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Best Philips Hue lights and light strips 2022

Philips Hue
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

There aren't many smart home devices as well-known and universally respected as the extensive collection of smart lighting products made by Philips Hue. Since 2012, the company has been putting out a wide variety of indoor and outdoor smart light bulbs and has taken great pains to ensure they're compatible with all major smart home ecosystems. 

With so many options to choose from, where do you even begin to search for the best Philips Hue lights? You can start with the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Bluetooth Smart LED Bulb, which can connect to a Bridge for remote control, or you can use Bluetooth to manage them from the app while you're in the room.

Philips Hue bulb in purple

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance

Best overall

Reasons to buy

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Bluetooth control
+
16 million+ colors
+
Voice control
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2200K-6500K white temperature range

Reasons to avoid

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Requires Hue Bridge for remote control
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No HomeKit voice control

This bulb, available in a two-pack, is suitable for any room of your home and replaces a standard A19 bulb. However, what makes it great is that if you aren't ready to delve into a complete system yet, you can first connect it via Bluetooth for instant control from your smartphone or tablet while you're in range. You can add up to 10 bulbs in the same room to control via the Bluetooth app if you like. Once you're ready to upgrade, grab the Hue Bridge and add up to 50 other Hue lights to control them all from your phone, no matter where you are — making it one of the smart light bulbs available.

This dimmable white ambiance bulb offers different shades of white, from warm to cool, along with 16 million colors to choose from to suit every mood, from party time or relaxing with a good book.

Like with all Hue bulbs, you can create timers and routines. You can also control the bulb using your voice via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. With a 25,000-hour lifespan, the 9.5-watt, 800-lumen bulbs are Energy Star certified and will make a great and simple addition to any home to replace old incandescent bulbs.

Philips Hue White and Color smart bulb

Source: Philips Hue (Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit

Full package

Reasons to buy

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Hub included
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Save a lot of money
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Compatible with all major smart home ecosystems
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Voice control

Reasons to avoid

-
There are cheaper smart lighting alternatives
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Many competitors don't require a hub
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Hub/bridge requires a wired connection

As far as starter kits go, this one is impressive. It comes with four of Philips' popular White and Color Ambiance A19 60W-equivalent LED bulbs and a smart hub/bridge, all of which retail for around $50 each. That means with this kit, you're not only jumpstarting your smart home, but you're saving money in the process.

These bulbs fit in most standard sockets and lamps and feature over 16 million colors and shades, including various shades of white light. You can program them in the Philips Hue app to create specific scenes and moods and control them through your voice with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.

Philips claims these bulbs will last for 25,000 hours, which if you left them on all day every day, would last you over four years. However, since no one does that (hopefully), these really should pay for themselves. The included hub/bridge allows you to connect up to 50 Philips Hue devices, but it does require a wired connection and plug-in to your router so make sure you have room for and accessibility to both.

Philips Hue White Ambience

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Philips Hue White Ambiance Bulb

Best value

Reasons to buy

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The most affordable way into Hue ecosystem
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50,000 shades of white light
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Available individually or in bundles
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Work instantly via Bluetooth

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the cheapest option
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Needs Bridge for all features
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No colors

We mentioned above that a Philips Hue Bridge could support up to 50 lights, and while you may not need that many in your home, chances are you have more than four bulbs that need replacing. Thankfully, you can pick up these lower-cost White Ambiance Bulbs a la carte or in bundles. This is the bulb for you if you want smart functionality but don't need all the fancy color combinations and scenes.

I love using these bulbs for kitchen lighting, hallways, utility spaces, and bathrooms. These are as simple to install as screwing them in and connecting in the Hue app. They work via Bluetooth as well as with a hub. And even though they can't change colors, you can choose from over 50,000 shades of white light.

One of our favorite things to do with these bulbs is to program them to wake you up each morning gradually. You can set up this feature in the app to get progressively brighter until your alarm goes off, which is a wonderfully refreshing way to start your day. The Philips Hue Ambiance Bulbs come in other shapes and sizes, and one of our favorites is the Decorative Candle Bulb. These are particularly great for chandeliers or accent lamps.

Philips Hue BR30

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance BR30

Best for side rooms

Reasons to buy

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Voice control
+
650 lumens of brightness
+
16 million+ colors
+
Works with many home automation systems

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires Hue Bridge for remote control
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Not Energy Star rated

Totally change the atmosphere in a room like a kitchen or a bathroom with this powerful floodlight that can provide 650 lumens of brightness through installation in a standard 5-6-inch recessed can. You'll not only get powerful and directed light where you need it the most but can also choose from 16 million colors to create the perfect ambiance for a dinner party or a chill night.

As with other Hue bulbs, it can work with Bluetooth or the optional Hue Bridge for remote control via a smartphone or tablet and the app, allowing you to add it to scenes, schedules, timers, and routines, with compatibility with Nest, SmartThings, and Wink home automation systems. With a compatible smart device like a smart speaker, you can also control it by voice using Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. Plus, you can expand your system, controlling dozens of other lights and other accessories via one Hue Bridge.

Philips Hue Smart Lights

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Philips Hue Play White & Color Smart Light

Best for the home theater

Reasons to buy

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Unique design
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16 million+ colors
+
Voice control
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Works with most smart assistants

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires Hue Bridge for remote control
-
No Energy Star rating
-
Could be gimmicky

So this isn't technically a "bulb" by definition, but it is a unique lighting product from the lineup that is worth including. Rather than screwing into an existing lamp or light fixture, this is a self-contained bar that you can position on the floor, in or behind a cabinet, or mount to the back of the TV to provide cool and eye-catching accent lighting.

It has all of the same connectivity features as the others, including the ability to work with the optional Hue Bridge for remote control from a smartphone or tablet, voice control (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit), and smart home automation system compatibility to add scenes and routines, including with Nest, SmartThings, and Wink.

One of my favorite things about the Play Bars is how easily they can be mounted using the included clips and double-sided tape, and you can connect up to three of them to the same power supply unit for a really immersive experience, making gaming, movie night, or parties unique with up to 16 million colors. Each kit includes two A19 bulbs offering up 530 lumens of light and a power supply. As with the others, the life span is about 25,000 hours.

Philips Hue Smart Lights

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Philips Hue Gradient Light Strip

Best illumination extender

Reasons to buy

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Can go practically anywhere
+
Available in multiple lengths
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Can connect multiple extensions
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Sync with video game and entertainment systems

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive

Philips Hue light strips are a piece of smart tech that can be found on many gaming streamer's setups, but they're appropriate for almost any space. You can cut these to just about any length and adhere them to flat, clean surfaces with adhesive tape. Then, line the underside of your bookshelves or media cabinet, the railings on the back porch, or put on the backside of your computer desk for awesome effect lighting.

Speaking of effect lighting, you can sync these lights with your video game or entertainment systems to create a truly immersive experience.  The light strips support the typical 16 million color options that other Hue color products can produce, and we loved how they look when paired with the Philips Hue Sync Box when we reviewed it.

Like all Philips Hue smart lights, the only major downside to these light strips is their premium price. However, even though they're on the steep side, you know you're getting a quality product from Philips.

Philips Hue Go

(Image credit: Android Central)

Philips Hue Go

Best portable piece

Reasons to buy

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Portable
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Up to 18 hours of battery life
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Attractive, tabletop design
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More affordable than many other Hue lamps

Reasons to avoid

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Plastic construction
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Expensive compared to the competition
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Still requires Hue Bridge to control via smart assistants

Aside from showcasing the beautiful colors, modes, and scenes that the other great Philips Hue lights can, this little lamp is one of our absolute favorites because it's versatile and portable. I love that I can unplug it and take it where ever I need some light. All I need to do is use the button on the back of the lamp. 

The Hue Go is a more premium and portable lamp than the likes of the Amazon Echo Glow. It sits at an angle, and you can program it for millions of lighting scenarios. Its size and weight give it more gravitas than other portable multicolored lamps, and it truly feels like it's meant to be a piece of permanent decor in your living space. Its battery life is optimized for up to 18 hours of unplugged usage, though your mileage may vary depending on what you have it programmed to do.

The biggest drawback to this little lamp is its price. If what you want is a portable, color-changing lamp, there are definitely cheaper options available.

Philips Hue Discover Outdoor Floodlight Official Render

(Image credit: Philips Hue)

Philips Hue Discover Outdoor Floodlight

Best outdoor illuminator

Reasons to buy

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The power of a floodlight
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UL Wet Location and outdoor rated
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Makes your outdoor spaces more enjoyable

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit on the expensive side
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No IP weather rating

You may not have realized this, but if you own your own home or property, you can take the magic of Philips Hue lights outside. Our favorite Philips Hue outdoor lighting product has to be the Discover Outdoor Floodlight. Not only does it output 2,300 lumens of brightness, but it's capable of changing between 16 million color combinations (as usual).

These lights can be configured to illuminate your property to discourage unwanted visitors or criminal activity, but they are equally useful for holiday decorating or impromptu deck dance parties. They are easy to install almost anywhere and they can withstand the elements for years. Philips claims that the Discover Outdoor Smart Floodlight meets the standards set for UL Wet Location qualification, so it should handle wet climates and conditions with ease. It is worth noting, however, that these lights do not carry any official IP certification.

At more than $150 a pop, these lights are a bit on the expensive side, especially if you plan on mounting multiple floodlights around your property. To save a little money, you can combine a couple of the colorful Discover lights with the Philips White Welcome floodlights and get the best of both worlds.

Philips Hue Smart Lights

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Philips Hue Lily White & Color Outdoor Smart Spot light

Best for outdoor accent lighting

Reasons to buy

+
Weatherproof design
+
Very bright
+
Voice control
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Home automation compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires Hue Bridge for remote control
-
Has to be 30 feet from Bridge

These smart spotlights emit 640 lumens of light and are nestled in a housing that can be mounted outside to add the perfect illumination from the 16 million colors available to your outdoor areas. It can connect to the optional Hue Bridge to allow remote control, including the setting of timers and schedules, if you want to make it turn on automatically at sunset, for example. It can be controlled as part of a Nest, SmartThings, or Wink home automation system, by voice using Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit/HomePod, and Google Assistant, via the mobile app, or by an indoor dimmer switch.

The light has undergone rigorous testing and has a weatherproof chassis to ensure that it can operate outdoors, including in wet environments. Easy to install, you mount it on a wall, connect it with the power supply, plug it in, and pair it to the Hub. However, keep in mind that it has to be positioned within 30 feet of the Bridge to maintain a signal or can be up to 60 feet away if there's another outdoor light connected to the same system. Note that metal and other materials can block the signal as well. Like the others on this list, it has a 25,000-hour lifespan.

Getting the perfect hue for your home

There's a Philips Hue bulb out there to suit every need, room of the home, and purpose, from unique accent lighting to functional outdoor or task lighting. But for the simplest, most versatile option that you can use pretty much anywhere in your home, the Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance A19 Bluetooth Smart LED Bulb is a really affordable and good option to consider. You can use it in several places, replacing old, not as energy-efficient incandescent bulbs, and try out mobile connectivity using Bluetooth and the redesigned Philips Hue app to see how you like it. Once you get more familiar, you can opt for the Hue Bridge and set it up for remote access. And then, you can consider expanding the system with more Philips Hue lights on this list, along with accessories like motion sensors, lamps, light strips, and more.

If you already have a hub/bridge and a few of the best Philips Hue lights in your home, you might want to jazz up your spaces with smart lighting strips or light bars or perhaps outdoor solutions like the Discover floodlights. However you decide to accessorize your home, you'll be sure to enjoy these smart lights for years to come.

Chris Wedel
Chris Wedel
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.
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