Philips Hue is a lighting system developed by Philips Lighting. It was released in 2016 and it’s a smart home automation device with integrated motion sensors, temperature control, dimming capabilities and more. The product comes with three different bulbs: white (CFL), warm (LW) or cool (HUE). Each bulb has its own color temperature range, so they’re able to mimic natural daylight. There are over 100 million colors available in the hue lights.
The Philips Hue lighting system uses ZigBee wireless technology. This means it works with other devices using the same standard. The lights can communicate wirelessly via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave and even infrared. You don’t need any special software to operate your lights; all you have to do is connect them to your router and turn on the switch.
In addition to controlling your lights from afar, you can use the Philips Hue app on iOS or Android. This allows you to program each individual light individually, set scenes and more. The app will even let you schedule the lights to turn off at certain times of day. If you want to change up your lighting setup, then Philips Hue offers a variety of wallplates and accessories that allow you to customize your home in various ways.
While the lights aren’t exactly cheap, they’re a great buy for those who want complete home automation. You can easily control the lights from anywhere in the world and even set them to turn on when you arrive home. If you’re away on vacation, then you can turn on your lights to make it seem like someone is home. The lights are also perfect for areas that are frequently occupied, such as gyms, public restrooms and more.
In addition to the bulbs themselves, the Hue system comes with a Hue Bridge that connects your lights to your wireless network. The starter pack includes three colored bulbs and a Hue Bridge that supports up to 50 lights. If you want more than 50 lights, then you’ll have to purchase additional bulbs and another bridge. If you already have a lot of RGBW (four color, white) bulbs, you can get just the Hue Bridge and use those instead.
In addition to the lights themselves, you can also use the Hue system for some fun. The Hue Disco app turns your lights into a colorful dance floor. Using your microphone, the lights will change colors based on the sound that it’s hearing. If you have an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device, then you can voice control your lights as well.
You can turn your lights off and on, change the color and more using just your voice. It’s a great way to completely automate your home.
The Hue lights do require that you install a bridge. This means that you won’t be able to connect them via an Ethernet cable. If your router is downstairs and your lights are upstairs or in another area of the house, the signal may not be strong enough to give you consistent performance. The bridge must be connected via Ethernet, but once it is, you won’t have any issues with your signal.
The Hue starter pack and bulbs are great for those who already own a Nest thermostat. By connecting your lights to your Nest account, you can change the color of the lights based on temperature settings. For example, if the temperature is set to 79 degrees, then your lights will turn green to make it seem like a cool summer day. If the temperature is set at 70 degrees, then your lights will turn red to give the illusion of a cozy fire.
The app that controls the Hue lights is simple to use and doesn’t take long to figure out. However, there are so many features that you can enable that it can be overwhelming at first. If you have an Amazon Alexa or Google Home, then you can voice control your lights as well.
When it comes to lighting, the Hue system is the best on the market. The starter pack is perfect for those who don’t already own lights, since it not only includes the bridge and bulbs, but also the mount for your lamps. If you want to use the Hue lights in your bathroom or kitchen, then you’ll need to purchase those light mounts separately.
Best Overall Hue Starter Pack Philips Hue is our favorite lighting system for the smart home because of its simplicity and wide range of features. $185 from Amazon
Best Budget BuilkyBird Smart LED Bulb
The BulbKY Smart LED light bulb works with both Zigbee and Z-wave networks. This allows it to work with a wide range of products including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Xiaomi, Tuya, HAPPY AND MANY MORE! Being a non-dimmable bulb, it is perfect for use in your bathroom or under kitchen cabinets where you don’t want bright lights.
However, it doesn’t have any scheduling capabilities like some of its rivals.
The bulb itself is very bright and produces a white light that is comparable to a normal 60W incandescent bulb. It can easily replace a bulb of this type in your house or apartment.
This bulb is great for those who already have a smart home hub and want to add some additional bulbs. Since it is compatible with both the Zigbee and Z-wave protocols, it can easily be integrated into an existing smart home set up.
Bulb can last up to 25,000 hours (that’s an average of 5 years if used 2 hours a day)
No hub or Wi-Fi connection needed.
Best Bang for Your Buck OKAX Smart LED Bulb The OKAX bulb is a great addition to any home that already has a smart home hub. $22 from Amazon
How We Tested Our lighting fixtures were tested by the Electrical Engineering Technician at Reviewed. They provide both a visual comparison as well as objective testing of each fixture’s features. A complete explanation of our testing procedures can be found here.
Category: Smart Home
Title image courtesy of John Karakatsanis / Flickr
Sources & references used in this article:
Best Wake Up Lights of 2019: Complete Reviews with Comparisons by R Martinez – 2019 – freshandbreezy.com
Wake up light by GJ Hagenauer – US Patent App. 29/424,630, 2013 – Google Patents
Wake up light by JP Djajadiningrat – US Patent App. 29/410,092, 2013 – Google Patents
Color-changing table-top mood lamp, utilizing light emitting diodes by I Brian, Y Chiang, CW Lin – US Patent App. 29/396,510, 2013 – Google Patents
Light therapy lamp by GJ Hagenauer – US Patent App. 29/502,491, 2015 – Google Patents
Wake up light by P Douloubakas – US Patent App. 29/355,426, 2010 – Google Patents
Wake up light by GJ Hagenauer – US Patent App. 29/459,533, 2015 – Google Patents