You got yourself a set of lights and now you realized that you haven’t got enough fixtures to put them separately. In this post, we are going to cover how you can install multiple smart bulbs in one fixture without compromising on the functionalities.
Here's what we cover:
- Can you mix smart bulbs?
- Why Use Multiple Smart Bulbs in One Multi Bulb Light Fixture?
- Group Smart Bulbs as One
- Use Smart Switch to Control Smart Lights
- Use IFTTT to Link Multiple Bulbs Together in a Fixture
- Conclusion: Does Connecting Multiple Smart Lights in One Fixture Have Any Disadvantage?
Can you mix smart bulbs?
Yes, you can use a mixture of different brands of smart bulbs in one light fixture. However, in order to control them all, you would need to use a hub or multiple apps to control them.
Why Use Multiple Smart Bulbs in One Multi Bulb Light Fixture?
It’s simple. In a normally constructed house, some lights will be grouped together in one fixture for convenience. For example, you would want to turn on all the lights in the kitchen by pressing one switch. It would be too inconvenient otherwise.
When you replace those lights with smart ones, you are basically powering them up all and any activity on the switch will affect all of them. Fortunately, the companies that produce smart bulbs are aware of this situation. They have laid down a couple of good solutions so that you can get them up and running exactly the way you want.
Group Smart Bulbs as One
Grouping is one of the most important features of smart bulbs. What it basically does is that allows you to select multiple lights and send a joint command to them. For example, if you group all lights in your kitchen and turn that group on, all the lights will light up at once and vice versa.
Here you can find how to do just that on different smart home platforms:
Group Lights in Google Home
Although there is no direct grouping feature in Google Home app, the smart AI of Google Assistant allows you to achieve that in a slightly different way.
If you want to group all lights in your room to act as one single entity:
- Assign all the lights to the correct room (ex. bedroom).
- Ask Google Assistant to “turn bedroom on” or “turn bedroom lights on”.
If you want to group not all but a few specific lights in your room:
- Rename the lights to have a common keyword (ex. desk light 1, desk light 2, desk light left, desk light right).
- Ask Google Assistant to “turn on desk lights”.
Group Lights in Amazon Alexa
Amazon Alexa app has the grouping feature built-in. That means you don’t have to have lights in the same room in order to be able to group them.
- On the Alexa app, navigate to Devices > (+) Sign > Add Group.
- Give it a name (ex. living room lights), select the lights you want to put in, and save.
- Now ask Alexa to “turn living room lights on”.
Group Lights in Apple HomeKit
Apple Home app also does allow you to group lights and accessories probably in the most intuitive way. Here is how to do it:
- On the Home app, tap and hold any light and click the gear icon.
- Scroll down and tap “Group with Other Accessories”.
- Give it a name (ex. fireplace lights), select lights that you want to assign to this group, and save.
- Ask Siri to “turn on fireplace lights”.
Group Lights in Samsung SmartThings
Samsung SmartThings has support for groups in its native app. For that, all you have to do:
- On the SmartThings app, tap Add (+) button from the home screen.
- Tap on “Lighting Group”.
- Name the group (ex. garden lights), select the light bulbs, and hit save.
- Ask Bixby or Google Assistant to “turn on garden lights”.
Group Philips Hue Lights As One
If you are in the Philips Hue eco with a Hue Hub, it doesn’t really matter which smart home platform you are in. They have native support for grouping in their app (they call it zones). And this app you install on any smartphone os.
To group lights and accessories in Philips Hue system:
- From the Philips Hue app, navigate to Settings > Rooms and zones > Create new.
- Tap on Create zone, give it a name (ex. home theatre lights), select the devices that you want to add and save.
- Ask your smart home assistant to “turn on home theatre lights”.
Group Lights in Home Assistant
Home Assistant is surely the most flexible one if you are comfortable coding your own automation. In order to group lights in this system, add the following lines to your configuration.yaml file:
light: - platform: group name: Office Lights entities: - light.office_light_1 - light.office_light_2 - light.office_light_3
Here “name” is what you would like to call this group and “entities” are the list of lights that you want to assign here.
Use Smart Switch to Control Smart Lights
Smart switches would not only allow you to create and send commands to a custom set of lights but also some switches like Philips Hue Dimmer can sit on top of your regular switch holder without needing any electrical connection.
Since there are at least hundreds of smart light switches out there, it is quite difficult to give you exact step-by-step instructions. But I believe and that I have seen in many, you would be able to assign multiple smart bulbs to one switch very easily.
IFTTT allows you to do things that the native system sometimes fails to do so. Although it is very unlikely, if you are in a smart home system that has no support for grouping whatsoever, you can take the help of IFTTT to achieve this. I am assuming that your system has support for IFTTT at the least.
The concept is like this. When one specific bulb lights up, some other bulbs should be lit up as well. So when you can create an IFTTT applet, you have to put one bulb from your desired group in “If This”, and all the other lights from your group in “Then That”. So when you ask your home assistant to turn that one bulb on or off, it will trigger the IFTTT applet resulting in sending that instruction to all lights listed in “Then That”.
If you are using Apple HomeKit and for some reason have to use IFTTT together, we have written an IFTTT and HomeKit integration guide. For the moment, we have only this online but the other guides will follow soon.
Can you group smart bulbs?
You can group smart bulbs natively in most of the smart home systems like Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, etc. When the native system fails to offer such facility, you can use a smart switch or IFTTT to achieve that.
How do you control multiple smart bulbs at once?
You have to group the smart bulbs into one entity so that when you turn them entity on, all the lights in that group will react to it. It is helpful when you have multiple smart bulbs in one fixture.
Can Alexa turn on multiple lights with one command?
Alexa can turn on multiple lights with a single command when you have them grouped. You can create a group on your Amazon Alexa app.
Does Google Home support light grouping?
Google Home does not have a direct light grouping feature in their app but the AI of Google Assistant is smart enough that if you have common keyword in your lights and ask the assistant to turn on that keyword, it will work like a group.
What to do if you can not group multiple smart lights in one fixture?
When you cannot group lights or your system does not support grouping, you can take advantage of a smart switch or IFTTT applet to have a group-alike result.
Conclusion: Does Connecting Multiple Smart Lights in One Fixture Have Any Disadvantage?
It is normal to think that when you group lights and when they act like one entity, you cannot control them separately anymore. This is wrong.
When you group multiple smart bulbs in one fixture, you are not connecting them physically but giving them a common name. So any command with that common name mentioned will go to all the devices listed.
So I cannot think of any disadvantage in the first place. If there is a need, you should go ahead and do it since you are not losing on anything.