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Differences Between Using Philips Hue Bluetooth Bulbs Vs Bridge


In 2016 Philips Hue released their first smart bulbs that required a bridge to operate, a smart hub that communicated with the bulbs. In June 2019 Philips released new bulbs that incorporate Bluetooth allowing you to use them without the bridge.

Philips Hue uses ZigBee and with that there is a need for the Hue bridge to talk to these bulbs, however now they have made things even easier with the release of new bulbs that have Bluetooth built in, this means there is no need for a bridge.

Philips Hue Bridge vs Bluetooth Bulbs

If you already have lots of Hue bulbs around your home, don’t worry this doesn’t change anything for you, your set up will continue to work and is still supported, the newer bulbs have both ZigBee and Bluetooth functions, so they can be added to your set up too.

No Hub or Bridge Needed

With Bluetooth function you can control bulbs without the need for a hub or ZigBee, you will be able to control bulbs directly via your phone and the Bluetooth Hue app.

The number of Bluetooth phones you can control is limited by your phone or tablet device, you will also be limited by the range when changing your bulb as Bluetooth connectivity isn’t designed for long distances.

These bulbs will work with Amazon Alexa where you can ask alexia to dim the lights or turn on and off. Coming soon these bulbs will also be able to work with Google assistant too.

With the Bluetooth bulbs you can:

  • Use on/off control and dim or brighten the lights to your preferred setting
  • Choose from millions of colors and any shade of white light to paint the wall and Instagram your space
  • Use the pre-set scenes to set the mood or to match your daily routine
  • Control your lights with ease as multiple users can control the same lights

Bluetooth Bulbs Vs Using With a Bridge

This graphic shows the use of the Bluetooth bulbs, it’s limitations and how it compares to use with a Bridge.

 With BluetoothWith a Bridge
Max number of lights1050
Range1 RoomFull Home
Set Timers?NoYes
Adjust Bulb Brightness & ColorYesYes
Bridge Needed?NoYes
Use with Hue Sync? NoYes
Bluetooth App Needed?YesNo


These new bulbs will be first available in the US and then Europe later in the year. You can spot the new bulbs with the Bluetooth logo in the top right of the box, as well as a small grey bluetooth logo on the bulb itself. As they have Bluetooth a Hue bridge is not needed although gives extra features and more benefits. 

Philips Hue Smart 60W A19 LED Bulb - Soft Warm White Light - 2 Pack - 800LM - E26 - Indoor - Control with Hue App - Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit

    Philips Hue Bluetooth App

    If you don’t have a bridge then you will need to use the Hue Bluetooth app which can be downloaded for iOS and Android.

    The app will let you:

    • Connect up to 10 smart LED lights
    • Control lights within one room
    • Easy wireless dimming
    • Choose from handpicked light scenes

    If you have a bridge then you will use the standard Hue app, and if you buy a bridge to add to your Bluetooth bulbs, then you will then need to download the main Hue app where you have a lot more features and can set it all up.

    Do Bluetooth Hue bulbs work with Bridge?

    The Philips Hue Bluetooth lights can be operated with or without bridge. They have Zigbee built int as well which is what the Hue bridge uses to connect to the bulbs, so you can easily add your Bluetooth bulbs to a Hue bridge in the future or now.

    Editors Thoughts

    This is great for people who are looking to move over to a smart bulb, and this will allow consumers to buy a single bulb and control it via their phone without the need and additional cost of the Hue bridge.

    While this is great for first time Hue users, the drawback is Bluetooth, and that it has such a short range, you can only control the bulbs if you are in the room with them, and not too far away. If you are upstairs you won’t be able to turn your downstairs kitchen light on or off as it likely won’t connect.

    For users that already have Hue lights the bulbs have ZigBee too and therefore makes no real difference to the use of them for users with a bridge in their set up. The bridge is here to stay, and this is more about reaching out to more users.

    By adding Bluetooth it opens up the market to users who can try it out before buying a bridge.

    Founder & Editor

    Mike is the founder of Hue Home Lighting, a huge Hue fan with far too many lights, covering home and garden. A smart home gadget addict and also enjoys the odd bit of DIY


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    1. Chris

      Bluetooth is bad for range, and not a great user experience, but can sort of see why they have done it.

    2. Gary Eason

      I’m curious. What stops a neighbour (or someone in the street) from connecting to your Hue lights via Bluetooth?


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