Philips Hue Inara Outdoor Wall Lantern vs. Traditional Wall Sconces: Which should you buy?

The Philips Hue Inara Outdoor Wall Lantern looks like a traditional fixture. However, thanks to its smart bulb inside, it's so much more. You don't need to buy this lighting fixture, however. You can create a similar smart solution with any outdoor wall sconce just by adding a smart light bulb.

For simplicity's sake, you could purchase the Philips Hue Inara, which already comes with a white A19 smart bulb. However, you can also buy any outdoor fixture and then buy a smart bulb separately.

The breakdown between smart and "dumb"

When looking for an outdoor wall sconce, be sure to purchase one that has a protection rating of at least IP44. Otherwise, the light bulb inside could become compromised, as could the wires. The Inara has this rating protection; make sure the one that you choose does also. Luckily, if the fixture has been designed for outdoor use, it's nearly certain to have a rating of IP44 or better, but it never hurts to check.

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Header Cell - Column 0 InaraTraditional
Bulb includedYesLikely no
IP44 ratedYesMake sure that it is
Bulb includedYesLikely no

Once you get past the protection level, find a Philips Hue smart bulb that will work with the fixture. The traditional white A19 will work in most situations because it uses the E26 traditional base. The A12 Hue bulb provides up to 25,000 hours of enjoyment, so it will be years before it needs to be replaced.

If you're looking to add color, buy a Philips Hue light bulb with white and color ambiance. When used with the separate Philips Hue Bridge, you can control your smart lights from anywhere in the world. In doing so, you can schedule routines and have the lights turn on/off when you enter or leave the property. Without the Bridge, you get limited features from your bulb.

Once you have a smart lighting solution installed, you can also pair your lights with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant and control your lights with your voice. With simple commands, you can turn your lights on/off, dim or brighten your lights, and set a scene.

No matter your lighting choice (whether it's the Inara or a traditional wall sconce), you can screw in a smart lightbulb and get that experience. It all comes down to how much you want to spend and your design preferences. If you don't want to spend on all the parts for the Philips bulb, you might want to stick with a traditional setup.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.