Without a Bridge, here’s how to set up your Philips Hue lights.
Philips Hue makes one of the most comprehensive and adaptable lines of smart lights in the industry, and the Philips Hue Bridge is generally used to control all of your installed bulbs.
How about if you wouldn’t want to go to Hue? The great news is that you’ve not reached a fork in the road. There are many other ways to obtain your Hue bulbs without all of the official gear kudos to the Hue bulbs’ suitability with the Zigbee standard.
In addition, Philips Hue has now Bluetooth bulbs, offering you some other options for getting around the hub.
The Hue Bridge is the best option since it gives you the most precise and dependable command over your Hue smart lights, and also accessibility to all of the Hue apps’ capabilities.
However, if you want it differently, keep reading.
Bluetooth bulbs from Philips Hue are recommended.
In 2019, Signify created the Bluetooth standard, and all Hue lamps now will handle both Bluetooth and Zigbee, giving you more setting options.
A few of those options, cheers to Bluetooth, is not to use a hub at all. Rather, merely screw the bulb in and connect it to your phone via Bluetooth. However, it does necessitate the use of a new standalone Hue BT app.
Nonetheless, Hue’s increased versatility should prove to be very beneficial to those who aren’t ready to go “all in” by lowering the entry price. There are certain limitations, such as the ability to connect only 10 bulbs, the lack of a remote control once you leave the house, and the lack of third-party app connections.
Even though you can technologically create groups in rooms, so you could do a “bathroom” and a “kitchen,” creating an upstairs group could be a stretch given that you have to be in Bluetooth range (hence the limitation of the room). On the other hand, Alexa and Google Assistant get along swimmingly.
You also can insert Hue Bluetooth bulbs to a Google Assistant smart home instead of using a Hue Bridge by using Google’s new Seamless Setup function.
The Hue Dimmer Switch in Action
When you buy a Hue Dimmer Switch and a Hue bulb together, they’re already linked when you open the box. Simply tighten the bulb into an empty socket, switch on the light switch, and then insert the battery into the Dimmer Switch.
You can use the Dimmer Switch to handle the Hue bulb right away, having to turn it on and off and trying to adjust the lighting. You have no authority over the color (which is one of the reasons you might want to invest in a Hue Bridge), but it does provide some features.
Of course, Philips Hue lights work with a regular light switch as well — even if you don’t buy the Dimmer Switch, Hue Bridge, or any other device, you may turn on and off the bulb using a regular light switch on the wall.
Up to ten bulbs can be controlled by each Hue Dimmer Switch. Install the bulb and turn it on if you don’t have a Hue Bridge, then bring the Dimmer Switch close to it and tap and hold the On button. The Dimmer Switch will light up with a small LED light, and the bulb will blink to verify the linkage.
The Hue Dimmer Switch will control all of these linked bulbs (up to ten of them), but this is one way of adding Philips Hue smart bulbs to your residence without a Hue Bridge.
As a hub, an Amazon Echo is used.
Because Philips Hue bulbs use the Zigbee protocol, they can be used instead of a Hue Bridge with maybe some Zigbee smart home hubs. However, the incorporation is really not as trustable or as feature-rich as it is with a Hue Bridge.
A few Amazon Echo speakers, such as the Amazon Echo Plus, Amazon Echo Show, and the most recent (4th-generation) Echo, can act as Zigbee hubs. Unless you already have one of these speakers, you can introduce additional Hue bulbs using Alexa and the Philips Hue skill.
After making sure your Hue bulbs are linked and turned on, open the Alexa app. Select Devices, then Plus, and finally Add Device. Your Hue lights must be identified and added after a few secs of searching.
If you generally prefer, you could use your Alexa smart speaker to search your home for suitable Hue bulbs by saying “Alexa, discover my devices.”
Once you’ve connected the Hue bulbs, you can handle them using the Alexa app or your voice, with instructions like “Alexa, switch off the room lights.”
You can bunch your Hue bulbs together and even group them with smart lights from other brands using the Alexa app. However, you won’t be capable of creating custom scenes, having lights turn on or off depending on the location, or using the Hue app’s other additional features without the Hue Bridge.
Using an Ikea table As a hub, the Trådfri gateway
Instead of the official Philips Hue Bridge, you could use an Ikea Trådfri gateway as a hub for your Hue smart bulbs. The gateway, which plugs directly into your router, handles communications between your phone and the Hue bulbs you’ve installed, just like the Amazon Echo Zigbee devices.
Assuming you’ve already set up your Ikea Trådfri gateway and Trådfri bulbs, adding Hue lights to the mix isn’t difficult: simply follow the same steps as you would for a Trådfri light.
Install and turn on your Hue bulb, then open the Trådfri app and select Add devices, then Bulb. You’ll be asked to select a control device, such as a motion sensor, a wireless dimmer, or remote control, that you used to set up your Trådfri lights.
Hold the control device within two centimeters of the bulb and press and hold the link button for ten seconds after you’ve made your choice. You should see the bulb flicker, then release the button when it stops flickering. The Hue light has now been added to the scene.
You don’t get all of the scheduling, geolocation, and color cycling options that you get with an actual Hue Bridge, but it’s still a neat way to add Hue lights if you already have a Trådfri system set up — it saves you from having to plug two hubs into your router, just like with the Amazon Echo integration.