With all the events of the last 18 months, we have all become clean freaks to one degree or another. In that time I’ve tested lots of cleaning tech from plasma killing air purifiers to the latest in laser vacuum cleaners. This week I’m reviewing a cleansing smart bulb from Lifx.
I bought my first Lifx smart bulb over six years ago and it’s still going strong. I thought I’d get one to try it out and see if it was something I could see myself using. I decided to go with Lifx because it was self-contained and didn’t require an extra smart hub to make it work. All the smarts, including the wifi module, is built into the bulb so there’s no need for extra hardware. This makes it easy to try a single bulb rather than invest in a whole smart ecosystem like Philips Hue where you have to buy a hub and at least one bulb to make it work. (Edit: many of the Hue range of smart bulbs now feature Bluetooth and don't require a hub to work either via the Philips Hue Bluetooth app or Alexa and Google Nest smart speakers. However, although optional for Hue Bluetooth smart bulbs, to make full use of the system and all its features and benefits, a Philips Hue Bridge is still necessary).
I soon bought more Lifx bulbs and all have been working away for over six years with the promise that they shouldn’t need replacing for at least 20 years and probably a lot more.
Even the latest range of Lifx products don’t require a hub and their software and integration with Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google is excellent.
I’m sure most people understand the significance of moving away from incandescent bulbs to LED. To give you an example, an 80w bulb will cost €58 a year if run each day for eight hours. The equivalent LED bulb like the Lifx Clean at its maximum brightness will cost €8 approximately. If you use the clean option for two hours a day the total yearly cleaning cost is around €2. Of course, if you use the clean function at night and you have night rate electricity then the cost is less than half that.
The Lifx Clean A60 can provide up to 1200lm of light which is equal to an 80w incandescent bulb and uses up to 11.5w of power at maximum brightness. Crucially, for me at least, it can also get really dim at 1% brightness. As you increase the brightness you can see it increase a percentage at a time. With my older Lifx bulbs, going from 1% to 9% doesn’t make a visible difference until you go to say 10%.
You can control the bulb using the superb Lifx app or via voice control using Alexa, Siri or Google. I love having this level of granular control for brightness but the Lifx Clean also has colour and white temperature options too.
The Lifx Clean uses HEV (High Energy Visible) light to kill harmful bacteria on surfaces and objects. Lifx claims that the smart bulb can clean and help eliminate over 90% of S. aureus and E. coli on surfaces depending on the distance and time. It’s important to note that it does not kill Covid 19.
The HEV is a strong blue light and unlike infrared light, isn’t harmful to humans or animals.
I have no way of verifying the results of the Lifx Clean but based on their independent testing I know that the light is most effective when used up to 40cm away from the object you want to disinfect. This makes it fairly impractical for use in something like a ceiling light in a bathroom. For example, at 122cm you’d have to have the HEV light on for 12 hours to kill 84.62% of E. coli or 73% of S. aureus. Obviously, waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom with a strong blue light on isn’t a runner.
Instead, I chose to place the Lifx Clean in a lamp on my desk where I scheduled it to clean for 2 hours each night at 3 am. This ensured things like my keyboard, mouse, headphones and anything else on my desk was disinfected to some degree. Again, I couldn’t see the effects but there’s a lot of comfort in knowing I was starting the day with a fresh and clean desk.
The Lifx Clean A60 smart bulb comes with all the goodies you’d expect including the ability to customise the colours. You can choose any colour in the rainbow via a simple to use colour wheel.
Colour intensity and vibrancy are especially good and unlike cheap RGB lighting, the colours are accurate. The app allows you to set up routines that can be activated with a catchphrase using your voice assistant of choice. You can also create mood lighting for various scenarios or have them come on automatically in say the morning just before you get up or turn off before you leave the house. I have all my lights set to automatically turn off at 1 am every night, so there are no arguments about leaving lights on.
If you still own any kind of light that isn’t LED then you’re simply wasting money. The Lifx system works well and means you don’t need a hub. That being said, if you plan on replacing all your lights with smart bulbs then the addition of a hub into the cost isn’t as big a factor.
The Lifx Clean A60 isn’t cheap but it does come with excellent features including dimming, colour accuracy and an excellent app. Essentially, you’re paying an extra €20 for the cleaning feature over the standard Lifx Colour A60.
Available from Lifx in either E27 (Edusib screw) or B22 (Bayonet cap) €79.99