It’s completely understandable why you were initially hesitant about investing in smart lights, especially given the significant price difference compared to standard ‘dumb’ bulbs. Six years ago, when your acquaintance mentioned paying $65 per bulb for Philips Hue, it seemed like a steep cost, and you were unconvinced about the value they offered.
More recently, when you considered outfitting your kitchen-diner with smart spotlights, the projected expense of £480/$600 for 12 Hue GU10 spotlights made you think twice. The substantial difference in price compared to regular GU10 spotlights priced at £1.50/$1.88 each was a significant deterrent.
However, your perspective has changed, and you decided to order four Philips Hue bulbs along with the starter kit. What influenced this decision, and do you still believe they are overpriced?
The change likely occurred due to several factors. Firstly, the Hue ecosystem offers a wide variety of bulb types, making it one of the most versatile and powerful smart lighting platforms available. This flexibility can meet diverse lighting needs and enhance your overall smart home experience.
Furthermore, it’s possible that you came across promotions or sales that made the overall cost of the Hue bulbs more reasonable. Discounts and deals can significantly impact the perceived value of smart lighting systems.
As for whether you still consider them overpriced, the answer may now lean towards a more balanced view. While Philips Hue bulbs may not be as cost-effective as regular bulbs, you likely see the added benefits they bring to your home in terms of customizable lighting, synchronization with music, and smart functionalities. These features may have convinced you that the premium cost is justified for the enhanced experiences they offer.
In conclusion, your decision to order Philips Hue bulbs and the starter kit might be attributed to the ecosystem’s versatility and any cost-saving opportunities you encountered. While they may still be more expensive than standard bulbs, you now see the value they bring, making them a worthwhile investment for your smart home setup.
Philips Hue Bulb Prices
It’s clear that the choice of color significantly impacts the cost of the bulbs, and I’ll summarize the information you provided:
- Hue White: These bulbs offer dimmable white light, similar to normal bulbs in your house. They are suitable for setting the mood in the evening and can be used as wake-up alarms by gradually increasing brightness. These bulbs are available for as little as $12.49 per bulb when purchased in a 4-pack of A19 bulbs.
- Hue White Ambiance: These bulbs add blue and yellow light capability, allowing you to adjust the color temperature to suit the time of day. You can create bluer tones for simulating daytime light or opt for more yellow tones to promote relaxation and unwinding. The price for these bulbs is around $22.49 per bulb on Philips’ website.
- Hue Color: The highlight of Hue adverts, these bulbs offer a selection of 16 million colors. They allow you to choose from a wide range of colors, enabling creative lighting choices to match your preferences or complement activities like watching movies. These bulbs come at a higher cost, with prices reaching up to $50 per bulb (or $45 per bulb for multipacks).
Comparing these options to traditional bulbs, it becomes evident that the more color choice you desire, the higher the price you’ll pay. Hue White bulbs are 4-12 times more expensive than standard LED bulbs, depending on the bulb type and color choice.
While the prices for bulbs may vary, the table provides a useful comparison, showing that Philips Hue bulbs with color capabilities come at a premium compared to standard LED bulbs. The cost variation emphasizes the importance of considering your specific lighting needs and preferences before making a decision.
|Hue White Ambiance
|Dumb LED Bulb (White)
What Makes Philips Hue So Expensive?
Let’s explore the reasons that contribute to the perceived expense of Philips Hue bulbs:
- Advanced Features: Smart bulbs like Philips Hue offer a wide array of features, including dimming without the need for electrical cabling upgrades, the ability to change light color, gentle wake-up alarms, and automated scheduling based on sunset/sunrise. These features can be conveniently controlled through a smartphone app or voice commands, enhancing the overall lighting experience.
- LED Technology: All Philips Hue bulbs are LED, which is more energy-efficient compared to traditional halogen bulbs. LED bulbs consume less energy, resulting in cost savings over time due to reduced electricity usage.
- Zigbee Connectivity: Philips Hue bulbs come with a Zigbee chip, allowing them to communicate with the Hue Bridge and other compatible devices. This enables versatile and extensive control options within the Hue ecosystem.
- RGB-CCT Color Technology: The color bulbs offered by Philips Hue use RGB-CCT technology, which is noticeably superior to cheaper RGB color bulbs. This technology provides a wider range of colors and more accurate color representation.
- Bluetooth Capability: Newer Hue bulbs include a Bluetooth chip, enabling direct control with your smartphone without the need for a Hue Bridge. This adds convenience for users who prefer not to use a separate hub.
- Pulse Width Modulation (PWM): Hue bulbs contain components to support PWM, the technology responsible for dimming functionality. This ensures smooth and precise dimming control.
- High-Quality Components and Warranty: Philips Hue bulbs are made with high-quality components, allowing the brand to offer a reliable 3-year warranty and a rated life of up to 25,000 hours.
- Wide Range of Smart Lights: Philips Hue offers a comprehensive ecosystem of smart lights, providing a variety of lighting options for different needs, including outdoor bulbs and light strips. This broad range of products offers customers more choices within a single brand.
- Mini-Computer-Like Functionality: Smart bulbs like Philips Hue are essentially mini-computers that can communicate with external devices and offer flexible lighting control. This sophisticated functionality contributes to their higher cost compared to standard bulbs.
In conclusion, the perceived expense of Philips Hue bulbs is justified by the advanced features they offer, their LED efficiency, Zigbee connectivity, superior color technology, high-quality components, and the comprehensive ecosystem of smart lights they provide. The extra cost reflects the added value and enhanced lighting experience that smart bulbs bring to users who appreciate and utilize these features.
Hue’s RGB-CCT Color Bulbs
One of the reasons why Hue’s color bulbs are more expensive than cheaper smart color bulbs is because of the advanced technology they use. Specifically, Hue’s color bulbs are RGB-CCT, whereas cheaper RGB LEDs contain only three separate LEDs: red, green, and blue.
The difference lies in the number and type of LEDs used in each bulb. Cheaper RGB LEDs rely on just the three primary colors (red, green, and blue) to create a range of colors by mixing the light from these individual LEDs. However, this method can result in light that appears somewhat flat and dull since the color spectrum is limited to three distinct spikes.
On the other hand, Hue’s RGB-CCT bulbs improve upon this limitation by incorporating two additional LEDs: a cool white and a warm white LED, making a total of five LEDs. This added complexity allows Hue bulbs to operate within the CIE color space, which provides a more extensive and precise range of colors that can be delivered. As a result, the light produced by RGB-CCT bulbs appears more natural, vibrant, and immersive.
In summary, the RGB-CCT technology used in Hue’s color bulbs enhances the color spectrum, allowing for more flexibility and accuracy in the colors of light produced. This advancement justifies the higher cost of Hue’s color bulbs and contributes to the superior lighting experience they offer compared to cheaper RGB-only alternatives.
How You Can Save Bucks?
Monitoring deals and being selective about what bulbs to purchase can make a significant difference in expenses. Here’s a summary of your smart approach:
- Be Selective: Instead of converting all your bulbs at once, only buy what you need and will actually use. Avoid purchasing fancy or specialized bulbs, like the Hue light strip, if you won’t make the most of them.
- Keep an Eye on Deals: Monitor deals and discounts on smart bulbs, especially for the specific types you require. Look out for sales on A19, E26, and E12 bulbs, and purchase them as needed when you find a good deal.
- Starter Kits: Consider starting with Hue starter kits. These kits include the Hue bridge/hub, which is essential for controlling more than 10 lights and unlocks additional features beyond Bluetooth control. The kits often come with 1-4 bulbs, and their combined price can be more economical than buying the bridge and bulbs individually.
- Price Monitoring Sites: Utilize price monitoring websites like Slickdeals or CamelCamelCamel. These platforms can alert you to good deals on Philips Hue bulbs and provide historical price data, allowing you to make informed decisions and purchase when prices are genuinely low.
- Year-Round Deals: Don’t wait solely for Black Friday to find good deals. There are frequent offers on Philips Hue bulbs throughout the year, and sometimes, you can find better prices outside of the Black Friday sales.
By following this method, you managed to get six bulbs and a Hue bridge for £103.79 ($129), which is a substantial saving compared to the original price of £159.95 ($198).
In conclusion, smart shopping and strategic purchasing of Philips Hue bulbs can help you enjoy the benefits of smart lighting without breaking the bank. Keeping an eye on deals, being selective in your purchases, and leveraging price monitoring sites are practical ways to save money while building your smart lighting setup.
Does Skipping The Hue Hub Save Money?
The Philips Hue Hub, also known as the Hue Bridge, is priced at over $50. However, the latest generation of bulbs eliminates the need for it as you can control the bulbs using your phone’s Bluetooth. The question arises: should you skip the Hue Hub and save $50? Well, there are a couple of drawbacks to not using the hub, and the two most significant ones are:
- Limited Bulb Control: Without the hub, you can only control up to 10 smart bulbs using your phone. In contrast, the hub extends this capacity to control up to 50 bulbs. So, if you plan to experiment with smart lighting using only a few bulbs, skipping the bridge might be alright. But, if your intention is to transform your entire home into a smart lighting setup, not having the hub would prove insufficient.
- Remote Control Restrictions: When relying solely on your phone’s Bluetooth, you can only manage the bulbs while you are physically at home. This means that if you are away and someone else without the app wants to adjust the bulbs, they won’t be able to do so. Similarly, if you reach your workplace and start wondering if you left the bathroom light on, you won’t be able to check or turn it off remotely.
In summary, the new Bluetooth-enabled bulbs can be a good choice if you find a great deal and want to quickly test out smart lighting, especially since they also support Zigbee (which means you can control them with the Hub if you decide to get one later on).
However, if you are genuinely interested in smart lighting and its benefits, it’s recommended to invest in a Hue bridge, preferably through a starter kit. The hub will become necessary eventually, and it will also unlock access to a wider range of Hue deals since you can purchase both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ bulbs. This foresight will result in greater long-term savings.
Why is Hue More Expensive Than Other Smart Bulb?
In my previous discussion, I shared my personal fondness for Philips Hue and also highlighted money-saving strategies, like purchasing during sales or opting for starter kits. However, I haven’t yet addressed the evident alternative: choosing a different smart bulb manufacturer instead of Philips Hue.
A comment from ‘Ping’ rightly pointed out that Wyze Color Bulbs are significantly cheaper, costing only a quarter of Philips Hue bulbs, and they don’t require a separate Hub/Bridge. It’s undeniable that Philips Hue is among the pricier smart lighting options (similar to LIFX), while many alternatives offer more budget-friendly choices.
If you browse Amazon and search for “smart bulb,” you can find full RGB bulbs for less than $10 each, which is 5-6 times cheaper than Philips Hue. However, it’s essential to note that some of these alternative bulbs may not match the quality standards of Philips Hue. Having tested various no-brand-name smart bulbs, I’ve encountered several issues, including:
- Difficulty with Initial Setup: Adding the bulb to the smartphone app can be challenging for certain no-brand-name bulbs, making the setup process frustrating.
- Random Connection Issues: Some bulbs suffer from sporadic connection problems, leading to difficulties in controlling them remotely.
- Inaccurate Color Output: Requesting a specific color like blue may result in a different shade, such as cyan, due to color accuracy problems.
While companies like Wyze are reputable and offer bulbs at a lower cost than Hue, there is a reason I’m not outright recommending them over Hue. The primary concern with Wyze bulbs is that they connect over Wi-Fi, directly to your Wi-Fi router. While this setup is fine for a few smart Wi-Fi bulbs in your home, having a large number of them, say a few dozen, may overload your Wi-Fi router with numerous connected devices. This can lead to random connection issues with your lights and other Wi-Fi devices, like smartphones and tablets, in your home.
To address this problem, there are two main solutions:
- Buy a Separate Wi-Fi Router: Acquire a separate Wi-Fi router dedicated to handling your smart bulbs and other smart devices. This way, your main router won’t be overloaded by the multitude of smart devices, resulting in smoother connections. However, this approach incurs an extra cost for the second router and adds complexity with two Wi-Fi networks in your home.
- Use a Non-Wi-Fi Communication Protocol: Opt for smart lights that utilize communication protocols like ZigBee or Thread instead of Wi-Fi. For instance, Philips Hue uses ZigBee, which is why the Hue Bridge is necessary. Using ZigBee or Thread helps reduce the burden on your main Wi-Fi router.
Ultimately, the choice between these options is a matter of personal preference and depends on the specific requirements of your smart lighting setup.
In conclusion, while alternatives like Wyze offer budget-friendly options, it’s essential to consider factors such as reliability, ease of setup, and the impact on your home network. Although Philips Hue and similar products may be more expensive initially, they often provide better quality and support through dedicated hubs, making them a preferred choice for some users.
Why Should You Switch To Smart Lighting?
witching to smart lighting makes perfect sense given your daily routine and the inconvenience of manually turning on/off multiple side lamps each evening. Automating this process with smart bulbs can indeed save you valuable time and eliminate the need for a separate night light, ultimately leading to cost savings.
By integrating smart bulbs, specifically E14 bulbs compatible with your side lamps, you can achieve the following benefits:
- Time Efficiency: With smart lights, you can easily automate the process of turning the lamps on and off as darkness falls and bedtime approaches. This eliminates the need for you to physically go around the house multiple times, saving you approximately an hour each month. The lights can be set to turn on or off automatically based on a schedule or triggered by specific events, making your evenings more convenient and efficient.
- Cost Savings: By using a smart bulb instead of a separate night light, you can repurpose the functionality of one of your existing smart bulbs. This means you won’t need to spend additional money on purchasing a separate night light, effectively saving you the cost of another device.
- Flexibility and Convenience: Smart bulbs, especially those connected to a hub like the Hue Hub, offer various features and customization options. You can control the brightness, color, and timing of the lights, tailoring the ambiance of your home to your preferences. Additionally, using smart lighting with your smartphone or voice commands provides added convenience and flexibility in managing your home’s lighting.
- Smart Bulb Sales: As you’ve mentioned, once you have the Hue Hub, you can take advantage of sales and discounts to acquire Hue bulbs at more affordable prices when needed. This allows you to gradually expand your smart lighting setup in a cost-effective manner over time.
Overall, the switch to smart lighting aligns perfectly with your needs and lifestyle, bringing greater convenience, efficiency, and cost savings. By making this small investment, you can significantly improve your daily routine and create a more comfortable and automated living environment for you and your family.
Total Cost For Setting Philips Hue Smart Light House
Based on the revised calculations, Linus’ initial prediction of $1,600 for switching to smart Hue bulbs in a typical house is not entirely accurate. The new estimate, based on installing 50 Hue bulbs (20 color, 20 white ambiance, and 10 white bulbs) at discounted prices, comes to a total cost of $1,260. This is approximately 25% cheaper than Linus’ original prediction, despite including 20% more bulbs.
It’s essential to consider that opting for white and white ambiance bulbs instead of color bulbs significantly reduces the overall cost. These alternatives offer different lighting options, and it makes sense to choose them for specific outlets where color-changing features are unnecessary.
Furthermore, when purchasing a starter kit, you may even get the Hue bridge for free, further reducing the overall cost. The bridge is essential for connecting and controlling the smart bulbs, and getting it as part of a bundle deal is a cost-saving advantage.
Comparing the cost of converting to smart lighting with other everyday expenses, such as a daily Starbucks coffee, illustrates that the investment in smart bulbs can be relatively reasonable. Additionally, smart lighting offers potential benefits in terms of convenience, energy efficiency, and customization, making it a valuable consideration.
Ultimately, whether the switch to smart lighting is worth it depends on individual preferences, needs, and priorities. The convenience, comfort, and potential long-term savings in energy consumption can make the investment worthwhile for many homeowners. However, it’s essential to weigh the upfront cost against the benefits and choose a setup that best suits your lifestyle and budget.
Wrapping It Up: Is Philips Hue Worth It?
Your approach to adopting smart lighting and smart home technology is both practical and sensible. Indeed, the decision to invest in smart bulbs or any smart home devices depends on individual needs, preferences, and the specific scenarios where automation can genuinely enhance the overall experience.
You assessed the cost and benefit of converting your kitchen-diner to smart lights and concluded that the investment of $600 wasn’t worth it for that particular area. This shows a thoughtful approach to spending money on smart technology and considering its practicality in your daily life.
On the other hand, you identified a genuine inconvenience with constantly turning four side lights on and off in your home. When you found a good deal on four E14 bulbs (along with the Hue hub in a starter kit) for less than $100, you saw the value in automating this task away. The fact that you estimated saving an hour each month further justifies this decision, as it significantly improves your daily routine and saves you time and effort.
Your approach to gradually expanding your smart lighting setup in the future, only when it truly makes sense and brings improvements to specific rooms or your family’s routines, is a practical way to ensure that your investments in smart technology are meaningful and beneficial.
At its core, smart home technology is about enhancing convenience, comfort, and efficiency in your living spaces. By adopting a “smart when it makes sense” mentality, you are making informed choices that align with your unique needs and lifestyle. This measured and thoughtful approach to embracing smart technology reflects a responsible and effective use of these advancements.
In the end, the true essence of smart homes lies in finding solutions that enhance your daily life, streamline your routines, and provide tangible value, making your living spaces truly smart and enjoyable.
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