Philips Hue is perhaps the most popular brand for smart lighting in the world right now. Part of this is because they were one of the first to adopt smart lighting, and they also make regular light bulbs so people trust them. But there’s still a lot that you need to know about Philips Hue. Like which smart assistants does it work with? Do you need a hub? and much more.
So here’s everything you need to know about Philips Hue.
How to get started with Philips Hue?
Philips Hue offers a few different starter kits that you can buy. These typically come with a few light bulbs, and the Philips Hue Bridge (also known as their hub). This is a good place to start, as it gives you the Hub, which you’ll want to use for connecting to the bulbs.
Yes, Philips Hue does work with Bluetooth, however very few bulbs work with Bluetooth. Philips Hue only recently started adding Bluetooth to its products. And the experience with Bluetooth is not great, as it can be very slow to connect. So the Bridge is the better bet.
The one that we recommend quite often is the four A19 smart bulb kit with the Bridge. This is normally around $200, though you can find it cheaper throughout the year. These bulbs in this particular starter kit are actually colored, so you can add some accent lighting to your home.
It’s very easy to set up your first Philips Hue bulb. Just download the Hue app onto your smartphone and plug in the Bridge. Now because it is connected to your router, you’ll never need to worry about connecting it to WiFi. In the Philips Hue app, just tap on “Add Lights” and it’ll search for the lights around you to add. From there you’ll be able to add it to your home and a specific room, even giving it a name.
What lighting options does it offer?
Philips Hue actually offers a ton of different lighting products that you can buy for your home. Of course, it is most famous for its bulbs and LED light strips. Most light bulb sizes are available from Philips Hue. This includes E26, A19 and BR30. Philips Hue also offers these in White bulbs, White Ambiance bulbs, Color Ambiance bulbs, and Filament bulbs. So there’s something for everyone. Of course, the white and white ambiance options are going to be the cheapest.
There are also a number of smart lamps that Philips Hue offers here. Like the Hue Play Bar, which is a great way to add some accent lighting to your home. There’s also the Hue Bloom, which can throw light onto the wall. And of course, a number of LED strips in different sizes. With the Gradient Light Strip available for 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch TVs.
Philips Hue has also been expanding its outdoor lighting in recent years. So now you can find more bulbs that work outside, as well as spotlights and even LED Strips.
Basically, any lighting product you are looking for, it’s likely available from Hue. Which is really nice to have. Since you can control them all on your one Hue Bridge.
Are there outdoor lights available?
Yes, there are.
Philips Hue has a number of outdoor lights available. There are the Hue Lily spotlights that are available with white and color. As well as a bigger Lily XL spot light kit that you can buy. Philips Hue has smart pathway lighting, and floodlights to name a few.
So you can add some color to the outside of your home as well, since the majority of these are available in White & Color Ambiance. So you can really have some fun around the holidays – like Halloween and Christmas.
How many Philips Hue lights can I actually have?
You can actually have as many as you want. But the Hue Bridge can only support up to 50 smart lights. Once you pass that 50 mark, things can get a bit more tricky, when it comes to controlling your bulbs.
However, for most people, 50 lights is going to be more than enough. Even if every single light in your home is a Philips Hue bulb, you can probably control them all from the Hue Bridge. This is also much better than having these 50 bulbs all connected to your WiFi network, bogging it down.
Which smart assistants are compatible?
Hue is compatible with pretty much all of the smart assistants that are out there. That includes Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri/Homekit, and the Google Assistant. It also works with a number of other automation services out there like IFTTT, Home Assistant and others.
This means that you don’t even need to use the Philips Hue app all that much. As you can use your voice to control your lights, or use a Nest Hub or Echo Show to do it.
What does the app allow you to do?
The Philips Hue app allows you to do quite a few things. But to be honest, you probably won’t ever leave from the “Home” tab. Which is where all of your lights are located, and sorted by room. You can tap on them to change the colors and also the brightness. As well as setting up a scene with your lights.
The app also has a few other tabs here, like Automations. So you don’t need to use the IFTTT service to do some home automation. The popular one here, is using Philips Hue lights to wake you up, by simulating the sunrise. You can have it synced to your alarm on your smartphone too, which is really neat.
There’s also the explore tab, so you can shop Hue products. As well as finding out what works with Hue and also what apps work great with it. And then there’s the Settings.
Philips has done a good job with the app. Giving it a good amount of features, but not overwhelming the users here. That is a fine balancing act that can always be kind of difficult.
Can you set a schedule with Philips Hue?
Yes, with the automation section of the app, you can set a time for the lights to turn on in your home. You can also do this with Google Home or Apple Homekit too. Which is really neat.
This can be great to do, for when you get home from work. So you aren’t walking into a dark home.
How to create a scene with Philips Hue?
You can create your own scene with Philips Hue, which is really easy to do. You can tap the Plus sign for each room and set up a scene. It’s best to do it with multiple lights.
Hue lets you use their own pre-made scenes, create a custom scene, or create one from a photo. The ability to create it from a photo is really cool, I must say. These can all be saved to your room too, so you can easily set this scene from the app, or using your voice with Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa.
I particularly create scenes for when I’m watching sports. Using my team’s favorite colors in the room, it really gets you in the mood to watch football, to be quite honest.
How does it compare to other competitors out there?
There are some competitors out there to Philips Hue, but none of them really compare completely. LIFX is probably the most popular one, but they are plagued with all sorts of connectivity issues. C by GE is also out there, but with far less variety of products available.
Govee is another one that has been creeping up on Philips Hue with its products. It’s probably the closest to what Hue offers. However, Hue’s product catalog is still larger. Govee does offer smart bulbs, smart lamps and even light bars, for much less. But the integration just isn’t there like it is with Hue. But we do believe that Govee will be the one to really challenge Philips Hue’s crown for the king of smart lighting.
There will likely come a time where Philips Hue has a viable competitor, but as for now, it really is the best in the land of smart home lighting.
Should I invest in the Philips Hue ecosystem?
For sure. I know Philips Hue products do look pretty pricey, but remember that you pay for what you get. So you spend $10 on a smart light, and it doesn’t work as well as you’d like, well that’s why.
The biggest reason that we suggest investing in the Hue ecosystem is just the sheer variety of lights it has. Sure you can buy some lights from Ring, but in order to outfit your whole home in smart lights, you’ll need to use different products from different companies, and that can get very confusing to use. Even if you do put them all in Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Philips Hue offers the best all-around ecosystem for smart lighting right now. That might change in the future, but for now, it’s Hue hands-down.