Are Philips Hue Smart Lights Still Industry Leaders?

Philips Hue is the leading smart lighting choice for bulbs, lamps and more, let's find out why.
Rob Green

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20 February, 2021
Philips Hue Smart Lighting Eco

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With over 235 various products on the market right now, the Philip Hue Smart Light range covers everything – from indoor lamps to outdoor flood lights.

Having arguably the best smart lights on the market, it can get confusing trying to figure out which lights you should purchase.

We rounded up the best indoor and outdoor Philips Hue lights on the market for 2020, broken down into the several types on offer.

If you’re serious about smart lights, head over to our ultimate smart lighting guide – to find out what they have to offer.

What is Philips Hue?

Philips Hue is a collection of various smart lighting solutions for your home, created by Philips in 2012 they’ve become a dominate force in the market, with their range of products continuously growing each year.

They want to be your one-stop shop for all smart lighting needs, and with so many various products on the market, they’re getting close.

It’s good to note, you need to make sure the light you buy fits your socket. As they manufacture lights for different fittings, such as E21, E26, A19 sockets.

One of the major benefits Philips has over competitors is the fact they work with so many other brands and products, from voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and even Apple Siri (for voice control) to Nest doorbells, Samsung SmartThings and many more.

How Philips Hue Lights Work

Philips Hue has chosen to focus on two different technologies for connect their lights, Bluetooth, and their very own Hue Bridge (which uses Zigbee).

If you’re not sure what Zigbee is, don’t worry, all you really need to know is that it’s a wireless protocol (like WiFi) that connects all your devices together. It also offers several advantages over WiFi.

  • Won’t cause interference with WiFi devices (such as Laptops / Phones / TVs)
  • Lower power consumption
  • Mesh network support (your devices connect and talk to each other not just the Hub)

We suspect these are some of the reasons Philips has chosen to exclude WiFi as a connection option for their lights.

While the products themselves (bulbs, lamps, etc) don’t directly connect to your WiFi router, they will connect to a Hue Bridge (via Zigbee). The Hue Bridge then connects to your router via a cable or wirelessly, so you can remotely control your lights while away from home.

Philips Hue Bridge Illustration

After purchasing your lights, you’ll need to download the “Philips Hue” app (available on Android and iOS) to setup, automate and control them.

Adding additional lights (or even accessories) is also easy enough, just plug them in, go into the app on your phone and follow the prompts.

How Long Do Philips Hue Lights Last?

Typically LED bulbs like the ones Philips uses last around 25,000 hours, or in other words, you could leave your lights on for 3 years straight.

Most people don’t tend to leave their lights on 24/7, so if you go for a more conservative 8 hours a day (still a lot), you’re looking at closer to 10 years before you’d need to replace them.

Though Philips reports based on an industry standard their lights will last an average consumer for around 22 years. Your milage will vary.

How Bright Can Philips Hue Lights Get?

Trying to explain (let alone visualise) how bright something is in words isn’t easy, but there is a rough comparison we can provide.

Philips Hue lights tend to be around the 800 lumens mark at max brightness (with some going up to 1600), if that doesn’t mean much, here’s a quick comparison between traditional watt lights.

  • 800 Lumens = 60W bulb
  • 1600 lumens = 100W bulb

Most rooms will be fine with 800 lumens (60W) lights, but you might want to opt for brighter lights in say the kitchen area, where it’s important to be able to see what you’re doing.

Which Philips Hue Starter Kit?

While not required, we strongly recommend anyone looking to purchase Philips Hue smart lights, to start with the below starter kits.

Not only does a hub simplify the setup process, it makes it a lot easier if you ever need to change your WiFi password or router.

Philips Hue Starter Kit

(Starter Kit) Philips Hue Colour Buy on Amazon

(Starter Kit) Philips Hue Ambient Buy on Amazon
Benefits:Downsides:
Great integration with other productsNot the cheapest
Easy to use appAccessories aren’t needed but help a lot
Setup is straight forward 
Quality built lights 

When you talk smart lights, Philips Hue will always be talked about and for good reason. They offer quality products that integrate and work with most other smart home products.

Bolstering the largest range and being an early player in the smart lighting section, a lot of other companies that make smart home products will attempt to get them working with Philips Hue.

While their price is quite high, that’s really their biggest drawback. If too pricey now, we suggest waiting for a sale.

Philips has done an excellent job highlighting and comparing Bluetooth vs Hub Bridge technology, but here’s our top reasons for investing into a Hub early on.

  • Ability to add additional accessories (such as motion sensors and light switches)
  • Increase max number of lights in your home
  • Automate lights with schedules
  • Don’t need to reconnect your lights if your WiFi password changes

While Bluetooth only lights have some downsides, like reduced bulb count support in a room and the fact you can’t add addition accessories for automations (like having the lights turning on when you enter a room), they can still be a good option for some.

Philips Hue Indoor Lights

What’s also great about the Philip Hue range is their ability to connect and work with the three most popular smart assistants on the market, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri.

Which is great for anyone not sure which assistant to purchase, though still wants to get into smart lighting.

This is where the Philips Hue range really shines, with several different types of lights and features available, you’ll likely end up limited by your budget more than their range.

To better help you select the lights which are right for you, we’ve broken down their indoor lighting range into the below sections. (Click a heading to jump straight to it)

Direct Replacement Lights with Philips Hue

When you replace a “dumb” bulb with a smart one, there’s two main things you need to decide on before making a purchase. That is, do you want to be able to dim the light? And which of the follow bulb types are for you.

  1. White (simple white light)
  2. White Ambiance (white light that can change to a cooler blue or warmer orange tone)
  3. Colour Ambience (can change to 16 million different colour types)

It really does come down to questions like, do I really need coloured lights in the kitchen? Yes, well no, well maybe.

Bedroom

We recommend looking into the White Ambiance range for your bedrooms, for the one big reason, they’re able to change the tone of light from a warmer orange to help you sleep, or to a cooler blue to help you wake up.

Colour Ambience can also be a good option, as not only can it change the colour tone (like above) you can also choose from over 16 million colour. If you’ve been after coloured lights in the bedroom, you can get your wish.

Philips Hue Ambient & White Bulbs

Philips Hue Ambient Buy on Amazon

Kitchen

Their new range of white lights (1600 lumens) is perfect for the kitchen, providing ample light to make sure you don’t accidently chop off a finger while preparing dinner at night.

Philips Hue White and Extra Bright White Bulbs

Philips Hue BRIGHT White Buy on Amazon

Lounge Room / Living Room / Dining Room

Colour or White Ambiance are our recommendations. It really depends on if you’d actually use the added ability to change the colour of your lights. If you’re just looking to smarten the lights up in these rooms stick with a White Ambiance or even a normal white bulb.

With White Ambiance, you’ll get control over the tone of light they emit from that blue to orange. Having dimmable lights to help you set the ambiance of the room is also an excellent feature.

Philips Hue White, Ambient and Colour

Philips Hue Colour Buy on Amazon

Other Areas

After something more unique? What about the Philips hue filament standard? It’s designed to look like an old fashion incandescent light bulb, but with the same great smart technology as other bulbs.

Buy from Amazon

When you’re after something different with your bulbs

Standalone Lights such as Lamps / Light Strips / Light Bars

When you want to add light to an area that doesn’t have a pre-existing socket, well Philips Hue has a range of lamps, light strips and light bars ready for the job.

But before we jump in, we wanted to point out that these products are hard to fix if they fail, like a lot of electronics.

As their range of standalone lights is too big to list it all here, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite ones below. If you’d like to see more of their range, click here to see the full range. Lamps Light Strips | Light Bars

Philips Hue Ambiance Table Lamp

Philips Hue Ambiance Table Lamp Buy on Amazon

Nice little table lamp, with dimmable features.

Philips Hue Play Black & Color Light Bar

Philips Hue Play Colour Light Bar Buy on Amazon

Can help set the mood with millions of colour choices.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LightStrip

Philips Hue Colour LightStrip Buy on Amazon

When you need a strip of colour in your life.

Light Fixtures such as ceiling / recessed / pendant / suspended lights

Requiring a bit more effort to install, if you’re going full Philips Hue you might want to look into introducing some ceiling and recessed lights into your home.

Once installed they offer the same smart features as bulbs but in a different form factor. We see the recessed lights as a great way to blend traditional looking lighting into a future feeling home.

Like some of their other products, the light inside can’t just be replaced – you’ll need to replace the whole thing. Which isn’t a big deal, as their rated to last for 25,000 hours, like most of their light range.

Philips Hue White Ambiance Fair Dimmable LED Smart Flushmount

Philips Hue Ambiance Dimmable Buy on Amazon

Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Smart Retrofit Recessed

Philips Hue Colour Smart Retrofit Recessed ​Buy on Amazon

Most of their range you’ll find through their site and in other retailers, if you’d like to see more of their range you can do so by clicking here.

Philips Hue Outdoor Lights

You could use a bulb outdoors, assuming its adequately covered from the elements or you can opt to choose from the range of outdoor smart lights that are weather resistant. If you’re after smartening the lights outside, weather it be outback or out front there’s a few options you should be looking at.

Lights around your paths always look nice, add in some slight colour changes and you can really change the whole area.

Philips Hue Calla White & Color Ambiance Outdoor Smart Pathway

Philips Hue Calla Colour Outdoor Smart Pathway​Buy on Amazon

Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Econic Outdoor Smart Pathway

Philips Hue Econic Colour Outdoor Smart Pathway ​Buy on Amazon

After a spotlight or flood light? There are a few great options here as well. With some going up to 79W in brightness.

Philips Hue Discover Outdoor White & Color Ambiance Smart Floodlight

Philips Hue Discover Outdoor Colour Smart Floodlight Buy on Amazon

And if you’re just after some lights for say your patio there’s a fantastic range of outdoor wall lights such as.

Philips Hue Ludere White Outdoor Security Light

Philips Hue Ludere White Outdoor Security Light Buy on Amazon

Philips Hue Lucca White Outdoor Lantern

Philips Hue Lucca White Outdoor Lantern Buy on Amazon

Philips Hue Accessories

After it’s all said and one, there’s a few ways to improve how your lights are controlled and automated. While some accessories are definitely more nice-to-have than others, we fully recommend getting one or more remote controls.

Philip Hue Tap is a great product, that allows you to setup 4 different pre-sets that you can switch between with a push of a button (or a tap in this case).

Arguably the most futuristic and awesome parts of having a smart home is having the lights turn on when you enter the room, and with Philips Hue – this can be achieved.

Here’s some of our favourite and useful accessories.

Philips Hue Tap

Philips Hue Tap Buy on Amazon

Doesn’t require any batteries and has 4 pre-sets you can program

Philips Hue Indoor Motion Sensor

Philips Hue Indoor Motion Sensor Buy on Amazon

When you want to stop using a light switch.

Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch

Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch Buy on Amazon

If you’re not sure what brightness you want.

Philips Hue Going Forward

As the Philips Hue range looks to continuously improve, through introducing brighter lights and new products like the ceiling spot lights – they’re going to be around for a long time.

This is one of the major benefits that we look for with technology, will it still be support a year or ten years after you’ve brought it? Though no one can guarantee anything, Philips Hue has proven since their inception in 2012 that they’re serious about smart lighting.

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