These smart bulbs work with Philips Hue (but cost way less)

I know lots of people hate on Philips Hue lights for being overpriced. Maybe they are. Maybe not. Personally, I think the number of lights they’ve sold tells the real story.

My guess is that if you’re reading this, you’ve already bought into the Hue system. You probably like the responsiveness, reliability, and well-developed app that comes with it. Maybe you’ve already built that awesome entertainment room and now you’re looking to chill out on the spending a bit.

I understand.

I hereby give you permission to use some of these lower cost lights instead.



Before you buy: Limitations of third-party bulbs

While I’m all for saving a few bucks (who isn’t?), it’s important to know what you might be giving up when you opt for a non-Hue bulb. Here’s a list of the potential drawbacks of using these third-party bulbs:

  1. Color Accuracy

Third-party bulbs may display a slightly different color than genuine Philips Hue bulbs. This can be problematic if you’re trying to match other lights in your smart home setup. To minimize the impact of this, I recommend sticking to one brand of bulbs in any given room, and definitely don’t install bulbs from different brands into the same light fixture.

  1. Responsiveness

Third-party bulbs might not respond as quickly to commands as genuine Philips Hue bulbs. This means that they sometimes take longer to turn on, off, or change color. In my experience, this happens infrequently with third-party bulbs, but often enough to notice. It almost never happens with Philips Hue bulbs.

  1. Dimming Capability

Another limitation of the third-party bulbs is their ability to dim. I have not found a non-Hue bulb that can offer the same level of dimming as the Hue bulbs. Genuine Philips Hue bulbs can dim down to almost nothing.

  1. Incompatible with Philips Hue Entertainment Feature

The third-party smart bulbs will not work with the Philips Hue Entertainment feature. This means that you won’t be able to synchronize your non-Hue bulbs with music, movies, or games.

  1. Incompatible with Apple Home

Third-party bulbs are currently not able to connect to Apple Home through the Philips Hue app. However, once the Matter upgrade for the Philips Hue hub is released, you should be able to do it.


Best Smart Bulbs Compatible with Philips Hue

If you’re looking for the best smart bulbs compatible with Philips Hue, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for standard A19 bulbs, recessed downlights, or outdoor lights, this list has you covered.

Standard A19 bulbs compatible with Philips Hue

Philips Hue sells this shape of bulb at three different brightness levels: base, medium, and high lumen.

I found third-party substitues for the base and medium level brightness, but have not been able to find a compatible bulb with the same brightness as the high lumen Philips Hue bulb.

ImageProductBrightness (Lumens)Shop Now
innr Smart Light Bulbs A19 That Work with Philips Hue*, Alexa, Hey Google, SmartThings (Hub Required) & Zigbee, Hue Lights with E26 Base, Color, Smart Light 60W Equivalent, 2-Packinnr Color Smart Bulb A19 (2-pack)806
GLEDOPTO ZigBee 3.0 Smart LED Bulb Pro 12W E26 RGBCCT Lights 2200K~6500K White Light 900~1100LM Compatible with Amazon Echo Plus SmartThings App/Voice/2.4G RF Handle Remote ControlGLEDOPTO Smart Bulb Pro 12W1100
ERIA Zigbee Colors and White A19 Smart Bulb, Hub Required, Compatible with SmartThings, Philips Hue, Alexa, Google Assistant and ZigBee hubs (2-Pack)ERIA Zigbee Color A19 Smart Bulb (2-pack)800

Compare with the following Philips Hue products:

Philips Hue Smart 60W A19 LED Bulb - White and Color Ambiance Color-Changing Light - 2 Pack - 800LM - E26 - Indoor - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomekitPhilips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Base Lumen Smart Bulb (2-pack)800
Philips Hue Smart 75W A19 LED Bulb - White and Color Ambiance Color-Changing Light - 2 Pack - 1100LM - E26 - Indoor - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomekitPhilips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Medium Lumen Smart Bulb (2-pack)1100
Philips Hue Smart 100W A21 LED Bulb - White and Color Ambiance Color-Changing Light - 1 Pack - 1600LM - E26 - Indoor - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomekitPhilips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 High Lumen Smart Bulb (1-pack)1600

Recessed Downlights compatible with Philips Hue

Philips Hue makes two types of smart recessed downlights. The retrofit model is designed to fit inside an existing can fixture. Whereas the slim (wafer-type) model is a popular choice for remodels. The low profile and low heat of the LEDs allow these units to fit in spaces where conventional lights wouldn’t work.

There are lots of compatible third-party retrofit downlights, especially if you’re willing to order from a brand you’ve never heard of. Both GIDERWEL and GLEDOPTO are brands that I’m already familiar and comfortable with, so I listed products from them. However, I spent a long time trying to find a decent substitute for the slim version. I had to go all the way to China (via the web, not literally), but I am happy to report that another reputable brand Miboxer makes exactly what I was looking for.

ImageProductBrightness (Lumens)Shop Now
GIDERWEL ZigBee 3.0 Smart Recessed Downlight RGBWW 4 Inch Work with Hub Bridge,Echo Plus for APP/Alexa Voice Control RGBCCT Ceiling Light Dimmable(3000K-6000K) Retrofit LED Can Lights(1 Pack)GIDERWEL 4" Retrofit Recessed Downlight, White and Color (1-pack)800
GLEDOPTO ZigBee 3.0 Smart 9W E26 RGBCCT Downlight 110V LED Ceiling Recessed Light SmartHome App/Voice/2.4G RF Remote Control LightingGLEDOPTO 6" Retrofit Recessed Downlight, White and Color (1-pack)700
Miboxer 4" Slim Recessed Downlight FUT068Z, White and Color (1-pack)600
Miboxer 6" Slim Recessed Downlight FUT066Z, White and Color (1-pack)1100

Compare with the following Philips Hue products:

Philips Hue Smart Recessed 4 Inch LED Downlight - White and Color Ambiance Color-Changing Light - 1 Pack - 850LM - Indoor - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomekitPhilips Hue 4" Retrofit Recessed Downlight, White and Color (1-pack)850
Philips Hue Smart 6-Inch LED Downlight, 1100LM - White & Color Ambiance, Control with Hue App - Compatible with Alexa, Google & Apple HomekitPhilips Hue 6" Retrofit Recessed Downlight, White and Color (1-pack)1100
Philips Hue Smart Slim 6 Inch LED Downlight - White and Color Ambiance Color-Changing Light - 1 Pack - 1200LM - Indoor - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomekitPhilips Hue Slim 6" Downlight, White and Color (1-pack)1200

BR30 bulbs compatible with Philips Hue

The BR30 bulbs are usually installed in a recessed fixture or in track lighting. They have a more directional light than the A19 lights above. They also require a larger heatsink because they are often installed in an enclosed space.

The options for this type of bulb seem really limited. I suspect it is because most people no longer use these in the recessed fixtures. Instead they opt for the retrofit style downlight as seen in the previous section.

ImageProductBrightness (Lumens)Shop Now
Adurosmart ERIA BR30, White and Color (2-pack)800
ERIA Zigbee Tunable White BR30 Smart Flood Light, Hub Required, Compatible with Philips Hue, SmartThings, Alexa, Google Assistant and ZigBee hubs (2-Pack)Adurosmart ERIA BR30, Tunable white (2-pack)800
innr BR30 Smart Bulb, Works with Philips Hue* BR30, Alexa, Hey Google, SmartThings (Hub Required), Zigbee Bulb, Dimmable Warm White LED Light Bulbs BR30 LED with E26 Base, 7.4W, 2-Pack, BE 220-2innr BR30, Dimmable, Warm White (2-pack)650

Compare with the following Philips Hue products:

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance BR30 LED Smart Bulbs (Bluetooth Compatible), Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, 1-PackPhilips Hue BR30, White and Color (1-pack)1200

E12 bulbs (Candelabra) compatible with Philips Hue

A candelabra bulb in the US is an E12 base (E14 in Europe). They’re usually used in small lamps or in chandelier fixtures. Even though they’re much smaller and generally put out less light than larger bulbs, they still cost about the same.

Imagine a chandelier with 8 different colored smart lights. For sure, it would be ridiculously expensive. But, I think some really cool scenes could be created.

ImageProductBrightness (Lumens)Shop Now
Chener Zigbee Smart Bulb E12 LED Candelabra 5W with Remote Control, Candle White & Color Ambiance, Works with Zigbee Hub, SmartThings, Alexa & Google Home (Hub Required), Voice & APP Control, 2-PackChener E12, White and Color (2-pack)500
Gledopto E12, White and Color (1-pack)200
IKEA.. 403.652.67 Trådfri Led Bulb E12 400 Lumen, Wireless Dimmable Warm White, Chandelier OpalIkea Trådfri E12, Dimmable Warm White, (1-pack)400

Compare with the following Philips Hue products:

Philips Hue Smart 40W B39 Candle-Shaped LED Bulb - White and Color Ambiance Color-Changing Light - 1 Pack - 450LM - E12 - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomekitPhilips Hue E12, White and Color, (1-pack)470
Philips Hue White Ambiance Filament E12 Candle Bulb, Full Range of White Light, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, BlackPhilips Hue E12 Filament, White Ambience (1-pack)300

GU10 bulbs compatible with Philips Hue

A GU10 bulb is commonly used as a spotlight for accent lighting. A little extra color can really make those accents pop. For that reason, the option to have a color GU10 bulb seems like a no-brainer.

ImageProductBrightness (Lumens)Shop Now
GLEDOPTO 5W ZigBee 3.0 RGBCCT LED GU10 Spotlight Pro 300~450LM Dimmable Compatible with SmartThings Amazon Alexa App Voice RF Remote ControlGledopto GU10, White and Color, (1-pack)450
LGIDTECH FUT103Z Miboxer 4W GU10 RGB+CCT LED Spotlight Zigbee 3.0,Color Changing & 2700-6500K Temperature Adjustable,Compatible with Alexa Google Home Voice Control via Our Gateway(Sold Separately)Miboxer GU10 FUT103Z, White and Color, (1-pack)280
Chener Zigbee Smart GU10 Light Bulb 5W with Remote Control, Smart Hub Required, Works with SmartThings and Echo with Built-in Hub, Voice Control with Alexa and Google Home, Color Ambiance Bulb, 2 PackChener GU10, White and Color, (2-pack)450

Compare with the following Philips Hue products:

Philips Hue Smart 50W GU10 LED Bulb - White and Color Ambiance Color-Changing Light - 1 Pack - 400LM - Indoor - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomekitPhilips Hue GU10, White and Color, (1-pack)400

Outdoor lights compatible with Philips Hue

If you’ve got an outdoor space you like to spend time in, adding a splash of color to the night scenes can have a magical effect.

In case you didn’t notice, Philips Hue has a whole line of outdoor lights and fixtures, too. And, just like the rest of their lights, you’ll pay a premium price to get the Hue brand.

There are a few alternatives from innr that will work with your Hue hub at a significantly lower price. However, they are not as bright as the Philips Hue lights and they cannot be controlled individually. For example, if you get the innr Spotlight kit with 3 lights, you can adjust the color and brightness of all 3 lights together, but not individually.

Whereas with the Philips Hue Lily kit, each light can be controlled separately. You can even set up scenes where the lights dynamically change color in a coordinated spectacle of light.

ImageProductBrightness (Lumens)Shop Now
innr Smart Outdoor Light, Color Spotlight, Works with Philips Hue*, Alexa, Hey Google, SmartThings (Hub Required) Zigbee, LED Outdoor Lights, 3-Pack with Power Supply and RGBW Control Box, OSL 130Cinnr Spotlight, White and Color (3 lights, power supply, controller)230
innr Zigbee Smart Color Outdoor Spot Light, Single Spot, Extension Light Outdoor Spot Light Set, Control Box and Power Supply Required, RGBW, OSL 130 C Spotinnr Spotlight extension, White and Color (1 light, requires power supply and controller)230
innr Smart Outdoor Lights, Color Pathway Lights, Works with Philips Hue*, Alexa, Hey Google, SmartThings (Hub Required) Zigbee Outdoor Lights, 3-Pack with Power Supply and RGBW Control Box, OPL 130Cinnr Pedestal Light, White and Color (3 lights, power supply and controller)215
innr Zigbee Smart Color Outdoor Pedestal Light, Single Pole, Extension Light Outdoor Pedestal Light Set, Control Box and Power Supply Required, RGBW, OPL 130 CP USinnr Pedestal Light extension, White and Color (1 light, requires power supply and controller)215
GLEDOPTO Smart ZigBee3.0 Outdoor Garden Lamp Path Lights Tree Lighting Dimmable RGBCCT IP65 12W 850~950LM Compatible with Amazon Echo Plus SmartThings APP/Voice/Remote ControlGledopto Spotlight, White and Color (1 light, requires AC power)950

Compare with the following Philips Hue products:

Philips Hue Lily Outdoor Smart Spot Light Base Kit - White and Color Ambiance LED Walkway Lights - Low Voltage Landscape Lighting - 3 Pack - Requires Bridge - Control with App and Voice - WeatherproofPhilips Hue Lily White and Color Outdoor Spot Light Base kit (3 lights, power supply, and mounting kit)600
Philips Hue Lily XL Outdoor Smart Spot Light - White & Color Ambiance LED Walkway Lights - Low Voltage Lighting - 1 Pack - Requires Bridge and Power Supply - Control with App and Voice - WeatherproofPhilips Hue Lily XL Extension (1 light, mounting kit)1060
Philips Hue Calla White and Color Ambiance Outdoor Pathway Light Base Kit (1 Light, Power Supply and Mounting Kit), Works with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit and Google Assistant, Hue Bridge RequiredPhilips Hue Calla White and Color Outdoor Pathway Light Base Kit (1 Light, Power Supply and Mounting Kit)590
Philips Hue Calla Outdoor Smart Pathway Light - White & Color Ambiance LED Walkway Lights - Low Voltage Lighting - 1 Pack - Requires Bridge and Power Supply - Control with App and Voice - WeatherproofPhilips Hue Calla White and Color Extension (1-light, mounting kit)590
Philips Hue Econic White & Color Ambiance Outdoor Smart Pathway light Base Kit (Hue Hub Required), 1 pathway light + mounting kit, Works with Alexa, BlackPhilips Hue Econic White & Color Outdoor Smart Pathway light Base Kit (1 light, power supply, mounting kit)590
Philips Hue Econic Outdoor Smart Pathway Light - White & Color Ambiance LED Walkway Lights - Low Voltage Lighting - 1 Pack - Requires Bridge and Power Supply - Control with App and Voice -WeatherproofPhilips Hue White and Color Econic Outdoor Smart Pathway Light Extension (1 light, mounting kit)590

Light Strips compatible with Philips Hue

I know all you makers and DIYers (myself included) love a good LED strip. There’s so many uses and fun effects that can be created by putting lights in places where they usually aren’t.

Light strips can be purchased all-in-one like light bulbs, or can be “built” by assembling a controller, power supply, and LED strip light .

If your LED strip project does not require a lengthy strip, I recommend buying one of the all-in-one kits (like the innr and GIDERWEL options below).

However, if you are looking to do a large project (like LED strips circling a room), you can do a much better job by building your own. The main thing you need to worry about is to make sure your controller uses Zigbee 3.0 so that it’s compatible with your Philips Hue hub. I also recommend using a RGBCCT LED strip to provide the best color accuracy. I have several of the Gledopto ZigBee 3.0 RGBCCT controllers shown below installed in my home and they work flawlessly.

Read More: Ultimate Guide to LED Strips

ImageProductBrightness (Lumens)Shop Now
innr Light Strip, Smart, Works with Philips Hue*, Alexa, Hey Google, SmartThings (Hub Required), Zigbee LED Strip, 13ft, RGB LED Lightstrips, FL 140 Cinnr RGBW LED Strip (13ft)1200
GIDERWELSmart ZigBee RGBWW LED Strip Light Dimmable 16.4ft Ambiance Kit Work with HUB Bridge,Echo Plus for APP/Alexa Voice Control RGB Cool White Warm White(2700-6000K) RGBCCT LightStrip PlusGIDERWEL LED Strip RGBCCT 16.4ft1500
GLEDOPTO ZigBee 3.0 RGBCCT LED Controller with Reset Button for RGB WWCW Strip Light APP Voice Control(ZigBee Hub Required)Gledopto ZigBee 3.0 RGBCCT ControllerN/A
BTF-LIGHTING RGBCCT 5 Colors in 1 LED 5050SMD RGBWW RGB+Dimmable Tunable Color Temperature 2700K-6500K 16.4FT 60LEDs/m 300LEDs Multi-Colored LED Tape Lights IP30 DC24V For Bedroom Desk Home DecorationBTF-LIGHTING RGBCCT LED Strip, 16.4ft1500

Compare with the following Philips Hue products:

Philips Hue Indoor 6-Foot Smart LED Light Strip Plus Base Kit - Color-Changing Single Color Effect - 1 Pack - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKitPhilips Hue Lightstrip Plus base V4 80 inch1700
Philips Hue Indoor 6-Foot Smart LED Light Strip Base Kit with Plug - Flowing Multicolor Effect - 1 Pack - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKitPhilips Hue Gradient lightstrip 80 inch1800
Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Outdoor LightStrip 2m/7ft (Requires Hue Hub, Works with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant)Philips Hue Outdoor Lightstrip 80 inch, White and Color850

Which lights will not work with Philips Hue?

A smart light needs to use either Zigbee Light Link (ZLL) or Zigbee 3.0 wireless protocol to work with the Philips Hue bridge. That means any smart bulb that uses only WiFi, Z-Wave, or BlueTooth will not work.

Most smart lights are the wrong wireless protocol, so it’s fairly obvious that they won’t work. Here is a list of the ones that may be questionable:

Philips WiZ

Hey look, a Philips smart bulb! It must work with my Hue hub, right?

Wrong.

I’m sure there are lots of people that bought the Philips WiZ bulbs thinking they would effortlessly pair with their Hue hub. However, the WiZ bulbs are WiFi only. The Hue hub is Zigbee only. Therefore, they are not compatible.

Osram/Sylvania Lightify/Smart+

I can confirm that Sylvania Smart lights are not compatible with the Hue hub in the US.

Apparently, they sell a different version in Europe because the Smart+ lights are compatible there. Because of that, you may read a blog post or review (probably written by someone in Europe) that states they are compatible.

But, you can trust me and iConnectHue. They are not compatible in the US.

Sengled

The Sengled bulbs do use Zigbee, but are not compatible with Hue because they use the Zigbee HA (not Zigbee 3.0) standard. However, they will connect directly to Hubitat and SmartThings or other Zigbee hubs that support ZHA.

FAQs


Final Thoughts

I’d love to tell you that Philips Hue bulbs are way overpriced and that you can easily spend half as much on a third-party bulb and get the same performance. But, in my experience, it’s not entirely true. That said, it doesn’t mean these alternative lights are not useful. In fact, I think they’re very useful and use them throughout my home.

The main areas I prefer the genuine Philips Hue bulbs are in the dining room and living room where I frequently use the dynamic scenes. With the Philips Hue bulbs you get smooth transitions and vibrant colors. With the “others”, you sometimes get clunky transitions and muddled colors.

Additionally, I prefer the Philips Hue bulbs in our baby room due to their ability to dim way down. When baby wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s nice to be able to turn the lights on to a faint warm glow. Dimming to 1% with the third-party bulbs, doesn’t get nearly as dim.

Other than that, I’ve found that I barely notice the difference between third-party bulbs and genuine Philips Hue bulbs. What has your experience been?

4 thoughts on “These smart bulbs work with Philips Hue (but cost way less)”

  1. Marc Antony Grime

    Just want to thank you for your review. It helped me finish my lighting around my home but for less than I was expecting to pay on a short budget as well.
    I’m a complete gadget geek so I have nearly got my flat as smart as I want, but I know it could get way smarter!

  2. Excellent article Eric!

    Answered every question I had on these “Smart bulbs”, how they work and what systems will work with the Hue Hub.

  3. Thanks for the article.

    Once connected to HUE BRIDGE, will these be available in the homekit?
    Also, do the Philips HUE accessories work with these products? Like Philips Hue switch?

Comments are closed.