Philips makes a wide number of smart LED lights that offer a mix of colors and effects that you can control remotely. Plus, LEDs last much longer than other types of lights, and consume less energy, too. Philips Hue lights also integrate with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit (among many other smart home platforms) so you can use your voice to change the lights.
Here’s what each Hue light does, and how much each one costs. Note that, unless specified, these lights don’t come with a Philips Hue bridge ($59.99), which you’ll need if you want to control your Hue lighting from your iPhone, Android phone or other device.
Starter kits include not only bulbs, but the bridge that's required to connect the lights to your home Wi-Fi network. If you don't have any Philips Hue lights yet, a starter kit is probably the best way to begin.
The original Philips Hue package, these lights are designed to replace a traditional A19 bulb and can change to more than 16 million colors. The starter pack includes three lights plus a Hue bridge (which you’ll need to control any Hue lights). Philips also sells a version of this kit with four lights for $199.
This is the best option if you want only a white light, or if you want to save some money. The starter kit costs $69, and includes two bulbs and a bridge.
The White Ambiance kit lets you adjust the color temperature of the bulbs, so you can go from a more intense blue-white when you need to concentrate, to a softer yellow-white when you want something less intense. This kit also comes with a handy dimmer switch, so you don't need to open the Philips Hue app to control the lights. (The remote can also be used with other bulbs, too.)
If you don't purchase a starter kit which includes the smart bridge, you'll need to purchase one separately. The bridge plugs into your Wi-Fi router, and then connects wirelessly to all of the Philips Hue lights in your house.
Bulbs and Lightstrips
You can expand your lighting options through a number of different Philips Hue bulbs. These include everything from plain white bulbs to multicolored lightstrips and other bulbs that fit smaller sockets. Just remember you'll have to connect them to your bridge first.
These LED bulbs, which can produce 50,000 shades of white--from warm to cool--are designed for recessed ceiling fixtures. A two-pack of these lights costs $49.
Designed for track and small recessed lighting fixtures, these GU10 bulbs can reproduce millions of different colors, as well as multiple shades of white. They’re not cheap: Each bulb (sold individually) costs about $45.
This 6-foot color LED strip has an adhesive backing, which lets you affix it underneath kitchen counters or shelving — or anywhere you’d like — to provide some nice accent lighting. The Lightstrip Plus can be easily shortened using a pair of scissors to fit tighter spaces. An individual strip costs $80, and you can also buy extensions, up to 33 feet. If you want something less expensive, the first-generation Lightstrip costs $25 less, but isn’t as bright.
If you need even more accent lighting, this 40-inch extension for the Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus costs $30.
The White Ambiance E12 Candle is a smaller bulb, designed for chandeliers and light fixtures where a full-size A19 bulb won't fit. Users will be able to change the color temperature, from 2200k to 6500k. Each candle light bulb is a 40W equivalent.
Standalone lights can be placed anywhere in your room, and are generally used to help create accent lighting, rather than as a primary light source. None of these come with a bridge, so you'll need that, too.
This accent light measures about 5 inches in diameter, and can change to millions of colors. It’s best used to bounce light off a wall behind fixtures like a TV or plant to help set the mood.
Inside this lamp is a single Philips Hue white ambiance bulbs, which can be changed from cool white to warm white. You can also replace the bulb with a color bulb if you like.
The Wellner is similar to the Wellness, only it has a rounder, more bulbous design.
Similar to the Bloom, the Go is a splendid accent-lighting piece, and glows from both its circular 4.7-inch base and its flat top. Plus, the 300-lumen Go has a built-in rechargeable battery that will last up to 3 hours while unplugged, which is great if you want to add a bit more color to an outdoor dinner party. However, it’s not waterproof, so bring it inside if it starts raining.
Like the Hue Bloom, the Iris is a small accent light that can recreate millions of colors. It has a funkier, clear plastic base, which makes it look somewhat like an early iMac.
While limited to a few options, Philips light fixtures have the bulbs built directly into them. That means that when the LEDs burn out—which should be at least 10 years, if not more—you'll have to replace the entire fixture. These also require a bridge (sold separately) to control them via Philips' app.
This $499 ceiling lamp, also offered in a pendant style, has both an uplight for illuminating your ceiling and a downlight. It measures 17 inches in diameter and comes with color LEDs. The table lamp version costs $299.
This ceiling light can either be flush-mounted, or purchased with a small or large extension to drop it down a few inches. It has a brushed aluminum finish, and the LEDs can be tuned to a cool or warm white light.
The Being is similar to the Fair, but has a clear panel running around its midsection. It also can only be flush-mounted with the ceiling.
Philips also makes several accessories that let you control your Hue lights without having to open the app on your smartphone.
The Smart Dimmer Switch With Remote looks just like a traditional wall switch, but connects wirelessly to your Hue lights (it can control up to 10), so you don't need to mess with any wiring in your walls. Plus, the switch can pop out of its housing, so you can use it as a remote. No more getting off the couch to dim the lights!
The Hue Tap Switch can be programmed to automatically activate three different lighting scenes, which can be helpful if you have a particular setting for, say, movie night and another for reading. It can be wall-mounted, and detaches so you can carry it with you.
The Hue Motion Sensor will automatically turn the lights on in a room when it senses someone entering. You can program it for varying levels of sensitivity, for the lights to remain on for a given time period after a person exits, and even vary the lights' brightness based on the time of day.