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These are great smart lights that support Windows 10

Be it a PC, tablet or a phone you're planning to use the most, the good news is that it's very much achievable to get your home filled out with the latest in smart lighting. The choice may be less than if you were using an Android or iOS powered device, but you're far from being out in the cold.

These are the products that you're looking for.

Philips Hue

Huetro

Philips Hue is the most well-known name in the smart light game but officially at least the product doesn't support Windows 10. That doesn't matter though because the official app on other platforms isn't that good and it's the third-party community where the magic happens.

In the case of Windows 10, you'll be wanting to use the excellent Huetro. It allows you to setup your lighting system and offers full access to things like scenes and colors, all the while syncing across your Windows 10 devices. It also makes use of Cortana, NFC and geofencing to give you a little more hands-free automation.

There are many different items in the Hue range, but the best place to start is with their starter kit. You need to use the Hue Bridge, which you get in these kits. The basic starter kit with white bulbs will cost you around $65.

Download Huetro from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Amazon Alexa devices

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

You don't need to use a smartphone to operate an Amazon Echo. Once you've set it up using any browser, like Microsoft Edge on Windows 10, you can do the rest by just talking to Alexa. OK, this isn't a light, but it interacts with basically all of them.

And Alexa supports a whole bunch of smart home products, including many lighting systems, some not supported on Windows 10. Once you add the necessary skills through the browser app, you'll be able to turn your lights on and off just by using your voice.

Your smart home shouldn't be limited by your choice of phone, and the Amazon Echo is the best core device for interacting with all of it.

How to set up and use a smart home with Amazon Echo and Windows 10

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Insteon

Insteon

Officially the Insteon smart home system does support Windows, but it should be treated with a little caution. Recent reviews of its companion app aren't amazing, with particular focus on issues using it on a phone.

Assuming you're happy to take the risk, though, the Insteon system is more than just lighting. The core is the Hub which then interfaces with various smart home objects, including lights.

The starter kit can be had for around $85, while individual Insteon bulbs are a reasonable $26 a pop. It's also Alexa-enabled, so if you're using an Amazon Echo in your home, too, you'll be able to use that to turn on the lights.

Download Insteon for Hub from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Home Remote

This isn't a physical product but rather a nifty looking application for Windows 10 that looks to solve some of the smart home support issues.

It claims to let you interface with a wide range of products, from Hue to Belkin WeMo via many others. If you've got your eye on a particular smart light that doesn't have official Windows 10 support, maybe this can help you out.

Download Home Remote from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

LIFX

LIFX

If you're looking for official support for Windows 10 then LIFX was top of the pile. But then it decided it wasn't going to support its Windows 10 app anymore.

All isn't lost, and the app should at least work for now. LIFX is working on a web app that will replace it, but that's not ready yet. If you want bulbs that have app support on your PC or phone, it's a tougher recommendation now saying you should get LIFX over Hue. And Hue has no official support.

You'll be paying around $30 a piece for the white ones, while colorful bulbs will jump up to the $50 mark. LIFX also has LED strips which make for great accent or bias lighting.

Download LIFX from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

30 Comments
  • Misfit Bolt works too.
  • Smart lighting is cool, but is really cost-prohibitive.  At least for normal folk.  
  • Not true at all. Initial cost can be pricey or fairly inexpensive depending on what you choose. The bottom line is in the long run smart L.E.D lighting will save you money.
  • Yeah, I'm going to go with "I disagree, respectfully."  You don't have to buy a bulb for every socket.  The upfront cost in a hub plus a bulb or two is no more than a video game or a movie with the family at IMAX.  That said, that may be beyond some people. So I can't speak to your situation. My point is that you can just buy one or two pieces at a time. It isn't a must, but not only is it fun, its functional.  It is super convenient to be able to remotely control (things) when you're away, or if you want a routine to occur every time sun goes down and back up.  Again, not a must... but also a pretty easy thing to get into... piece by piece.
  • Until now.
  • I've got a fairly involved Insteon deployment (lights, thermostat, garage door, and sensors) and have been mostly satisfied. Currently their PC & Phone apps work fine for me on all my Windows 10 devices (including a Lumia 950 XL). There were some rough spots with their phone app that took awhile for them to sort out.
  • I agree for the most part with your comments on Insteon.  Most of my setup works well, with the exception of one of my outdoor on/off switches, which is really hit or miss (not sure if it is the hardware itself of the Windows 10 app) and I have to admit the HD cameras I have do not work well with the app outside of my home network at all.  It is nearly impossible to view the feeds from my cameras outside my home network.  All of the other parts work well with the Insteon app on my Windows 10 PCs/Tablets/Phones.
  • Same experience with Insteon. The iOS and Android support is a bit better, but I don't really have any major issues using the app on Win 10 and a 950XL. I do find that getting a new device, sensor, switch, etc, setup using an iPad is smoother than doing it in Windows, but once setup, Windows works fine. I interact with the system mostly via Echo. On the cameras, mine work OK from outside the network, but you do need to do some work with your router allowing port forwarding for the individual cameras. It doesn't work just via the hub like the rest of the stuff does. Be sure to do fixed IPs or reserve IPs for the cameras, so that doesn't change on you and screw up the forwarding.  As far as the On/Off switch goes, is it a dual band or a wireline only device. I have a couple of wire only switches and they were touchy. Worked some places, and not others. I have tried to stay with only dual band since those isuues.
  • Oh, good point on the port forwarding for the cameras!  I switched upgraded my router a few months ago, which seems to be around the time that the problems accessing the camera feed started.  I know I had set up port forwarding on my old router, but I don't think I ever did on my current one!  Thanks for the reminder! As for the on/off switch, it is a dual-band device.  It worked really well last summer on lights that I have strung up throughout the backyard, but this summer it has not been very reliable.  It ends up working through the app only about a quarter of thet ime.  Not sure what the issue is; I've even added a couple of Insteon extenders in hopes that it would help, but sadly it hasn't.  
  • Good luck getting the cameras back up.
  • The Dual Band switches seem to be the way to go as they've been reliable for me. The non-dual band ones can run into complications (which leg of power it's wired to, need for repeaters or noise filters, etc). I wasn't a fan of the Insteon cameras -- for the limited functionality they provide they weren't worth the trouble so I handle them separately.
  • What I like about the insteon cameras is their motorized pointing, acessible from the app. Most other cameras just point in one direction it seems. I think they are kind of pricey, but other decent options aren't cheap either, and all being in one app is convenient.
  • Also the newer cameras have better quality, if those are the ones you are using. I have the first gen hub and camera.
  • I bought the Insteon kit Microsoft was selling a while back at their store. It came with thermostat, camera, door sensor, lamp switch and motion sensor. For me all works well. I use SP3 and Lumia 950XL for device and scene setup. I've also enabled port forwarding on router using port number 25106 (important) to access the camera. I have also used the Android app for it. With small differences, I don't really prefer one app over the other.
  • Note that if you have more than one, you are going to want to change the port numbers and associated forwarding. The port that the request comes in on will be forwarded to a single camera's IP, so more than one camera, requires more than one port. 
  • I have Insteon as well. Its mostly functional on Windows, but much better on Android. Even better with the Apple Home kit version.  Nest integration and other features are not available on Windows and the app is rather clunky and unintuitive. (Android is better, but still not great) For some reason to unlock my milock, you have to double-tap the off button. I dont have issues like this on Android.  Overall, my advice would be to forget Windows for home automation. There's no future there. Its half heartedly supported by a few vendors and not supported at all by most. Everything for the foreseable future is now being built around mobile. Microsoft has been fairly effectively cut out. 
     
  • I looked at the HomeKit hub version but decided against it. Look at the comparison chart at http://www.insteon.com/insteon-hub-homekit. Near the bottom it seems like you are pretty much limited to iOS. The normal hub does iOS and others. When you look at the integrations it only lists HomeKit. Seems that means any of the things that are HomeKit aware would work, but you need to go through HomeKit to connect to them. Seems you need to be an iPhone/Apple person for the HomeKit route to work.  It appears the HomeKit hub would reduce my ability to interface with Insteon from Android and Windows, and probably Echo.
  • I have 14 LIFX bulbs so far. Love them. I tried Philips Hue first, but found them too dim, and the colors just didn't pop.
  • We have just two white Hue lights for the outside lights (the most practical needs for smarts, at least for us, arriving home when it's dark). We'll probably slowly replace other lights with Hue as they die. I haven't used Huetro, though. I've only used Hue Dynamics, which I think is solid if arguably a bit unintuitive. I'll install that and try it out.
  • I have both, Huetro is more intuitive but HueDynamic has more options, both have their pros and cons
  • Huetro dev here. Please try out Huetro, it should get your basics covered and lots more - and all for free :-). Todays update brings some new and exciting Automation features as well, so make sure to check that out as well - AND, upcoming updates will bring some very nice additions to the Ambiences (= living scenes) as well! Niels
  • HueDynamic is simply fantastic on Windows 10 devices, phones included.
  • Home remote also allows use of Cortana across Windows 10 including Xbox. U can also redo the interface to meet your specific needs like combining smart things with Insteon.
  • Combining smart things and making one item trigger another is what I love to use on Insteon. I mostly use the door sensor and motion sensor to turn on lights as I enter the house or come downstairs in the middle of the night. I also use scheduled activation when not at home. This way people see lights turning on and off a couple of times in the evening, giving the impression that someone is home.
  • Insteon does work very well right now on w10mobile but sometimes devices in a scene set up by Windows does not show up when modifying the sceen. You can also not delete a scene from phone but the pc app is good to go as Richard points out. One last call out the Insteon app is (despite its issues) better on Windows. Insteon is just not good at delivering a great app experience, however they were just bought out and the new owner is going to focus on both better apps on all supported platforms and in adding exo ecosystem devices to the Insteon compatibility list which is 200+Insteon devices and partnerships with Cortana,Alexa,hue,Logitech (which adds a stupid amount of options) stringify and others. The missing link is a w10 stringify app. Last note on Insteon is they told me via support that a full uwp is in the works. But if u use Insteon exclusive for lighting and plug in devices you can use homeboy for phones and they have a uwp in progress as well.
  • Didn't realize they were bought over by someone else.
  • I havent heard that about Insteon being bought. I hope they follow through. Their Windows apps are terrible. Android is better, but still insanely overcomplicated to configure. The way they reduce everything to an On/Off switch drives me nuts. There's no reason the software cant know what device its controlling and give you an appropriate interface. If it knows I'm controlling a garage door, give me an open/close screen. How am I supposed to know if I want to turn my garage door on or off to open it?
  • thanks for this article. I'm moving to a new home and this will be a big plus. 
  • A good competitor for Home Remote is Muzzley. I use both. Home Remote seems to be more compatible, but Muzzley let's you do things like geofencing to turn on/off lights and such. Great app that is available on Windows 10 devices!
  • I can vouch for Home Remote.  It offers a lot of connectivity options and superb customization of UI.  You'll need to feel comfortable laying out GUI, understanding how to access those GUI object elements, and how to make them interact with whatever it is you've interfaced with your Smart Home. For instance, I used mine to connect to SmartThings for ST devices, Hue for Philips lighting, and even my garage via Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door, plus a few switches, Samsun SmartCam, and even my Rachio irrigation system.  I would love for Ring video streams, but that is just something that only a few special partners will get it seems (*cough* Amazon's Alexa Show). I used Home Remote to create custom "app" layouts for my Windows 10 Mobile devices, tablet, and home desktop.  This way I could optimize what I wanted to see on any particular device.  The intent was to develop a tablet control panel that anyone (authenticated) could access, but then found it was easier to control most things using routines and Alexa.  However, simple status panels would still be great.  I'm watching/ following Alexa Show because it might do what I need. Not sure, yet. One more thing... the community and the developers are pretty awesome. A few quick screenshots: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AvpsOJ_asIom1MwJKwEerQcgRBuc2A Good luck!