Physical color controller for Hue Lights

I’m looking for a simple yet elegant color controller so that guests can control Hue color bulbs on their own. Typical applications would be guest bedroom, bathroom and powder room. Any ideas on how I might achieve this? The following hubs are available for integration: Lutron Caseta, Philips Hue & Smarthings. Also, Homekit integration is an option.

As for what it should look like or how it would operate I am pretty flexible overall but don’t want it to look cheap or tacky.

  • It could be abstract like a Philips Hue Tap. I like the Tap but the feel of the button presses isn’t great and the Philips branding ruins it.

  • It could be a series of colored buttons (maybe 4 or 6 buttons) which would limit the color choices but that’s ok. Perhaps something like the Logitech Pop. I have not used the Pop but reviews seem to suggest it’s unreliable. Also I don’t care for the branding on this one either and the color choices seem limited.

  • It could be a full range color picker like what is in the Hue App but it needs to be a standalone piece of hardware.

  • It can be either wall mounted or simply sit on a table or shelf.

Simply put, what I’m looking for is a piece of hardware that will integrate with Hue bulbs to allow a guest to change colors by selecting from a fixed set of options (scenes) or a full range color picker - one or the other, not both. Anything like this out there? Any DIY solution?

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I have a DIY idea that I’ve been kicking around in my head for a while now but its really not pretty. I mean it would be once it’s done but the setup is extremely DIY. I was thinking about doing the same thing you are thinking of doing but controlling a RGB strip. If I had some extra cash lying around thou I would have already done it.

It would involve a Wall mounted touch panel RGB controller sending the three color outputs as voltage to a ESP32 running ST_Anything. I would take those voltage measurements and convert them back to HEX then I could do whatever I wanted with it…send it to Hue bulbs, send it to my own RGB LED strips, etc.

Again super DIY but I think it could be done relatively cheaply. ST_Anything has a existing voltage reading library with a map attribute to convert the voltage to a 0 - 255 range. Not sure on the interaction once you have the data but that could be worked out.

Just something I’ve been thinking about. Hopefully someone else gives you a better, less DIY, suggestion.


This question comes up a lot. The short answer is that there isn’t anything off the shelf directly created for this purpose, I’m not really sure why not because you would think a lot of people could use it.

There are two popular options.

One) wall-mounted inexpensive wifi iPhone and put action tiles or any hue bridge app that you like on it.


  1. choose any battery operated multibutton device that works with SmartThings and label the buttons. The remotec 90 is popular because it has 8 buttons and each one can be tap, double tap, or long press, so you end up with 24 possible control options. It typically costs around $45 and is available on both the US and the UK frequencies.


But there are several other multibutton devices as well. Check the following FAQ. This includes both battery operated and mains powered devices and both wall mount and handheld, so read the descriptions carefully to make sure you’re getting what you want.

One additional option isn’t a wallmount, but is fun, practical, and intuitive. That’s a “mood cube.” Originally, most people made the cube themselves, but now there are some options you can buy. This has an accelerometer sensor inside of it so it can tell which face is up and trigger the appropriate scene. So on a six sided cube you could have one side for off and then five different lighting scenes. Kids and teens love this one, but it’s also fun just in a living room. It’s included in the buttons FAQ.


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Oh, and I should mention that if you have an iPad, Color management is very intuitive once you use it the first time. And scene selection is very easy. We do use these at our house with both Lutron Caseta switches and Phillips hue bulbs. These specific devices can be used with both HomeKit and smartthings at the same time. But of course the iPad itself is expensive.

There is a list in the community – created wiki of devices that work with both smartthings and HomeKit. There aren’t many, but there are some.

BTW, we are using some of the logitech pop buttons and haven’t noticed any particular connectivity issues with them, but they are using Bluetooth, so you do have to be fairly close to the bridge.

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Some good ideas here, thank you. The link to the FAQ is quite useful. The Wallmote looks great but reading through all the posts it seems to be quite flaky when connected through Smarthings. The idea of using a cube with an embedded multi-sensor is also very creative. Haven’t found anything perfect yet but I’ll keep looking. I really wish Philips would do more on this end. One of the biggest problems with any “thing” that works through Smarthings to control Hue lighting is lag. If intended for use by house guests, responsiveness is a key requirement. I think that lighting is the most important element of a scene that needs to respond right away for a good user experience. If the lights respond immediately but there is a delay in other things like shades, music, etc. I think the user experience is still good. When there is a noticeable delay in changes to lighting (i.e. after a button press) the experience suffers and the unconditioned user will press the button again thinking something went wrong.


If you have reasonably good broadband / internet service, the delay is under 500ms (1/2 a second). It’s not perfect … I think profession usability tests say that 300ms is the max that humans will “tolerate”; but … well, our home is on Hub V1 and we tolerate it all the time. Roundtrip after tapping an ActionTiles Tile can be as high as 1500ms, but is usually well under 900ms.

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