5 Top Smart Outdoor Lighting Systems Compared

Options for smart outdoor lighting


There are many reasons why one would want to use smart outdoor lighting in their outdoor space as opposed to normal “dumb” switches.

The simplicity of the wiring means that you could have fully functional smart outdoor lighting without the need to run any wires back into the house for control, and no internal redecorating work.

You can also have a complex system with different lighting scenes and different controllable loads (such as colour changing outdoor lighting as well as water feature pumps).

Also, by automating your smart outdoor lighting system, you can increase security. Brightly lit outdoor areas are less appealing to night time trawlers.

So, with the multitude of choice for your smart outdoor lighting system, which one should you go for? This article investigates the options available and the pros and cons of each.

Philips Hue Outdoor Lighting

Philips Hue is a big name in the mass market of smart lighting. For their outdoor lighting solutions, they offer a variety of different light fittings with integrated light sources as well as single smart bulbs that can retrofit into existing light fittings.

They also offer low voltage kits which do not need an electrician to install, as long as you have an outdoor power socket. Similarly, if you already have outdoor wall lights or up lights with GU10 bulbs, you can have a DIY smart outdoor lighting system without needing to involve an electrician.

With white and colour enabled lights, a Philips hue smart outdoor lighting system gives you colour controls as well as warm and cool white tones.

The options for integrated fittings are wall lights, bollard lights as well as spike lights, but we find the cost per fitting on these to be comparable to high end light fittings such as Collingwood and there is only a short warranty period of 2 years (Collingwood offers 7 years). When these fittings fail, you cannot replace the bulbs and given the plasticky build quality and environmental pressures, longevity is a concern.


Colour controls included in most fittings
Variety of light fittings for different styles and applications
Easy to integrate into a home automation system
Control options independent of wiring


Wireless technology, unsuitable for larger gardens due to range
Requires Hue bridge connected to router
High cost per fitting and only a 2 year warranty (2 seasons).
No control of other devices such as water feature pumps or decking lights

Verdict: A good dip of the toe into smart lighting, but more professional systems are available for similar or slightly higher cost with added benefits.


Casambi is a wireless mesh technology based on Bluetooth low energy (BLE) which is perfect for a smart outdoor lighting system. The main strength of a Casambi system is that it is manufacturer agnostic. Any manufacturer can license the technology from Casambi to build a Casambi-ready product. Some of them put their own branding on the product (such as Occhio and Flos) but these fittings will work with other Casambi fittings and controls. This benefits the consumer by increasing options and reducing prices.

Casambi makes an exceptional smart outdoor lighting system due to the wide variety of control options as well as the ease of installation. Every fitting requires a permanent supply and then control is via the wireless Casambi network. This means that the entire smart outdoor lighting system can be run as one circuit, saving cable.

Casambi switch modules are available for controlling switched loads (such as water feature pumps) and dimmer modules are available for controlling existing or third-party fittings. There are also retrofit lamps with Casambi built in.


No bridge or hub required at router
Control all types of fittings and pumps – manufacturer agnostic
Beautiful switch choices from many different manufacturers


Additional equipment required for third-party integration
Better for larger gardens, but it is still a wireless system
Colour changing limited to LED strips only and not bulbs

Verdict: Fantastic wireless technology and reliability, huge range of solutions means anything can be achieved.


Wise Controls

Wise controls manufacture the “Wise box” which has found a niche in garden lighting in particular due to the ease of installation for the electrician. These products are mostly marketed at electricians and have not changed much over the last 10 years. Originally wise controls would not be defined as a smart outdoor lighting system. However, new products added to the collection allow the use of a smartphone app as well as Alexa and Google Home integration.

Wise controls do not manufacture light fittings, but rather wireless switches and relays, as well as dimmer modules. Keypads can be wired or wireless (wired for retrofit control of a single lighting circuit – communication is always wireless) and available in a wide variety of finishes. Fobs are also available for convenient control.

For outdoor and garden lighting, we like the fact that the control gear comes in an IP rated enclosure which simplifies installation. However, we have also found longevity to be lacking across some of the products. Also, the lights have to be “circuited” which means all lights to be controlled together are connected to their own cable, which means more cable needs to be run.


Easy to install
Readily available from wholesalers across the country
Easy to program


Expensive for what you get
Inferior App interface
Poor battery life on switches
PIR motion sensor requires additional module mounted in separate enclosure.

Verdict: Wise controls are feeling slightly dated and the integrations feel a touch cumbersome.

Light Symphony

Light Symphony is a hardware company that builds control systems for smart outdoor lighting systems. They have been building products for a long time, and produce equipment very similar to wise controls. We find like for like Light symphony provides better value for money than wise controls, as well as more reliable control and better signal range.

What light symphony does not provide are lighting keypads, so you are limited to using their fobs and remote controls. They do make a switch adapter, that mount in the switch back box to allow a regular switch to control the system. However, we find that homeowners regularly struggle to change the batteries on these as it means dismantling the switch.

Light symphony is good for large gardens with a large amount of circuits due to the long range and granular control afforded by the multi-button remotes, however the lack of keypads makes it difficult to recommend on a lot of projects.

In order to integrate Light Symphony and become a smart outdoor lighting system, you will need to purchase a separate bridge which automatically programs itself to your system. Easy to install, but something to bear in mind.

Long RF range means fewer repeaters on large gardens
Numeric keypad allows control of many circuits
Easy installation

Lack of keypad/switch options
Dated control interface in app and via integration


There are two notable lighting control solutions from Lutron: Lutron Ra2 Select and Lutron Homeworks. I will not get into the comparison of each one here. If you have Lutron Homeworks at home, you already know how good it is and you should stick to that for your outdoor lighting system. If you are starting from scratch and you have no lighting control system indoors, look at Ra2 Select.

Lutron Ra2 Select uses 230V load controllers (switches and dimmers) to control lighting, pumps etc. For switches and control options, they use the Lutron Pico Remotes which can be finished with plastic or metal faceplates. Lutron Ra2 Select operates on the 868MHz range, which is more interference resistant for better reliability than most others.

With Lutron Ra2 Select as your smart garden lighting control system, you get a wide variety of control options as well as a very well-engineered user app interface. The app includes functions such as geolocation, astronomic timers and more. On top of that it is very intuitive to use. It also integrates with just about anything.

Since all set up and programming is all done via the app it is very flexible for future additions to your system, and you can achieve complete flexibility with your lighting scenes, which are easy to change on a whim.

The downside to Lutron Ra2 Select as a smart outdoor lighting system is that the dimmers themselves need to be located in a weatherproof enclosure and they aren’t as small as the Casambi dimmers, for example.


7-year battery life on wireless switches
Beautiful app interface
Great reliability, always works when it is asked to


Centralised wiring for each controlled circuit
Hub/bridge required next to router

Verdict: An industry-leading control system with the power to integrate into everything. If you have the money, go for Lutron. Although it’s not as expensive as you might think!


All in all, we don’t believe in a “one size fits all” solution to smart outdoor lighting systems. Depending on your circumstances (budget, existing wiring, extent of work) what works for one person may not work for you. With that said, Lutron is definitely the leader of the pack of the systems we have worked with (and there have been many!). Casambi is our second favourite. If you simply want to change the bulbs and away you go, get Philips Hue.

We hope this article has helped you out on your journey of garden lighting control! If you would like any more advice, or would like to engage us to design your dream garden lighting, feel free to contact us by email: tom@porter.systems or phone: 0207 550 6446.


Noteworthy mentions:

Ansell OCTO is definitely worth looking into, it is based on the Casambi technology. Don’t confuse it for OCTO Wiz by the same manufacturer, that is based on the Wiz WiFi technology. Both systems are worth looking into however.

Control4 is a great system that also makes smart lighting control equipment. However, we would recommend using Lutron for lighting and then use your Control4 to operate the lights from your touchscreens and remotes. Lutron gives you more flexibility and the app is hard to beat for the functionality you get!

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