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Govee: Elevating Your Home's Exterior with Smart Light Innovations




This article is not sponsored. I purchased all products reviewed in this article. Some of the links are affiliate links and I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using them.


Heading into this Holiday Season I did not want to put the lights up. It's a yearly task that I do not enjoy. When my wife casually mentioned that she wished we had permanent lights this year, I thought to myself "challenge accepted".


After realizing the cost of a professional installation I switched my focus toward finding a DIY option. Enter Govee, whose Permanent Outdoor Lights have been used by professionals and DIYers for years and they had just released the Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro.


Pros and Cons:


Pros:


  • Individually Addressable LEDs: Individually addressable LEDs allow for extensive customization and creative lighting schemes.

  • Durability: The IP67 rating ensures the lights are well-protected against various weather conditions, making them ideal for permanent outdoor installation.

  • Smart Home Integration: Compatibility with WiFi, Bluetooth, and virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant (with upcoming support for Siri through Matter) offers convenient control options.

  • Versatile Use: These lights are designed to cater to different occasions, from cozy family gatherings to festive celebrations, providing suitable lighting throughout the year.

Cons:


  • Installation: While not overly complicated, there is a lack of options for an installation that hides the wires. This can be particularly concerning for those navigating the restrictions of Homeowners Associations (HOAs).

  • Connectivity Limitations: While Govee states that Matter support is coming, it's not yet available. Additionally, I have concerns about what features and functionality will be available once Matter support is available.

  • Cost: The premium features and build quality comes at a higher price point, which may not fit within everyone's budget.

Overview and First Impressions


I purchased the Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro, 200-foot version, which arrived very nicely packaged. The box has a matte finish and the packaging is well thought out. The 200-foot version is the largest option and the only one that Costco.com offered at the time. It comes with a total of 120 individually addressable LED 'puck' lights on 12 light strings. Overall, the packaging is well done and the lights feel like a quality product in hand.


Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro box contents
What's included in the box with the Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro

Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro Details


The LED light strip is IP67-rated allowing it to handle any outdoor weather and the control box is IP65-rated. This light strip is unique compared to traditional LED light strips because each LED is contained in a little plastic puck-like housing.


A key difference between the Pro and non-Pro versions of Govee's Permanent Outdoor Lights is that the Pro lights are RGBICWW, meaning they have a LED dedicated to white light where the non-Pro version does not. The Pro version also has twice the Lumen output at 50 as the non-Pro at 25. Additionally, the Pro version is offered in longer lengths, 200ft vs 150ft, has 120 vs 108 total LEDs, can be cut and extended, and it supports Matter.


The Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro are WiFi (2.4ghz) and Bluetooth enabled allowing you to control them with Alexa, Google Assistant and, soon, Apple's Siri through Matter.


The key feature of the lights is their versatility. They have great pre-made scenes that cover virtually any occasion and you can create your own scene as well. You also can download and use themes other users have created and posted in the community. While syncing multiple lights requires the Govee Outdoor Light Show Sync Box (that was out of stock at the time) I've found it easy to coordinate our exterior Govee lights.


Ease of Installation Rating


I'll go into more detail on the installation of the Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro in an upcoming video on our YouTube channel. With that said, the installation process itself is pretty straightforward. The Pro lights can be cut and/or extended easily and without soldering. Any complexities during installation is going to be related to your home's roofline, how long of a ladder you'll need and the type of eves you have.


I did find the wire clips that are provided are not the highest quality or easiest to use. The clips came with very small screws and they weren't self-tapping. After struggling with the provided clips, I purchased a box of self-tapping screws and stronger clips from Amazon that expedited the installation process and secured the puck LED lights much better.


Several people created their own 3D printed mounting brackets, which they sell on Etsy. I chose not to go this route because I needed to cover the exposed wires due to a HOA policy. I ended up using a plastic raceway that's made for hiding cables indoors. It's not a perfect solution but good enough for now. Ideally, I'd like to see Govee or a third party provide installation accessories separately to address these gaps. There seemed to be a fair amount of activity on Reddit and other forums on this topic.


Govee's App and Smart Home Features


The Govee app is intuitive and, fairly, easy to use for the standard features anyway. Connectivity through WiFi has been rock solid for me and we've used the lights daily since installation.


The 'catch', if you will, is that most of the advanced features require a Bluetooth connection. With that said, there are workarounds to this that prevent it from being a frustration. For example, most of the time I'm using the advanced features I found that I wanted to be outdoors and close to the lights so I could see what I was changing. Once I found the setup I liked I use Govee's snapshot feature, think of a snapshot as being similar to using the memory seat settings in a car, to save those settings for future uses. Then I can create a shortcut to run that setting without first connecting to Bluetooth.


One area of the app that I will call out as particularly frustrating and not intuitive is the individual light selection and controls under the "Advanced" tab. It forces you to choose an "Effect" and doesn't provide an option for no effect. To get the same result as no effect requires setting the "Effect" to ":Breathe" and the "Speed" at the slowest possible setting (as I've shown in the picture).


Picture of the Govee app's advanced settings

Additionally, the individual light selector has the lights completely out of order. It's not that a full string of lights is out of order to how I installed them, it's that the lights will jump around in the middle of a string of lights. I've posted the pic of my current accent lighting snapshot and the corresponding lights. I took me several attempts (mainly because I didn't care to stay our in the cold for several hours) to get this scene to where it is now. Additionally, to turn off a light that is turned on you must select the color choice with a line through it. Pressing the little rectangle twice does not turn the light off as one would expect.


Govee's Other Outdoor Smart Light Lineup


We also purchased the Govee RGBICWW LED Smart Flood Lights as an additional set of accent lights for the front of our house. My wife wanted floodlights and had gone the solar route, which wasn't working too well. I decided to give Govee's Flood Lights a shot and they've worked out great. I was able to find some of the same Christmas themes as the Outdoor Lights. which synced the colors even if the pattern timing wasn't synced (which was only noticeable by me because I knew what to look for). It worked great and they look fantastic in the accent scene I created for everyday use.


I've been pleasantly surprised by how effective the floodlights are and I am strongly considering adding more. We need to add lights on the other side of our driveway and I'm going to look to see if Govee has ones that will fit our needs.


The final outdoor piece, the Govee Wi-Fi RGBWW Smart LED Bulbs, though initially promising, ran into compatibility hiccups for the lights above our garage that required a non-standard connection. I have since resolved that issue (which is not a Govee issue) by using a very inexpensive adaptor I found on Amazon and swapping my Lutron Caseta Dimmer for a Lutron Caseta On/Off switch. Everything works great now.


I'm also using a Govee bulb in the lamp in our front yard and it's worked out very well. I was able to sync the color to the rest of the lights during the Holidays and to our accent scene that we run nightly.


Govee's Competition


Govee is not the only option when it comes to DIY permanent outdoor lights for your house or exterior lighting options in general. In fact, a Google search will reveal there are many, similarly-styled options from company's like Eufy, Luminary, Novostella, and many other lesser-known brand names. Nanoleaf, one of Govee's biggest competitors for their indoor lighting options, announced at CES 2024 that they will start offering a similar option as well.


Of the brands I evaluated in this space I found that Luminary and Novestella offered a similar number of exterior lighting options to Govee. However, both appeared to be budget options that weren't comparable in quality to Govee. Eufy is known for making quality products but it appears their outdoor lights are more comparable to Govee's non-Pro version. Eufy also lacks other exterior lighting options, making it hard to combine multiple different lights into a single scene. Nanoleaf, once they release their version, will only have that single option just like Eufy, it appears.


I concluded that Govee is the brand that offered the best quality for the cost and the best selection of complimentary products. I will add a more detailed competitive analysis to the site soon. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list if you'd like to be notified when I release that information.


Final Thoughts


The cost for a professional installation of permanent outdoor lights can run $5k - $15k depending on your house. It's outrageous and a complete waste of money in my personal opinion. That alone makes the Govee Outdoor Permanent Lights Pro a tremendous value. I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the product, the light output and the options available through the app. Some improvements could be made to make the app more user friendly but, for the money, it's it's an easy trade off.


If a DIY installation isn't for you I would expect that hiring someone to install these lights will still save thousands over a traditional professional installation. And even though I'm disappointed in the lack of track system options I'd still recommend these Govee lights over the much higher-cost professional options.

When I factor in that Govee offers multiple versions of their floodlights and other outdoor options, it's an easy decision.


Be sure to like/follow us on your favorite social platform and sign up for updates on new content. Next up is part II, which my review of Govee's interior lights.

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