FAQ: Do I need the Hue Bridge/Hub to Use a Hue Bulb with SmartThings?

Yes. The only officially recommended way to use Hue devices with SmartThings is by using a Hue bridge.

There are several reasons to use the bridge.

  1. Other Integrations

There will be a number of other integrations available to you which you may want to take advantage of.

  1. Use of Hue Scenes

you will be able to activate scenes created with the official Hue app, which at the present time offer many features not available in the smartthings scenes feature. Even just the ability to blink the lights. The easiest way to access scenes from the Hue app is through IFTTT, but there are other ways as well.

  1. Not using the Bridge can mess up your zigbee network

the most important really is that adding Hue bulbs directly to your smartthings hub will cause the bulbs to be identified as repeaters for your other zigbee devices.

Unfortunately, like most brands of zigbee bulbs, they can run into a kind of “buffer overflow” situation where they start dropping the messages given them by other devices to repeat.

This can be very difficult to troubleshoot. You may think that a particular sensor is not reporting for some reason or is “stuck” on open or close, when in fact the sensor is operating just fine, but the bulb is losing its messages. :disappointed_relieved:

  1. Device Updates for Hue Devices are only available from the Hue app

They didn’t have to do this this way, but they did. Philips does not distribute their updates through third parties. So if you need to update the firmware on a Hue bulb, it has to show up in the Hue app, and for zigbee bulbs that means it has to be connected via a Hue bridge.

  1. It’s much harder to reset individual hue bulbs without the bridge, and it may require buying an additional device

depending on the zigbee channel that your smartthings hub is operating on, you may find that there is literally no way to reset your hue bulbs if you decide you want to move them to a bridge or even another smart things hub. There’s a lot of discussion of this in the forums, and typically people just end up having to buy a completely different device just to do the bulb reset.

  1. You can use the “power on” setting feature for bulbs that are connected to the hue bridge

This lets you define the behavior for Individual bulbs after a power outage. So you could have most bulbs remain dark, one come on bright, a different bulb come on at 25%, etc. it’s up to you.

Without the bridge, all the bulbs will come on to full brightness when power is restored after an outage. ( this is a new feature that was introduced in early 2019.)

  1. Support will only help you if you are using the bridge

if you do have problems with either three or four, support is not going to help you because both SmartThings and Phillips say a bridge is required for the integration, because of these issues.

Yes, if you get some custom code technically you can add a Hue bulb to the SmartThings set up without having a Hue bridge, and there are some members who have done that, but you are opening up a number of potential problems for yourself, including the possibility of lost messages from other devices. :scream:


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This may not be the direct answer to the orig question : SmartThings has released a direct Cloud to Cloud integration for Hue
This would mean that users who don’t have a SmartThings hub, they can on-board their hue integration directly with all the key functionalities.
A hue bridge is required.
This integration can be found under - SmartThings app home page > Tap on “+” button > Tap on Add Device > Philips Hue brand > Tap on Lights > Tap on “Philips Hue without SmartThings Hub”

The official Hue integration with smartthings was originally cloud to cloud. :sunglasses:

Then in order to make it operate locally for those who had a smartthings hub, they shifted over to an LAN integration.

Now that the smartthings platform is “hub optional,“ They have offered both paths as a choice.

But in all cases, having a hue bridge is the only officially recommended method.

So it’s the same answer, you are just asking a slightly different question. :wink:

I have read in this forum that someone was controling his phillips lights without the hue bridge using only the samsung hub.
I have a samsung v3 hub and the old hue bridge. I would like to get rid of the bridge and use ST to directly control the hue bulb. I cannot understand if I can do that.
can someone please shed some light?

You can, but I think it works better with the bridge. That’s how I am using it.

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what is the process of not using the bridge? if there something special I need to do to discover the bulb?
I only have one bulb and I intend to stay with one :slight_smile:
I dont think the bridge is needed in my situation

Did you read the first post in this thread?

Technically, you can add it, but it is not an officially supported method in part because it can wreak havoc with your zigbee network. The hue bulbs do not do a good job of repeating messages for other SmartThings hub-connected zigbee devices like battery-operated sensors, so messages from the sensors can get lost, making them unreliable.

Also, when connected via a hue bridge the bulbs can operate locally. That is not true at present if you are using a custom DTH.

So your entire network will run more smoothly and the bulbs will probably be more responsive if you connect via a hue bridge. The other way is technically possible, but not recommended.

If you want to use bulbs without a bridge, get the Ikea Tradfri. Excellent zigbee repeaters when used with SmartThings, and very inexpensive. :sunglasses:

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thanks @JDRoberts yes I have read the thread from the start.
thing is, I dont have any zigbee product other then a single hue bulb (I used to have tons of hue products but when I got into zwave, I moved to in-wall zwave fibaro modules instead of smaret bulbs)
so in my case, I am not sure if I should keep the bridge or not. seems like its redundent at this point.
would you still keep the bridge in that scenario just for the responsiveness?
you know what? i think its maybe time to get a tradfri bulb and let go of phillips altogether.

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I would keep the bridge if you keep the Hue, yes. But switching to Tradfri is good, too, and would probably make more sense in your situation. :sunglasses:

FYI to any user who may have a hue bridge v1…

Important notice for Hue Bridge v1 users

29 April 2019

Signify (formerly known as Philips Lighting) introduced the Hue Bridge v1 more than five years ago. New and improved versions of the bridge have been introduced since then. In order to help ensure that our customers continue to receive the best-connected lighting performance experience possible, Signify has therefore decided to eventually discontinue further software updates and online services for the Hue Bridge v1 and instead focus on supporting our Hue Bridge v2 ecosystem.

Beginning today, Signify will no longer release any platform feature software updates for the Hue Bridge v1. Nevertheless, for the next one (1) year following this announcement, Signify will continue to release security, quality and interoperability updates for the Hue Bridge v1, as well as maintain compatibility with our online services and the latest version of our mobile Hue application. *

After April 30, 2020 no software updates will be made available for the Hue Bridge v1 and compatibility with our online services will be terminated at that time. The Hue Bridge v1 can be only controlled locally via the dedicated Philips Hue Bridge v1 app.

Although the Hue Bridge v1 may continue to function with older versions of our applications and/or third-party software after this date we recommend that you upgrade to a new version of the Hue Bridge. Signify will no longer issue security updates and your v1 Bridge may no longer be secure. We do not recommend use of Hue Bridge v1 after April 30, 2020 due to potential security concerns.

Support for other versions of the Hue Bridge will remain unaffected. You can distinguish a Hue Bridge v1 from subsequent versions by its shape: v1 versions are round and subsequent versions are square.


Just a reminder that any user with a hue bridge v1 will lose remote functionality as of April 30, 2020…


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