Top Smart Outdoor Landscape Lighting We Tested

Smart Outdoor Landscape Lighting

With so many of you dabbling in home automation, requests for Smart Outdoor Landscape Lighting are on the rise. Until recently, it required a substantial upgrade to your existing Landscape Lighting at a substantial cost to get much less functionality than exists today. Before you had to invest in a new transformer and all new LED lamps (bulbs.) Now we can provide a Wifi Socket that comes with an Outdoor Lighting App, and works with your existing lamps. As a result, the price of this technology came down, which is why it’s time for you to consider it now.

Photo cell

For years we have provided two timers with nearly every Outdoor Lighting installation. First, we use a photo cell. The purpose of the photo cell is to ensure the outdoor lights turn on at dusk, even as sunset times change every day. Consequently, the photo cell is also unaffected by daylight savings time changes. If you want lights to be on from sunset to sunup, the photo cell is all you need. They work great! The downside is they are not accurate for interior transformers, extreme shade or if they get covered by plant material or dirt.

Digital Timer

Secondly, we added a digital timer. Customers typically do not want their lights on all night until sunrise. Alternately, they love it when the photo cell turns them on at sunset, but they want them to turn off sometime between 11P and 1A. To that end, we add a digital timer.

Astronomical Timer

An Astronomical timer comes pre-programmed with a database of times for sunrise and sunset. Once you enter your location and set the date and time, your ready to program it for your desired hours to run your landscape lighting.  Astronomical timers are a great solution if you want the functionality of a photo cell and digital timer together, but your installation is not a candidate for a photo cell. It’s a great solution for customers when Wifi won’t work or they just aren’t interested in home automation or smart technology. The downside is that it requires a battery backup to save the settings in a power outage. Also, it cannot be controlled from a Smart device.

Wifi Timer

If you are already trying out some home automation, you probably know there are many choices  for Wifi power outlets. At my house I use Samsung SmartThings, Brilliance Wifi Smart Socket, Rachio, ecobee and Amazon Echo “Alexa.” My first attempt to put my Landscape Lights on Wifi was to plug in my Landscape Lighting Transformer to a SmartThings power outlet. With that, I can turn on my Landscape Lights with my iPhone or use a vocal command to Amazon Echo “Alexa.” I used it for a couple years with great satisfaction. Next, I tested the Smart Socket from Brilliance. The top smart outdoor landscape lighting we tested was Brilliance Wifi Smart Socket.  Blue Sky Rain is providing Brilliance Wifi Smart Socket for our Landscape Lighting customers, because it is made specifically for the landscape lighting transformer. 

Wifi outdoor lighting control replaces the need for any other timers. You have Astronomical functionality if you want your lights to turn on at sunset and off at 1A (or any desired time.) You can control your lights from anywhere in the world like any smart control app. The Brilliance App allows you to change the temperature, kelvin, of your outdoor lights too.

Brilliance Wifi Smart Socket works with Amazon Echo “Alexa,” and provides Wifi control of your Landscape Lighting. Since we have Outdoor Lighting that we can see from our back windows, sometimes we need to turn them off .  Right before we watch a movie, “Alexa, turn off the back yard,” will be a command given from one of us on the sofa to further darken our living room for better movie-watching enjoyment!

Smart Outdoor Lighting Gen 2

The next generation of Brilliance Smart Socket (Gen2) is even better. They modified the position of the wiring, so that it fits even better into Landscape Lighting Transformers.   The landscape lighting is easy to control using the Brilliance app from my iPhone to change run times, change the light colors and dim the landscape lighting.

What? “Did he say colors?”

Yes! Colored outdoor lights, traditionally associated with hardscape and cacti in the Western Region of the U.S., have made their way to Alabama!

Full disclosure, I really wasn’t sure if we would like colored outdoor lighting in our back yard. We rarely see them where we live in Birmingham, AL.  “Will it be too ‘West Coast’ to have colored lights?” I wondered. “Will we like them?”  

Are you thinking, “Why now?” Why did colored outdoor lighting arrive with Wifi control of landscape lighting?

Brilliance Chameleon Lights allow multiple colors and light temperatures from one lamp.

The answer is Brilliance Gen 2 Smart Socket also works with Brilliance LED Chameleon lamps. The Chameleon LED Lamps have the built-in ability to change color. Consequently you gain the creativity of colored outdoor lighting and the control from the Brilliance App. So I tested them for Blue Sky Rain Sprinkler Specialists and Landscape Lighting customers. And we love them! Now we have a green wall fountain, a blue dogwood and a purple large oak in my dusk landscape lights. The colored lights are a fun addition to my many 2700 kelvin (non-colored) uplights and path lights.  We love it!

Our Test Results

Full disclosure, I did not test very many options, yet. Blue Sky Rain continuously looks for the best solutions for our customers and that means many testing assignments for the Service Manager, yours truly – me. Also, I have had one Brilliance Smart Socket not work, because the customer’s wifi wasn’t working with it. Above all, once I tested Brilliance, with the excellent functionality of the app and the ability to add colored lights at an affordable price, I decided it was a good product for our customers.

Most importantly, if you are located in the Greater Birmingham, AL area, we’d love to provide Smart Outdoor Landscape Lighting for you. Contact Us Here!