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Philips Hue Compatible Bulbs

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There are few options when it comes to bulbs that are alternative to the official Philips hue bulbs. The Hue system uses Zigbee LL (Light Link) and does allow third party items to connect. Philips confirmed they will allow it via a statement on their developers forum: “There is no intention to block any third-party bulbs using ZigBee Light Link from working with the Philips Hue system”. Therefore there are a number of smart bulbs that will work and connect with your Hue bridge and work.

Third party bulbs that do work however are not part of the “Friends of Hue” program by Philips, then they will not have HomeKit (Siri) support. Philips doesn’t add such HomeKit compatibility to 3rd party lights at the moment.

Compatible Hue Bulbs

Philips Hue bulbs work seamlessly with the Hue eco system, including Hue entertainment, as well as voice control, such as Google Home, Alexa and Apple Homekit.

Third party supported bulbs will work with Hue, however they are not compatible with Apple Homekit and the Philips Hue Entertainment function. These supported bulbs are cheaper, it depends how and where you intend to use them and if you need the Hue entertainment support.

This table shows compatible bulbs and how they compare.

Compatible with Hue?Works with Hue Switches and Sensors?Colored Bulbs?HomeKit Support?Our Verdict
GledoptoRecommended
Cree ConnectedRecommended
InnrRecommended
GE LinkRecommended
Osram Lightify-Recommended
Ikea TradfriNot Great
LIFX
Nanoleaf Ivy
Belkin Wemo bulbs
Elgato Eve plug

Innr Bulbs – Europe Only

Innr have a range of smart bulbs that will work with Philips Hue or the Osram Lightify bridge & app, however as a third party bulbs they do not support Apple HomeKit. Using your Hue bridge the lights can be controlled by Amazon Echo, Google Home or SmartThings.

These are cheaper than Hue bulbs, however there are comments about the brightness and responsiveness with there being a split delay and also not being as bright as like for like Philips bulbs.

Check out the Innr Bulbs you can buy in Europe here.

They are solid bulbs and well built and made, looking very similar to the Hue bulbs. Innr have a good range of bulbs and fittings, from GU10 bulbs, E27 and B22 fittings, as well as candle bulbs too, so there is a good range you can use, and also cheaper than the equivalent Hue bulbs.

Our Verdict – Recommended – Well built, good color and contrast, and work well with Hue.

GE Link Smart Bulbs

In the US you can buy GE Link LED smart bulbs that will work with your home hue hub however Apple Home kit will not see them. They offer a range of bulbs with different fittings, the color is strong and good temperature range, the brightness works well with Hue and connects easily.

GE Link Smart LED Light Bulb

    These are very well priced and if you wish to install some third party bulbs to save money then the GE Link bulbs are certainly worth going for.

    Our Verdict – Recommended – Great price, good color and contrast, and work well with Hue.

    Gledopto

    These bulbs work just the same as a Hue bulb, they are very cheap compared to Hue bulbs and work very well, great color and brightness.

    Gledopto LED ZigBee Bulb

      They have a good range of bulbs and fittings allowing you to install quite a few bulbs that work with Hue, without the higher costs of Hue bulbs.

      Our Verdict – Recommended – Great price, good color and contrast, and work well with Hue.

      Cree Connected Bulbs

      If you don’t need color then the Cree connecter bulbs are a very bright and cheaper alternative to Hue white bulbs. The A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb has an illumination of up to 815 lumens, it is brighter then the Hue eqvaialant bulb.

      This bulb will work with Hue, however it is white light only and the brightness adjustment could be better. The bulbs themselves don’t look as nice as the Hue bulbs,  and there is also a small vent at the base.

      Cree Connected A19 Dimmable Bulb

        If you are stuggling to connect your Cree smart bulbs, then ensure your bridge is all up-to-date, you can do this by going to your Hue app and checking under settings. You may need to reset your Cree bulbs, you can do this by:

        1. Ensure the bulb is turned off
        2. Turn the bulb ON for 1 second
        3. Turn the bulb OFF for 2 seconds
        4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the bulb momentarily dims (about 4 or 5 times)
        5. It will only dim for a second, signaling that it has been factory reset.

        Our Verdict – Works well, great price and perfect if you just want a white light bulb.

        Osram/Lightify/Sylvania from the US

        Osram bulbs are pretty good, however there are two version, one sold in the US that isn’t compatible, and a European version that will work.

        Osram Lightify bulbs bought in the US, use Zigbee HA, and the Philips Hue system and bulbs uses only Zigbee LL and Zigbee 3.0, so they won’t work or connect with your Hue bridge. If you are in the US then these bulbs will not work.

        Our Verdict – US Version will not work.

        Osram/Lightify bulbs from Europe

        If you buy the Osram bulbs in Europe then these would be compatible with Hue, the European models use Zigbee LL and would therefore work with your Hue bridge. The smart+ LED bulbs also work with Apple Homekit unlike many of the other smart bulbs in this list.

        View the Osram Smart+ Bulb here.

        There are reports of buzzing from the bulbs and the overall quality certainly isn’t as good as a Hue bulb.

        When paring with your Hue bridge ensure the bulbs have the latest firmware, if not they may not connect and is a common issue for users who cannot get the bulbs to be found when connecting.

        Our Verdict – Will work and are a lot cheaper than the Hue bulb, build quality not as good.

        Ikea TRÅDFRI

        Ikea have released their own collection of smart bulbs which work with their own lighting system, however these bulbs can also be used with Philips Hue as long as they have the latest and most up to date firmware.

        The bulbs are not yet compatible with HomeKit but this is something we are expecting in the near future. These Ikea bulbs and Philips hue both use the ZigBee protocol allowing the both to work together.

        Ikea Bulbs are very well priced, however there can be issues finding and connecting these bulbs to your Hue set up, the bulbs them selves are bright, but the color range and temperature is not as good as a Hue bulb.

        Our Verdict – Not great, price is good, but the color and connectivity compared to Hue bulbs is not great, and therefore probably not worth buying. 

        Bulbs that are not compatible with Hue

        While the above bulbs all work and are compatible with Hue, there are many other smart bulbs and smart plugs that won’t work and not worth trying to use with Hue, these include:

        • LIFX
        • Nanoleaf Ivy
        • Belkin Wemo bulbs
        • Elgato Eve plug

        Using Third Party Bulbs

        If you wish to save some money then the Inner bulbs are best, the Ikea bulbs do work, however the bulbs themselves are not great, if you just want white bulbs then they maybe acceptable for your use.

        When it comes wot third party bulbs there isn’t really a clear winner or a standout choice, none are ideal and if you want a seamless set up at the moment sticking to Hue bulbs is the best way, even if they do cost more than cheaper bulbs on the market.

        How to pair your Hue Bulbs

        Installing and paring a third party bulb is very simple and nothing that should be feared, follow these simple steps and you should be set up in no time.

        1. First off install the bulb in the fitting, be it a ceiling light of lamp.
        2. Switch the light on, and leave it on.
        3. Open the Hue app and go to Settings, Light Setup and click the + button.
        4. Now press the Search button to find your new bulb.
        5. If the bulb is not found then click “Add serial number.”, enter the code on the bulb, make sure it is fitted and on again, then search again.

        As with all the options there maybe slight issues when connecting them to your bridge, it is important to ensure the firmware is up to date on your bulbs, and when setting up keep them as close as possible to the bridge to help it and them,

        Which bulbs are you using? 


        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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        4 Comments

        1. michael

          will the innr bulbs work well enough in conjunction with an ambilight tv using the hue bridge? how severe is the lack of responsiveness?

          Reply
        2. Jake

          Could you please make a test with all the third party color lights found in Amazon with Philips hue bridge?

          Some of the colored lights that promise to work with hue bridge cost less than 13€, while the Philips hue lights cost more than 40€ and can’t even come colored into same light power as old 60-watt lamps, so it would really be nice to add more light power with less money than two for hundred euros…

          Thanks.

          Reply
        3. Francesco

          One of the biggest examples of purposefully excluding competitors: Hue Entertainment Zones work only with Philips Hue lights, and not with – totally capable, fully functional and full enhanced color capable – third party zigbee lights!

          (Too bad, I am seriously considering switching because of this short-sighted money-grabbing attitude!)

          Reply
        4. Swampylee

          Just a note about INNR e14 (candle) bulbs specifically. I have an INNR B22 (bayonet) and it works fine with 3rd Party iOS apps like OnSwitch but the e14’s do not work – they don’t change colour as they should do which is a real shame. Despite contacting INNR about this discrepancy between the B22 and E14’s they can’t seem to provide a reason for this happening. The app developer just replied they support Hue and LIFX which doesn’t really give an indication if this is software or the bulbs themselves. Other 3rd party apps also behave this way – they work with the B22 but not the e14.

          Reply

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