Do Smart Light Bulbs Use Electricity When Off?

Yes, they do. Smart bulbs will still use a little bit of electricity even when they’re not emitting light. But should you worry about that? Can you stop it? And will it hurt your electricity bill if you can’t stop it?

Smart Bulbs and Their Electricity Efficiency

Smart bulbs don’t only offer the fancy ability to remotely control your home lighting, they also use LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to save a considerable amount of electricity when they’re on.

Without getting too much into science, LED bulbs’ light efficiency lies in their light creation mechanism. Most of the electricity that the bulb consumes goes into light creating.

Traditional incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, operate differently. These bulbs rely on heating a filament wire until it glows enough to light the room.

Unfortunately, this wastes a noticeable amount of electricity while heating that tungsten filament, rendering them less energy-efficient than LED bulbs.

Why Do Smart Bulbs Use Electricity When Of?

Smart bulbs are energy-vampire devices that use electricity when they’re not working because they’re connected to the Bluetooth of your phone or the Wi-Fi at all times.

That connection is mandatory for the smart bulb to light up when you click the switch on your device. So, both the bulb and your phone will be gradually consuming some energy.

So, we now have a smart light bulb that saves electricity when it’s on, but still consumes some when it’s off. Is that a good thing or not?

smart light bulb with integrated WIFI receiver
The receiver component of a smart bulb always needs a little bit of energy

Understanding the Smart Bulb’s Economy

As mentioned earlier, smart bulbs consume electricity all the time. However, because of their LED mechanisms, they still use overall less electricity than both your traditional incandescent bulbs and CFL light bulbs.

Fortunately, the amount of electricity that smart bulbs use to maintain their connectivity is negligible and would only add a few cents every month.

Can You Stop Smart Bulbs From Using Electricity?

Not directly. Unless you unscrew the light bulb from its socket, you won’t be able to stop it from draining its mandatory bit of electricity.

You can, however, use the smart bulb as a conventional one. In that case, you’d be controlling it from a switch on the wall as usual.

Without the connectivity, the smart bulb will only drain power when the switch is turned on. However, at this point, you’re better off buying regular LED bulbs instead of paying more for smart ones.

Can I Use Smart Bulbs for the Whole House?

Now that we have an idea of how smart bulbs work, and how they drain electricity, it’s time to scale things up a little.

To cut to the chase, you can switch all your home lighting into smart lighting. However, the economy we mentioned earlier will start to pile up.

The added few cents will stack with every extra smart bulb you get, which could eventually turn into dollars if you use an extensive amount of smart bulbs.

This might actually hit your monthly budget, but there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation.

smart bulbs in ceiling light controlled with an app
The electricity usage of multiple smart bulbs adds up

How to Reduce Energy Consumption From Smart Lighting

Have you noticed how we said smart lighting, not smart bulbs? Smart lighting is a broader term that includes smart bulbs, smart switches, and smart plugs.

If you decide to smarten your entire house’s lighting, then using a blend of those three options will help you control the expenses.

However, you need to understand the difference between the three first:

Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs are individual bulbs. Each bulb can be controlled on its own and will have its respective connection. That will allow you to adjust the brightness and even the color of each bulb as you see fit.

This is the most versatile option, but it’s also the one with the biggest toll on your electricity bill. Since every single bulb will have its own connection, the electricity bill will be notably higher.

Because of that, we don’t recommend composing your entire home smart lighting from individual smart bulbs. If you live in an apartment, though, then you mostly won’t stack too much on your electricity bill.

Smart Switches

Smart switches allow you to link multiple light bulbs to the same switch. The cool option here is that all of the connected bulbs can be normal, non-smart LED bulbs.

The switch will join all of them in one circuit, and you’ll need to connect only to the switch for controlling your lighting.

Much like smart bulbs, smart switches allow you to control the brightness and light schedule. However, you won’t be able to control the color of your lighting, which is a necessary feature for some people.

Smart Plugs

Smart plugs are the ‘least’ smart of the three. This option is basically converting your ordinary device into a smart one using a smart plug device. This plug goes between your device and the wall outlet, allowing for slight control over the device’s functions.

To control each device, you’ll need a separate connection on your phone for that device. While this option might seem great because of its versatility, it’s actually the least desirable one.

Using smart plugs means that you still have to rely on multiple BlueTooth/Wi-Fi connections. Additionally, most of these plugs offer only the basic on/off functions plus some energy tracking.

Using a Blend of Smart Lighting

By now, restricting your home lighting to smart LED bulbs only shouldn’t seem like a feasible idea, especially if you have an abundant number of bulbs at home.

We recommend relying on smart switches for the majority of your lighting. This will restrict the number of required wireless connections and, in turn, reduce the amount of idle electricity consumption.

You can still use some individual smart bulbs with their respective connections here and there. This is especially stylish in rooms that you use a lot, where you’d occasionally want to change the light color and have full control over the light bulb from your phone.