Having a hard time justifying the cost of Philips Hue setup

(Keith) #1

I’ve thought of a few place around the house that some smart bulbs would be nice to have. I initially narrowed it down to the Lightify and Hue ranges and then based off of posts here, decided that the Hue range would probably be the best choice.

But I"m really having a hard time justifying the costs. A 3rd Gen starter kit with color bulbs is $199 and single color bulbs are $50 each. So if I just wanted to replace the ceiling fan lights in the bedroom with colored bulbs, I’d be out $250 (it has four lights). That just seems a little crazy to me.

How often do you guys actually use the colors and do you think the bulbs are really worth the price? Anyone actually have to replace one because it went bad?


There are a few discussions in the forums about the uses of colored bulbs. I’ll see if I can find one of those links for you. But the short answer is that in most places you could probably get by with the $15 white bulbs. (It’s the same bridge.)


The main reason for using colored bulbs are either just for fun effects, or for notifications. So whether you need them at all is just up to you. :sunglasses:

Found one:

(Brian Diehl) #3

My boss had to replace a color bulb, but that was because his dog knocked the lamp off the table and the bulb broke.

Outside of that, I’ve never seen a bulb go bad. LED bulbs generally last a long time.

I have 3 color bulbs, 2 Blooms, 2 Lightstrips +1 Lightstrip extension, 4 Lux bulbs (older white only bulbs), and 3 white bulbs.
No issues at all. 3 of the Lux bulbs are in the same fixture together (bathroom wall mounted fixture above the mirror).

I use the colors for if my SHM is triggered; all colored lights go red. It’s a nice intrusion detection. The blooms are used for notifications of texts and package arrivals.

(Keith) #4

I did see that $70 2nd Gen white only starter kit. There was a lot of info on the net about the differences between the 2nd and 3rd Gen bulbs, but not much about the hubs. If I got a 2nd Gen hub, what would I be giving up? I know I can still use the “better” 3rd Gen bulbs in it, so that is a plus.


There’s no third-generation Phillips hue bridge yet. (Note, for technical reasons it’s a “bridge” not a “hub.”)

The first generation Phillips hue bridge was round. The second generation is Square. The only real difference is that the second one will also work with Apple HomeKit. Both work with SmartThings.


I also find it difficult to justify the Hue cost. At this point, the only Hue that appeals to me is the Bloom. Unfortunately, I can nearly duplicate that with a cheap floor can light and Lightify (or even a $9 IR remote-controlled LED with a smart plug).

(Paul) #7

I’ve got coloured and white hue bulbs with a bridge.

If your unsure or just want to test why not get a single white hue bulb and connect directly to ST without buying the hue bridge?

I rarely use the cooour bulbs. I keep them for the holidays.

(Robin) #8

I use colour fittings externally for my garden decking and floodlight (but via RBGW micro modules rather than having smart bulbs). I like the effect and also use the setup for the alarm:

Personally, I see little use for colour bulbs internally… Not in the main fittings anyway. But then I don’t throw parties or bring chicks home (I’m married :grimacing:) and I use SMS for all my notifications… Other people have different use cases though.

I can however see a use for low intensity coloured accent / perimeter lighting internally and may one day consider installing some RGBW strips for that, but again I would use modules rather than bulbs and it would supplement the main (white) lights, not replace them.

When in non-white mode, colour bulbs / fittings don’t tend to be as bright as regular / smart (white) LED bulbs… Wondering around the house under a dim coloured light really doesn’t appeal to me (though some may like the whole red light battle bridge effect lol :speedboat::customs:).

Then there is the whole smart bulbs vs smart switches thing:


  • If a smart bulb is turned off at the switch it won’t be seen by the hub anymore whereas smart switches allow controll from switch and app.
  • Over time, If you keep toggling the power on / off to a smart bulb it could damage it, they are meant to be powered at all times.
  • I have a smart bulb in my loft (everything else is done by smart micro modules behind the existing switches). If this smart bulb is powered off at the switch, I always find that my automations fail. For example, my goodnight routine includes turning off the loft (among tonnes of other things), but if the power is off to the bulb, the routine stops when it gets to that part of the sequence.
  • In wiring setups / fittings with multiple bulbs, you need to buy a lot of smart bulbs whereas a single smart switch / module can control the whole lot together.

Pros (smart bulbs are great if):

  • Changing a switch is impractical
  • You don’t want / can’t tinker with the wiring (i.e. rented properties)
  • The switch is in an awkward position and never gets used anyway (like in my loft)
  • If you want to controll bulbs / fittings independently when they are wired to a single switch

As @JDRoberts always says… Choice is good :sunglasses:


I use Hue bulbs and the Hue Dimmer switches. The original switches stay on and the dimmer switches fit on top of or next to the original switch. Someone on the facebook group showed a deep blanking plate that fit over the original switch and then the Hue switch attached to the front of that blanking plate. This allows your to use switches to control the lights on/off/dim and also the app and GH/Alexa etc
I also have some wemo bulbs connected directly to ST but they have the same problem where they are often turned on and off by the switch. I have them tied into my SHM so before going away for weekends, I turn them on at the switch and off in the ST app. Though, sometimes I wonder about providing burglars with good lighting throughout the house :stuck_out_tongue:

(Tino Race) #10

Every single bulb in my house is hue. I think it is worth it, but obviously build up your collection over a period of time!

Not every bulb is £50/$50 one, the bulb in my pantry, loft, outside the front door are £15 white bulbs. I would recommend the £25 ambience bulbs if you don’t need colour in a particular place. Having different white temperatures for morning, evening, and a night is awesome.

Every colour bulb I have does get used for colour too. Every night when watching TV I’ll choose a different coloured scene depending on what the TV programme is. Hue is worth very penny :slight_smile:

(Keith) #11

This morning I mapped out my entire house for wall switches, outlets, and light bulbs. I’m working through each room trying to think of what I might like to do with the lighting for that room. So far I’ve came up with several uses for the color bulbs…

Mood lighting in the kid’s rooms… they would think it’s too cool.
Mood lighting in one lamp the wife likes to use.
A notification light in a couple of places.
Holiday lights outside the house.
Some color strips under the kitchen cabinets.
Some lights to flash the Broncos colors when they score (totally a gimmick and I don’t know if I would put the effort into making this happen, but the IFTTT needed for it is what lead me to the Hue choice. lol)

General question, if I connect either the Hue or Lightify bulbs directly to ST (no bridges), can I change the colors on the color bulbs or just turn them on and off?

@JDRoberts thanks for the bridge info and the use case link, some good stuff in there.

Do you know the practical difference in the dimming levels between the two? I believe I read that the 1st Gen did not dim as well/as low as the 2nd Gen… or was that a function of the bulbs? We are not an Apple house (the wife and oldest daughter are… kinda), so HomeKit is not a factor for me.

@brumster Holiday lighting was my main thought for the color bulbs. I’ve got 2 (maybe 3) out door lights that I’d like to color match to the Holidays as well. So do you have color bulbs that you swap in for the holidays, or have you just overtime added color bulbs in those locations?

@RobinWinbourne would you mind sharing more info on your RBGW micro modules? Do the lights them selves have to be able to support RGB, or does the module make white bulbs colored ones (don’t see how that would be possible). I’ve also debated the bulb vs. switch solution and I agree that in most cases the switch is a better/cheaper route to go. I need to look more into the micro modules as that would give greater flexibility with the switches/brands we would like to use.

@Tino_Race Do the Hue Ambience allow you to select any of the white temperatures in the range, or only a select few? Also, I’ve never personally understood changing lights to match what we are watching. A buddy got one of the TVs with the changing back lighting and I was like “Why?”. For me, I like the viewing area dark and lights coming on, even low, seems like it would distract me. Do you really feel that having “surround lights” make the viewing that much more enjoyable? No sarcasm in that, I truly would like to know.

(Tino Race) #12

I don’t have any hue ambiance bulbs but I understand they give you a continuous range between warm and cool whites.

Generally I’d only dim the lights right down if its a movie. For standard TV I would have normal levels of lighting (like the news or quiz shows). If watching sport its great for turning the lights to the colour of my team. When watching Westworld I use a sunset scene to get the whole Western vibe. When watching the Jungle episode of Planet Earth 2 I set a green scene in the entire room. My favourite quiz show has a blue studio theme so I use the blue scene when watching it. It feels more immersive. Maybe it doesn’t. It I love it!

(Robin) #13

I use the Fibaro RGBW modules, they need to be combined with an 12v or 24v LED driver and compatible RGB or RGBW light fitting. Fittings come in various shapes and sizes, from recessed spots, floodlights, strip lights etc and can be suitable for internal / external depending on model.

If you search online for RGB lights, loads pop up. Most come with a driver, semi-dumb colour control box and IR remote. You just need the driver and light fitting so have to cut out the controller and re-wire the RGBW+&- wires to the Fibaro.

Be careful buying the floodlights, especially the ones on eBay / Amazon… As a rule of thumb, if they say it’s 100W it’s probably just 32W, 50W normally turns out to be 20W etc.

I ended up getting a bunch of refunds (and keeping the rubbish floodlights) and spent over £200 on my 75W floodlight (which is technically a wall washer, but it is a genuine 75W from a reputable manufacturer).

For switch modules, there are other options available (which I know little about) but I’m a huge fan of the Fibaro Dimmer 2 modules. I have my entire house done with them and they are great!

They go behind your existing switches so you can choose any switch finish you want (work best with momentary / retractable switches for dimming though).

They also have tonnes of adjustable parameters (just google the manual) and work without a neutral at the switch!

(Glenn) #14

I have a lot of hue products. Just had my first one go bad. A lightstrip Plus. Half the strip’s white LED went out randomly. Support is great so far, i sent it into them with a prepaid label and i’m awaiting a new one in the mail hopefully soon. I have BR30’s, A19’s, Lightstrip Plus’s, Blooms, and a couple white only ones for the hallway.

(Keith) #15

How long have you been running them… in particular the light strip as I’d be looking at adding this in the not so distant future.

(Glenn) #16

The Lightstrip Plus that went bad was running for just less than a year, and it’s on A LOT. I have two other lightstrip Plus’s running with no issues almost as long. The others have been running for over a year, maybe two. I use all my Hue products every day, all day…and their great.

(Darwin ) #17

I’ve got the colored #Osram bulbs and they have worked great. And yes I’ve only used them for #HallowThanksmas. Other uses? I have two flanking my garage door but I can’t get the rules to “stack”. “1- When approaching garage door turn blue. 2-Once garage door is closed turn back to white.” Been trying for a long time to figure that out. The lights that give me the most trouble are the GE Wink flood lights. Maybe once a month I have to reset them and re-pair them. I think I’m getting a better a net now since I’m adding more powered devices so time will tell. I also have a few Cree bulbs and at $14 they’re perfect and work really well. Of all the bulbs I’ve never had an issue with my Hue bulbs but the initial price point is a little steep considering the other options.


I set up 4 color Hue A19 and a lightstrip in my living room and one of the things that I like to do is to set the mood when I watch movies. I use an iOS app called Hue TV that uses the phone’s camera to detect color changes in the movie and then it sets the color of the lights accordingly. So if the scene is bright and colorful, so are my lights. It adds a very interesting aspect and mood lighting while watching the movie. Yes, sometimes, I’m too lazy to set it up but at the very least I still use the color bulbs by setting it to a fixed cool blue color just for movie watching.

(Keith) #19

Is there any concerns with mixing and matching the different brands? I was thinking for locations where I don’t need any fancy lighting tricks I could start out using one of the cheaper bulbs and put Hue bulbs where I want things to happen. Then if I have problems with the “cheap” bulbs, I can swap them out to Hue as needed.

On a related note, I was in my local Lowes this afternoon and saw that they had the Lightify lights on sale for about 10% off. I might pick one or two up to play with.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

(Keith) #20

My use case for the strips would be for under cabinet accent lights, so they would be one for 5 hours a day.