LIFX vs Hue: Which is Better

LIFX and Philips Hue are two popular, high end smart lighting brands available in Australia. But which is better? I decided to test LIFX vs Hue bulbs to see which one comes out on top.

LIFX vs Hue - Which is better

Least Connection Issues – Hue

LIFX bulbs connect directly to your Wifi router. They don’t require a hub. Hue bulbs can be controlled by a phone and bluetooth but work best with the Hue Bridge. The Hue Bridge is a Hue’s version of a hub.

In my testing I’ve found that bulbs that don’t use a hub tend to have more connection issues. I have found that LIFX bulbs do occasionally have connection issues where they can’t be reached. Diagnosing these issues can be tricky and smart lights that don’t turn on can be extremely frustrating.

The Hue bulbs when used with the Hue Bridge are extremely reliable. Hue uses the Zigbee protocol which is a reliable mesh network. Instead of each bulb connecting directly to Wifi, Hue bulbs can create a mesh network and connect to one another.

I’ve found that when using Hue bulbs with a bridge lights are quick to respond and there are none to very few connection issues. Hue bulbs will turn on slightly faster than LIFX bulbs.

Best Range – Hue

Hue has a more extensive range of smart lights compared to LIFX. So if you’re looking to kit your entire home out with smart bulbs you’ll probably be able to find a bulb that matches your needs.

Hue sells both bulbs as well as entire fixture such as smart downlights. They also sell bulbs like the GU10 smart bulb which LIFX doesn’t offer.

LIFX does sell a number of unique bulbs that aren’t available in the Hue range. The LIFX Clean bulb and the LIFX Infrared are two examples. They also do have downlights included in their range.

Both brands now sell smart switches, but only LIFX has a wired option.

Cheapest Option – LIFX

LIFX bulbs tend to be slightly cheaper than the Hue bulbs:

BulbApprox Price in Australia
LIFX E27 Colour$59
Hue White + Colour$98

I’ve found that both of these bulbs can be picked up on sale for quite a discount so it pays to shop around.

Longest Lasting Bulb – Hue

Both LIFX and Hue bulbs are high quality LED bulbs. They should both last well over 10 years.

I have read some reports that LIFX bulbs do fail but I haven’t come across this in my own use.

I can confirm the longevity of Hue bulbs. I use these everyday and have not had any issues with bulbs failing. While they are more expensive, I have never had to replace a Philips Hue smart bulb.

Brightness – LIFX

The LIFX bulbs when used in colour mode tend to be slightly brighter. The colour reproduction on both bulbs is a step above cheaper bulbs which tend to be quite washed out. If you’re looking for the brightest lights I’d go with LIFX.

Best Hubless Option – LIFX

While I prefer to use a Hub to connect smart lights to my smart home, I understand that for many people the simplicity of having to buy just the bulb is the preferred option. If you want to just buy the bulb and not use a Hub I would buy the LIFX.

The downside of not using a hub is connection issues. LIFX bulbs do tend to have a lot of connection problems where as bulbs that run using a Hub tend to be more reliable.

I wouldn’t use Hue bulbs without a Hub. They only work with Bluetooth and would require your phone to be in the same room to control.

Best Ecosystem Support – Hue

Both Philips Hue and LIFX support HomeKit, Google Assistant and Alexa. Both products have good apps that work across both iPhone and Android devices.

The only real difference is that Hue lights work on the Zigbee standard. This means you can use third party devices as a Zigbee hub and you can add third party Zigbee bulbs to the Hue Bridge. For example you can an Alexa Echo as a Zigbee hub.

Philips Hue also sells a range of accessories including a smart plug, remote control, button and motion sensor that can extend the functionality of your smart home setup.

Best Overall – Hue

When it comes to LIFX vs Hue, both are great smart bulbs that both have pros and cons.

Overall I would choose Hue bulbs over LIFX. While the bulbs are more expensive they will suffer fewer (if any) connection issues when used with a Hue Bridge. The bulbs will last a long time. So while there is a bigger investment upfront in the long run it will be worth the extra money.

You can use both!

The great thing about modern smart home setups is you can mix and match brands and you aren’t locked into a particular vendor. Using HomeKit or another smart home setup, you can integrate both LIFX and Hue bulbs.

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Anthony is a Smart Home Geek. He's been building the smart home of his dreams over the past 5 years. He loves all things Apple, but works with a number of different ecosystems and platforms.