When it comes to choosing a smart lighting brand, there is an abundance of options. Once you make a decision it is beneficial to stay with the same brand when expanding your kit as your lighting will work smoother together. Making the right decision first time around is important.
There are two main brands at the top of this market, each having their own competitive advantages and features that make their products suited for various purposes. In this article, we will try to elucidate the differences between LIFX and Philips Hue’s smart bulbs.
Read: Best Smart Bulbs
LIFX launched their first smart lighting product in September 2012. It was multicolored, Wi-Fi enabled lighting that allows you to adjust the settings through a smart hub that would execute your commands on demand. Now, their product range spans 12 different products each with Wi-Fi compatibility that you can control through various devices.
The feature that makes LIFX stick out the most is the ability to use the smart bulbs without any form of a hub. Whilst brands like Philips Hue can be used without a smart hub such as Samsung SmartThings, a Philips Hue Bridge must be purchased to use the lighting. With LIFX, you simply use the app to directly communicate to an individual bulb.
The key features of their product are the variety of colors you can choose from, the integration with different third-party devices, and the energy efficiency of the bulbs. Its master light can connect to the Wi-Fi through all major standards b/g/n while the rest through a router network.
One month after LIFX launched, Philips brought their Hue System to the market. Being a closed network light, the Philips Hue has been exclusive to Apple devices. The breadth of Philips Hue connectivity is now much, much wider. Amazons Alexa and Googles Assistant work with Hue, and the brand of smart lighting is also one of the best integrated with smart hubs using Zigbee protocols.
Similar to the LIFX, it has a huge range of 16 million colors to choose from. It has a variety of ways to connect to the network, whether by Ethernet, router, or cellular network so you can choose from these different options when one is unavailable, to ensure that you have a stable and well-lit home lighting system at all times. As mentioned, you must have the Philips Hue Bridge which is included in starter kits.
Philips Hue is the best known smart lighting brand that has the most premium feel and greatest customer satisfaction.
Based on their descriptions, you will notice that they have several features that they share. Here are some of those:
Being direct competitors, their smart lighting have both been fitted with Wi-Fi connectivity so that you may control the lights with your devices without having to make any physical effort of turning the switch.
The bulbs are available in different colors so that you may set the tone of your room. Bulbs have different shades that you can choose from, so you can use the lights for different purposes. Where the mulitcolor option is applicable, there are 16 million colors available to choose from. With Philips Hue there are some white light options which don't have the color options.
Smart Device Integration
Apart from being Wi-Fi enabled, the smart bulbs can be controlled by any device that is connected to your network, provide they have the relevant. This seamless integration ensures that you can have flexibility and convenience in handling your lighting needs.
LIFX and Philips Hue lighting use LED bulbs which are brighter and far more energy efficient than older halogen bulbs.
Of course, since they want to offer unique products, these two brands have tried to differentiate their products based on different features, for which they are known. We will look into these features here:
This is the major difference in regards to suiting different users needs. LIFX doesn't need a hub and can be controlled directly from your device. The implication of this is that LIFX is a better choice for those who just want to buy one bulb.
Philips Hue bulbs operate in a network like a manner, mediated by the Philips Hue Bridge. Accordingly, it is better suited to a larger network of lights where you get a return on your Hue Bridge investment. Philips Hue starter packs are the best way to move forward as it includes multiple bulbs and the Bridge.
One glaring difference between the LIFX and Philips Hue is how their bulbs are able to connect to the network. LIFX has had issues with Wi-Fi stability before they updated their products. Perhaps, this is due to the fact that LIFX has no hub and can only connect through a router for the master light and for the rest of the lights, they would have to find the nearest possible access points to connect which makes it difficult to get a strong signal from the network.
Whereas the Philips Hue, being a closed network system with a single access point on a hub, has no problems with finding the right spot with the best signal strength through a mesh network. Moreover, they may connect through various means like your cellphone network, a router, or an Ethernet, giving it better and more stable connectivity. However, take note there have also been issues with regard to hacking for the Hue System.
Philips Hue offers three color ranges for their light bulbs: White, White Ambiance, and White and Color Ambiance. The White and Color Ambiance has the option of 16 million colors. The white is limited to being a regular bulb with smart control, whilst the White Ambiance has different temperatures of white available.
The LIFX is commonly reported to have the best saturation and produce the most impressive colors.
If you were to put the two bulbs side by side, then you might notice there is a slight difference in their brightness levels. Philips Hue is only able to power the light for as much as 800 lumens, making it relatively weak in comparison to the LIFX which can go up to as much as 1,100 lumens under 11W.
However, if you were to compare LIFX’s light strips with Philips Hue’s, this comparison gets turned around. LIFX only has 700 lumens while Philips Hue up to a staggering 1,600 lumens which trumps it considerably.
Now, of course, this only means that the LIFX bulbs and Philips Hue light strips would be using a little bit more energy than their respective counterparts so it is a reasonable tradeoff. Depending on what your preference is, either one would still properly illuminate the spaces in your home.
The shape of the bulbs may also be part of your consideration. The Philips Hue has three different bulb shapes and two fittings while the LIFX has two bulb shapes and three fittings. The Hue has a more standard and practical shape giving it flexibility on where you want to put and how it would fit in the room as a whole, on the other hand, the LIFX, may be slightly more stylish.
Philips Hue bulbs are meant to last for 25,000 hours and LIFX are meant to last for 25,200, a negligible difference.
In terms of compatibility, the Philips Hue can connect to many smart hubs from Wink, Samsung, Amazon and Google. LIFX is relatively limited in this capacity, just working with Samsung. This may be subject to change.
The Philips may be controlled by a variety of third party apps that allows you to adjust lighting while the LIFX has an app which has a sleek user interface and easy-to-use color wheel for changing colors.
There is no one size fits all to decide a winner of this contest. The best advice that can be offered is to buy a LIFX bulb if you just need one. For a larger system it is more suitable to get Philips Hue for its network consistency that works together very swiftly.