Philips Hue — Everything you need to know!

Philips Hue white light bulb on a Hue lightstrip
Philips Hue white light bulb on a Hue lightstrip (Image credit: iMore)

The Philips Hue line of smart lighting and lighting accessories are some of the best smart products money can buy. Check here for information and updates on the Hue app and updated and upcoming Hue products.

What's new with Philips Hue?

February 15, 2018 - Philips' new Hue White Ambience Cher light fixture is now available for pre-order!

Philips announced today that a new addition to their Hue smart lighting system is now officially available for pre-order. Called Cher, the new LED light fixture comes in both flushmount (priced at $160) and semi-flushmount (priced at $175) suspension styles, allowing you to find the perfect fit for any room.

Cher is designed specifically to distribute customizable, natural-feeling light evenly throughout your home. Outfitted with Philips Hue's signature White Ambiance bulb, Cher's light ranges from cool to warm white, and can be adjusted to fit every activity from reading to entertaining. Aesthetically, both the flushmount and semi-flushmount fixtures are sleek and classic, and stylistically versatile enough to pair with any decor.

In addition to the Cher fixtures, Philips also announced the Hue Ambiance 5/6" Retrofit Recessed Downlight, a new subtle downlight that fits directly into your recessed lighting cans. These lights offer the same gentle, natural lighting as the Cher fixtures, making them a solid addition to your daily smart lighting system. As with all Philips Hue lights, they're dimmable, so you can select the ideal setting for any mood or activity.

Both the Cher and Retrofit Recessed Downlight fixtures require the Hue Bridge for the full Hue smart lighting experience. If you already have Philips Hue lighting, you won't need to make any extra purchases in addition to your pre-order.

June 20, 2017 - You can now pre-order Hue White Ambiance Candelabra bulbs!

Not long ago, Philips announced plans to add new bulbs and fixtures to the Philips Hue line. The company's flushmount LED light and table lamps were already available for preorder and the Hue White Ambiance Candelabra bulbs just joined the mix!

You'll be able to get your hands on Philips' new candelabra bulbs on July 2, 2017. The white ambiance bulbs (50,000 shades of white from warm to cool white) retail at $29.99 a piece. It's a little on the pricey side if you plan to replace several candelabra bulbs in your home (my home, for example, has four fan & light fixtures with four bulbs each), but I'm hoping Philips will eventually offer candelabra bulbs in the less-expensive Hue White model.

Until then, you can get your pre-order in over on Amazon! Amazon says it'll ship 'em out on the July 2 launch date.

See at Amazon

May 2017 - Philips announces three new Philips Hue lighting products

Philips announced three new lighting products, including a flushmount LED light and two table lamps. The company also plans to offer candelabra style (E14 base) bulbs, bringing the Philips Hue line to 80% of fixtures.

The new lighting products are expected to ship as early as mid-June. Philips has yet to offer pre-orders for the candelabra bulb.

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 White Ambiance Being FlushmountWhite Ambiance Wellness Table LampWhite Ambiance Wellner Table Lamp
Lumens900 - 2400 lm400 - 800 lm400 - 800 lm
Light Temperature2200 - 6500K2200 - 6500K2200 - 6500K
Bulb Life25,000 hrs25,000 hrs25,000 hrs
ColorsMore than 50k shades of whiteMore than 50k shades of whiteMore than 50k shades of white

Philips Hue - Everything you need to know!

Lightbulbs — particularly the Hue line from Philips — are among the first connected-home products people buy. Controlling light with the sound of your voice or a tap of your smartphone is more than just an awesome feeling — it also makes for a great demo! When you're trying to show your friends and family why you just spent a not-insignificant amount of money on lightbulbs, it's nice to be able to clearly show off your new superpower.

Whether you're deciding on your first home automation gizmo, or you just want to add another internet-connected bulb to your automated home, this piece aims to help you better understand the difference between Philips various light bulb offerings.

Illuminate with Lumens

Before we get into the different bulbs, we need to talk about lumens. It used to be when you'd go to the store to buy a light bulb, you'd choose your bulb based on watts. Most of us know — relatively, at least — the brightness of a 60-watt bulb compared to a 100-watt bulb. But watts measure how much energy a bulb uses to produce light, not how bright the light is.

That's where lumens come in! Lumens measure the brightness of a light source and provide a more accurate representation of how much light your bulb can produce. As bulbs become more energy efficient, watts become less relevant — a 10-watt LED bulb could produce some 800 lumens of light!

The U.S. Federal Trad Commission has a handy guide for watt to lumen conversion.

Onto the bulbs!

OK, now that you're well aware of the difference between watts and lumens, let's talk about Philips Hue bulbs!

The bulbs are split up into three main categories:

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance

This is the Philips Hue bulb most people are familiar with — it's the dimmable bulb that can turn all sorts of colors. You can set the mood for a horror movie with deep red lighting, pump up a party with bright blue lighting, or just start your day with a soft white light.

Here's what you need to know:

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Lumens800 lm (60 w equivalent)
Light temperature2000 - 6500K
Lifetime25,000 hours
Colors16 million

See at Amazon

Philips Hue White Ambiance

The White Ambiance model produces white light in thousands upon thousands of variations. This bulb does not produce colors — only different white color temperatures. It can produce soft orange light, bright blue light, crisp white light, and any shade of white in between.

Here's what you need to know:

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Lumens800 lm (60 w equivalent)
Light temperature2000 - 6500K
Lifetime25,000 hours
ColorsMore than 50k shades of white

See at Amazon

Philips Hue White

The Hue White model is a dimmable bulb that produces a soft white light (2700K).

If you're just looking to control your lighting with your voice or your iPhone and you don't need any extra colors or shades of white, this is the bulb for you!

Here's what you need to know:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Lumens800 lm (60 w equivalent)
Light temperature2700K
Lifetime25,000 hours

See at Amazon

Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus

The Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus is a strip of multicolor LED lights with a sticky backing. You can peel and stick the 6.6-foot lightstrip on most surfaces to provide illumination and color. Philips Hue Lighstrip Plus can be used as down lighting for cabinets, bias lighting for an entertainment center, or any number of other applications where you want to add a splash of color and light.

Here's what you need to know:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Lumens600 - 1600 lm
Light temperature2000 - 4000K
Lifetime20,000 hours
Colors16 million

See at Amazon

Questions answered?

If you're left with questions after reading this, please give me a shout! I love talking about home automation — I'd be happy to tackle your inquiry!

Mikah Sargent

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.