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The first LIFX light hit the market in 2012. The newly introduced smart light was the first multi-colored WiFi-capable LED light that could be controlled through a smart device. Each LIFX light is designed to last over 20 years. The company’s flexible lights are ideal for home or office use.
Another strong contender in the smart bulb market is the Philips Hue. Philips Hue is a personal wireless lighting system that lets you control the lighting around your home in a number of ways.
Bottom Line Up Front: I much prefer the LIFX bulb available here because it is more reliable, versatile and cost effective than the Hue in my experience. The Hue isn’t a bad option, it’s just not as well rounded as the LIFX.
Examples of what you can do with the Philips Hue include program your lights for simpler home automation, control your lights from anywhere, and configure the lights just the way you prefer.
Depending on the specific light, you can also program your lights for effortless home automation and even sync the lighting with your favorite music. Here’s a closer look at what each light has to offer in this Philips Hue vs LIFX comparison:
Contents (Jump to)
An Overview of Both LEDs
One of the hallmark features of the LIFX smart bulb is its simple setup. You don’t need to deal with extra hardware or a hub to enjoy this LIFX product. You can also instantly turn your home into a smart home by using one or more of the many devices that connect with LIFX.
These devices include Amazon Echo (see review here), which lets you control the lights with your voice, in addition to the Samsung SmartThings hub (see more here) and the Logitech Harmony hub that connects to the LIFX over your WiFi network.
Other devices and products that you can connect with LIFX include Nest Protect, Nest Thermostat, IFTTT, Scout Alarm, and Flic. The LIFX family features a lineup of warm to cool Hue white bulbs along with full color bulbs.
Philips Hue is a smart LED home lighting system that lets you take full control over the lighting in your home.
The web-enabled system offers energy efficient operation that simplifies the way you control lights with your smartphone or tablet.
You can count on the Philips Hue to take charge of your daily needs, whether that includes welcoming you home, making you feel safe and secure in your home, or enhancing your mood or energy levels.
The personal wireless lighting system can even alert you to incoming calls or provide you with the latest weather forecast. It’s easy to control the lights inside and outside your home, which can make it seem as though you’re home even when you’re not.
The goal of this smart LED lighting system is to simplify your life in the smartest and most effective ways.
Key Features to Consider: LIFX vs Hue
You won’t find a shortage of features in either of these smart bulbs. However, each bulb offers separate features that can make it a better fit for your needs and lifestyle. Having a greater understanding of the available features will enhance your buying decision and make you a more informed consumer.
Here’s a look at some of the key features you’ll find in the LIFX and Philips Hue smart bulbs.
WiFi: The LIFX offers simple and stress-free WiFi connectivity. You can control this multi-colored LED smart bulb directly from your smartphone. The LIFX app is available for both iOS and Android operating systems.
Installing and using the mobile app is exceedingly simple with the LIFX. All you need to do is screw in and power up the bulb then download the app and change your device’s WiFi setting to the LIFX SSID.
After the app is connected you’ll have to reconnect to your router via your device’s WiFi settings. Then simply return to the LIFX app and wait as it discovers the bulb(s) you’ve installed.
You can wirelessly control and customize your lighting directly from your smartphone with the Philips Hue. Since the system isn’t solely WiFi-based you’ll need a starter kit or separate Hue bridge for connectivity. You’ll also need to install the app on your smartphone or other device.
The latest Philips Hue bridge comes in a square shape and supports the necessary authentication needed for Apple HomeKit. With this latest version of the Hue bridge all of your Philips Hue lights will work with Apple HomeKit.
Those who have the older round-shaped Philips Hue bridge will need to upgrade to the latest Hue bridge if they want to use Apple HomeKit.
Brightness: There are currently two white and two color bulbs available from LIFX. The White 800 produces warm to cool white colors and features a brightness level of 890 lumens, which is equivalent to 60 watts.
The White 900 also produces warm to cool white Hues and offers a brightness of 950 lumens or the equivalent of 65 watts. The Color 1000 produces full color and whites and has a brightness of 1055 lumens. This is equivalent to 75 watts.
The Color 650 GU10 produces full color and whites and has a brightness of 650 lumens or 40 watts. Both the White 800 and Color 1000 offer 11 watts at full brightness. This increases to 12 watts at full brightness for the White 900 BR30 and 11.5 watts at full brightness for the Color 650 GU10.
The Philips Hue smart LED bulb offers 16 million colors with a brightness of 600 lumens, or the equivalent of 60 watts of standard incandescent bulb.
Lighting: In terms of lighting, the Philips Hue and LIFX are similar in many ways. For example, you can dim and adjust the brightness level of either light from their corresponding apps. You can also alter the colors of both lights using their respective apps.
Both systems also make it possible to turn music into light and automatically increase the lighting in your room or around the house to correspond with your wake up alarm.
It’s possible to create colors from an image with the Philips Hue light — a feature that’s not yet available with the LIFX.
Pros and Cons of Both
LIFX Smart LED:
The LIFX bulb excels at putting out bright and vivid colors up to 1,000 lumens. Despite this full spectrum of natural tones the bulb doesn’t consume much energy along the way.
A newly introduced IFTTT channel, a feature that wasn’t available when the bulb first hit the market, enhances the LIFX’s functionality in an impressive way. Another highlight of the LIFX is its accessibility.
Unlike the Philips Hue, you don’t need to connect to a separate bridge or hub for instant connectivity. You can control features such as white levels, color, and brightness using your Android or iOS device.
LIFX now syncs with devices such as the Nest Protect smoke detector and Nest Learning Thermostat for enhanced safety.
Price is one of the biggest drawbacks of the LIFX bulb. The cost of one bulb is just shy of $100 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) although it may be possible to find it for as low as around $50. Still, that’s a lot to pay for one bulb, let alone several depending on your lighting demands.
While it’s easy to set up, the app could use some work. You can perform basic functions such as color selection using the app but you still can’t use it for functions such as creating custom color cycles or scheduling.
Philips Hue offers a personalized lighting system with more opportunities for customizing and personalizing your wireless lighting system than you’ll find on many competing systems.
You can use the Philips Hue to do everything from welcome you home with a custom selection of lighting options to wake you up and help you feel energized.
Hue also excels at helping you feel safe and secure and improving your mood. Philips Hue keeps you up to date regarding the weather and incoming calls. The latest version of the Philips Hue bridge works with Apple HomeKit for enhanced connectivity.
Price is an understandable concern. The necessary starter pack, which includes the Hue bridge and three bulbs, is just shy of $200. While the bulbs are designed to last for several years before needing to be replaced, the initial cost is still an issue for many consumers.
The wattage and light output of the Philips Hue bulbs isn’t necessarily weak but it’s just not as sharp and crisp in comparison to the LIFX bulbs.
Comparison: LIFX Smart LED vs Philips Hue
A side-by-side comparison of both smart bulbs can help you determine which one is the best fit for your budget and lifestyle.
|LIFX Smart LED||Philips Hue|
|MSRP||$99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$199 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|WiFi||Doesn’t require an extra hub or bridge for WiFi connectivity||Requires a separate Philips Hue bridge to connect to the internet|
|Bulbs||Available in white and color; offers bright and crisp lighting; a bit longer than competitors; shines at just over 1,000 lumens, or roughly 75 watts||Compatible with a standard light bulb connector; similar in shape and appearance to a typical light bulb; shines at around 600 lumens|
|Life span||Rated for 40,000 hours of use||Rated for 15,000 hours of use|
|Features||Easy to set up; lets users create lighting scenes; easy to control brightness, color, and white levels using an Android or iOS device; IFITTT channel provides exceptional smart functionality; stands out for vivid and vibrant natural lighting||Offers easy control over lighting around the house; lets users customize intensity and light color; enables consumers to use photos to create lighting scenes; possible to set up timers for individual bulbs within the system|
Other Smart LEDs to Consider?
It’s worth mentioning that while Hue and LIFX are the two main market leaders, there ARE other competitors out there.
For more ideas about the competition, check out my write-up here on my top Philips Hue Alternatives.
Should I Buy Now or Wait?
If you’re searching for a smart bulb that can enhance your daily routine, you can’t go wrong with either the Philips Hue or the LIFX Smart LED bulb. However, there are some differences to keep in mind.
The Philips Hue app enables more functionality and creativity than does the LIFX app, even the most recent version. While the LIFX Smart LED bulb is WiFi-ready, you’ll need to connect your Philips Hue lighting system with the help of a separate hub.
The LIFX bulb offers more crisp and vibrant lighting than the Philips Hue, although the latter isn’t poor by any means. Both bulbs are a bit expensive although you’ll pay more upfront for the Philips Hue due to the required bridge.
Bottom Line: If you are just testing the smart LED waters, I’d go with the LIFX bulb here to start. You can always upgrade to a Philips Hue system later.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!