Natty ceiling light showdown: Aqara T1M versus Nanoleaf Skylight

For too prolonged, coloration-changing magnificent lighting has been stuck inner bulbs and light strips, limiting its use to table lamps, the occasional recessed can light, and perchance lighting up the underside of your cupboards. But with these two fresh magnificent ceiling lights from Aqara and Nanoleaf, we lastly bear more alternatives beyond Philips Hue’s line of ceiling lights for bringing related, sharp light to our ceilings.

Natty fixtures — which would possibly well be hardwired to your condo’s electrical wiring — let you add tunable white and coloration-changing lighting to areas where there are no lamps or recessed lighting for magnificent bulbs or straightforward spots to stay magnificent light strips. As with any magnificent lights, you could well possibly attach schedules and join them to circulate sensors and other magnificent dwelling devices to automatically flip them on and off.

These fresh lights from Nanoleaf and Aqara add dynamic lighting, one thing even Hue hasn’t supplied in its ceiling fixtures to this level. These are amongst the first magnificent ceiling fixtures to carry addressable lighting to the ceiling, permitting adjust of coloration, temperature, hue, and brightness, plus the skill to reveal a pair of colours simultaneously. 

The $149.ninety nine Aqara Ceiling Light T1M is a tunable white light fixture with a coloration-changing LED ring featuring 26 individually addressable zones. The $249.ninety nine Nanoleaf Skylight are tunable white and elephantine-coloration modular ceiling LED light panels, every able to exhibiting completely different colours and tunable white light.

I build these two fresh ceiling lights to the test, pitting them against every other to appear who came out on top. I assessed their originate, designate, and suggestions for magnificent dwelling adjust, as well to how straightforward they had been to put in. I examined their light quality and how successfully they every carried out their unusual skill to manufacture dynamic lighting effects.

After making an strive out them simultaneously for 2 weeks, I loved how every product lit up shadowy areas of my dwelling where I previously relied on a single magnificent bulb in an veteran ceiling fixture. But this is a head-to-head, so there had to be a winner. Read on to discover which one came out on top.

Invent: successfully being facility dapper vs. a customary look

The Aqara T1M has a more customary originate — it looks to be esteem a nice, high-discontinue ceiling light. But the Nanoleaf brings one thing very unusual to the ceiling. Designed to if truth be told feel esteem a physical skylight in your ceiling, the Nanoleaf has a flush-mounted sq. originate. It’s modular so it will most likely well be as substantial as you’re making an strive to bear it to be — able to lighting up the leisure from a exiguous corridor to a ballroom.

The Nanoleaf comes in a starter kit with three panels for $249.ninety nine, and you will handle these to your liking. Best possible one panel needs to be wired, and you will add up to ninety nine more panels to assemble a ceiling elephantine of light. (Be warned: a single panel prices $70, in negate that can very successfully be a $7,000 ceiling.)

I had a 3-pack to play with, so I created a geometrical originate with two panels aspect by aspect and the different centered in the heart. Firstly, I wanted to build them in a row, esteem a skylight, but my paramedic husband stated it would look esteem a successfully being facility. 

The T1M (left) and the Skylight (simply).

He wasn’t tainted. When tuned to elephantine white, the hallway did resemble an OR. But after I modified it to 1 in every of the firm’s glowing lighting effects, the Nanoleaf changed into as soon as magnificent, resembling an true skylight. Aloof, when the light is off, the white plastic originate of the panels isn’t lovely; every is chubby and uncomplicated with obvious successfully being facility vibes. 

The Aqara Ceiling Light T1M is less sharp, smaller, and more customary-taking a see than the Nanoleaf Skylight. It’s 20 inches spherical and 3 inches deep and sits flush to the ceiling. It’s made out of two lights: a major light and a ring light, and its size makes it right for rooms up to about 200 sq. feet.

While the Nanoleaf makes a necessary better assertion, the Aqara will slot in better in more areas. 

Winner: Tie

Light quality: Nanoleaf is dapper sharp, but Aqara is smoother 

Darkish spots in the panels could well be a shrimp distracting, even supposing now not as noticeable in the Skylight as they’re in Nanoleaf’s wall panels.

Both lights give off 1400 lumens, but for the Nanoleaf, that’s per panel, that system you’re getting 4200 lumens — that’s a lotta light.

The Nanoleaf also offers elephantine coloration and tunable white light on every panel. Whereas the Aqara’s predominant light is cramped to tunable white light, the coloration comes from the individually controllable ring light with 26 individually addressable zones featuring elephantine-coloration LEDs (but no tunable white). 

Both lights shadowy all of the model down to nearly imperceptible phases and ramp up to dapper-sharp white light and acceptably sharp colours. The Nanoleaf Skylight is noticeably brighter, thanks to its three panels, however the T1M offers off a softer, more diffuse light from its predominant and ring light. You don’t perceive any pinprick LEDs or shadows, whereas the Skylight has some viewed darker areas that can look esteem murky spots. (That is a project with the firm’s Shapes and Canvas panels, too.) 

Aqara’s light has a more customary look but with high-tech suggestions.

Aqara’s light also works with Apple’s HomeKit Adaptive lighting, a function of Apple Dwelling (so iPhone most productive) that automatically adjusts the white hue of esteem minded lights at some level of the day, going from frigid bluish whites in the early morning to heat orangey whites in the night. (Best possible the predominant light responds to adaptive lighting; the ring light doesn’t bear tunable white light.)

The Nanoleaf Skylight doesn’t work with adaptive lighting or even with the Nanoleaf app’s Circadian lighting function (which is cramped to its Essentials vary). On the other hand, it does bear the likelihood of scheduling its diverse daylight-mimicking scenes, esteem “Blue Skies” and “Golden Hour,” to assemble a the same enact to Adaptive Lighting.

I attach schedules in the Nanoleaf app to bear these scenes ramp up brightness over an hour to simulate pure light, and this labored successfully. But it’s now not as straightforward as the usage of HomeKit’s likelihood — where you right select adaptive lighting as soon as, and it adjusts automatically at some level of the day. Environment schedules in the Nanoleaf app is fiddly, with the app ingesting mine several cases. The dynamic scenes are also more impactful than frequent light bulbs adjusting their hue, and at cases, I learned them a shrimp distracting.

Winner: Aqara

Lighting effects: Nanoleaf dazzles, Aqara falls brief

Aqara’s coloration lighting effects are cramped to its Ring light, which is controlled individually from the predominant tunable white light.

Color is where the Skylight excels; every panel can reveal over 16 million colours and dynamic lighting effects that waft, flash, pulse, and soften in dizzying light dances.

Nanoleaf on the whole invented dynamic lighting effects, and it blows Aqara out of the water with regards to the sheer number and impressiveness of its preset effects. A host of which would possibly even sync in time to ambient song or sound, one thing Aqara’s can’t.

Nanoleaf launched some fresh Scenes with the Skylight, in conjunction with “Light Rain,” “Sun Shower,” and “Blue Skies,” which would possibly well be designed to mimic the originate air and make the Skylight if truth be told feel esteem a skylight. These variety of are dynamic in that they shift colours to fully different flows, and this could be a shrimp distracting. The panels don’t bear addressable LEDS, so the whole panel adjustments coloration to assemble the enact.

These press photos from Nanoleaf reveal how the Skylight’s originate turns into more impressive with more panels.” loading=”slothful” decoding=”async” records-nimg=”believe” src=”×2250/2400×1350/filters:focal(2000×1125:2001×1126):layout(webp)/” records-former-src=”records:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″>The lighting effects also rating design more impressive.” loading=”slothful” decoding=”async” records-nimg=”believe” src=”×2250/2400×1350/filters:focal(2000×1125:2001×1126):layout(webp)/” records-former-src=”records:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″>


These press photos from Nanoleaf reveal how the Skylight’s originate turns into more impressive with more panels.

Image: Nanoleaf

In disagreement, Aqara’s tunable white effects paired with the ring light and its six individually addressable zones had been total calmer and more appropriate for a household now not smitten by RGB lighting. It also offers more efficiency with the likelihood to connect up automations to use the ring light as a notification light — for instance, flash red when an Aqara alarm intention is prompted or when the Aqara G4 video doorbell rings.

Both apps let you originate your possess lighting effects, but Nanoleaf’s AI-powered Magic Scene creator made this if truth be told straightforward. I right typed in “Sunday Morning,” and it conjured up a stress-free palette of warmth pinks and beiges intermingled with white, and “Tropical Paradise” created a enjoyable sea of turquoise, blues, and greens. Very Minute Mermaid

Winner: Nanoleaf

Specs: Nanoleaf Skylight

  • Lumens: 1400 lumen per panel
  • Tunable white light: 2700 to 6500K
  • Color light: RGBCW, 16 million colours
  • Color Rendering Index: 80
  • Area matter: Plastic
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
  • Dimmable: Sure
  • Compatibility: Apple Dwelling, Google Dwelling, Amazon Alexa, Samsung Smartthings
  • Vitality: AC Wired
  • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
  • Dimensions: 12” x 12” x 2.2” every panel

Cost, connectivity, and compatibility: a hub adds to Aqara’s designate, but Nanoleaf is true expensive

The Aqara T1M is the more cost-effective likelihood at $150. The Nanoleaf begins at $250, but you rating three cases the light when put next to the T1M. The value escalates mercurial — a four-pack prices $420, to a 12-pack that prices $880.

On the other hand, because the T1M makes use of the Zigbee wireless protocol, it requires an Aqara Hub. Essentially the most fee-efficient esteem minded Aqara Hub is the $30 E1 — bringing the whole designate to $180. But the TM1 works with any Zigbee 3.0 Aqara Hub, in conjunction with the upcoming Hub M3, which shall be a Thread border router and Subject controller for Aqara’s platform. 

Nanoleaf makes use of 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, so it doesn’t need an additional hub. It would possibly also in some unspecified time in the future be a hub. It has a Thread radio on board and could well be a Thread border router, which would enable Nanoleaf’s Thread merchandise, resembling its Essentials line, to join to it. Nanoleaf hasn’t turned this functionality on but; the firm tells me it will attain in an exchange later this twelve months. 

Wi-Fi can silent be an unreliable protocol for lights, and in making an strive out, while the Skylight by no system dropped offline, I had frequent agonize controlling it with the Nanoleaf app, which is slack and buggy and crashes consistently or requires restarts. In disagreement, Aqara’s Zigbee connectivity changed into as soon as rock solid, and its app changed into as soon as fracture-free.

Both lights are esteem minded with all predominant magnificent dwelling platforms, in conjunction with Amazon Alexa, Google Dwelling, and Apple HomeKit. Best possible the T1M helps Subject (with an Aqara hub). Nanoleaf says it plans to carry Subject enhance to all its panel merchandise “soon.” 

Winner: Aqara

Set up: rent an electrician (but Aqara is more straightforward)

Anytime you’re messing with electricity in a ceiling, I’d highly point out hiring a talented. On the other hand, in case you’re going for it, then placing in the T1M changed into as soon as the finest.

It’s if truth be told the the same as placing in a customary ceiling fixture; after turning the vitality off at the breaker, I pulled the wires in my ceiling thru a exiguous hole in the predominant lamp and attached it to the ceiling with three screws the usage of a drill. The three wires (are dwelling wire, ground, and neutral) then slot into an electrical connector in the lamp. At closing, I build the glass diffuser over the lamp, twisting it into attach.  

Installing the Skylight changed into as soon as design more onerous; lining up the panels wasn’t straightforward — and there’s no template to alter to. With four screws for every panel, I performed up with quite a lot of holes in my ceiling, and connecting the 2 wires required between every panel changed into as soon as if truth be told fiddly to preserve out while standing on a ladder.

Winner: Aqara

Specs: Aqara Ceiling Light T1M

  • Lumens: 1400 lumens 
  • Tunable white light: Fundamental light: 2700 to 6500K
  • Color: Ring light — RGBCW, 16 million colours
  • Color Rendering Index: 90
  • Area matter: Glass
  • Connectivity: Zigbee — requires Aqara hub (Zigbee 3.0) 
  • Dimmable: Sure
  • Compatibility: Apple Dwelling, Google Dwelling, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Subject
  • Vitality: AC wired
  • Lifetime: 50,000 hours
  • Dimensions: 19.49”L x 19.49”W x 2.96”H
  • Mounting variety: Ceiling flush mount

Control: Aqara efficiently solves the dull swap conundrum 

Would possibly bear to you put in a magnificent light fixture on a frequent light swap, it will lose all efficiency when that swap is off. While magnificent lights in total don’t play successfully with most magnificent switches, Aqara and Nanoleaf bear each learned ways around this.

The T1M could well be paired with a $35 wired Aqara Natty Swap, attach to its wireless swap mode. This keeps vitality flowing to the light even supposing anyone turns the swap off, leaving it controllable in the app or with snarl. On the other hand, it doesn’t enable for dimming; that must be finished in the app or with snarl. Nanoleaf’s fresh Sense Plus magnificent switches will work with the Skylight and enable for dimming, but they aren’t accessible but. (Nanoleaf says they’re coming later this twelve months.) 

For every lights, a magnificent button or scene controller that works in your chosen platform is perchance the finest likelihood for physical adjust, especially in case you don’t wish to debris with more wiring. But Aqara wins here for now because you could well possibly if truth be told purchase its physical controller.

Winner: Aqara

The Aqara T1M will fit successfully in any room.

Which is simplest?

The Aqara is the winner in case you’re buying for an cheap, straightforward-to-install magnificent ceiling light that works with all of the predominant magnificent dwelling platforms. Its reliability and physical adjust likelihood also make it the next selection.

But the Nanoleaf is the splashier, fancier light, with a whole bunch of scenes, the likelihood of song sync, and the skill to pair with Nanoleaf’s other dynamic lighting merchandise to if truth be told RGB-up your life. (Aqara’s most productive other dynamic lighting product is its T1 Light Strip).

The Nanoleaf shall be the simpler likelihood for filling a gigantic room with light, thanks to its modular, expandable originate. While it would look big over a prolonged dining table or kitchen counter, it’s now not if truth be told another choice to a customary ceiling light — it has a truly completely different silent, particular person that could very successfully be too completely different for quite a lot of of us. But in case you esteem the look, you’ll bask in this light.

Would possibly bear to you bear got a better attach to light up or are buying for one thing more unusual with brighter light and better dynamic coloration effects, journey for the Nanoleaf Skylight. For every other use case, pick the Aqara T1M. 

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