These smart light bulbs are one of the best ways to upgrade any home — here's what they're like to use

YouTube/Signify
  • For a long time, the idea of smart lighting – that is, light bulbs and other fixtures you can control from your phone – seemed silly to me.
  • Once I tried smart bulbs, though, I immediately understood their benefits.
  • After setting up smart bulbs from Philips Hue in my own apartment, I could never go back to a home without smart lights.
  • Smart lights might seem costly, but they’re a worthy investment that actually makes home living significantly easier and better.

I’ll just come right out and say it: Everyone should have smart lights – light bulbs and other fixtures that you can control from your phone.

Whether you’re actually trying to build a “smart home,” or you just want to make a simple upgrade to your living space, smart lights are a worthy investment. And having tried the popular smart lights from Philips Hue, I can easily recommend them for just about anyone.

Here’s what it’s like to set up and use Philips Hue’s smart light bulbs.


Most Philips Hue smart systems require three components: a Philips Hue bulb …

YouTube/Signify

… a Philips Hue Bridge, which hooks directly into your wireless router …

YouTube/Signify

… and the Philips Hue app, for either iOS or Android.

Dave Smith/Business Insider

If you buy the $US35 Hue White starter kit with the included dimmer switch, you actually don’t need the Hue Bridge. That kit works right out of the box.

YouTube/Signify

I went with the Hue White and colour ambiance kit, which includes four bulbs and the Hue Bridge. It retails for about $US170 — the same price as a pair of Apple AirPods.

YouTube/Signify

The price is steep, but well worth it for the experience. You can also get more affordable starter kits: The normal Hue White starter kit, which includes four warm white bulbs and a Hue Bridge, costs just $US99.

YouTube/Signify

Philips Hue smart lights have a ton of benefits: You can control them with your voice, phone or computer, and easily create the right mood by choosing from pre-built “scenes.”

YouTube/Signify

You can also create your own scenes. Just set the light to the right hue (hence the name) and brightness, give it a name, and you’re all set! You can now ask for that scene with your voice, or your phone, and your lights will change automatically.

YouTube/Signify

Thanks to the Hue app, you can control your lights even if you’re not physically at home.

Signify

You can also schedule your lights to turn on and off on their own, depending on the day and time.

Signify

You can also have your Philips Hue lights turn on or off when you arrive or leave the house, thanks to a nice geofencing feature that uses your phone’s GPS.

Signify

If you really want to get fancy, you can have your Philips Hue lights sync with your music, movies, or games — to match the mood, or heighten the action.

Signify

To set up your Philips Hue starter kit, just screw one of the bulbs into any normal-sized light socket.

YouTube/Signify

Once the bulb is screwed in, turn on the light.

YouTube/Signify

Grab your Philips Hue Bridge, plug it into power, and turn it on.

YouTube/Signify

Now attach the Hue Bridge to your wireless router using an Ethernet cable.

YouTube/Signify

If you see three blue lights on the top of your Hue Bridge, you’re good to go.

YouTube/Signify

If you haven’t done it already, download the Philips Hue app.

YouTube/Signify

When you open the app, it should immediately recognise your Hue Bridge. Just press the big button on the bridge and you’ll be all set.

YouTube/Signify

To add your Hue lights to your app, visit Settings, click Light setup, and then Add lights. The app should automatically detect your bulbs as long as they’re plugged into a socket and powered on.

YouTube/Signify

From there, you can change the names of the lights, or group your lights into rooms and name those, too.

YouTube/Signify

I went one step further by connecting my Philips Hue smart lights to my Amazon Echo, since I have one — and if you have a voice assistant in your home, I highly recommend adding Philips Hue support.


It was really simple: I went into the Alexa app, clicked Devices, and pressed Add Device. It was easy to add all of my Philips Hue lights at once, and now, I can use Alexa to turn my lights on or off, or ask it to display colours or pre-made “scenes.”

YouTube/Signify

If you connect your Philips Hue lights to Apple’s Home app for iPhone, you can also control your lights with Siri, or through the Control Center.

Apple

Making my own Philips Hue scenes is really fun — and with the Alexa app, I can make fun routines for them. For instance, when I say, “Alexa, I’m Blue,” it will turn my living room lights blue and play “Blue” by Eiffel 65.

YouTube/Signify

Another routine I made: When I say “Alexa, it’s dinner time,” the Echo will automatically turn my lights white and to 50% brightness, and turn off whatever music is playing.

Amazon

Overall, Philips Hue light bulbs make home living easier and more enjoyable.

Phillips

Philips Hue light bulbs are extremely convenient, and great for any size home.

Since it has voice control, you’ll never need to fumble for a light switch ever again. And with options to dim, brighten, and change colours, I can create ideal lighting scenarios for almost any situation: Whether it’s a quiet morning, or I need to focus, or I want to watch a movie, it couldn’t be easier to control Philips Hue lights to fit my needs in that moment.

Philips Hue’s smart lights are great for technology beginners, since they’re easy to set up and use right out of the box, but they’re also great for people who are really into tech. With the ability to make your own scenes in the Hue app, and/or your own routines for your smart assistant, the Philips Hue experience has a surprising amount of depth to it. But it’s all about what you ultimately want: If you just want simple white lights that support voice control, or you want the whole shebang with dozens of lights that can display 16 million colours, Philips’ system can support almost any lighting desire, big or small.

The price is the biggest hurdle to overcome. But if you recognise the importance of having good lights in your home, the convenience of never needing to manually operate a light switch ever again, and how fun it can be to program your own lighting scenes, then Philips Hue’s smart lights are for you.

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.