Smart light bulbs are an increasingly crowded space, and an increasingly confusing one as a result. It's rapidly become difficult to tell which bulbs properly work with your Google Home, Google smart display, or Android smartphone, how well, and whether you should opt for a hub, hubless, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth-enabled bulbs.

We've got some experience with all this stuff, and so we've put together this guide. We think these are the best light bulbs on any budget for your Google Home and Assistant-enabled smart home.

In this guide, we'll summarize the most popular smart light bulbs, and what you need to know about how they work. We'll mostly focus on A19-style smart bulbs.

Best for Google Home/Assistant: GE C-Life/C-Life Multicolor

If you mainly use Google Home speakers, you might be interested in GE's C-Life smart bulbs. They use mesh Bluetooth to connect directly any Home smart speaker, so they don't have to be paired to Wi-Fi or a dedicated hub. Bluetooth isn't perfect as a connectivity standard, but GE's C-Life bulbs are incredibly affordable and offer full Assistant integration.

Specs

Pricing $17 for two-pack white, $37 for 2-pack multicolor
Hub required Yes (Home speaker or GE hub)
Color White and Multicolor options available
Compatible platforms Google Assistant (when paired to Google Home), Alexa, Apple HomeKit (when paired to GE hub)

We reviewed both the white and multi-color versions, and as long as you have a Google Home speaker close to where the lights are being installed, they're some of the simplest smart home products on the market.

However, if you want to use them with Alexa (or non-Google Home Assistant speakers), you'll have to pair them with GE's own hub instead, which doesn't work very well. Multi-assistant households should probably look elsewhere.

Best cheap Wi-Fi bulb: Wyze Bulb (white)

Wyze is best known for its affordable smart cameras, but the company also entered the smart lighting market last year. The Wyze Bulb is one of the cheapest smart light bulbs available, and unlike most other options in this price range, you don't even need a separate hub — the bulbs connect straight to Wi-Fi. They're also white balance tuneable, a pretty rare feature at this price point.

Specs

Pricing $8 for 1-pack bulb, ~$30 for 4-pack (from Wyze directly)
Hub required No
Color White only
Compatible platforms Alexa, Google Assistant

We reviewed the Wyze Bulb when it was released last year, and even though the app used for setup was buggy at the time, the price savings is (probably) worth it. Once you get everything set up, you can connect your Wyze account to Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control.

The main downside to Wyze's lineup is that it's just one bulb. There are no color options, or brighter lights intended for use in large rooms.

The best cheap hub bulb: Philips Hue A19 (white)

Philips Hue was one of the first mainstream smart light systems, with options in every product category: light bulbs, lamps, light strips, outdoor fixtures, and more. While having all sorts of products in the same ecosystem is great, Hue is one of the more expensive options if you just want some light bulbs.

Specs

Pricing $15 for 1-pack bulb, ~$50 for 4-pack
Hub required Partially
Color White only
Compatible platforms Alexa, Google Assistant

Hue light bulbs originally required the use of an external hub device, which acted as the bridge between the bulbs and your home's Wi-Fi network, but the newer A19 models can also be controlled by a nearby Bluetooth device. If you want to change the bulbs' settings from more than a few feet away, though, you'll probably have to use a hub — some Amazon Echo speakers can function as one, or you can pick up the official Hue Hub. We recommend Philips bulbs if you plan to put a seriously large number of smart bulbs in your home, because the hub allows a greater maximum number of bulbs, and tends to work better for controlling them in such big groupings than hubless systems.

A more premium Wi-Fi bulb: TP-Link Kasa Smart KL110 (white)

If you just want a simple smart light bulb that connects directly to your home Wi-Fi, without the need for any hubs, the Kasa Smart KL110 bulb from TP-Link might be the best way to go. It's not a color bulb, and it's considerably more expensive than the Wyze bulb while featuring the same output, but we like the ease of setup on TP-Link's app and think these are quality products. They also work with Cortana, if that's something you care about.

Specs

Pricing $15 for 1-pack bulb
Hub required No
Color White only
Compatible platforms Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana

The KL110 works great with any smart home ecosystem, and is one of the most economical options in this list. TP-Link Kasa's mobile app is also one of the best smart home apps out there, so you'll probably run into fewer issues with setup/management than with some of the other bulbs on this list. TP-Link also offers a white balance tuneable version of this bulb, but we think it's too expensive at $25. You're better off upgrading to the full color KL130, which is just $5 more.

Best Wi-Fi color bulb: TP-Link Kasa Smart KL130

This is more or less the same product as the above-mentioned KL110, but instead of being limited to just white, it offers LED lighting that can change to any color. However, it is twice the cost (but still substantially cheaper than many Philips full-color Hue products).

Specs

Pricing $30 for 1-pack bulb
Hub required No
Color Multicolor
Compatible platforms Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana

You can change the color using the TP-Link app, or using voice commands with your favorite assistant. For example, you could say "OK Google, set the living room to green." Like the other TP-Link Kasa bulbs, this one also doesn't require a hub.

Best compact bulb: Lifx A19 Mini

One more option for a cheap Wi-Fi-enabled smart bulb is the Lifx A19 Mini, which usually goes for around $20. Just like TP-Link and Wyze's bulbs, it connects directly to your home network, without the need for a hub device. This is also an A19 "mini" design, which means it'll fit in a wider variety of enclosed fixtures and tight spaces.

Specs

Pricing $20 for 1-pack
Hub required No
Color White
Compatible platforms Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple HomeKit

The bulb can connect to Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and Alexa, so no matter what smart home ecosystem you have (or want to have), the Lifx A19 will fit right in.