On our most recent IoT Podcast episode, Dwight called in with a great question that likely impacts a fair number of people. He has the older, rounded Philips Hue bridge, which we know has lost software upgrades and cloud support back in April. Dwight has a number of Hue bulbs and is wondering what he should replace them with for a hubless solution.
An easy option is to just buy a newer, 2nd-generation Philips Hue bridge for around $60 and keep the existing lights. But that doesn’t meet the “hubless” requirement, so we’ll provide some other options, even though they’ll cost more as new bulbs will be needed.
If you like the Hue bulb lineup, the current lights that require a Hue bridge can be replaced by newer Hue bulbs that support Bluetooth.
These don’t require a hub and are available in the same range of size and feature options as the original Hue lineup. You can control them directly in the Hue mobile app or by voice when linked to either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Expect to pay around the same price as the original Hue bulbs though: these are great lights but they’re not cheap at $50 for a tunable color bulb.
Lifx bulbs also fantastic tunable white and color bulbs but these use WiFi. They’re going to cost you about as much as Hue bulbs would, if not a little more. However, depending on the bulb, Lifx lights are typically brighter than Hue bulbs by about 300 lumens. So depending on your needs, the extra $10 or so over a Hue bulb might be worth the expense. Not only do Lifx bulbs with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant but also with Apple HomeKit.
For lower priced hubless options, we have a few other choices such as the C by GE product line.
These Bluetooth bulbs aren’t any brighter than the Hue lights, in fact, they’re about 10 percent dimmer, but they don’t require a hub and you can get a tunable color light for $30, which is about $20 less than the comparable Hue option. Like the Lifx bulbs, you get a triple shot of voice assistant choices between Amazon, Apple, and Google.
The least expensive option we could find is from Feit, a brand I’ve purchased before from an LED bulb standpoint. I have not, however, tested its WiFi bulbs.
Feit offers a wide range of options in bulb sizes, outputs, and shapes. For example, there’s a 100W equivalent color-tunable smart bulb with 1600 lumen output. That’s higher than the competing bulbs and brands mentioned above. And that bulb will only cost you $20 on Amazon. You won’t get Apple HomeKit support from Feit but its bulbs do work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
So if you want to go hubless with tunable bulbs, there are options at various price points.. Just make sure the light output, feature set and voice assistant support will meet your needs.
To hear Dwight’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in below to the IoT Podcast: