Phillips Hue vs. LIFX

Planning on buying a smart light solution but can’t decide between Philips Hue or LIFX? Let our comparative guide help you make a choice.
Phillips Hue vs. LIFX
Published: 21st Apr 2021
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By SHN Team

We are the SMARTHOME news team, with over 30 years of combined experience in publishing, tech and no Read More...

One of the best features of having a smart home network is the ability to remotely control your house lights at any time. The convenience of being able to program your lights to turn off at certain intervals or react to voice commands is clear to see. Philips Hue and LIFX are some of the best smart lights on the market today, offering a great selection of products for any type of budget.

In this article, we’ll do a comparative review of both brands, along with a selection of their best products to see which is better. If you’re planning to get a smart lighting solution but can’t decide between Philips Hie or LIFX, then you’ve come to the right place.      

Quick Brand Overview

Choosing a product usually begins at the brand name. Below is a quick overview of each manufacturer and their specific product lines.

Philips Hue

Founded in the Netherlands by Gerard Philips with the financial help of his banker father Frederik Philips in 1891, the company now known as Royal Philips wasn’t immediately successful. The business actually faced bankruptcy during its first few years in operation. It was not until the entry of Gerard’s younger brother, Anton, an engineer by trade, in 1895 that the company started being profitable.

Philips’ first products were carbon-filament lights. The company made some other electrical items, but lights were its major product. This would remain the case until the business started to expand its portfolio by producing vacuum tubes in 1920, and electric razors in 1939.

The company moved to the US at the start of the Second World War, but would return to the Netherlands after the end of the conflict. The company stayed in Eindhoven until 2001, before relocating to new headquarters in Amsterdam.

The smart lighting solution known as Philips Hue would be introduced in October 2012 exclusively to the Apple Store. The product saw further development with the release of a second-generation line on October 2015, and a third-generation one year after, in October 2016. On the same year, Philips Lighting, the division of the company that centers on lighting solutions spun off from the company to form its own separate entity. By 2018, they changed their name from Philips Lighting to Signify, but still used the Philips name to market their products.

Also, in 2018 they would introduce outdoor versions of their smart lights, and enable would Bluetooth compatibility by 2019. Since its release, the Philips Hue has been repeatedly called one of the best smart lighting solutions in the market. Even now, almost a decade since its first release, the line has been a consistent entry on top smart lighting solution lists.

Pros:

  • Long history in lighting solutions
  • Very wide selection of products
  • Worldwide service

Cons:

  • Full product functionality requires the purchase of the Hue Bridge
  • The first-generation Hue Bridge is no longer supported

SMARTHOME.News Average Rating: 4.2 of 5 Stars

Average Ratings Around the Web: 4.5 of 5 Stars

LIFX

Founded by John Bosua, Phil Bosua, and Andy Gelme, LIFX originally came about as a desire to create lights that can be controlled via mobile. The three intrepid inventors asked their local Hacker Space community in Melbourne, Australia if the idea of Wi-Fi connected lights was possible. After verifying that the required technology to create smart lights was achievable, they started prototyping bulbs that would eventually grow into the LIFX line.

The three put their ideas up on Kickstarter on September 2012 and eventually raised more than $1.3 million dollars in just five days. By 2014, an additional $12 million in funding would come from series A investments, raising the company’s capital to $16.6 million dollars.

LIFX continued to develop its products, releasing LED versions, a floodlight type smart light, and its own LIFX app. In 2019, a security vulnerability for their product would be found, revealing that the lights themselves were storing unencrypted data. This was due to the fact that unlike other smart lighting products, the LIFX brand didn’t require a smart hub. The company quickly responded by announcing that encryption would soon be implemented.

As per their own press release, the company wasn’t exactly profitable even though their products enjoyed high popularity. Their recent acquisition by Buddy Technologies in February 2019 aimed to change that. As of writing, LIFX still enjoys a reputation as being one of the best smart lighting solutions out there.

Pros:

  • Specialized in smart lighting
  • Products don’t require hubs

Cons:

  • Relatively new to the market
  • History of security vulnerabilities

lifx

SMARTHOME.News Average Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Average Ratings Around the Web: 4 of 5 Stars

Quick Verdict

When it comes to smart lighting solutions, the Philips Hue takes the win. The color range and brightness of the LIFX may be better, but when it comes to connectivity, energy efficiency and relative pricing, the Philips Hue has the advantage. Now, we’re not saying that LIFX bulbs aren’t good smart bulbs, far from it. LIFX bulbs are prominent in top ten smart bulb lists for a reason. It’s just that when given a choice between LIFX and Philips Hue, the Hue is a better option.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Quick Brand Overview
  2. Quick Verdict
  3. Quick Comparison Table
  4. Individual Device Overview
    1. Philips Hue
    2. LIFX
  5. Step by Step Feature Comparison
  6. Final Score
  7. Verdict: Overall Winner
  8. Quick FAQ
  9. Efficient and Cost Effective Lighting Solutions

Quick Comparison Table

LIFX

Philips Hue

Features

LIFX A19

LIFX BR30

LIFX White

LIFX Color

GU10

BR30 E26

A21 E26

E26

Wattage

11.5 Watts

11.5 Watts

8 Watts

9 Watts

6 Watts

8.5 Watts

17 Watts

9.5 Watts

Brightness

1100 Lumens

1100 Lumens

650 Lumens

800 Lumens

250 Lumens

650 Lumens

1,600 Lumens

800 Lumens

Operating Life

25,000 hours

25,000 hours

25,000 hours

25,000 hours

25,000 hours

25,000 hours

25,000 hours

25,000 hours

Colors

1 Trillion

550 Billion

White

1 Billion

16 Million

16 Million

White

16 Million

Warranty

Two Year Limited

Two Year Limited

Two Year Limited

Two Year Limited

3 Year Service

3 Year Service

3 Year Service

3 Year Service

Weight

210 grams

266 grams

130 grams

144 grams

51 grams

97.5 grams

186 grams

70 grams

Bluetooth Compatibility

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Smart AI Compatibility

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Price

$59.99

$59.99

$9.99

$44.99

$54.99

$49.99

$19.99

$49.99

Individual Device Overview

Below are brief individual reviews of the products for each brand.

Philips Hue

Below are some of the best models that the Philips Hue has to offer.

Philips Hue GU10

The Philips Hue GU10 is one of the line’s premier models. Offering up a multitude of shades of white, along with 16 million different colors, it gives users tons of choices when it comes to lighting.

The Hue GU10 can be controlled either via voice or the Bluetooth app. With a mobile phone and the app, you can control up to ten lights remotely. Set the mood easily with a simple tap on your phone’s screen. The lights can be dimmed or brightened as desired, and with Philips Hue light presets, dozens of color combinations can be saved for special occasions.

One of the downsides of the GU10 is that, to get the full compatibility suite, you’ll need to get a Bridge Hub which is sold separately. By getting a hub you can remotely control up to 50 separate lights, along with access to more advanced features of the mobile app.

At 250 Lumens, the GU10 isn’t as bright as the other bulbs in this comparative review, but at only 6 watts, it’s the most energy efficient. A normal bulb of the same brightness would use 25 watts of energy. At an estimated 25,000 hours of operating life, especially with the three-year service warranty, the GU10 is surely worth the price.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Relatively low wattage
  • Three-Year Service Warranty
  • Lighter weight

Cons:

  • Not as bright as comparable bulbs
  • Bridge Hub required to fully use functions

Philips Hue GU10

Philips Hue BR30 E26

A smart floodlight is sure to bring illumination to the areas of your home you wish to emphasize. The Philips Hue BR30 E26 is the perfect way to brighten up a room.

As with other bulbs in the line, the Hue BR30 E26 is Bluetooth capable. With the mobile app, you can pick the perfect ambience with a single tap. You can control up to 10 separate smart bulbs via Bluetooth, and the app itself can remember dozens of different color combinations via Philips Hue light recipes.

If you really want to get the most out of the BR30 E26, you’ll need to get a Hue Bridge – which is sold separately. By connecting the bulb to the Hue Bridge, you can access a lot of the control features, and should be able to program up to 50 different lights to your desired preset.

The Hue BR30 E26 may not be as bright as comparable floodlight bulbs of the other brand, but with the lower wattage, it is understandable. It’s also relatively less expensive than comparable smart floodlights, and with a three-year service warranty, it’s worth the price. If you’re looking for a way to bring emphasis to a room, the Hue BR30 E26 is a good option.

Pros:

  • Has Bluetooth controls
  • Comparatively lower wattage
  • Three-Year Service Warranty
  • Lighter weight

Cons:

  • Not as bright as other floodlight bulbs
  • Full functions need the Hue Bridge

Philips Hue A21 E26

If you’re looking for a way to fully illuminate a room, the Philips Hue A21 E26 is certainly something to consider. With 1,600 Lumens of white light at only 17 watts, it certainly is an optimal lighting solution.

Even though its energy consumption is higher than most bulbs in the line, it still produces the equivalent of a normal 100-watt light. It’s the brightest model of the Philips Hue line, and even a single bulb can fully light up your kitchen or garage.

With the Bluetooth app, you can control up to 10 separate light bulbs via your mobile phone. With a simple tap on your screen, adjust the brightness, or turn the light on or off.

If you get a Hue Bridge, you can access more features of the Philips Hue. With a Bridge you can control your lights even when you’re not at home, connect up to 50 separate lights in the network, and upgrade your Philips Hue software.

With an estimated 25,000 hours of operation life, and a three-year service warranty, you’ll surely be getting your money’s worth from the Hue A21 E26. If you’re looking for a white smart bulb, this may be the one you need.

Pros:

  • Very bright
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Three-Year service warranty

Cons:

  • Relatively higher wattage consumption
  • Requires Hue Bridge for full functionality

Philips Hue A21 E26

Philips Hue E26

Whether it’s warm white light, or a combination of hues, the Philips Hue E26 can deliver more. With this model, setting the ambience is as easy as saying a word or tapping the screen.

The Philips Hue E26 gives users full control with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. With the mobile app, control up to 10 separate lights in the room. Adjust the brightness and change the colors either by manually adjusting hues or using the presets. If you have a personal color setting, you can save it via the mobile app.

Getting the full capabilities of the Philips Hue E26 requires the Hue Bridge though. If you get the Hue Bridge that is sold separately, you’ll have access to upgraded features, the ability to connect 50 lights to your network, and the ability to control your lights away from home.

The bulb itself is rated at 25,000 hours of operation, and with Philip’s three-year service warranty, you’ll surely get your money’s worth from the Hue E26.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Three-Year Service Warranty
  • Lighter bulb

Cons:

  • Optimum functions require a Hue Bridge

LIFX

Below are a few of the best models of the LIFX smart lighting line.

LIFX A19

The LIFX A19 has enough colors for all of your moods and more. With a trillion color combinations, you’ll sure to find the perfect ambience to any room.

The LIFX A19 is good to go out of the box. Unlike most smart lighting solutions, you don’t need a smart hub to get the best out of a LIFX bulb. The lights themselves connect to your Wi-Fi network and can be controlled with your phone. Any additional lights that you install get immediately added to the network.

If you do have a smart hub, the LIFX A19 can adapt easily. Whether your AI be Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, a quick setup is all that’s needed to get full compatibility. The bulbs themselves don’t have Bluetooth compatibility, so if your Wi-Fi goes down you won’t be able to control the lights remotely.

At 1,100 Lumens, the LIFX A19 is relatively brighter than any color smart light models from Philips Hue. It also comes with an estimated 25,000 hours of operation and a two-year limited warranty. The design makes the bulbs heavier than the other brand’s bulbs, so keep that in mind when installing these lights.

Pros:

  • One Trillion colors
  • Relatively brighter bulbs
  • Stand-alone capability

Cons:

  • No Bluetooth capability
  • Relatively heavier bulbs

LIFX BR30

Looking for a colored floodlight to brighten up any spot? The LIFX BR30 may be the one you’re looking for. At 1,100 Lumens, 550 Billion color combinations, and only 11.5 watts per bulb, it’s a lighting solution worth looking at.

The LIFX BR30 was designed as a standalone smart light. The bulb is the entire kit you need to use a good amount of the LIFX BR30’s smart features. The bulb connects to your Wi-Fi network, and any additional lights do so individually as well.

If you’re already using a smart hub to manage your devices, then so much the better. The LIFX BR30 is fully compatible with Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and other smart hubs, and can adapt easily. Automation and voice activation can be easily done via a smart AI’s app or via IFTTT.

Even at 11.5 watts, the LIFX BR30 gives out enough light as a normal 75 watt lightbulb. You’re getting efficient lighting solutions at a fraction of the energy cost. The bulb has an expected lifespan of at least 25,000 hours, and does come with a two-year limited warranty.

The bulbs do weigh a lot however, more than twice that of the smart floodlights of the Philips Hue, so make sure it’s fit securely during installation. Other than that, setup is relatively simple.

Pros:

  • Over 500 Billion color combinations
  • Relatively brighter than comparable smart bulbs
  • Can work without smart hubs

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have Bluetooth controls
  • Relatively heavier

LIFX BR30

LIFX White

From bright white to warm white, the LIFX White model can provide your room with the perfect shade that you want. Start your morning with slowly brightening lights, or instantly illuminate a dark room, the LIFX White is certainly a lighting solution to consider.

The LIFX White is a smart light that’s capable of operating on its own. It doesn’t need a smart hub and can be connected to your mobile on its own. You can control the LIFX White via the versatile mobile app which gives the user a whole lot of control over their lighting preferences. With the app you can program the LIFX white to perfectly fit your own habits. You can also save presets on the app to get the exact shade of white you want in your lights.

If you have a smart hub already installed in your smart home network, then you’ll get more features with your lights. The LIFX white is fully compatible with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, allowing you to control the lights via voice command. One thing to note is that the bulb doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities, so if your Wi-Fi goes down specific commands may not be available.

The design of the LIFX white makes it easy on the eyes and allows more design choices for the owner. You can use shades, install them on sconces, or keep the bulbs visible. Their design will certainly complement the room. The bulbs are heavier than most smart bulbs, so proper support must be ensured during installation.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t require a smart hub
  • Great companion app
  • Attractive design

Cons:

  • No Bluetooth connectivity

LIFX Color

Also known as the LIFX Mini, the LIFX Color provides a whole range of features in such a compact package. LIFX color has a billion color combinations to choose from, and your favorite preset can be easily saved via the app.

The LIFX Color packs 800 Lumens of light, and not only does it offer a wide range of color, it’s able to show several shades of white as well. This standalone bulb doesn’t need a smart hub to operate. Just connect it to your Wi-Fi Network and you’re good to go.

Those who already have a smart hub can take better advantage of this mini smart lighting solution. The LIFX Color is fully compatible with Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. Simply sync LIFX Color with the smart AI of your choice. The bulb doesn’t have any Bluetooth functions, so specific controls may be unavailable when the Wi-Fi network goes down.

As the bulb comes with an estimated 25,000 hours operating lifespan, along with a limited two-year service warranty, you’re sure to get your money’s worth.

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • One billion colors
  • Standalone smart lighting

Cons:

  • No Bluetooth connectivity

LIFX Color

Step by Step Feature Comparison

Below is a step-by -step comparison of the various features of each light bulb model, and how they measure up against each other.

Wattage: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: Philips Hue

In this category, the Philips Hue has a small advantage. The LIFX may have slightly lower wattage per Lumen requirement than comparable Philip Hue bulbs, but the Hue lights have a wider range of available wattages. From the 6 Watts GU10 to the very bright 17 Watts A21 E26, the Philips Hue has a broader selection to choose from.

That’s not to say that the LIFX is bad Wattage-wise. They’re still very efficient bulbs, and do offer great Lumen to Wattage yield, it’s just that the Philips line has more to choose from.

Brightness: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: LIFX

This is a very narrow win for LIFX. Although the Philips Hue has the brightest Smart White bulb at 1,600 Lumens, the majority of LIFX’s bulbs are brighter than comparative models from Philips Hue. The normal LIFX lights go up to 1,100, and even the smaller LIFX White has the brightness of Philips Hue’s floodlight model at 650 Lumens. If you’re looking for brighter bulbs, then the LIFX may be a better choice for you.

Operating Life: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: Tie

Both LIFX and Philips Hue have rated their bulbs to have 25,000 hours of operating life, or about 22.8 years of normal operation. Most LED lights are robust because they don’t radiate as much heat as normal lights. With the long lifespans of these bulbs, the advantages definitely show.

If you’re looking for lights that will be well worth the price that you pay for it, then these LED lights are certainly what you need. At 25,000 hours, both the LIFX and Philips Hue are tied at this category.

Colors: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: LIFX

This is hands down a win for LIFX. LIFX claims that their bulbs, at least all but the white models, have billions of color combinations available to users. They say that the LED combinations that they use to create their bulbs make it possible to have such a wide variety of colors. They even claim that the LIFX A19 has a trillion colors for you to choose from.

With 16 million colors, the Philips Hue bulbs aren’t anything to scoff at, but when compared to the billion colors of the LIFX, they don’t seem as impressive.

Colors LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 

Warranty: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: Philips Hue

Philips offers three-year service warranties for their bulbs. This is better than the two-year limited warranty that LIFX offers for its products.

Considering how tough LEDs are, you may never get the chance to take advantage of these warranties, but longer warranty periods are better just in case. This is a win for Philips Hue for the extra year of guarantee that they provide to their customers.

 

Weight: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: Philips Hue

The design of LIFX bulbs has made them several times heavier than comparable bulbs from Philips Hue. Some bulbs from LIFX can even be three times as heavy as the ones from Hue. Although the light fixture’s weight is measured in only hundreds of grams, if you’re using multiple lights to accentuate a room, that weight can quickly add up. Philips Hue wins in this category.

Bluetooth Compatibility: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: Philips Hue

This is a hand down win for Philips Hue. The LIFX bulbs don’t even have Bluetooth available. LIFX may have the ability to operate without a smart hub, but if, for any reason, the Wi-Fi connection goes down LIFX controls become limited.

Philips Hue can be controlled with just the Bluetooth app, with added functionality when the Hue Bridge is available. With LIFX’s lack of Bluetooth connectivity, Philips Hue wins this category.

Smart AI Compatibility: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: Tie

Both LIFX and Philips Hue were designed to connect and sync with smart AI software like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and the Google Assistant. As long as there’s a compatible smart hub that these bulbs can link with, all you need is have the smart AI discover and register the lights. As LIFX and Philips Hue have the same smart AI compatibilities, they’re tied in this category.

Price: LIFX vs. Philips Hue

 
 
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Winner: Philips Hue

Philips Hue offers better pricing when it comes to smart lighting solutions. It also has a wider price range when compared to the LIFX. The amounts may not be that large, but when you want to set up a room with multiple smart lights, the differences will be obvious. If you’re trying to build a smart home network on a budget, even the smallest savings are important. Philips Hue wins in this category.

Price LIFX vs. Philips Hue

Final Score

Features

LIFX

Philips Hue

Wattage

Lose

Win

Brightness

Win

Lose

Operating Life

Tie

Tie

Colors

Win

Lose

Warranty

Lose

Win

Weight

Lose

Win

Bluetooth Compatible

Lose

Win

Smart Home Compatibility

Tie

Tie

Price

Lose

Win

Verdict: Overall Winner

When comparing the LIFX and the Philips Hue, the Philips Hue is the better deal. LIFX bulbs may be brighter and offer an astounding number of colors, but when it comes to features, the Philips Hue takes the win. Sure, you’ll need the Hue Bridge to fully take advantage of the Philip’s Hue’s capabilities, but if you’re setting up multiple lights, having a central hub is an ideal choice.

When it comes to pricing, the Philips Hue offers a wider range of lights to choose from. With so many models available, there’s sure to be one to fit your particular budget. The additional year of service warranty is good too. LED lights aren’t prone to break, but if they do, at least you have an option if it happens within the warranty period.

LIFX is a great brand, but if you have a choice between it and Philips Hue, the Philips Hue is the better option.

WINNER: PHILIPS HUE

Verdict Overall Winner

Quick FAQ

Below are some common questions regarding Philips Hue and LIFX.

  1. Will my LIFX Smart Lights work without Wi-Fi?
    No. As Wi-Fi is the only means for the LIFX to communicate with the smart network, failure of the Wi-Fi limits control of the smart lights themselves. They will still stay on even without Wi-Fi, but they will have the same color scheme before the connection dropped. If your Wi-Fi isn’t functioning you can’t change colors or program specific presets on the LIFX.
  2. Will my Philips Hue Smart Lights work without Wi-Fi?
    The original Philips Hue bulbs required both Wi-Fi and the Hue bridge to function, but newer models with Bluetooth connectivity can function without it. You’ll need to download the separate Philips Hue Bluetooth app, but this means that you can still control your smart lights even if the Wi-Fi network goes down.
    Do note that Bluetooth only works within a certain distance, and you can’t control your lights when you’re not at home via Bluetooth.
  3. Do I really need a Hue Bridge to use Philips Hue lights?
    Not really. Newer models will function without the use of the Hue Bridge, and can be controlled either via Zigbee or Bluetooth. For full functionality though, having the Hue Bridge is a must. The number of features that the Bridge gives these smart lights is well worth it, especially if you have a lot of smart lights installed.
  4. I have multiple Hue lights, how many Hue bridges do I need?
    Only one. The Hue Bridge supports multiple bulbs, and unless you have more than 60 lights, one should cover everything. Do note that the Bridge has an operating distance of about 25 meters. Any further and your commands may not reach the lights.
  5. Can LIFX bulbs and Philips Hue bulbs work together?
    Yes. LIFX and Philips Hue won’t work together natively. Each brand has their own app to control their features, and LIFX apps won’t be able to recognize Philips Hue bulbs and vice versa. With the use of smart hubs and third-party apps such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, these different bulbs can be made to operate within the same network.
    If you use IFTTT, you may find some methods that allow each model of bulb to work in certain circumstances. Smart devices were made to work with other smart gadgets from different brands, so LIFX and Philips Hue are the same.

Efficient and Cost Effective Lighting Solutions

Smart Lights have become popular for those looking for lighting solutions that are both efficient and cost effective. Both LIFX and Philips Hue are considered some of the best on the market. If you’re looking for smart lights for your home network, there will surely be a model from the two lines that will fit your particular needs and budget.

Do you have experiences regarding the Philips Hue or LIFX? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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