Thinking about adding some smart lights to your home? LIFX and Philips Hue bulbs are among the most popular choices for smart lighting, because they offer quality experiences and multiple lighting options. If you're having trouble deciding between the two, here's what you should keep in mind when making your decision!

Connectivity

The biggest difference between Philips Hue and LIFX is how the bulbs connect to your network. Philips Hue bulbs use a bridge that connects your Wi-Fi router to each of the bulbs you set up in your home. You adjust the lighting in the app, it communicates with the router, the router communicates with the bridge, and the bridge communicates with the bulbs. LIFX bulbs, on the other hand, have built-in Wi-Fi support and connect directly with your Wi-Fi router. You adjust the lighting in the app, it communicates with the router, the router communicates with the bulbs.

Both connectivity options have their pros and cons. The Philips Hue bridge not only handles connecting and communicating with your bulbs, it also handles automation tasks you set up. Its sole purpose is to control your bulbs, so it does an excellent job at it. You're also not paying for the cost of a Wi-Fi chip in each bulb which can help save you money. Individually connected Wi-Fi bulbs are reliable unless you've got TONS of Wi-Fi devices on your network. The more Wi-Fi devices you have set up in your home, the greater the chance that you'll run into interference and have trouble communicating with the bulbs. That said, you're not forced to buy a bridge in order to control your smart bulbs. If you're only thinking about adding a couple smart bulbs to your home, you might find it more cost effective to buy a couple Wi-Fi connected LIFX bulbs.

Pricing

Depending on your commitment to creating a smart home setup, you're going to notice a rather glaring price difference between LIFX and Philips Hue.

A single Wi-Fi connected, multicolor bulb from LIFX costs about $54.

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A single multicolor bulb from Philips Hue costs about $50.

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So the LIFX bulb is more expensive, right? Nope. In order to control that multicolor bulb from Philips Hue, you'll need a Philips Hue bridge; a bridge costs about $53.

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That said, you can get four multicolor Philips Hue bulbs and a Philips Hue bridge for a little over $160. The only way to save enough money on these bulbs to be as cost effective as LIFX is if you go all-in on Philips Hue. If you decide to make that jump, though, you'll be good to go. Once you've got the bridge, you can add a ton of Philips Hue bulbs to your setup. Without individual Wi-Fi radios, you'll save a little money on each bulb.

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Lighting options

For the most part, Philips Hue and LIFX offer similar lighting options. They both have single-color and multicolor bulbs in various sizes and shapes as well as accessories for "painting your home with light." There are two areas where LIFX has the upper hand, however:

  1. The LIFX Z light strip is a highly customizable lighting option. While the Philips Hue light strip can only display one color at a time, the LIFX Z light strip has eight zones in every strip that can all display their own unique color. If you want to truly "paint your home with light," a $90 LIFX Z light strip is going to get you there a lot faster than its Philips Hue counterpart.
  2. LIFX's multicolor bulbs are brighter than Philips Hue's. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs come in at 800 lumens — LIFX touts a whopping 1100 lumens. Brighter, richer colors can make all the difference when you're "painting your home with light."

Feature parity

The "problem" with deciding between various smart lighting options is that the best among them are almost always going to offer similar features and specs. If you want to offer the best smart lights, you're going to create bulbs that at least match the best bulbs on the market.

LIFX and Philips Hue may have different connection methods, pricing, and lighting options, but their main products — their smart bulbs — are quite similar. Assuming you end up enjoying the benefits that smart lighting brings to your home, chances are you're going to like either of these options. Heck, I've got LIFX and Philips Hue lighting products in my home.

Thoughts? Questions?

Is there a LIFX vs. Philips Hue comparison you'd like me to explain? Do you use LIFX or Philips Hue bulbs in your home? Be sure to leave your thoughts and questions in the comments!

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