Philips Hue guide: Everything you need to know

If you’re setting up your smart home and haven’t heard of Phillips Hue, you probably haven’t done enough research. The smart light ecosystem is everywhere, and its products are considered among the best of their kind. We know figuring out the ins and outs of Philips Hue can be a bit messy, though. Most products are sold separately, and good manuals are hard to come by.

It can be a frustrating mess, so we have taken it upon ourselves to make a comprehensive Philips Hue guide to help you get that smart home set up and ready to go. Let’s get started.


A bit of Philips Hue history

Philips Hue is one of the most recognized brands in the connected home market, and rightly so. It could be said Philips was the first major company to bring smart lights to the market in mass proportions. Hue first launched back in 2012, when smart homes were just a futuristic dream.

Hue came as an Apple Store exclusive, mostly targeted at iOS users. Now it is compatible with a plethora of devices and operating systems, as well as digital assistants and other smart products. Not only that, but the availability of different lighting products has grown. Philips now sells a variety of bulbs, light strips, and even lamps.


Available Philips Hue lights

Philips Hue has grown and there is a wide range of smart lights available to you. Let’s go through some of them.

Light bulbs

These are often the most popular, as their installation process is just as easy as installing a regular bulb, and them to act “smart” is a breeze. These can be screwed into any standard socket and prices start as low as $14.99. The cost increases as you add features like improved brightness, color changing capabilities, alternate designs, and more.

Light strips

These are great for mood setting. You can control their color and intensity, making for great ambiance lighting that isn’t too powerful.

Lamps

Now, this is for those who really want to get serious with Philips Hue and invest a good chunk of cash into your smart ecosystem. Some Philips Hue lamps simply sit on tables and other furniture, others hang from the ceiling and require some serious installation and commitment. They can cost up to $349 a piece.

Outdoor lights

While not available yet, Philips Hue is planning to launch a series of outdoor lights in July 2018. This will include wall-mounted lights, spotlights, and path lighting options. They will come in a variety of colors, sizes, brightness capabilities, and styles. Prices will range from $30 to $280, depending on what you need.

(PRNewsfoto/Philips Lighting)

Controls

While you can use the Philips Hue app, Zigbee bridges, virtual assistants, and more, Philips also sells physical controllers to make your experience more seamless. These include the Hue Motion Sensor, Hue Dimmer Switch, and Hue Tap Switch.

Philips Hue - Best Smart Lights


Consider the Philips Hue starter kits

Philips sells starter kits for those of you who want to get that smart home project started without much struggle. These come with some lights and a way to control them, whether that be a Philips Hue Bridge or a Dimmer Switch.


Wait, what is a Philips Hue Bridge?

The Philips Hue Bridge is the brains of your smart light ecosystem. It can link up to 50 lights in your home, letting them know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

Do you need a Philips Hue Bridge? Yes. Well, not really. Kind of. Philips Hue lights can be used without a Philips Hue Bridge, with a dimmer switch or the new Amazon Echo Plus (which acts as a bridge of its own). You will get some great functionality with those, but the full experience can only be unlocked with a Philips Hue Bridge. If you’re going to spend the money, you’ll want to take full advantage of what they can do.

A bridge lets you set up scenes, use more sensors, get OTA updates, and more. If you can live without those, you could get an Amazon Echo Plus and just start buying your Philips Hue lights individually. It goes for $150, which is a lot, considering the bridge goes for only $59.99.


Expand your horizons

Having the Philips Hue Bridge and using the company’s very own app has advantages, but you don’t want to lock yourself up in Philips’ secure ecosystem. Philips Hue works amazingly with a bunch of other products and services. You can use IFTTT, Apple Homekit, and other hubs to make Philips Hue work in tandem with other smart products. This is all thanks to Philips’ Friends of Hue program, which leaves the company’s products open for working with other smart home accessories.

Google Home, Google Home Mini

you can turn the lights off and set the room to a certain temperature when going to sleep. You can create a scene to let your smart home know you are leaving, so it can lock the doors, turn the lights off, and deactivate climate control. Hell, you can even make lights turn on and off randomly when away, to simulate people being in the house.

In addition, you can add digital assistant speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo, making it possible to control your home intuitively, using voice commands. That’s where things really get fun.


Wrapping up

Now you know all there is to know about Philips Hue. It is not a complicated ecosystem to understand, but there are so many pieces to the puzzle it can get a little confusing — especially if no one’s there to lead you through the process. Hopefully this guide helps.

Ready to make your home smarter with Philips Hue? Are you a fan of competitors like LIFX, TP-Link, or Sengled? Hit the comments to let us know what you think of Philips Hue. Especially if you have been using its lights.

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