When the world went from candles to the electric lightbulb it revolutionized the way we live and work. The world became better educated and more productive thanks to the inexpensive provision of clean electric light on a global scale. Today, if you look at the Earth from space, you can tell how advanced a country is by how lit up it is at night. Artificial light is one of the keystones of civilized life.
The technology of light bulbs had stayed essentially the same since the early days of Thomas Edison and his contemporaries. They became brighter, smaller, and longer lasting, but the basic principle of how they operated was unchanged. An electric current would flow through a highly resistant wire inside a vacuum. The electricity would then be converted to light and also heat. Lots of heat. Light bulbs are actually pretty inefficient and waste a significant amount of the electricity they consume as waste heat. This heat also wears the light out over time and eventually the wire or the glass bulb will fail.
Things began to change at the end of the last century and the early years of the 21st century. Fluorescent light technology, which had only really been viable in a long tube form factor, starting finding its way into so-called “energy saver” bulbs. These bulbs used much less power power and don’t generate nearly as much heat. They lasted much longer as well, which offset their slightly higher price.
All the while another light technology has been on the up-and-up – LED lighting.
LEDs have really been killing it technology-wise and now you can get super bright LED lights that fit existing light sockets, make very little if any heat, and will last for years. The thing is, LED technology is much more compact than the system they fit in requires. So companies have figured out that you can stick all sorts of other electronics into the space left where the bulb would have gone. Speakers, WiFi repeaters, and more are now able to integrate with LED lights. I’ve put together a bunch of these guys down below and tried to figure out if they are worth the asking price. The ones I think are the best are highlighted at the top and the rest are in no particular order.