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What are Philips Hue smart bulbs and which choices are there?

Written by  Nov 22, 2017
The Philips Hue smart lighting system has increased enormously in the last few years, in both popularity and number of available products.

We've put together a quick, handy list of the current Philips Hue bulb line-up to give you an idea of how you can add colour and ambience into your life.

What is Philips Hue?

Philips Hue is a lighting system that works in conjunction with iOS and Android applications in order to change colour or white levels depending on your mood. It can also be linked to other Internet of Things devices to switch on, off or change the lighting style through your home network.

It works in conjunction with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Nest, Samsung SmartThings and many other smart home devices. You do not need any of them to use Philips Hue lighting though.

There are multiple bulbs and lighting products in the range, and they are all linked to your network through a Philips Hue Bridge - a small, connected hub that is wired to your router and controls the lights wirelessly. This is often found as part of a starter kit.

You can also control Hue bulbs directly with a Zigbee controller, such as the Amazon Echo Plus.

There are different styles of bulbs, which also fit into two lighting categories: white and colour ambience, which can display millions of colours, and white ambience, which can be set to a wide selection of warm or cool white lighting options.

What Philips Hue bulbs are available?

There are bulbs in the range for all manner of fittings and styles, that offer white ambience or white and colour ambience. Here is the range that you can get at present, plus the new Philips Hue Candle that'll ship from the end of April.

Remember, you will need the Philips Bridge to control these bulbs, hence they are generally "extension" devices.

Philips claims all its bulbs will last up to 25,000 hours each - around eight-and-a-half years if you have the bulb switched on eight hours a day every day of the year.

Philips Hue white ambience E14 Candle

The new bulb comes with an E14 screw fitting and has a 6W LED output that is equivalent to 40W. The candle form factor is otherwise known as B39.

It is capable of more than 50,000 shades of white, from warm to cool white.

Philips Hue white and colour ambience E14 Candle

Also with an E14 screw fitting and B39 form factor, the colour version of the Candle has an LED power output of 6.5W. It has the same lumen output though, of 470lm at 4000K.

It is also capable of more than 50,000 shades of white, but adds 16 million colours to the mix.

Philips Hue white extension bulb A19/E27

The most commonly used bulb in many households, the A19/E27 screw fitting light has a power output of 9.5W and A60 form factor.

Its light output is 806lm and is smart but doesn't change colour or white tone. That means it will stay the same colour temperature of 2,700K (warm white), but can be dimmed and switched on and off remotely.

Philips Hue white ambience extension bulb A19/E27

Similar to the above but with a flatter form factor, the white ambience version with A19/E17 screw fitting has a 10W power output. Its brightness is up to 800 lumens at 4000K.

It is capable of more than 50,000 shades of white and is dimmable via Hue compatible devices down to one per cent.

Philips Hue white and colour ambience extension bulb A19/E27

The exact same form factor as the white ambience version, this A19/E27 screw fitting bulb is capable of slightly brighter output, at up to 806 lumens at 4000K. It is a 10W LED bulb.

It has all shades of white plus 16 million colours. A newer version was released in recent times, with a richer colour palette.

If you have an older Hue system you might find some of the colours do not match the first generation bulbs.

Philips Hue white ambience extension bulb B22

Commonly known as a bayonet fitting, this white only bulb is the same as the A19/E7 version although it is slightly brighter, capable of up to 806 lumens at 4000K.

It can be set at more than 50,000 shades of white.

Philips Hue white and colour ambience extension bulb B22

Again, similar to the A19/E17 version of the colour bulb above, the B22 comes with the bayonet fitting instead. It only goes up to 600 lumens at 4000K in brightness however.

It offers all shades of white and 16 million colours.

It is also a "richer colour" bulb so might not match older models.

Philips Hue white ambience extension bulb GU10

Designed for spot lights the GU10 form factor has two locking pins and generally sits recessed into a ceiling or spot lamp. This bulb has 5.5W of maximum power output and a brightness of up to 300 lumens at 4000K.

It too offers more than 50,000 shades of white, from warm to cold colour temperatures. And it can be dimmed through Hue compatible devices down to one per cent.

Philips Hue white and colour ambience extension bulb GU10

The exact same form factor as the GU10 above, but with 6.5W of maximum output power. It has less brightness though, at up to 250 lumens at 4000K.

It adds 16 million colours to the numerous shades of white that can be achieved.

Philips Hue Lightstrips

Many people wanting to add a little colour lighting to their home will be looking at Lightstrips. This is a strip of LED lighting that works with the Hue system (so it's also Alexa and Google Home compatible), but there are two different versions of Lightstrips, the original and Plus. Both are white and colour and both can be cut to length, but the Plus can also be extended, making it much more flexible, the original is less widely available, but be sure you're buying the right version.

Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus

The Hue Lightstrip is designed to add mood lighting to your room, with an adhesive back so it can be stuck under worktops or furniture, or behind your TV, to provide warm or cool white light and up to 16 million colours.

It comes at a length of 2m, but with Lightstrip Plus, you add extension cables, or extend the run of LED lights themselves, so it's very flexible.

What Philips Hue starter kits are available?

As we say above, you will need a Philips Hue Bridge to connected your Hue bulbs to a home network. These often come as part of a starter kit with two or three bulbs included.

Here are the starter kits we recommend if you don't already have Philips Hue lighting in your home.

Philips Hue white starter kit A19/E27

This comes with the Philips Bridge 2.0 and two 9.5W white bulbs with A19/E27 screw fittings as detailed above. They have a fixed white colour but it is the cheapest way to get into Philips Hue.

Philips Hue white ambience starter kit A19/E27

This contains the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0, two A19/E27 white ambience bulbs capable of more than 50,000 shades of white and a wireless dimming switch.

Philips Hue white and colour ambience starter kit A19/E27

In this pack you get the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0 and three A19/E27 white and colour ambience bulbs capable of 16 million colours. They are the richer colour variants.

Philips Hue white and colour ambience starter kit B22

Essentially exactly the same as the kit above, except you get three B22 bayonet fitting versions of the bulbs with the Philips Hue Bridge 2.0.

Philips Hue white and colour ambience starter kit GU10

Another kit that offers three of the multicolour connected bulbs, except in the spot light GU10 form factor. You also get the Philips Bridge 2.0 hub with this set.

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