*Dec 13, 2017 Update – Added HomeKit compatibility for Lifx
When it comes to smart home light bulbs, Lifx and Philips Hue are the best among the best. But if you are asking what is better between the two, that would merit another answer. Both have pros and cons and all of it will hinge on how you intend to use the smart light bulbs on your home.
Lifx+ and Lifx vs Philips Hue – A Close Fight
Not all smart home light bulbs are created equal. We know that because we’ve been reviewing a lot of smart home light bulbs over these past few months. Examples of sub-par products include the Nanoleaf Smart Ivy and Ikea Tradfri. But luckily, Lifx bulbs and Philips Hue are not among of them. In fact, they’re some of the best light bulbs we’ve used.
For this comparison, we’ve given the regular Lifx bulbs a score of 4.3 Eh’s out of 5, the Lifx+ a score of 4.7 Eh’s out of 5 and the Philips Hue a score of 4.6 Eh’s out of 5.
With Lifx being compatible with Apple Home, we’ve give the regular Lifx bulbs a score of 4.5 Eh’s out of 5, the Lifx+ bulbs a score of 4.9 Eh’s out of 5 with the Philips Hue still getting a score of 4.6 Eh’s out of 5.
We here at Smart Home Reviews Eh! test products by using the products at the same time and moving the bulbs from room-to-room. And trust us, it gets pretty boring. It might be an epitome of a first world problem. But we want to ensure that we perfectly tested the products before we give it an in-depth review.
In this Lifx vs Philips Hue review, we tested both of the bulbs based on four criteria: Design, Functionality, Compatibility, and Price. We do all of this to answer the ultimate question of what should a customer like you should get.
If you want to see how these lights compare against other lights such as the Nanoleaf Smart Ivy and Ikea Tradri, check out our comparison tool.
Design – You can paint the colors of the wind with these two light bulbs
The Philips Hue bulbs are smaller than the LIfx bulbs. While the Lifx bulbs look a little different than your regular LED bulbs. The size difference is mostly likely due to the increase brightness and lack of base station for the Lifx bulbs.
Installing the bulbs in your home is as easy as plugging in the bulbs and the base station for the Philips Hue and just the bulbs for the Lifx. You might think we are being silly mentioning the ease of installing light bulbs. But Ikea, the king of simple to install furniture has made the install process of the Tradfri incredibly painful. If you want to know more about that please click this link.
One of the biggest differences between the two sets of bulbs is the lack of base station for the Lifx bulbs. The Philips Hue smart bridge is something you have to install directly into your router. This might become a problem for some if the router is installed into a hard to reach place.
Both Philips Hue and Lifx’s bulbs are dimmable. Aside from that, the bulbs also allow you to choose whatever color of light that you want. The custom colours are great and all, But having 16 millions colours are an overkill for us. We cannot even choose a specific color through RGB or HEX values!
Now if you’re running a smart home assistant, you can ask them to be specific with the color. Seriously, ask Siri to change your Philips Hue lights to cerulean. Siri will do it. But nowhere in the Hue app will it allow us to set the color cerulean specifically.
The Lifx+ bulbs also offer an IR LED which helps extend the range of smart home cameras that have night vision such as the ones from Nest and D-Link Omna. If you are curious if the IR LED actually works, please check this video to know more.
When it comes to brightness, the Lifx bulbs are the clear winners. The Lifx bulbs produce 1100 lumens which is almost 70% higher than the Philips Hue bulbs. From our perspective, this difference in brightness is going to be a differentiator for some people looking for smart lights in their home offices. We personally love how bright our work area is with the Lifx bulbs.
The Lifx+ is weather resistant which means you can use the bulb outside as long as it isn’t exposed directly to water. This is handy for people running a IR camera that’s pointed outside.
Functionality – Both works well but Lifx’s Music Visualizer is hands down the best thing ever.
The apps of both Lifx and Philips Hue are easy to use. We didn’t have any issues with the two from control perspective. We do have to give the hat tip to the Lifx app because it has effects which is a step above your normal Philips Hue scenes.
The Music Visualizer effect is by far our favourite effect. It is perfect for entertaining people. The lights can change according to the beat of the music. And if you’re into it, you can throw in the strobe ever once in awhile. You could literally throw a party with the Lifx bulbs.
We didn’t have any issues with connectivity of either set of bulbs. Every once in awhile the bulbs wouldn’t all change at the same time. All we had to do was to apply the setting or color again.
When it comes to remote access, both sets of lights offer remote access. Both Philips and Lifx also have multiple integrations with IFTTT and Stringify. Also, both companies offer Apple Watch apps.
Compatibility – Philips Hue is more compatible in many Smart Home Platform.
The Philips Hue works with every platform out there and it’s API has been used in other apps. Lifx, on the other hand, doesn’t work with Apple Home or Wink. Now this isn’t going to be a big deal if you’re not using Apple Home or Wink.
To be honest If we weren’t reviewing smart home products, we wouldn’t even consider the Lifx bulbs because we can’t use Apple Home to control them. In our previous Nest Cameras review, we said that we are okay with our Nest Cameras sitting outside our Apple Home. We think there isn’t a reason for Siri to access the cameras. But when it come to lights, being able to issue verbal commands is a fundamental part owning a smart home.
Price comparison – Both can be expensive if you do not know what the type you need to buy.
When you compare the prices of Lifx and Philips Hue, immediately you will see a large price difference. If you want to buy a 12 smart home LED bulbs, 12 Philips Hue bulbs will cost you $ 630, 12 Lifx bulbs will cost your $ 589 and 12 Lifx+ bulbs will cost you $780.
But the trick here is whether you are buying the right light bulb for your needs. Personally, we wouldn’t get a full set of Lifx+ bulbs, An average room wouldn’t need light bulbs that has IR LEDs and improved weather resistance design. We suggest you get a Lifx+ only as a standalone bulb to supplement your regular Lifx bulbs.
Another example would be when you just need smart light bulbs on your work office. A full set of White Ambience only costs $ 369 while a Lifx costs $ 589. This where you decide whether an extra 70 % of brightness of a Lifx bulb worth the extra $220 dollars.
Be careful when you’re getting your light bulbs as it will get expensive quickly.
Which set of smart home lights should you get?
If you’re sold on Apple Home, get the Philips Hue light bulbs.
We’re a little hopeful that Lifx will add HomeKit compatibility to their bulbs in the future. But that’s only our guess. Go with the Hue if you want to control your lights with Siri.
Lifx recently update their bulbs to include compatibility with Apple Home which is great. There isn’t a clear winner when it comes to choosing between the bulbs if you’re using Apple Home. You have more lighting options with the Hue lineup but the Lifx bulbs are going to be brighter. We’re still using them in our basement office and the extra brightness is still something we notice every day.
If you need night vision, get the Lifx+ light bulbs. But use them sparingly. We don’t think you need to get Night-vision bulbs everywhere.
If you need a smart light outside, get the Lifx+ light bulbs. It has an upgrade weather resistance design. The IR LED’s can be paired with a Night-vision enabled camera like the Nest Cams or D-Link Omna.
If you hold a lot of parties, get the Lifx+ light bulbs. Both the Lifx and Hue have scenes but the Lifx has effects which are basically scenes on steroids. The music visualizer is just so damn cool.
Hopefully our Lifx+ and Lifx vs Philips Hue has helped you out. If you liked this post and are considering getting one for yourself, check out our links to purchase your products. Let us know if you have any comments or questions in the comments below!