Philips Hue Smart Bulb Review and Setup Guide

We tested a Philips Hue smart bulb and three of its competitors to confirm it’s really the best of the best.
Best smart light bulb
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance
Philips Hue LED Smart Light Bulb
  • pro
    Excellent smart home compatibility
  • pro
    Lasts about 22 years
  • pro
    ENERGY STAR® certified
Cathy Habas
May 22, 2023
Icon Time To Read3 min read

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

An industry pioneer and the reigning champ of our best smart bulb list, the Philips Hue Color Ambiance LED Smart Bulb dominates the competition in every way.

Plus, you can watch our very own Katie McEntire set up a Hue bulb via Bluetooth in the video below.

pro
Pros
pro 10–50 bulbs on one account
pro 16 million color options
pro 60 W–100 W (800–1,600 lumens)
pro Dimmable
pro Warm and cool temperature options
pro Custom scenes
pro Free app
pro Works with Amazon, Google, Apple, and Samsung
con
Cons
con Some features require Hue Bridge

Compare Philips Hue to other smart bulbs

Product
Best for
Price
Watt equivalent
Smart home compatibility Icon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Read review
Best overall 60W, 75W, 100WAmazon, Apple, Google, SmartThings
Best budget white bulb 60WAmazon, Zigbee
Best budget color bulb 75WAmazon, Google
Best Wi-Fi bulb 60WAmazon, Apple, Google, SmartThings
Best color60WAmazon, Apple, Google
Best splurge N/AAmazon, Apple, Google, SmartThings

Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

Video: How to Set Up Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs (with Bluetooth)

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Options galore

If you’re sensitive to a light’s temperature, brightness, and color, you’ll love all the adjustments you can make in the Philips Hue app.

Let’s start with the first decision you’ll make: maximum brightness. Philips Hue bulbs come in 60 W, 75 W, and 100 W equivalents, each of which gets progressively brighter: 800 lumens, 1,100 lumens, and 1,600 lumens, respectively.

Of course, you’ll also need to choose a bulb that matches the output of your light socket—but if the socket can handle up to 75 W and you know you love bright light, choose a 75 W bulb instead of the 60 W option.

Minimum brightness doesn’t matter much since Philips Hue LED bulbs are dimmable. You don’t need to install a dimmer switch—just lower the brightness through the Hue app. 

You can also use the app to adjust the bulb’s temperature from warm (yellow-ish) to cool (white-ish).

And don’t forget the color palette. Philips Hue smart bulbs put 16 million colors at your fingertips.

Energy Star certified

Philips Hue bulbs are Energy Star certified, which is actually a rare feat in the world of smart lights. Just over 400 smart light bulbs have earned this certification as of May 2023, including quite a few Philips Hue models.

In practical terms, this means Philips Hue bulbs use up to 90% less energy, last 15 times longer, and produce up to 90% less heat compared to standard bulbs.

In fact, Philips Hue LED smart bulbs have a lifespan of 25,000 life hours, or the equivalent of 22 years of normal use.

Smart home compatibility

Incorporating colorful lights and effects into smart home automations and routines is part of what makes a smart bulb so much fun, and Philips Hue LED Smart Bulb pairs with all major smart hubs to make it happen:

Philips smart lights also work with Zigbee devices and IFTTT.

There are also plenty of automation options within the free Philips Hue app, including geofencing triggers that turn the lights on as you (well, your phone) approach the house.

Larger homes require Hue Bridge

Image: SafeWise

Thanks to a new Bluetooth option, you don’t need to buy a Philips Hue Bridge (about $60) to sync your phone app to the light bulb. But you’ll probably want to snag the Bridge anyway since it powers more bulbs (up to 50), unlocks certain features like timers, and works better in larger homes.

If you stick to the Bluetooth connection, you can connect up to 10 Hue bulbs. The main downside is that Bluetooth connections have a maximum range of about 33 feet, which isn’t practical for powering a large or multi-storied home. You won’t be able to turn the porch light on if you’re too far away, for example.

Final word

If you want the best of the best, choosing Philips Hue smart light bulbs is a no-brainer. But we get it if you’re cringing at the thought of a $50 light bulb (even though they do last over two decades). If that’s the case, check out our Wyze Bulb Color review to see if that’s a more palatable choice.

Philips Hue smart bulb FAQs

Philips isn’t discontinuing Hue smart bulbs altogether. Only a recently-released line called Lightguide is getting the chop, and even then, it’s just the triangle and globe-shaped bulbs being discontinued. The Verge has the scoop if you’d like to learn more.

Philips Hue bulbs have a lifespan of about 25,000 hours, which equals about 22 years of normal use.

How we reviewed Philips Hue LED Smart Bulbs

Image: Katie McEntire, SafeWise

For our Philips Hue review, we conducted hands-on testing of the 75 W Philips Hue E26 bulb. We also tested competing bulbs from Wyze, Sylvania, and LIFX to compare their vibrancy and ease of use. Learn more about how we rank and review on the SafeWise methodology page.

Related articles on SafeWise

Disclaimers

*Product prices and availability are accurate as of post date and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over eight years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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