Philips Hue vs. C by GE: Which smart light bulb is best for your home?

Philips Hue White Color Ambiance A19 Smart Led Bulb Lifestyle
Philips Hue White Color Ambiance A19 Smart Led Bulb Lifestyle (Image credit: Philips Hue)

Philips Hue

Philips Hue Color Bulb

This popular brand's ecosystem has no limits when it comes to lighting your home from the inside out with the bulb of your choice, and it has excellent smart home integration if you own other devices. It's not the cheapest, but the Hue app offers tons of features for your lights and makes installation easy and exciting.

Philips Hue

Massive ecosystem

Huge reputable ecosystem
Bluetooth or bridge (Zigbee) systems
Easy installation
Extensive smart home integration
Fantastic, updated app
Overwhelming number of products
Bridge is necessary to unlock all features

C by GE

C by GE Direct Connect Smart Bulb

C by GE is a great place to go if you're just getting started with smart lighting. Its ecosystem isn't huge, but it offers indoor smart bulbs for a reasonable price that you can control via voice or the handy Cync app. There's less variety with C by GE, but the price and reputation are hard to beat.

C by GE

Affordable lighting

No hub necessary
Great reputation
Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
Out of home control with Direct Connect (Wi-Fi) bulbs
Limited features with Bluetooth-enabled bulbs
Smaller line of products
Only A19 bulbs and BR30
No outdoor bulbs

Picking a smart lighting ecosystem for your home can be difficult with all the options out there. But there's no doubt that Philips Hue is home to many of the best smart light bulbs out there and sports a huge ecosystem with a wide variety of bulbs and an excellent app to connect everything. But it's not the only choice. C by GE is another popular brand with its own legacy in the lighting industry, and though it doesn't have as many smart lights and third-party partners as Philips Hue, it's a great place to start if you want to replace a few bulbs in your home. To better understand, here's a closer look at how these two smart lighting ecosystems compare.

Philips Hue vs. C by GE: How do these brands compare?

C By Ge Lighting Lifesetyle

Source: GE Lighting (Image credit: Source: GE Lighting)

Philips Hue was one of the earliest adopters of smart light bulbs, but GE has been in the industry for more than a decade. All of that goes to say that these two smart lighting brands are fantastic picks for your home lighting, though they do have their differences. Philips Hue is a sound choice for anyone who has many smart devices and would like to invest in their lighting, indoors, outdoors, and anywhere in the home. On the other hand, C by GE is the more affordable brand with a few great options to choose from. Here's how these two brands compare.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Philips Hue BulbC by GE Bulb
ConnectivityBluetooth or Bridge (Zigbee)Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
Voice CompatibilityGoogle, Alexa, Siri, and CortanaAlexa and Google Assistant
BulbsWhite (2700K)
White ambiance (2200K-6500K)
White and color ambiance (2000K-6500K +16 million colors)
Soft white (2700K)
Tunable white (2000K-7000K)
Full color (2000K-7000K +16 million colors)
Lifetime25,000 hours13.7 years (3 hours of usage/day)
Bulb typesA19, G25, E12, BR30, E26, GU10, and PAR38A19 and BR30
Color options16 million16 million
Max. number of lights (Wi-Fi)50 bulbs50 bulbs
Outdoor lightingYesNo
Light stripsYesYes

When it comes to indoor lighting, all Philips Hue bulbs can be dimmed. You can pick between three different color ranges: standard white, white ambiance, and white and color ambiance. The white ambiance bulb has 50,000 different shades of white light, while the color bulb offers all shades of white light plus 16 million colors. Similarly, C by GE offers dimmable bulbs in soft white, tunable white (adjustable to warm, amber to cool bluish tones), and millions of full-color options. In the app, you're actually able to enter color values on an RGB color wheel to pick the ideal color for your room.

Philips Hue vs. C by GE: How do the ecosystems compare?

Philips Hue Ecosystem

Source: Philips Hue (Image credit: Source: Philips Hue)

One notable difference between these two ecosystems is that Hue's is significantly larger. If you're ready to take your lighting to the next level, you have the choice of smart bulbs in various shapes and sizes as well as gradient light strips, standalone table lamps, outdoor lighting, ceiling lighting, the list goes on. Hue also has a range of partners that it's compatible with, so if you already own a few smart devices, the chances of integrating with Hue are much higher. However, to unlock all of the Hue app's features, you'll need to purchase a Hue bridge along with your smart bulb.

C by GE's ecosystem is much smaller, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Its bulbs are significantly cheaper than Philips Hue bulbs, and you have the choice of connecting them through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If you opt for the Wi-Fi bulbs (Direct Connect bulbs), installation is extremely easy, and you don't need to purchase an extra hub to unlock all of the bulb's features.

Philips Hue vs. C by GE: Navigating Philips Hue

Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box Lifestyle

Source: Philips Hue (Image credit: Source: Philips Hue)

One of the first brands in the smart lighting space, Philips Hue continues to dominate this market with an extensive range of high-quality, long-lasting, and easy-to-use lighting products and accessories. If you're 100% committed to decking out your home with smart lighting, this is the brand to pick. Though it's on the more expensive end, it's remained so popular for a reason, and you'll find everything that you need.

If you're new to Philips Hue, a quick tour of its website can feel overwhelming, but Philips Hue helps you shop for lighting by product category or by room, depending on what you're looking for. If you have no idea where to start, fortunately, a few starter kits will help you get along your way. For instance, you can get a four-pack of classic A19 bulbs from Amazon for $70. This set includes a smart bridge, which you'll need if you want to take advantage of all of Philips Hue bulb's features. If you prefer using Bluetooth, that's an option too, but you'll be limited to one room and won't be able to control your lights away from home. Here's how Bluetooth and bridge bulbs compare.

Philips Hue Bridge vs Bluetooth

Source: Philips Hue (Image credit: Source: Philips Hue)

Setting up Philips Hue lights is a seamless process that can be done in the newly redesigned Philips Hue app. Once your bulbs are ready, you'll be able to control your lights with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, as well as set daily schedules, play around with 16 million colors, create lighting settings, and add up to 50 lights throughout your home. If you already own smart devices, it's also useful to know that Philips Hue has a long list of smart home partners compatible with, such as Razer, IFTT, and Samsung SmartThings.

If you like what you see, Philips Hue can help you transform your home with any lighting you're looking for, including bulbs, light strips, lamps, outdoor lights, and accessories. With a Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, you can also sync up your lights to your TV or PC for an impressive home theater or gaming experience. Other accessories worth considering include a motion sensor, dimmer switch, and more. With Hue, it almost feels like anything is possible, and that's a good feeling.

Philips Hue vs. C by GE: Getting started with C by GE

C By Ge Lifestyle Living Room

Source: GE Lighting (Image credit: Source: GE Lighting)

GE has been innovating lighting technology for more than 130 years, so it makes sense that it has its own line of C by GE bulbs as well as several other accessories to illuminate your home and make life easier. However, this brand likes to keep things simple by offering only a few bulbs to choose from. These boil down to two bulbs: Direct Connect bulbs (connecting directly to Wi-Fi) and Bluetooth-enabled bulbs. So before making a purchase, double-check that you're getting the right one.

The difference between these two connection types is that C by GE's Direct Connect Bulbs enables you to operate your lights when you're not at home. So, for example, if you forgot to turn the light off before leaving the house, you can fix that. Also, if you want to use Alexa or Google Assistant to operate your lighting, it's best to get a Direct Connect bulb. To get the same features with a Bluetooth-enabled bulb, you'll need to get a C by GE smart plug or a Cync smart switch. Both types of bulbs do, however, allow you to set schedules and save custom light settings.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Direct Connect Smart BulbSmart Bulb (Bluetooth)
Set schedulesYesYes
Set and save scenesYesYes
Out-of-home controlYesWith smart plug
Works with AlexaYesWith smart plug or Cync app
Works with Google AssistantYesWith smart plug or Cync app

You can get four C by GE Direct Connect light bulbs in soft white for $30, making this a very affordable project. In terms of bulb options, you have the choice between full color, soft white, and tunable white. With the tunable white bulbs, you're able to adjust your color temperature between warm, amber light and cool, blueish tones. To adjust colors and temperatures, you just need to go into the Cync app, which offers enhanced color thanks to TrueImage Technology.

C by GE's A19 bulbs use 84 percent less energy than standard 60W incandescent bulbs. So even if you don't replace every bulb in your house, these are still an energy-saving and cost-saving investment to make with useful smart features. Though C by GE's ecosystem isn't the largest you'll find, it's constantly innovating and expanding and is actually rolling out new outdoor floodlights and ceiling fan smart switches in the future.

Philips Hue vs. C by GE: Which one should you get?

Philips Hue Bedroom Lighting

Source: Philips Hue (Image credit: Source: Philips Hue)

When picking the best smart light bulb for your home, you won't be disappointed with either Philips Hue or C by GE. However, your decision will have to come down to whether you plan on buying a lot of smart bulbs down the line and like the idea of variety when it comes to shape, size, and accessories. If that's the case, Hue is your solution. It's hard to compete with the extent of its product line, quality, ease of use, and seamless app experience.

Another factor to consider is how many smart devices you already own. Fortunately, both Philips Hue and C by GE work with Google Assistant and Alexa. But overall, Philips Hue has more partners in the smart home space than C by GE, which makes things a little easier if you use an ecosystem like Samsung SmartThings.

You should also decide whether you mind having another hub in your home, which Philips Hue requires, or you prefer to have a C by GE Direct Connect bulb that works directly with Wi-Fi. Though an extra hub may be annoying, it might be necessary as you add more smart lights and devices to your home. But, again, decide early on before you get in too deep. And lastly, you should factor in how much you're willing to spend. C by GE is certainly more affordable than Philips Hue, but at the end of the day doesn't have as robust of a lighting selection.

Olivia Lipski

Olivia Lipski is a freelance writer for Android Central and loves testing out the latest smart home tech and discovering the best cell phone plans. When she's not busy running around NYC trying to find great food or coffee, she's in her kitchen trying to make it herself.