6 Affordable Alternatives to Nanoleaf Smart Light Panels

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Nanoleaf colour changing LED wall panels are a popular way to add ambiance to your home.

Their range of light panels (Shapes, Canvas and Light Panels) come in various geometric shapes and some have touch control too. However, they don’t come cheap!

In this guide, I’ll share some of the cheaper alternatives to Nanoleaf that are available in the UK so that you don’t have to break the bank when decorating your home.

Table Of Contents

Quick Summary

Here are the top 3 recommendations, keep reading below for the full list:

Image Summary  
Cololight Plus
• Connect an infinite number of panels in any shape you like.
• Music sync via phone.
• Small than Nanoleaf.
LIFX Tile Kit
• Similar size to Nanoleaf.
• Each tile can have up to 64 colours for fluid effects.
• Only in squares
Hue Play Light Bar
• Projects light up the wall rather than being an LED panel.
• Very reliable and much cheaper than Nanoleaf.

Best Nanoleaf Alternatives

The best alternatives to Nanoleaf light panels are:

Below are my full reviews of each alternative with buying links.

Cololight Plus

Connect an infinite number of panels in any shape you like
Ready made scenes or your own lighting effects
Music sync via phone
Small compared to Nanoleaf
Each tile can only be one colour at a time

Cololight are the other popular brand of smart LED panels in the UK. Each panel is 100% individual and can be connected together in any pattern you like.

Like Nanoleaf, Cololight is compatible with Alexa, HomeKit and Google Home for hassle free voice control. Plus, you can create similar lighting effects to Nanoleaf with a range of colours and patterns or ready-made scenes.

Keep in mind that each panel is less than half the size of the Nanoleaf equivalent (Around 9 x 8 cm compared to 20 x 23cm of the Nanoleaf Shape), so you may need more to get the same coverage.

Cololight does have a music sync function, however this is not via a mic like the Nanoleaf and uses your phones mic instead.


LIFX Tile Kit

Good size and comparable to Nanoleaf
Each tile can have up to 64 colours for fluid effects
Huge range of integrations
Only squares available so limited patterns
Availability not great in the UK

The LIFX tiles are a great pick, especially if you already have other LIFX products and want to extend your network.

Although they are square which is slightly less geometrically pleasing than the shapes available with Nanoleaf, they can create really fluid effects as each tile can have multiple shades and colours at one time.

Each tile has 64 different drag and drop zones allowing you to create your own pattern or use the pre-created designs.

At around 20cm x 20cm per tile, they are pretty sizeable, however you should note that you cannot connect more than five tiles to a single power source.

Where LIFX stands out is with the integrations, connecting to almost every platform and voice assistant including Alexa, HomeKit, SmartThings, IFTTT, Windows 10, Nest and more.


Hue Play Light Bar

Sync to music or your PC with Hue app
Create scenes with other Hue products
Very reliable and much cheaper than Nanoleaf
Not an LED light panel, this projects light up the wall instead
Hue bridge is required

If lighting up your wall, then you may want to consider a Hue Play light bar instead of Nanoleaf or other LED panels.

The bar is designed to project an array of colour across the wall with the ability to project many colours simultaneously to create the perfect setting.

Phillips Hue is one of the most trusted and most reliable brands when it comes to smart lights, so choose this option if you want some lights that will consistently work.

The lights can be synced with your TV or music to create an entertainment area, and thanks to Hue’s abundance of third-party apps, there are plenty of fun tricks you can do with them.


Helios Touch

Touch activated
Easy to connect together via magnets
Connect up to 24 to one power source
These aren’t smart lights so no smart features
Shades of white only

If you want a low-tech alternative, these Helios tiles aren’t smart but instead are activated by touch. Simply swipe your hand across the tile to turn them on.

These aren’t necessarily cheaper than Nanoleaf, however you do get more tiles for your money with 18 tiles costing the equivalent of 9 Nanoleaf tiles.

You can connect up to 24 tiles to one power point and they are easily joined together with a magnetic connection so changing the shapes is a piece of cake.

Each tile is around 12 x 10 cm.


Govee LED Strip

Sync to music with onboard microphone
Cut to the desired length or join multiple lights together
Very easy to install
Not an LED light panel but rope lights can have similar effect

Another way to add a touch or colour and ambiance to your room is via an LED light strip such as this one from Govee.

With the option of a 5m or 10m strip, these colour changing lights have a variety of scenes to choose from, or you can sync them to the beat of music via the built-in microphone.

You can manage the lights using the companion app or connect them to Alexa and Google Home to create routines or for voice control.

You can cut the strips to size or connect them together by purchasing a connector.


What About the Cheaper Nanoleaf Knockoffs?

You’ll notice that I’ve not included some of the super cheap Nanoleaf knock offs that are floating around the market in the UK.

This is because you’d be wasting your money, they simply do not work as expected. Even when you do get them to work, they are unreliable.


Are Nanoleaf Worth It?

Although they don’t come cheap, Nanoleaf panels are the best in the market and worth the extra cost.

As well as being some of the largest panels available which helps create an ambiance to fill the room, they also have the biggest feature set.

Nanoleaf Shapes and Nanoleaf Canvas can be controlled by your voice using Alexa and Google Home integration or they can be touch controlled using Smart Gestures.

The final reason why Nanoleaf are worthwhile, is for the reliability. The technology will rarely let you down and their 25,000-hour battery life will outlive most other lights.


Can You Make Your Own Nanoleaf?

If you have your own 3D printer then you’re in luck as it’s possible to print your own version of Nanoleaf at a fraction of the price.

By printing a hexagonal case in the Nanoleaf style, you can then attach a smart light strip such as the Govee strip around the rim.

Whilst you won’t have the full range of features, you can certainly create something that mimics the style and add some ambiance to your room.

This YouTube video explains how to do it, but I’d recommend using a smart strip rather than messing around with dumb strips and a Bluetooth controller.

Featured image credit: Cololight