Smart light groups can even save you money by saving electricity. If all your lights are scheduled to turn off at a certain time, you don’t need to worry about leaving the lights on. This saves power.
This is also a benefit of smart light bulbs that work individually, but the setup takes much longer.
4 things you need to group the smart lights in your home
1. More than one smart light
You can only group smart lights if you have more than one. It makes sense to have these lights in the same room or zone in your home if you want to group them.
2. An app
Smart lights are connected to an app. You can group the lights in the app.
3. Compatible smart lights
To group smart lights, they must all be compatible with the same app.
4. Some smart lights require a hub
The hub connects the smart lights to the smart app. If you only want to connect your smart lights and no other devices, I suggest buying lights that work without a hub.
Does grouping my smart lights have disadvantages?
Specific systems have specific disadvantages in terms of grouping smart lights.
Disadvantages of using Google Home to group smart lights
- You can only add a specific light to one room.
- Google auto-groups smart lights as they are added. All devices with the name “light” will automatically be placed in the same room. You can rename your lights to avoid this.
Disadvantages of using Alexa to group smart lights
- You cannot schedule a group of lights in Alexa. You will have to schedule each light bulb individually if you want all the lights to turn off automatically at a certain time.
Disadvantages of using Philips Hue to group smart lights
- You can connect a maximum of 50 smart lights to the Philips Hue Bridge. This shouldn’t be a problem in most cases. If you have more than 50 smart lights, you will have to buy a second Bridge.
Disadvantages of using Apple HomeKit to group smart lights
- If your lights need to be connected to a hub, the HomeKit option is very expensive. The Apple HomePod costs more than $300.
Disadvantages of using the Ring app to group smart lights
- You can connect a maximum of 50 smart lights to the Ring Bridge. In most homes, this will be enough, but it is worth noting.
- You cannot control smart lights individually once they are added to a Group in the Ring app.
- Each light can only be placed into a single group in the Ring app.
Disadvantages of using the Hive app to group smart lights
- The process is unnecessarily complicated.
Home Streamliner’s Take:
Grouping smart lights has some great advantages. If you have a light fixture that can take more than one smart bulb, grouping these bulbs is a no-brainer.
I do think that sometimes the process is over-complicated. It is possible to have smart lights in your home on a budget. It is also possible to group these lights without breaking the bank.
If you only want to automate the lighting in your home (and not add other types of smart devices), you do not need a hub. Rather invest in smart light bulbs that have the features you want and group them in the Smart Life app.
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