Philips Hue: Everything you need to know

Smart lights are one of the most simple and visible ways to add some smart home flair to your home, and the smart light system from Philips Hue is one of the best on the market. Philips Hue lights allow us to seamlessly change the brightness and color of a room's lighting as easily as a tap of a profile on our smartphone or a voice command thanks to integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Whether you're just beginning to look into purchasing a Philips Hue hub for your home or you're looking for more new mind-blowing tricks for your Philips Hue to do, we've got everything you need to know right here.

What do you need to get started with Philips Hue?

The Philips Hue system offers tons of different sizes and styles of bulbs, but no matter how big your house or small your apartment, there are two things you need in order to get started with a Philips Hue system:

  • A Philips Hue Bridge, which acts as the hub that all of your Philips Hue lights will connect to and connect to the internet through for updates and away-from-home control via the Philips Hue app. The Philips Hue hub connects to the internet via ethernet port, so make sure there's one of those free on your router.
  • At least one Philips Hue bulb.

Since the bulbs and Bridges can be expensive on their own, Philips Hue sells a variety of starter packs, but your best value will likely be found in the 4 White Bulbs starter kit or the 2 Bulb Dimmer starter kit. The Dimmer isn't necessary, but it's nice to be able to control the lights in a room without using your phone or voice, especially in a room like the bathroom or in a child's room.

Both of these starter kits feature white bulbs rather than the traditional color bulbs, but the color starter kit is $120 more expensive, and considering Philips Hue color bulbs go down to $40 during sales at least once a quarter, so put the A19 Color Bulb on your Amazon Wishlist and wait for a sale.

Set the scene

Philips Hue Scenes

While you can control individual lights, the best part of configuring Philips Hue lights to my mind is setting up complex scenes that can control all the lights in one room — or all throughout your home — and being able to change them all by activating a scene. Philips Hue lights come with several pre-made scenes, but making your own is a cinch. Here's how!

How to create a light scene with Philips Hue bulbs

OK Google, kill the lights

Google Assistant light control

Philips Hue lights are great, but having to pull out the app every time you want to change them is a pain. Thankfully, Google Assistant can trigger Philips Hue scenes and change rooms or individual bulbs on and off with ease. There are just a few things you should know before you tie them together.

How to enable Philips Hue scenes and commands with Google Assistant

Smart Home Team-up

Nest makes smart thermostats and home security systems, and through the "Works with Nest" ecosystem, Nest and Hue can team up in a lot of helpful ways. Set your thermostat to Away, and Nest can tell Hue to turn off any lights you left on. Nest sensors pick up suspicious activity? Hue will turn on the outside flood lights so the cameras can better see if its a deer or an ax murderer.

How Philips Hue lights work with Nest

Are you not entertained?

Want your lights to tie into your music or movies while you're entertaining some guests or just want to get super into the latest episode of Westworld? Philips Hue can do that, but there's an extra device you'll need for this technological magic.

How to connect Philips Hue lights to your music, movies, or games

Time for an upgrade

There's a lot of cool things Philips Hue has been adding recently, but not all of those features are going to be compatible with the original round puck that came with older Hue starter kits. Fortunately, Philips includes a feature in the Hue app that makes transferring your lights and settings super easy.

How to upgrade to a new Philips Hue Bridge

Amazon Alexa vs Google Home

Smart lights are part of a smart home, but which smart home assistant works better with Philips Hue, Google Home or Amazon Echo? Here's how they compare.

Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: Which works best with Philips Hue

Best Philips Hue Alternatives

Do smart lights sound amazing but you just can't justify the exorbitant prices Philips charges for its Hue lights? Well, that's okay, there are plenty of other smart light solutions out there. Here's what you should get if you just can't get Philips Hue.

Best Philips Hue Alternatives in 2018

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.