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Updated September 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Philips A19 Starter Kit, 3rd Generation
Philips
A19 Starter Kit, 3rd Generation
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Bottom Line

Philip's starter kit is an ideal match for many of the most popular home controllers on the market. Individual bulbs may seem expensive, but the technology is top notch. Deep color palette and variable white temperatures.

Pros

Deep, vivid colors and several white hues to choose. Integrates well with most home controllers. Steady "on" maintains reliable contact with hub and apps.

Cons

Some lag time reported between command and actual activation. May not remember last settings before shutoff. Only equivalent to a 60 watt bulb, not very bright.

Best Bang for the Buck
Philips A19 Bulb, 3rd Generation
Philips
A19 Bulb, 3rd Generation
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Bottom Line

This HUE bulb is 3rd generation, so many of the compatibility and color issues have been addressed. We like its ability to work independently or in a programmable set.

Pros

3rd generation, produces stronger blues and greens. Capable of creating specific lighting scenes for different rooms and times. Compatible with numerous home controller systems.

Cons

HUE controller app has some performance issues. More expensive than standard white smart or LED bulbs. Overheating can trigger other problems.

Philips Two A19 bulbs and bridge
Philips
Two A19 bulbs and bridge
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Bottom Line

A less expensive starter kit than our top pick, since it only includes two smart bulbs. Has many great features. Suitable kit for those curious about smart lighting who aren't ready to outfit their entire home.

Pros

Noticeably brighter than earlier generation bulbs. Can be dimmed even in non-dimmer sockets. With an app, bulbs can brighten or dim over time, like a sleep cycle.

Cons

Original kit only contains two bulbs, others must be purchased separately.

Philips Go Light (works with Amazon Alexa)
Philips
Go Light (works with Amazon Alexa)
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Bottom Line

Philips' Go Light is more on the artistic than functional side, but it makes an excellent nightlight, side lamp or accent light. Hue colors are deep and vivid, and can be changed remotely through an app.

Pros

Aesthetically pleasing "bowl of light," including a candle setting. Creates customizable back lighting for TV viewing. Wake-up alarm feature slowly brightens lamp.

Cons

Onboard battery has short lifespan. Cord placement creates unstable base. Programming custom effects can be a challenge.

Philips 65W Equivalent Single LED Bulb
Philips
65W Equivalent Single LED Bulb
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Bottom Line

For those with specific uses for a HUE smart bulb, such as TV backlighting, this is a great choice. It is easily recognizable by most systems. Price point may be too high for a regular LED bulb replacement, however.

Pros

Works well with an existing Philips hub and app. Light temperatures run the entire cool-to-warm spectrum. Can be set to change back lighting during TV viewing.

Cons

On the expensive side, not for whole house bulb replacement. First generation, does not reproduce greens well. Must be kept "on" for maximum performance.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Models
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128
Consumers
Consulted
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Buying guide for best philips hue light bulbs

Smart bulbs have become more and more popular in recent years due to the level of efficiency and customization they provide. Unlike regular bulbs, options such as Philips’ Hue lightbulbs can be tailored with a smartphone app to display different colors and brightness levels. These bulbs are also compatible with smart home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa and offer convenient control over your home lighting.

Whether you want to automate your home’s lighting to deter burglars or enhance the atmosphere of key areas, bulbs in the Philips Hue lineup are one of the best options in smart home lighting. Installing Hue bulbs around your home saves on your lighting bill and provides control over your home’s ambiance. Conveniently, you can switch on the lights from anywhere without accessing a manual light switch.

Our buying guide includes everything you need to know about Philips Hue light bulbs, so you choose the Philips smart lighting setup that’s right for you.

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Hue lights with color capabilities can project over 16 million different colors.

Key considerations

Benefits of Philips Hue light bulbs

  • Ultra-compatible: Philips Hue light bulbs work across a wide range of smart home devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
  • Large variety of lighting choices: Some Philips Hue light bulbs let users choose from a rainbow of lighting temperatures and colors to set the mood or light the way. Philips Hue bulbs are also available in fixture configurations for different areas of the home.
    Endless possibilities: Due to their versatility, you can install multiple Philips Hue bulbs to create lighting patterns of your choice.
  • Control: You can use timer and scheduling functions to ensure that the lights turn on when needed. Some smart bulb setups even allow you to use your lights to help you wake up or fall asleep.
    Lower energy costs: Not only do smart LED bulbs draw less power, the scheduling and timer features mean you’ll likely never forget to turn off lights in your home again.
  • Burglar deterrent: You can control lighting from afar or schedule your bulbs to turn on and off at random times, so it always seems like someone’s home.

A few drawbacks

  • Price: The one major downside of Philips Hue light bulbs is their price tag. Full-featured Philips Hue bulbs that can change color cost around $50 apiece. Outfitting a home entirely with smart bulbs would be an expensive upgrade.
  • Slow response time: Because smart bulbs are wirelessly connected and controlled via an app, some users find that the bulbs respond a little slower than if you simply flicked on a switch.
    App performance issues: Some users encounter occasional issues when trying to control the lights via the app. Fortunately, using the wall switch is a fallback option that’s always available.
  • Overheating: There are user reports that some Philips Hue bulbs tend to overheat.

Connectivity options

Philips Hue bulbs can be controlled via smartphone using a Bluetooth connection, but the amount of control this setup provides is mostly limited to on/off switching and dimming functions for a given room. For a more robust experience that offers full control, you need the Philips Bridge hub device that plugs into your router and works with its own full-featured smartphone app. The Bridge offers many more options, including the following.

  • Connect up to 50 lights and control your entire home’s lighting system
  • Schedule lighting shifts and set timers
  • Control lights remotely via app
  • Sync lighting with entertainment and gaming systems
  • Control other types of Philips’ brand smart devices, such as motion sensors

Features

Color options

All Philips Hue light bulbs allow users to adjust the color and temperature of the lighting to some degree. Different models allow for varying levels of customization. Low-end Philips Hue bulbs are simple white dimmable bulbs. Slightly more advanced bulbs allow you to adjust the color temperature a bulb produces, from clear white to warm candle-tinged yellow. Full-featured bulbs provide total temperature control and myriad color choices.

Smart device compatibility

All Philips Hue light bulbs are compatible with a variety of smart home devices, including Google Home and Alexa.

App control

You can control your lighting via the Philips smartphone app. You will, however, need to hook your smart lighting up to the Philips Bridge smart hub appliance to take advantage of many of the advanced app features.

Starter kit

Not sure if smart bulbs are right for you and your home? Try out a starter kit to get a feel for this type of technology. Choose from kits that include two to four bulbs. Most kits also include the Philips Bridge hub device.

Dimmer compatible

Some bulbs work with a dimmer without the need for special adjustments. If your lighting fixture works with a dimmer switch, be sure to choose a smart bulb that is compatible.

Entertainment features

When connected to the Philips Bridge accessory, some bulbs can be synced with your audio, gaming, and entertainment systems. Enhance your viewing, playing, and listening experiences with a bit of mood lighting to match.

Sleep-specific functions

One of the advanced features enabled by the Philips Bridge accessory is the ability to gradually dim and brighten bulbs to mimic the setting and rising of the sun to help you wake in the morning or fall asleep at night.

Outdoor lighting

If you choose, you can opt for weather-rated Philips Hue floodlight bulbs to light your outdoor pathways or other exterior areas. They’re also customizable and controlled via the Philips smartphone app.

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Did you know?
Philips sells two types of motion sensors: one for outdoor use and one designed solely for indoor use.
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BestReviews

Philips Hue light bulb prices

Buying bulbs separately is expensive, so you may want to opt for a starter kit to begin outfitting your home. The price for a set of four bulbs fluctuates somewhat, but look for something around the $200 mark. Ideally, the kit would include a Bridge so you wouldn’t have to buy that separately. (A single HUE LED bulb costs about $50, so the savings wouldn’t be extensive if a Bridge weren’t included).

The cheapest Hue bulbs don’t require a Bridge connection to function and have fewer features. Pricing for these “budget” bulbs ranges from approximately $14 to $24. Unless you purchase a starter kit the Philips Bridge included, it will need to be purchased separately. The price for this is around $60.

Track light prices start around $80.

Tips

  • The app is versatile and helpful when it comes to creating a lighting schedule. For example, you could use the app to prompt your lights to turn on automatically at dusk. You could even allow the app to detect your location and turn your lights on or off when you’re coming or going.
  • You can select from preset “scenes” in the Philips Hue app. These are pre-loaded color schemes created by Philips. You can also create your very own scenes, customized to your needs.
  • You can use the popular IFTTT (If This Then That) app to turn your lighting system into a notification center. Program a light or series of lights to flash if you receive a call or text message.
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The Hue lighting system is compatible with Google Home, Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Microsoft’s Cortana.

FAQ

Q. How do I use Philips Hue light bulbs?
A.
Once installed, you can control your light bulbs using the Hue smartphone application (a Philips Bridge hub device is required to access advanced features). You can also manage your lights with your regular lightswitch or a Philips brand switch or dimmer.


Q. How long do these light bulbs last?
A.
Philip Hue bulbs last about 15,000 hours, rendering approximately six to seven years of use on average.


Q. If my internet goes down, will my Philips Hue light bulbs remain on?
A.
Yes. If you lose power, however, Hue bulbs are the same as regular bulbs: they will shut off, as they require electricity to function.

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