Smart Home

5 Reasons Philips Hue Bulbs Are Overpriced and Pointless

Dan Price 29-06-2017

Didn’t you hear? Philips Hue light bulbs are all the rage. You can make them automatically turn on when you pull into your driveway, get them to glow in different colors if you’re hosting a party, and even color-wash your wall to match your TV’s output when you’re watching a movie. There are even mobile apps to control your Philips Hue lighting The 7 Best Philips Hue Apps for Android and iPhone Looking for the best Philips Hue apps to use with your smart lights? Here are several great apps for iPhone and Android. Read More .


Sure, they’re all cool features… sort of. But none of them exclusively require a Philips Hue system Philips Hue Starter Kit Review and Giveaway The market is flooded by bulbs with wifi, all with their own silly mobile app that you need to fuss around with to turn them on. Is the Hue any different? We find out. Read More to achieve. There are easier, cheaper, and more practical options available.

In this article, I’m going to argue that Philips Hue smart lights are both overpriced and pointless. Keep reading to find out why.

1. Cost

Before I get into a more technical discussion, let’s take a moment to consider the price.

If you want to install Philips Hue smart lights in your home, the first thing you need is a Starter Pack. It contains three light bulbs and a bridge to wirelessly connect them all together. The latest third generation kit costs $200. Even the slightly older second generation will set you back $180.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit (3 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Compatible with Amazon Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant) Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit (3 A19 Bulbs and 1 Hub Compatible with Amazon Alexa Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant) Buy Now On Amazon $190.00


“Ah,” I hear you say, “most of that money is probably for the bridge, and that’s a one-time purchase.” Sadly, that’s not the case. The three included light bulbs are the White and Color Ambiance A19 model. Individually, they retail for about $50. The three light bulbs in the Starter Pack are worth almost three-quarters of the purchase price.

You’re paying $150 for three light bulbs. Take a moment to do the math: how much would it cost to fill your whole home with the Hue system?

Go ahead and count how many light bulbs are in your home — I promise it will be more than you think. I have 54 in my house, not including exterior lights. If I want a White and Color Ambiance A19 Hue bulb in every socket, it will cost me $2,430.

And as for the one-time cost of the bridge? Forget it. You can only connect 50 lights to each unit. To fill my entire home with Hue, I’d need a second bridge.


Just for a laugh, let’s compare the Hue price with regular energy-efficient light bulbs. A pack of four Philips 60W Equivalent Soft White A19 LED Light Bulbs costs $7 at Home Depot. I could light my entire home for less than $100.

Less technology? Absolutely. But I think it’s safe to say most people would rather have $1,520 extra in their pocket and settle for standard light bulbs.

2. Electricity Bill

Let’s stick with the financial side of this discussion. Proponents of the Philips Hue system claim it will save you money on your electricity bill — if your home is filled with old incandescent bulbs, that’s probably true. However, the savings are decidedly less than Philips would like you to believe.

Let’s do the math. If you live in the United States, an incandescent bulb will set you back about $4 per year in electricity. A Philips Hue bulb will cost you $1 per year. At Home Depot, one Philips 60W incandescent bulb costs $2.23, and the less expensive white-only A19 ambiance Hue bulb costs $30. Lastly, one incandescent bulb last around 3,000 hours while one Hue bulb lasts about 25,000 hours.


Let’s assume an average home has 40 light bulbs in it, and each light bulb is running for two hours per day (some will be on for a lot longer, but most will be on for considerably less time).

Initial Cost

  • Incandescent — 40 bulbs x $2.23 = $89
  • Hue — 40 bulbs x $30 = $1,200

Running Cost

  • Incandescent — 40 bulbs x $4 = $160 per year
  • Hue — 40 bulbs x $1 = $40 per year

Replacement Cost

  • Incandescent — 3,000 hours lifespan / 2 hours per day = 4.1 years per bulb
  • Hue — 25,000 hours lifespan / 2 hours per day = 34.2 years per bulb

Total Cost Over 30 Years

  • Incandescent — $669 in light bulbs + $4,800 in running costs = $5,469
  • Hue — $1,200 in light bulbs + $1,200 in running costs = $2,400

By switching from incandescent bulbs to Hue bulbs, you’d save a little over $3,000 in 30 years, or $100 per year.

To put this another way, it would take you almost a decade to break even, and that’s before you consider accidental breakages, power surges, and other things that might cause you to buy bulbs outside the regular replacement cycle.

Finally, how many people are still using incandescent bulbs? If you’re already running energy efficient LED bulbs, the savings are almost non-existent.

3. Features

What about the bulbs themselves? What can they do?

We cover some features and tricks 6 Ways to Make Philips Hue Lights More Useful Read More in detail in articles elsewhere on the site. You can control the lights from an Arduino How to Control Philips Hue Lights from an Arduino (and Add a Motion Sensor) Today I'll be showing you how to control your Hue lights from an Arduino - then adding a simple motion sensor. Read More and add a motion sensor, control them with your voice using Jasper, backlight your TV using the HueImmersive Java app, and even make your lights flash 4 Ways Philips Hue Can Push Your Lighting to the Next Level Without Philips Hue, however, the smart home concept might never have gotten off the ground. Here are some cool ways to make use of them. Read More when you’re tagged in a social media post.

But have a look through those articles and at the Jasper and HueImmersive apps. What do they all have in common? That’s right: they don’t use the native Hue app. At best, you’ll need significant time spent with IFTTT to make them work. At worst, you’ll need to be a skilled Java programmer.

philips hue app

When you see articles and YouTube videos that deploy Philips Hue lights in weird and wacky ways, they almost always need some level of programming skill. The main Philips Hue app is disappointingly basic. It’s so basic, in fact, that it’s possible to list all its native features in a few short bullet points:

  • Control all the lights in an individual room at the same time.
  • Turn off all the lights in your home with one tap.
  • Create lighting schedules that support your daily routines.
  • Create scenes using different brightness and colors.

Frankly, you should expect more for $1,600. If you’re not tech-savvy, you’re almost certain to be left feeling underwhelmed and ripped off.

4. Long-Term Support

How long is Philips going to keep making the Hue range of products? Earlier, I said you could expect to save around $100 per year if you have a 30-year timeframe. But what guarantees do you have that Hue will still be a “thing” in 30 years?

If anything, it’s highly unlikely that the product line will still exist, at least in its current form. If Philips stops supporting the Hue app in 10 years, you’re essentially left with some very expensive energy-efficient bulbs. Yes, they’ll still turn on, but you won’t have any way to access their coolest features.

support keyboard
Image Credit: FRadu via Shutterstock

Obviously, you can make the argument about ongoing support for a lot of tech products, but there are very few tech products you will buy with a 30-year timeframe in mind. Ultimately, investing in Hue is risky.

5. Cheaper Alternatives

Lastly, remember the Philips Hue is not the only smart lighting system on the market. There are lots of alternatives 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 out there, many of which have the same number of features but cost a lot less money Philips Hue Smart Bulb Alternatives to Save Money In this article, you’ll learn about some of the less expensive alternatives to Philips Hue and see how they compare. Read More .

For example, the Belkin WeMo system only costs $50 for a Starter Set, with each additional light bulb only setting you back $18.

belkin wemo light

TP-Link goes one step better. The company’s smart lights don’t even need a bridge or hub. They work with both iOS and Android devices thanks to the free Kasa app.

Lastly, check out the Nyrius Wireless Smart LED Multicolor Light Bulbs. They are Bluetooth-enabled and can be controlled directly from your device. Best of all, each light only costs $15. On the downside, you can only connect seven lights to the app, but if you want to introduce smart lights to a particular room in your home, it’s a more accessible and cheaper option than Philips Hue.

Nyrius Wireless Smart White LED Light Bulb for Smartphones and Tablets, iOS and Android App Remotely Controls On/Off, Scheduling and Dimming Functions, Bluetooth Energy Efficient Home Automation(SB09) Nyrius Wireless Smart White LED Light Bulb for Smartphones and Tablets, iOS and Android App Remotely Controls On/Off, Scheduling and Dimming Functions, Bluetooth Energy Efficient Home Automation(SB09) Buy Now On Amazon

Do You Think Philips Hue Is Overpriced and Pointless?

I’ve made my case. I believe that the high cost and poor features make a compelling case for branding the Philips Hue system both overpriced and pointless.

But my mind is not set in stone. I want you to try to persuade me that I’m wrong.

Why are Philips Hue light bulbs an essential smart home item? Why shouldn’t I spend less money and buy an alternative system? Whether you agree or disagree, you can leave all your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

Image Credits: Atsushi Hirao/Shutterstock

Related topics: Home Automation, Money, Philips Hue, Smart Lighting.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Gregory Thomas
    May 29, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    1. Dimmability. Not can the level be changed but can it be done in a smooth transition? Hue yes, a wide variety of LED lamps not so much. They can be rather "steppy".

    2. CRI. LED's put out a limited wavelength range. You need to make sure your lamps are 90 CRI or higher, to provide light capable of bringing out the colors of your environment.

    3. Color Temp. Most LED's are not color temp adjustable. You get 3000k, 4000k, 5600k. It is annoying to have a mix of varying color temps in a room. Not unlike flourescent and incandescent in the same room. If you have varying CRI its makes it even worse.

    4. Number of lamps - Why would you change every lamp to hue? for example. My Closet lamps do not need to be Hue.

    5- Solar Power - I have an electrical bill of about $10.00 a month because my solar panels provide more power than I use by an average of about 8kWh per day, I get credited that amount by the power company.

    6- White light are boring.

    7. You have presented your point. It is not up to you to determine if you made your point.

  2. Andrew Graham
    April 18, 2020 at 3:26 am

    Something that deserves consideration is the ability to measure consumption more accurately. just the eve smart plug I put on my nas and workstation shows me that I spend $1100 in power per year just on those appliances, which incentivises me to turn them off at night and keep 1/3 of that back in my pocket.

  3. Ryan
    January 15, 2020 at 4:11 am

    Hello everyone. I thought I would add some to this conversation, in 2020. I refurbished a 3800 sq foot brick craftsman house built in 1900. Took me 3 years, 2017 it was ready and in I moved. I am in real estate and the big talk was "smart homes," though that chatter has died off a bit now. I called several companies who offered "smart home" technology and was not impressed with what they offered and cost. Now technically, smart home includes 3 elements: security, door locks and cameras.
    However, as I was thinking if what I and most consumers would consider "smart" and those weren't quite what I thought a smart home should be. After three quotes, the lowest being a $2200 install.... I thought, I can do this a different way and have more fun and control over everything in the house.
    To the house: 57 original single payned windows, 3800 sq feet 6 bedrooms (one is my office) solid brick, how would this all work, I asked. Having lived in London I knew the challenges of bringing 100 year old building into this internet, wifi age, tho I was not am I an expert. First internet has never been in this house, ever. Took them 32 days to get it to the house then in it. I live in an active, cute historic district, opposite a college.
    What I did: I bought 1 Phillips hue hub and 24 individual white bulbs, 2 Phillips light strips, can change colours, 2 google homes, 2 google minis. (Eventyally I added a google hub, but it's of little use). This is a mix of Phillip's Hue, Google and android. I already had 1 semi smart TV and 2 chrome casts for the other 2 TVs I have.
    Cost: for Phillip's hue, $250 for hub and 4 bulbs, the rest were in packs of 4 for $40. So for $410- that is sorted. The Google items, $300 total, thank you Amazon and 2 Honeywell wifi thermostats, again thank you Amazon.
    Outcome: moved in July 2017- my electric bill has been very reasonable, between $117 to $250, average of $150 monthly. That includes, water, sewer and electricity- and with original single payned windows, remember. I dont live in a huge city, but we will say in the southeast, so we do have seasons here. The cost for the same thing at my 1400 sq foot house previous to this one, built in the 40s, with traditional bulbs, etc was between $200 and $300 per month for the same, water, sewer and electricity. Same number of traditional bulbs in the old house, higher cost for those 3 years I was in that house.
    I know this is perhaps a bit vague, but looking simply at the monthly bill, it is less. I have not had to change any of the 24 Phillip's hue bulbs yet. I have the other energy efficient bulbs waiting downstairs if needed. Where as in the other house I did change them several times in the 3 years I was there, especially the ones in rooms i used the most. Basement, 1500 sq feet and not included in main floor and 2nd floor square feet is still lit with the energy efficient bulbs. One of which requires a breaker to be turned off, so it's been burning since we will say 2016.
    That being said, i do come home, tell google i am home and it turns on 27 lights. (I have 2 Phillip's strips and one wifi plug for some lighting on my enclosed back porch, with 9 original single payned windows). For the most part they all stay on from dusk to about midnight, nice glow from the inside.
    I have yet to replace one Phillip's bulb, I can turn them all on and off at once. December electric usage was 2074 kWh. This included christmas lights all around the fence outside my house and other christmas decorations using electricity. 1155 november and 2061 in october, it got a tad warm in oct, so AC was on at 75. That would also include running the dryer, keep that in mind.
    City installed a new water meter as the old one wasnt working. Come to find out, water bill and true usage has dropped since they replaced it.

    Monthly electric bill is less than the other house- that is my point

  4. Cain
    December 26, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Anyone who has a home large enough for 50+ light bulbs can surely afford the expensive of a few Philiips Hue bulbs. After all, they're not for lighting your closet. It's supposed to replace the primary lighting in your living spaces.

  5. Bill
    June 10, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Accurate analysis and a valid conclusion. The app is very basic, and the excitement wears off quickly. Not worth the purchase price, having serious buyers remorse.

  6. Ricardo
    May 29, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    These bulbs are ridciulously expensive. I have smart+ zigbee bulbs I paid 4 bucks for and color BR30's for 10 bucks, they work fine. If you compare you'll see Phillips is at the top in price, and if they decide to kill their cloud(like Iris-don't say it can't happen) you're screwed, and that's something I won't waste funds on.
    If you make enough to blow a few hundred on lightbulbs, GodBless

    • gt
      May 29, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      If they "Kill Their Cloud" your hubs still work. Its based on Zigbee ZLL which is not proprietary to Phillips.

  7. Robert Chase
    May 21, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    It might not be worth it to the author of this article but for many people it is. Philips would not be selling these in such numbers if they weren't. The real question is what's the value to these consumers when there are cheaper bulbs out there?

    The Philips Hue system is one of the most ubiquitous and compatible systems out on the market. It's API is compatible with one of the widest audience of other ecosystems out there unlike many of the cheaper competitors.

    Lets chat a moment about "cheaper competitors" for a moment. They aren't that much cheaper really and you give up a lot for the difference in price you aren't paying. Not all of these bulbs are compatible with every automation system out there so you end up limiting yourself in choices of ecosystems. Many of these systems also don't provide the switches and sensors that you get in the Philips Ecosystem.

    So yes. The Philips Hue system is expensive. But is it worth it? Consumers seem to say yes. The compatibility and wide range of products that Philips is bringing into their ecosystem justifies their price to many consumers building highly integrated smart homes. These consumers have been able to look beyond the price of the bulbs and see the additional value that they get from one of the most mature product offerings in lighting on the market. Philips has a very mature API that's highly compatible due to being so popular and being first to market as well as offering lighting fixtures, switches, sensors and other accessories that have a very nice design and fit in with a modern automated house with a great design aesthetic.

    I as well balked at the price a bit and looked at the cheaper alternatives. The cheaper alternatives seemed attractive at first until you factored in the compatibility and the super mature hue ecosystem and the very immature ecosystems that the cheaper alternatives offered. My smart home is nearly 100% Philips lighting as a result.

    One of the super annoying things about this new market of smarthome products is compatibility and companies doing their "walled garden" approach of compatibility. Since this is not going to change anytime soon picking products like Hue that are very popular and compatible is a way to ease many of these compatibility headaches.

    As for Philips suddenly one day abandoning their cash cow of Hue that's highly unlikely. The software updates that hue sees on a regular basis says otherwise as Philips is actively improving their product even for existing and older bulbs and fixtures.

    This article brings up some decent points on the surface however misses the point. Competition is a good thing and these cheaper alternatives have resulted in cheaper products within the hue ecosystem. Some of the cheaper alternative bulbs have been raising prices after gaining a following indicating that they were perhaps selling at a low profit margin to begin with to get a following. The reality is that it costs money to develop software and maintain an ecosystem. The hardware itself is just a small part of this cost and some of the cheaper products are starting to realize this with their price point slowly creeping up.

  8. Logical Too
    January 25, 2019 at 7:45 am

    No-one is going to be installing 50 Hue bulbs into their home when one or two are all that is required to come home to a house with lights on. That this is the foundation of your argument for not buying a Hue set of three bulbs says volumes about your logic and why you should not have access to a credit card. The purpose of having lights that come on before you get in the house is so you don't arrive in the dark — not so you arrive in the middle of Las Vegas. Gwarsh.

  9. Ben
    December 9, 2018 at 12:21 am

    This article is so bad it's nearly trolling. For one, if you needed 50 light bulbs for your house, you would almost certainly not need the most expensive bulb in every socket. You can usually get the base model for $10-12 each. Phillips Hue are one of the best things I've spent my money on in a long time. Cost about $250 to turn my whole apartment into a space that changes from a sober workspace to a chill lounge with a simple Siri command. Worth every penny.

  10. Donny
    December 5, 2018 at 12:43 am

    This article is stupid

  11. Hector
    November 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Where definitely I can say that Philips Hue are too expensive is when you choose the bulb standard E14, the price goes incredibly up, so much that I think I will not use Philips for that light standard at home. They are generally expensive but I got a regular pack of them and I hope it lasts a very long time. I like them.

  12. Phil
    November 16, 2018 at 9:18 am

    It's really hard to work out the costs associated with these lights, for one, they are often on offer (like black Friday) where you can by a kit of 3 color bulbs and a bridge for a much lower cost. I've just done this to get 3 additional color Hue bulbs and now have a spare hub as that was cheaper than buying just 3 bulbs. So if the hub goes wrong, I don't need to buy a replacement.

    Yes you can go with non-smart LED bulbs, however getting quality LED bulbs usually means spending quite a bit of money anyway, as cheap LED bulbs we are finding last a very short time and are a false economy. We've had one explode and blow a fuse, others just stop working.

    If you want dimmable LED lights to replace standard filament bulbs, then this also can became quite expensive without the help of smart bulbs. The dimmer switch is unlikely designed to work with LED lights, yes you can buy dimmable LED lights that will work with standard dimmer switches, but they use a bunch of tricks to try and work and often don't dim well if at all, and the dimmer switch can fail or refuse to work due to the lower power draw, or just not give a very good dimmable range or will flicker. Dimmable LED lights are more expensive due to a bunch of electronics in them, and can fail early as they work under stress of chopping AC power from the dimmer switch. Yes you can replace the dimmer switch with one that works better with LED bulbs but this still requires special dimmable LEDs, plus the cost of a new dimmer switch and maybe to pay someone to put it in. If you are in rented accommodation you may not be able to just change the dimmer switches, and if you do, when you move somewhere else they will likely just get left behind.

    Something like the Philips Hue system will work with dimmers, you just put the dimmer switch full up, and all the dimming is done by electronics in the bulb, plus you can easily move bulbs around, take them all with you if you move, plus they are decent quality LED bulbs that aren't going to fail early. Being able to have warm white and cool white options from the same bulb is really useful, especially in multi-use rooms, something a bog standard LED bulb isn't going to do, and if you go for color bulbs you can create a nice atmosphere with light.

  13. Brad Wulfsberg
    September 28, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Wow this review seems a bit biased! I have a system that is using almost 40 of the color bulbs. Talking about the energy demands....they draw different power levels at different colors. For example,. Full on every light in my house draws about 300 watts. Dim a little bit on say a cool white and it's a noticeable drop! Didn't see any mention on that. Pair that with motion sensors and you can definitely save over dumb led bulbs.

    As far as advanced functions go, somewhere in this article it mentioned needing to know Java to setup the lights???? Huh? Never needed that here. Get a aftermarket app for a few bucks and I'm alble to tweak just about anything I want.

    Lastly. The recommendation to use a cheaper product?!?! Beware! I used TCP's version that was hyped up s few years ago. They killed the cloud support for the app and needless to say that's 30 really dumb smart bulbs. Cheaper alternative is not always the way to go. Phillips as a company has been around, and they are ADDING products to their lineup....don't think that would be happening if the product isnt here to stay. Besides, its a Open source hub!

    Try the product before you knock it!

    • James Bruce
      September 28, 2018 at 8:54 am

      I believe the Java comment is referring to the tutorial I wrote about about interacting with the Hue bulbs via Arduino. Which is admittedly a very odd thing to point out as being bad: the fact that Hue bulbs even have a publicly accessible and documented API is fantastic, and one the reason I personally love Hue. Its precisely the reason we have so many fantastic third party apps. Have you tried the new Razer Chroma features for syncing Hue bulbs to gaming? Really cool stuff.

      Bear in mind this an opinion piece, and we have a diverse set of writers. Some of us love Hue - and I completely agree , the cheaper products just aren't worth touching!

  14. Jeremy Jefferson
    August 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    This article is just simply false. The bulbs cost around $10-$13, not $50 (huge difference). The confusion is probably from the fact that the colored bulbs are indeed $50. However, for most people you would only install those in certain rooms like your living room. Of course, many don't go for colored at all.

    I live in a small 3 bed room house. Total I bought 10 light bulbs and the hub for under $500.

    Keep in mind that setting something like this is not purely for energy saving costs. It's also for the functionality you get from them. Of course they are going to be more expensive than a standard $2 LED bulb from your local store.

  15. Matt
    August 17, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    They’re WiFi bulbs. If Philips for some crazy reason stops supporting them, all that’s needed is download someone else’s app... they’re isn’t much technology in them... and they don’t nevessarily need to be by Philips.

    • Ethan
      September 26, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      They aren't wifi though. They're zigbee. you need some sort of bridge to interface with them.

  16. Teresa May
    July 14, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Seriously? This article has false information. I purchased the bridge and 2 bulbs for £29.99.
    You can also get the bulbs cheaper. It still is the best smart lighting system around.

  17. Mike
    June 23, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    These products can be found Manufactor Refurbished for steep discount. like less then half of new price. FYI.

    Hue's still the best, with the widest compatibility and best apps.

  18. Jake
    March 21, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    I'm currently up to 6 color, 1 white, 2 remotes. I think I want one more color bulb to complete my setup. I don't feel the need to put colored lights in the laundry room, bathrooms, closets, etc. So you can actually put together a pretty nice ambiance in a few rooms with just a few bulbs. If I was pressed to point out a downside, it would be learning that the Lifx bulbs put out a lot more light. However, those cost a bit more than Hue anyway. You can also save a lot finding bulbs on ebay. Set up a price alert and you can get color bulbs for approx $35 each, or a third gen 4 bulb color starter kit for $130 (that's only $32/bulb if you throw the hub in the trash)

  19. Jamie
    January 11, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    It's almost like the author has made a verdict before even trying the product. I believe this is sometimes called clickbait (it worked by the way as I'm here aren't I?)

  20. Bou
    January 4, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    You don’t need a colour light in your laundry room. Colour lights are nice for living rooms and bedrooms. For the rest of the house you can use standard lights that cost $25 for a pack of 2, so $12.5 each, not $40. I have used cheaper alternatives and I am much happier with Hue, better light produced and better app. Please update your post with updated prices and the right math.

  21. Dave
    December 27, 2017 at 8:12 am

    You sir, are a cock.

    • Phillip
      March 5, 2019 at 10:42 am

      Best reply, ever.

  22. Mark
    November 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Apparently, you live in a Mexican mansion with some fantastically-priced electricity being piped in from the USA. Trump's not going to be happy about that!

    Back here in the UK, electricity costs around 13p per kWh. The EIA reliably informs me the average in the USA in 2016 was around 13 cents per kWh. Great... we're operating on the same values - that'll make calculations easy!

    Assuming an incandescent bulb is 60W in the USA, as here (maybe 40W for a desk lamp or wall lights) and the Philips Hue bulb is 10W (9W here, oddly.. but 10 is a nice figure), the Hue is going to use one-sixth of the electricity that the incandescent bulb does. Thus, your maths (sorry, people - Dan's a Brit like me!) is off.

    On your model of all lights being on for 2 hours per day, a 60W bulb will use 120Wh per day, or 0.12kWh. That is 43.8kWh per year. At 13 cents per kWh, that's $5.70 (they're bound to round it up). The Hue will use 20Wh per day, or 0.02kWh, which means it uses 7.3kWh per year. That's 95 cents, so you were spot on with that one. Your maths for incandescent bulbs seems to have been for 40W bulbs, though.

    Therefore, 40 of the incandescent bulbs will cost $228 to run per year, not $160. So that $4,800 running cost over 30 years has just gone up to $6,840.

    I think it's worth considering that the cost of electricity is bound to go up in the next 30 years, though! As is the cost of a standard bulb, most likely. Smart bulbs, on the other hand, may get cheaper. In fact, how many bulbs need to be 60W equivalent? You could run the 40W equivalents in wall fittings, for example - they are only 6.5W in the USA (6 in the UK). That saves you 35% of the running cost per bulb.

    As for the system's limitations, our house is a reasonably sized 3 bedroom semi-detached house. It has 14 rooms including hallway, landing, airing cupboard and a 2 room loft conversion. These rooms have 20 ceiling or wall lights, including the front porch. There's a standard lamp, and I guess 5 or so bedside or desk lamps. There are enough rooms for an average 2.4 children family, but not enough lampholders that a Philips Hue system wouldn't cope.

    I wouldn't say it is pointless -far from it. Integration with Alexa or similar voice control is very useful, for starters. The great thing about the system is that you can finally dim an energy saving bulb. The bad thing is that I don't know what would happen if you put it in a fitting that is already on a dimmer switch. I know the old energy saving bulbs didn't like that. So you might have to change your switches to standard ones. Or you could replace them with smart switches instead of the Hue system. In a large house, that may be a more expensive investment than a Hue hub, though. Having the colour and temperature change can be a therapeutic benefit, too. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder, for example, can benefit from a daylight temperature. People find it makes them more productive, even. The ability to then switch back to a warmer colour before you go to bed without having to turn the light off, wait for the bulb to cool down and switch it over is very handy!

    Oh, and I tripped my entire downstairs lighting circuit when a bulb blew last night. It was pitch black and I'd have to get up on a ladder and remove a heavy hatch from the electric box to reset the breaker. I couldn't see a thing. If there had been a Hue bulb in the standard lamp, I could simply have asked Alexa to turn it on, as it isn't on the lighting circuit!

    Whilst the outlay is quite expensive, you tend to find kits on sale in Black Friday deals and the like. What puts me off Philips Hue and most smart bulb ranges is something that won't be considered at all by Americans. Philips are Dutch, and the Dutch use the Edison Screw. Philips don't care that the UK still use bayonet fittings. For some reason, the cheaper kits are always ES. They even told me a lot of people use ES in the UK now - what rubbish! We still have old candle-style wall lights, where the shade clips on top of the candle bulb. The only candle bulbs in the Hue range, or any range, are piddly little E14 screw bulbs. They don't cater for the bayonet fitting. So I have to buy some dubious Chinese adapters (as Philips don't make them) to put E14 bulbs in a B22 fitting, and hope that's going to be OK.

  23. Logan
    July 13, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I have the Hue system in my house and am fairly happy with it. The White A19 bulbs that are referenced in this article can be purchased individually for roughly $15.00.

    I will admit the color bulbs and the bridge kits are a tad over-priced but I have a feeling that part of that cost is still going towards paying for R&D of the Hue products.

    I have the hue software on my android phone and use it occasionally. I have an Amazon Alexa DOT in each of the rooms of my house and use those to verbally control the hue lights.

  24. ts
    July 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Ikea's Tradfri are less expensive, and brighter at 1000 lumen vs Philips' 800.

    A big drawback of the entire Philips Hue family is that the Bridge is a massive single point of failure. I had mine become unresponsive after an update, and my house was left in the dark for days, until I could install a new one. A Bridge costs only $40, not a big amount if you consider all the lights it might control. They should design the Bridge so that it can work in pairs, and one can provide redundancy while the other updates, or in case one breaks. After all, illumination is a critical service, and if you can't rely on this, you are better of with candles!

  25. Andrew
    July 1, 2017 at 6:15 am

    While I do agree that they are too expensive, I still have some arguments on behalf for them: I was already starting to regret buying my entire home (15 lights)with hue bulbs mainly because the hue app sucks badly.
    Luckily I then bought the hue light switches which let me control the lights like normal lights.
    Then I got two pairs of motion detectors which have already saved a lot of hassle, and now my final purchase and maybe the savior for my setup is Google home.
    These days I basically don't touch anything, it's either the motion detectors or"ok Google" command doing all the work. I got so used to it that when traveling and staying at hotels I almost get annoyed that I have to go press the switch and not just control lights with my voice.

    But yes, they are too expensive and won't purchase more before the price goes down.

  26. Ironmarty
    June 30, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I'm sure there's other multicolor lighting systems available for much less , You just have to look around , Most likely in this case , What you're paying the high price for is the name , Not the quality , You need to ask yourself whether or not the quality is there and compare the quality with other systems , The only feasible thing you'd need multicolor lighting for is if you're throwing a party and you can get an LED multicolor light strand for alot less at Costco

  27. Ryan Dube
    June 30, 2017 at 1:19 am

    When I saw the Hue startup kit available in Best Buy I got pretty excited. Walked up to the case and saw the box featuring only two bulbs with the required bridge for nearly $70. Seriously? Two light bulbs for $70? I can get a pack of 16 low-wattage, energy-saving LED bulbs on Amazon for $25, and I'm going to sink $70 for a couple of light bulbs so that I can flip them on and off and change the light in the room different colors? Give me a break. This product has always been vastly overpriced, especially considering the growing field of much more affordable alternatives.

    • Ironmarty
      June 30, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Hello Ryan , multicolor lighting is what you'd use for parties and you can get a multicolor light strand with the bulbs for alot less at Costco , You can set it to change colors and do other things , The bulbs are LED , So they won't drastically raise your electric bill , Most likely , With the Philips hue system , The high price you're paying is for the name

  28. Jordan
    June 29, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    What kind of an article is this? The hue starter kit with WHITE bulbs is $65 for a hub + 2 bulbs. You compared color bulbs to other systems that only offer white bulbs, so of course the color system is more expensive. And the normal white hue bulbs are $15 each, not $30.

    What isn't considered about the cheaper systems is ease of use and security. The Wemo app is much less user friendly and more bug prone than the Hue app, and while I have no experience with the tp-link app, having the wifi settings stored on IoT devices is much less secure than using a bridge with Ethernet. You're having to trust that tp-link is patching security holes to prevent snoopers from finding your WiFi settings from your lightbulbs (a problem that has occurred with many IoT devices).

    None of this even considers the fact that hue offers color bulbs, like I mentioned at the start. If you want to set the color of your lights, then the added cost makes sense. If not, Hue is just as viable as and potentially more secure than these other systems.

  29. Chris
    June 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I'd be interested in where you are getting a $30 price tag on the white and color ambiance A19 bulbs. They are on sale right now on Amazon for . $45. If you can't get the price of what you are comparing about right I can't trust the rest of what you said. Also, to think that anyone is going to replace all the bulbs in a house with white and color ambiance bulbs is just ignorant. Put color bulbs where you want them and white ambiance A19s everywhere else. The white ambiance run about fifteen bucks a bulb

    • Dan Price
      June 29, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      You're right. I was getting mixed up with the white ambiance model I used further down which retails for $30 on the Hue website. Thanks for alerting me, I've changed it.


  30. PFran42
    June 29, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    "...Light Bulbs costs $7 at Home Depot. I could light my entire home for less than $100"

    Do you even math bro?

    54 bulbs...

    • Dan Price
      June 29, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      " A pack of four "

    • Paulette
      July 4, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      Do you even read, bro?

  31. Kyle Kepner
    June 29, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Where I'm the world have you found the color light bulbs for 30 they are usually 49.99

    • Dan Price
      June 29, 2017 at 11:36 pm

      You're right, I was mixed up with the white-only I discussed further down. I fixed it.


  32. PFran42
    June 29, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    Do you even math bro?? How is 7x54 less than 100?

    • Dan Price
      June 29, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      7/4 = 1.75
      1.75 x 54 = 94.5

    • JPhillips
      February 20, 2018 at 8:25 am

      I'm, BRO... Give it up. And read his article again.. slowly for better comprehension. Try setting your A19 Hue bulbs to a relaxing dim white while you do. =P

  33. Mane
    June 29, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I've had Hue long enough to be seeing profit then, nice!
    You don't mention what other features you want other than the ability to control bulbs individually or as a group based on time, location, or manual input. They're lightbulbs! They wake you up with a sunrise in the morning, or turn on automatically in an emergency at night, but they aren't going to make you coffee or put out a fire.
    They can disco to music, bond to my old Philips TV via an app, the newer ones directly, to give surrounding ambient lighting matching the TV (which is amazing by the way).
    The support has only got better, despite the split between the TV department (TP Vision) and Philips the lighting company. Facebook gets a quick response.

    New features, and input methods, are available as more smart home stuff becomes available, amazon echo can control them with voice (as she can with most of the other bulb systems).

  34. Dean
    June 29, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    In what world does the average home have 40 bulbs?

    There are tons of apps on iOS and android to add cool features to you hue system for free and with no programming needed.

    They aren't meant to be cheap, they are a luxury item for people who love tech or things that make their lives easier. We have our house rigged up with bulbs and we control them via our devices, wall switches, and our VOICE via Google home (Alexa can do it too).

    You come across as trying very very hard to find ways to back up your argument and failing to rustle up anything genuine.

    • Sawyer
      June 29, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      I agree with Dean 100%. Also, most don't outfit the whole home with Hue, why would need them in closets and bathrooms. Most just use them in the living room for movie experience or maybe in kitchen or bedside lamps. The color and ambiance bulbs aren't truly meant to replace every single bulb. They have much cheaper bulbs that still link to hub without dimming and color features.

      Then"features" may seem pointless to you but they offer very immersive experiences during movies, offer different light to read by, along with many other free and interesting things to do. Plus it's a premium experience with the app and the way you can interact with whole rooms or individual bulbs. Premium experiences cost you. When the bulbs are strategically placed the on off routines and location aware features are awesome. They can create real comfort if you live alone. These are only a few reasons my wife and I really love the Phillips hue bulbs.