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If you love decorating your house with Christmas lights but wish you had something a bit more than the basic ones people have been stringing up for decades, you should look into a set of smart outdoor lights.
Just like the Bluetooth-controlled smart lights that have become popular for indoor use, you can now find a wide variety of smart outdoor lights for sale on Amazon in a range of prices. The brand Govee sells sets of outdoor lights that change colors and can sync to music, in the form of string lights and flood lights. Both sets essentially function the same way, but are different in design.
The Govee flood lights offer 28 different scene modes, a multi-color display with 16 million color choices and have a brightness of up to 500 lumens (about the equivalent of a 50-watt bulb). They are also dimmable and have a timer. The string lights, meanwhile, also have 16 million colors, plus 40 scene modes, including Halloween- and Christmas-themed settings. You can set each bulb to a different color or choose two, like red and green, for the whole display. You control the lights using the free Govee Home app and by linking your phone to the lights via Bluetooth.
There are multiple options in each style of light for the number of lights and cord length. However, the four-pack flood light set and the 96-foot, 30-bulb string light set, which are both priced at $99.99, each have a $20-off coupon that can be clipped at checkout as of this writing, bringing the sets to $79.99 apiece.
I recently tested both sets of Govee smart outdoor lights after the brand sent me each for review. I chose to test the flood lights indoors and outdoors and the string lights indoors.
The four-pack set of flood lights arrived just in time for a “Hocus Pocus 2” watch party I was hosting, so I put them to use as a bit of ambient lighting in the kitchen. (Govee also has two-light and six-light flood light sets on Amazon.) While there are only four lights in each box, the cord is nearly 40 feet long, so it wrapped all the way around my countertops and was actually so long that I had to use twist-ties to shorten it.
Setup took just a few minutes, and once you’ve downloaded the Govee Home app, you simply choose the color or scene you want and the lights will comply. I chose purple for the party, as I had orange and green string lights around the rest of house. Even on the lowest brightness setting, I found the Govee smart flood lights were bright enough to be used as the sole lighting source in the kitchen, which truly added a spooky vibe while still providing enough light for grabbing snacks throughout the night.
While I simply put them around the food on the counter, I could also see them being mounted under the cabinets so that the lights point downward and shine on the counters. I may end up doing that in the future, as I really liked having the kitchen lit like that. The bottom line is: These are versatile decorative lights when used indoors.
On Halloween, I opted to move the Govee flood lights outside and run them on the app setting dedicated to the spooky holiday. The Halloween setting made the lights flash red, orange and purple, creating a fun atmosphere for trick-or-treaters. While I simply placed them in my flower bed, they do come with stakes if you wanted to secure them into the ground.
I tested the Govee string lights exclusively indoors, hanging them in a window above my record player. Setup for these was just as quick and easy as the flood lights and they operated exactly the same way, using the Govee Home app. In the set I tested, the cord on the string lights is 48 feet long, with 15 bulbs strung across them. However, Govee also makes a 30-bulb, 96-foot-long string light set.
After shuffling through a few of the app’s settings, I eventually settled on solid red for Halloween night, syncing the smart lights to music so that they flashed to the beat. The lights actually use sound picked up by your phone’s microphone for this setting. It’s a neat feature that worked really well during my testing and can add ambience to any music-driven party you’re hosting.
With the impressive music sync, ease of set-up and versatility of year-round settings, these lights are well worth their $99 price tag in my opinion but are an absolute steal with the $20-off coupon attached.
What Amazon Users Are Saying
While both sets of Govee smart lights have a combined total of more than 1,500 five-star reviews at Amazon, the majority of negative reviews point out that while the lights are waterproof, the plug is not. That means if you are using them outside in the rain or by a pool, you’ll want to make sure the plug is protected from the elements. If the plug gets damaged, the lights will not work.
A few other negative reviews have said the cords broke after a few uses. While I haven’t experienced any such issues with mine so far, you’ll want to make sure you have the warranty information on Govee’s website in case it happens to you. If you purchase from Amazon, you’ll need to contact them for a refund instead. Given that these are far more expensive than your average string lights, any mechanical failures should be taken seriously.
Govee sells many sets of outdoor smart lights on Amazon, but there are a few other brands that offer similar products, including a set from Lumary that’s longer and cheaper. The 15-bulb set of smart string lights lists at $70. A shorter set of smart string lights from XMCOSY+ lists for $54. The other brands function in basically the same way and are also controlled by smartphone apps.