Source: Android Central
Philips Hue Lights
There aren’t many smart home devices that are as well-known and universally-respected as the extensive collection of smart lighting products made by Philips Hue. Since 2012 the company has been putting out a wide variety of indoor and outdoor smart lights, and it has taken great pains to ensure that they’re compatible with all of the major smart home ecosystems. With so many options to chose from for your home, where do you even begin? We’ve decided to take some of the guesswork out of the equation for you and list our favorite Philips Hue lights in this list, starting with the White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit. Not only do you get to experience the basics, but the kit comes with a hub!
- Best Overall: White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit
- Best Value: White Ambiance Bulb
- Best Backlight: Play White & Color Smart Light Bars
- Best for Cramped Spaces: White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus
- Best Statement Piece: Bloom LED Smart Table Lamp
- Best Outdoor Illuminator: Discover Outdoor White & Color Ambiance Smart Floodlight
Best Overall: White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit
Source: Philips Hue
As far as starter kits go, this one is impressive. It comes with four of Philips’ popular White and Color Ambiance A19 60W equivalent LED bulbs and a smart hub/bridge, all of which retail for around $50 each. That means with this kit, you’re not only jumpstarting your smart home, but you’re saving around $75!
These bulbs fit in most standard sockets and lamps and can be set to over 16 million colors and shades, including various shades of white light. You can program them in the Philips Hue app to create specific scenes and moods, and control them through your voice with Alexa, Siri, or the Google Assistant.
Philips claims these bulbs will last for 25,000 hours of life, which if you left them on all day, every day, would last you over four years. However, since no one does that (hopefully), these really should pay for themselves. The included hub/bridge allows you to connect up to 80 Philips Hue devices, but it does require a wired connection and plug-in to your router, so make sure you have room for and accessibility to both.
- Bundle has a bit of everything
- Save a lot of money
- Compatible with all major smart home ecosystems
- There are cheaper smart lighting alternatives
- Many competitors don’t require a hub
- Hub/bridge requires a wired connection
White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit
A better bundle
With four smart bulbs and a hub/bridge, this starter kit is the perfect way to jump into the Philips Hue ecosystem.
Best Value: White Ambiance Bulb
Source: Philips Hue
We mentioned above that a Philips Hue Bridge can support up to 80 lights, and while you may not need that many in your home, chances are you have more than four bulbs that need replacing. Thankfully, you can pick up these lower-cost White Ambiance Bulbs a-la-carte or in bundles. If you want smart functionality but don’t need all the fancy color combinations and scenes, this is the bulb for you.
These bulbs work great for kitchen lighting, hallways, utility spaces, and bathrooms in particular, and are as simple to install as screwing them in and connecting in the Hue app. Even though they can’t change colors, you can choose from over 50,000 shades of white light.
One of our favorite things to do with these bulbs is to program them to wake you up each morning gradually. You can set up this feature in the app to get progressively brighter until your alarm goes off, which is a wonderfully refreshing way to start your day!
- Most affordable way into Hue ecosystem
- 50,000 shades of white light
- Available individually or in bundles
- Not the cheapest option
- No colors
White Ambiance Bulb
Quick, cheap, and easy
These industry-leading bulbs are an excellent investment to begin your smart home lighting projects.
Best Backlight: Play White & Color Smart Light Bars
Source: Philips Hue
These Smart Light Bars are some of our favorite Philips Hue devices because they’re so darn easy to use. All you have to do is take them out of the box, position them where you want your accent lighting to go, and connect them in the app. Because they’re plug and play, you can quickly move them to a different room to create that highlight effect.
We chose to recommend the two-pack because this bundle allows you to save a few bucks on buying multiple Light Bars. Once you’ve positioned one of these behind your TV or computer monitor, you’re going to want more, so why not pick up two at once? If you do decide to add yet another, you can connect up to three Light Bars at once to one power supply. Unfortunately, they can’t be powered by batteries, so you will need to keep these near an outlet.
The Light Bars are available in a black or white casing and are lightweight enough to be mounted to the back of large computer monitors or TV sets with the included clips and double-sided tape that come in the bundle. As with other Hue devices, these support up to 16 million colors and can be set to various levels of brightness. They’re perfect for setting the right mood in any work or play space.
- Plug and play
- Very portable
- Can connect up to three Play Bars to one power supply
- Only support wired power
Play White & Color Smart Light Bars
A lovely accent
The Play Light Bars are a quick and easy way to add accent lighting to any room, be it a gaming space, media room, or home office.
Best for Cramped Spaces: White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus
Source: Philips Hue
The Philips Hue light strips are a piece of smart tech that can be found on many a gaming streamer’s setups, but they’re appropriate for almost any space you can think of. You can cut these to just about any length and adhere them to flat, clean surfaces with adhesive tape. Line the underside of your bookshelves or media cabinet, or put on the backside of your computer desk for awesome effect lighting.
Speaking of effect lighting, you can sync these lights with your video game or entertainment systems to create a truly immersive experience. The light strips support the typical 16 million color options that all Hue color products can produce, and they can be configured for any media mood.
Just about the only major downside to these light strips, aside from their premium price, is that they’re not suitable for outdoor use. We suppose you could get away with putting them on a covered porch, but they’re not weather or water-resistant at all.
- Can go practically anywhere
- Available in multiple lengths
- Can connect multiple extensions
- Sync with video game and entertainment systems
- There are cheaper light strip options on the market
- Not well-suited for outdoor use
Best for Cramped Spaces
White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus
Stick it to you
The Philips Hue LightStrips are some of the easiest and most versatile Hue products to set up and use.
Best Statement Piece: Bloom LED Smart Table Lamp
Source: Philips Hue
Aside from being able to showcase all of the beautiful colors, modes, and scenes that the other great Philips Hue lights can, this little lamp is one of our absolute favorites because it’s so cute. The Philips Hue Bloom (it has a cute name too!) is a tabletop lamp that sits at an angle, which you can program for millions of lighting scenarios.
Unlike the plastic construction of the Hue Go portable lamp or even a device like the Echo Glow, the Bloom is made out of more premium-looking metal and glass materials. The device has more of a weight and gravitas than those other products and feels like it’s meant to be a piece of permanent decor in your living space. The one downside to being a more permanent lamp is that it’s not as portable a device as a battery-powered light such as the Hue Go.
The biggest drawback to the Bloom, in our opinion, is that you can’t adjust the angle of the lamp. It’s permanently fixed at 45 degrees, so while it’s great for creating ambiance, it might not be the best device for highlighting specific elements in your home.
- Attractive, tabletop design
- More affordable than many other Hue lamps
- Solid metal and glass construction
- Not battery-powered
- Orientation can’t be adjusted
- Not super portable
Best Statement Piece
Bloom LED Smart Table Lamp
Cute name, cute lamp
The Philips Hue Bloom is a striking piece to look at, but what’s more impressive is the effect it will have on your space.
Best Outdoor Illuminator: Discover Outdoor White & Color Ambiance Smart Floodlight
Source: Philips Hue
You may not have realized this, but if you own your own home or property, you can take the magic of Philips Hue lights outside. Our favorite Philips Hue outdoor lighting product has to be the Discover Outdoor Floodlight. Not only does it output 2,300 lumens of brightness, but it’s capable of changing between 16 million color combinations (as usual).
These lights can be configured to illuminate your property to discourage unwanted visitors or criminal activity, but they are equally useful for holiday decorating or impromptu deck dance parties. They are easy to install anywhere on your home and they can withstand the elements for years to come. Philips claims that the Discover Outdoor Smart Floodlight meets the standards set for UL Wet Location qualification, so it should be able to handle wet climates and conditions with ease. It is worth noting, however, that these lights do not carry any official IP certification.
At $140 a pop, these lights are a bit on the expensive side, especially if you plan on mounting multiple floodlights around your property. To save a little money, you can combine a couple of the colorful Discover lights with the Philips white Welcome floodlights, and get the best of both worlds!
- The power of a floodlight
- UL Wet Location and outdoor rated
- Makes your outdoor spaces more enjoyable
- A bit on the expensive side
- No IP weather rating
Best Outdoor Illuminator
Discover Outdoor White & Color Ambiance Smart Floodlight
Proper property lighting
The Discover Outdoor Ambiance Smart Floodlight covers your yard for safety, but it can also be adapted for fun.
Philips Hue lighting products have set a standard for reliable, practical, and fun smart home lighting. If you’re beginning to add smart lights to your home, we recommend that you start with the White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit. Not only does this kit come with four adjustable bulbs, but it also includes a hub/bridge that will connect the bulbs to each other and your smart home ecosystem. With the hub/bridge, Philips Hue lights can be controlled easily, whether you prefer Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Nest, Samsung’s SmartThings, and even Apple’s HomeKit.
If you already have a hub/bridge and a few Philips Hue lights in your home, you might want to jazz up your spaces with some of the smart lighting strips or light bars, or perhaps outdoor solutions like the Discover floodlights. However you decide to accessorize your home, you’ll be sure to enjoy these smart lights for years to come.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he’s not writing about Amazon products and services, he’s defending his relationship with his side-chick Alexa to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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