Smart Home: Why do you need a Philips Hue Bridge? (A guide)
If you own Philips Hue products at home, you may want to consider a Philips Hue Bridge
Your home may be getting smarter, and one of the leading smart home brands, specialising in smart lighting and accessories is Philips Hue.
Sure, you're able to control some of Philips Hue's smart lights, bulbs, lamps and more via Bluetooth on your phone using the Philips Hue Bluetooth app but Philips Hue offer the Bridge.
Do I need one? Read on to find out why it will be something to consider.
How to control your Philips Hue lights
There are two ways to control Philips Hue smart lights in your home: using Bluetooth of the Philips Hue Bridge.
Do you need a Philips Hue Bridge?
Think of the Philips Hue Bridge, known as the 'Hue Bridge', as the brains behind the operation. Hue Bridge connects to your home Wi-Fi network and will allow you to control all your Philips Hue smart lights using the Philips Hue app at home and anywhere else you happen to be.
Whether you're at work, at a friends' house or on holiday abroad, the Hue Bridge is the piece of the puzzle that allows you to control your Hue lights remotely, from anywhere. All you need is a form of internet connection.
A benefit you owning a Hue Bridge is how many lights you can control. If you have a Hue Bridge, you can connect up to 50 lights and accessories throughout your home. If you control your Philips Hue smart lights using Bluetooth, however, you will be limited to connecting up to 10 lights in one room.
Bluetooth-enabled Philips Hue smart lighting
If you're just starting out in the Philips Hue world of smart lights, you don't actually need a Hue Bridge. Most Philips Hue lights are Bluetooth-enabled, thus can be controlled using the Philips Hue Bluetooth app. You'll just need to check the Philips Hue website or the product packaging to see if the light you want to purchase supports Bluetooth.
As mentioned above, if you opt to control your lights using Bluetooth, you can only connect up to 10 lights in one room but using the Hue Bridge, you can connect up to 50 lights and accessories in your whole house.
Bluetooth range is something else to consider when choosing to operate your Philips Hue smart lights using Bluetooth. You will only be able to control your smart lights when your phone and smart light are in Bluetooth range of each other. Philips Hue say the 'Bluetooth range is about 30 feet or 10 meters.'
With the limitation of Bluetooth range, if you opt to control your smart lights in this way, you will not be able to control your lights remotely or when you are out of Bluetooth range. You will need the Hue Bridge to operate your lights remotely.
Hue Bridge is for those who are looking to have Philips Hue lighting around their house in different rooms, whereas Philips Hue Bluetooth is ideal for those who are looking to add Philips Hue smart lighting to just one room, for example.
Hue Bluetooth allows you to turns your smart lights on and off, set timers, control lights using your voice, dim lights and change light colours and use the pre-set scenes. All this is available in the Philips Hue Bluetooth app. If you are looking to create custom scenes, use automation in the Philips Hue app or control your smart lights when you are away from home, Philips Hue Bluetooth will not allow you to do this - you will need the Hue Bridge.
Philips Hue Bridge range
Philips Hue say the Hue Bridge has a '291-meter outdoor range and an indoor range of 25 meters (that’s about 950 feet and 80 feet)'. Range won't be a problem in most homes. Philips Hue also say when you add a new light to the Hue Bridge, 'each one becomes a repeater for the Zigbee signal, extending the range of your entire system'.
What is 'Zigbee'?
It is a type of secure and fast smart home technology that is used to link smart home devices, (like Philips Hue products), to your home Wi-Fi network.
If you're looking to enter the Philips Hue smart lighting scene and want to try out lights in one room, such as your bedroom and have no more than 10 lights, Philips Hue Bluetooth is for you and you will not need to purchase the Hue Bridge. Just lookout for the Bluetooth symbol on the packaging or Philips Hue website.
If you're looking to add Philips Hue smart lighting to multiple rooms in your home and want the ability to control your lights whilst away from home, you'll need to purchase the Hue Bridge.
How much does a Philips Hue Bridge cost?
Direct from the Philips Hue website, the Hue Bridge costs $59.99 / £49.99. It will be worth checking the likes of Amazon as you may be able to pick one up at a cheaper price. On the Philips Hue website, they offer Starter Kits which include smart light bulbs and the Hue Bridge, if you're interested.
Below are important links you'll want to take a look at if you are going to purchase the Hue Bridge:
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Main image credit: Signify