Lifx vs. Philips Hue Smart Bulbs: What Are the Differences and Which Is Better for You?
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Smart light bulbs are arguably the most crucial technology product to launch in the past decade. Without these, the overall smart home industry might never have gotten its start.

Philips Hue and LIFX are two of the most prominent smart lighting brands Philips Hue or LIFX? Pick the Best Smart Light Bulb for Your Home Philips Hue or LIFX? Pick the Best Smart Light Bulb for Your Home Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of smart lighting products available? Here's everything you need to know before you pick out smart bulbs for your home. Read More in the world. In general terms, they provide similar products: both product lines allow you to change colors, intensities, and lighting schedules at will. Beneath the surface, however, there are differences between the two.

In this article, you’ll learn more about the product lines from LIFX and Philips Hue and see how they compare. In doing so, you’ll have a better idea which solution is right for you.

What Makes a Light Bulb “Smart”?

By definition, smart lighting is a technology designed for energy efficiency. Unlike traditional LED bulbs, which are increasingly also energy efficient, smart lighting offers automated controls that can make adjustments based on external conditions such as occupancy or daylight availability.

To determine whether a lighting product is smart, consider two simple giveaways. First, the product will have “Smart” somewhere in its title. Second, look at the description of the product for language indicating that it’s controllable with an app.

When smart lights were first introduced, most could change colors. Smart light bulbs are now available in non-colored versions called “white” or “white ambiance,” depending on the company. The former offers one shade of white and similar to traditional light bulbs. The latter provides shades of white that can adjust automatically depending on the time of day.

The most important benefit of using light bulbs that don’t change colors is the price. These smart bulbs are less expensive and still provide most of the features found in the multi-colored versions.

LIFX Smart Lighting Basics

Founded in September 2012, California-based LIFX’s first lighting product launched as a Kickstarter project. Since then, the company’s offerings have grown considerably.

Today, you can purchase traditional LIFX bulbs and those marked “LIFX Mini.” The company also offers feature lighting products, such as the LIFX Tile and LIFX Beam.

LIFX (A19) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, Adjustable, Multicolor, Dimmable, No Hub Required, Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant LIFX (A19) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, Adjustable, Multicolor, Dimmable, No Hub Required, Works with Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant Buy Now At Amazon $59.99

The company’s traditional bulbs offer over 1,100 lumens per bulb, which is incredibly bright and is equivalent to a traditional 75W incandescent bulb. Available in various sizes, these bulbs offer 16 million colors to set the perfect mood in combinations of red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, green, pink, and cyan.

The LIFX Mini lineup, the company’s newest, features a more compact design than the original and offers 800 lumens of light at peak brightness, which is comparable to a traditional 60W incandescent. These lights come in three varieties: the full-featured LIFX Mini Color, ambiance-changing Day & Dusk, and fixed LIFX Mini White.

Pros and Cons of LIFX Smart Lighting

Setting up LIFX lighting products is as simple as adding a bulb to your existing lighting fixtures. To control the lights, use the official LIFX app for iOS, Android, or Windows 10. LIFX doesn’t require the purchase a separate hub to operate the bulbs. Instead, they connect using your existing home Wi-Fi system. Once connected, you can use the lights with the other smart services and products, including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Nest, and IFTTT. LIFX promises each bulb will last for 22.8 years, assuming usage averages three hours per day.

Regarding cons to using LIFX lighting products, there aren’t too many.

First, keep in mind if your internet connection goes down, you can’t control your lights using your smartphone or computer. Instead, you’ll have to turn them on and off manually, the old-fashioned way. Second, for Apple HomeKit compatibility 4 Apple HomeKit Compatible Products You Never Knew You Needed 4 Apple HomeKit Compatible Products You Never Knew You Needed There's so much more to the Smart Home world than lighting and gadgets. These HomeKit-compatible devices can change your home for the better, but you might not even know they exist! Read More , you’ll need to use Generation 3 LIFX products because the older versions don’t work here.

Price

Traditional LIFX bulbs can be costly when purchased individually, but you can find slight discounts when purchasing more than one lamp at a time. LIFX also offers bulbs that use 950nm infrared light to help enhance infrared cameras night vision. These bulbs are around $20 more than the regular version.

You’ll pay about $20 less for the LIFX Mini Color bulbs compared to the traditional lamps, and even less for the LIFX Mini Day & Night and LIFX Mini White bulbs.

Philips Hue Smart Lighting Basics

Philips Hue color-changing LED lamps arrived in 2012, and it remains the most famous smart lighting brand Philips Hue Alternatives That Are Actually Worth It Philips Hue Alternatives That Are Actually Worth It The Philips Hue system is leading the charge when it comes to smart lighting, but there are some worthy alternatives. We've picked three that all offer the same basic feature set and hackability. Read More around. The company’s product line broadly falls into three main categories based on the type of bulb involved. The most popular of these are those marked “white and color ambiance.” These lighting products provide the complete experience, offering nearly unlimited colors and the ability to sync with your music, TV, and games.

The company’s White Ambiance bulbs can help you to fall asleep and wake up gently by adjusting its natural white light based on the time of day. The Phillips Hue White product lineup, like LIFX Mini White, is a basic smart bulb with a fixed light.

Philips Hue lights offer 800 lumens per bulb, and each bulb has been made to last for 25,000 hours.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 10W Equivalent Dimmable LED Smart Bulb (1 Bulb Compatible with Amazon Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant) Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 10W Equivalent Dimmable LED Smart Bulb (1 Bulb Compatible with Amazon Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant) Buy Now At Amazon $47.98

When it comes to compatibility, Philips Hue works 8 Fabulous Apps for Philips Hue Lights 8 Fabulous Apps for Philips Hue Lights The Philips Hue system has its own app, but why settle for the default when there's so many cooler options out there? These 8 apps give you fabulous options for some really cool effects. Read More with just about every smart home product on the market. It’s currently compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Nest, and IFTTT.

Pros and Cons of Philips Hue Smart Lighting

The benefits of Philips Hue are pretty apparent. This line offers a greater range of products than LIFX, and its products tend to be available in more locations.

But LIFX’s traditional bulbs best Philips Hue when it comes to brightness: 1,100 lumens vs. 800 lumens. And, perhaps the most significant drawback: you’ll need to purchase a separate Philip Hue bridge (around $50) to use these lights.

Price

The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance lamps cost about $10 less than a comparable LIFX bulb. You’ll pay less for White Ambiance and White only products. Additionally, you can find slight discounts when purchasing more than one lamp at a time. As well, Philips Hue offers How to Set Up Smart Lights So They Don't Annoy Everyone How to Set Up Smart Lights So They Don't Annoy Everyone Sometimes all you want is a smart bulb that does what it's suppose to do - turn on or off. Sometimes it can be downright difficult to get your smart light to work properly! Read More starter kits How to Set Up Smart Lights So They Don't Annoy Everyone How to Set Up Smart Lights So They Don't Annoy Everyone Sometimes all you want is a smart bulb that does what it's suppose to do - turn on or off. Sometimes it can be downright difficult to get your smart light to work properly! Read More that include 2-6 bulbs plus the required bridge.

Which Should You Buy?

There’s much to love about LIFX and Philips Hue lighting products. In many respects, you can’t go wrong with purchasing from either company. Depending on your situation, however, choosing one over another might be a better choice.

LIFX products make an ideal choice for those who don’t need a lot of smart lights installed. For example, college students living in a dorm or apartment, or someone who just needs to add lighting to one room in their home. Not having to buy a $50 bridge is another benefit to selecting LIFX.

Philips Hue offers more of a total solution compared to LIFX, and is ideally suited for homeowners looking to add smart lights in every room in their house. From a pricing perspective, Philips Hue lights are slightly less expensive How to Switch Lights On or Off With Your Phone on the Cheap How to Switch Lights On or Off With Your Phone on the Cheap In this article, you’ll learn about the many ways to control lights in your home with your phone. You’ll also see how each solution compares in terms of pricing. Read More on a per bulb basis, although you’ll need to factor in the upfront cost of the bridge.

What type of smart lighting products do you use in your home and why? Let us know below.

Explore more about: Philips Hue, Smart Lighting.

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  1. Daylen
    February 17, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I am personally a LIFX user. The main complaint I have is when I got an iPhone in addition to my Android, I couldn't set up HomeKit. You need the user manual included in the packaging, I assumed that I could just use the app, log in to LIFX Cloud, or the Home app would detect the bulb on the Wi-Fi network. Also, I purchased the bulb for $25 from LIFX's online store in the US; however, the Canadian government decided to charge me like $2 in duty. The problem is that postal carriers charge between $10-40 to collect the fee. I assumed that LIFX would have pre-paid the duty like most companies I order from.

  2. James Bruce
    January 20, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Scalability really should have been addressed: Requiring an extra hub is a good thing, unless you want 20 smart bulbs clogging up your Wifi. Most router chips can only handle 18 wireless connections.

    You've also missed glossed over the main reason to choose Hue, I think - and that's the open API and sheer number of third party apps to enhance functionality. Things like Halloween effects lighting, synced music, and the upcoming Razer app for ambilight from PC.

  3. Eli
    January 19, 2018 at 7:14 am

    There's a cheaper alternative for starters: Yeelight white and color bulbs.
    No hub needed (like LIFX), yet very cheap and supposed by Alexa and Google Assistant.
    There's even an open API for developers.

  4. Charles Uchendu
    January 18, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    This is an awful comparison. Main concern of the Philips is how much more dim they are. So what if they use a hub, your router has ports. Con to the Lifx is that they're not exactly dependable. 80, 85 percent of the time they work, but they will disconnect and they will need resetting, plus they don't allow local integration with other systems. Lose internet and you can't have smarthings or anything else control them. Hue is simply better, if you can tolerate a dinner light. I needed a few Lifx bulbs for my bathroom though, hue just wasn't bright enough.

  5. Kenijo
    January 18, 2018 at 1:56 am

    Smart light switches are actually much better than smart light bulbs unless I don't understand how they work.

    Let me explain: for a smart light bulb to work, your light switch needs to be on at all times otherwise if your light switch is off then then light bulb can never turn on. You are trading off the physical light for the voice / app control.

    On the other hand a smart light switch doesn't have two physical states on and off. It is just a single state push button. Because of this, you can have physical, voice and app control. Much smarter in my opinion.

    The smart light switch will also be a dimmer if you light bulb is rated for it.

    Color changes are still at the light bulb level though.

  6. Kent Seaton
    January 17, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    You can use lifx bulbs without internet. You just need wifi to control them through the app.

    • Craig
      January 18, 2018 at 2:30 am

      Phillips Hue lights work without the internet as well depending on your setup.