What bulb types does the Philips Hue Color & Ambiance come in?

Philips Hue Lighting in a household setting
Philips Hue Lighting in a household setting (Image credit: Philips Hue)

What bulb types does the Philips Hue Color & Ambiance come in?

Best answer: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance come in a variety of different bulbs including E26, E12, PAR16, BR30, and GU10. Most of these bulbs can fit into a standard light socket, but the E12 and GU10's need special sockets found in certain types of lightning fixtures.Amazon: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit ($185)

Shape vs. base vs. type

Light bulbs have some confusing numbers that you may have seen — such as A19, E26, PAR16. These numbers can all mean different things, but there's only a few you need to know to install any Philips Hue. Here's a quick breakdown of the types of numbers Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs use.


A19 refers to the shape of the bulb and its the classic light bulb shape that has been around long before smart lights were even possible. This designation doesn't mean too much, and even though Philips Hue calls its standard White and Color Ambiance an A19 bulb, the shape is slightly different to a traditional light bulb anyway.

E26 and E12

This refers to the base of the light bulb and determines the type of socket it can fit into. In North America, E26 is the most common light bulb base you'll find. Unscrew any standard lamp you have in your home, and most likely it has an E26 base. E12 is a smaller base that Philips Hue also sells, you'll often see E12's used in big lighting fixtures with multiple lights, like chandeliers and candelabras.


PAR stands for "parabolic aluminized reflector," which in layman's terms, means its a much more focused and intense light that creates a sort of spotlighting effect. The number attached to — in this case, 16 — refers to the diameter of the bulb. Most PAR light bulbs use standard E26 bases and are often used in lightning tracks and the recessed lighting common in modern homes.


BR stands for bulged reflector, and much like the PAR offers a more directed light. Just like a PAR bulb, the number is a reference to the diameter of the bulb, and it's often used in recessed lighting as well.


A GU10 bulb is another type of bulb you'll see in modern homes, often before LEDs came along, they were halogen bulbs. The base on a GU10 bulb is not the same as a standard base, and thus can only be used in specific fixtures that require them.

What Philips Hue offers

When it comes to the White and Color Ambiance bulbs in the Philips Hue line, there are a couple of different bulbs that Philips Hue offers.

  • E26 bulb
  • E12 bulb
  • BR30 bulb
  • PAR16 Bulb
  • GU10 Bulb

Those are the only types of light Philips offer that can change color. There are some more types of bulbs that are white only.

Look at your bulbs before you switch them out

If you're confused about what bulbs you need in your house, take out your old bulbs and read them. Lots of newer bulbs have all the information on the shape, base, and type it is printed right on the bulb or the base itself.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.