I tested the GE Link smart bulb indoors with my SmartThings hub a couple of months ago. It worked beautifully, had a $15 price tag, and I wanted to use it on my porch for added security.
The problem? There are technically three different GE Link bulbs and the $15 A19 is rated as an indoor bulb. The outdoor bulb is a PAR38 flood and spotlight that is much too big for my porch fixture. Like any good consumer, I called GE directly to ask if indoors means indoors or just indoors maybe.
Indoor vs outdoor bulbs
When I called into GE, the person that I spoke with didn’t know why they have some bulbs rated indoors and some outdoors but he said it would be fine to use the A19 outdoors. Still cautious, I called back a couple weeks later to try to get a different person and perhaps a different answer. There has to be a reason why some are indoor and some are outdoor…right?
The second time I called the GE team I was told that they do not have an officially approved safe temperature range for the A19 GE Link. However, my rep told me off the record that one of his colleagues uses the same bulb outdoors in upstate New York. I then expressed concerns about moisture to my GE rep who confirmed that moisture inside the bulb will kill the bulb. Finally, I asked him if I should be concerned about safety. He assured me that the bulb would not combust, explode, or catch fire if used improperly. Assuming that my worst case scenario would be a voided warranty and a shorter bulb life I ordered two.
Test Results for the GE Link Connected LED Bulb
I screwed the bulbs into my porch fixture and turn the lights on. The bulbs flashed a few times showing that they were connected, I opened up my SmartThings app, clicked add new device, and the system found both bulbs right away. I set the bulbs up on two automated rules. Both bulbs will turn on at sunset and off at sunrise.
I’ve been running the bulbs outside for over a month. The temperature range has been anywhere from 28 to 63 degrees. We’ve had snow, humidity, ice, wind, rain, and sun and the weather has not at all impacted the bulb’s ability to perform on a schedule.
Do I expect the bulb’s to live long lives? Not at all. However, it’s worth it to me. The bulbs perform an important safety feature by keeping our entry lit at night and also by making it appear that we are home even when we are not. They do all of this without any interaction from me.
In order for the bulbs to work outside I do recommend using them on a porch or covered area. Also, use them in a fixture for added protection from the elements. The bulbs use ZigBee HA 1.2 which works off of a mesh network with your other existing devices. I can’t say if your bulb will be in range for your unique situation but it worked for me. I am calling these bulbs a win for limited outdoor use.