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Budget Alternatives to Philips Hue – Cheap But Cool Options – Houshia

Budget Alternatives to Philips Hue – Cheap But Cool Options

CHEAP ALTERNATIVES TO PHILLIPS HUE 2

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Philips Hue is the most popular smart LED lighting system that you can find in the market. Its popularity is due to the fact that Philips Hue is known to be the most innovative smart LED lighting system. However, it comes with its downsides, such as having hefty price tags. There are other alternatives out there that get overshadowed by Philips Hue. It’s about time we started looking into the competition of Philips Hue.

What are the budget alternatives to Philips Hue? Lifx LED, Yeelight LED, Wemo LED, and MagicLight LED are the best budget alternatives to Philips Hue. They offer just about the same quality of bulbs, brightness, color variations, and smart features, but at a lesser price.

In this article, we will analyze the different alternatives to Philips Hue. Each product will be scrutinized on its quality, brightness, color variations, and smart features. Some buyers may prioritize aesthetics more than quality, or vice versa. Others go for straight up the cheapest smart LED lights without consideration to quality and number of features. Regardless, every product featured in this article is worthy of consideration as a viable alternative to the famous Philips Hue.

LIFX LED

LIFX is perhaps the best alternative to Philips Hue since they both offer the same smart features, except for the Hub. Both lighting systems work with ALEXA, Google Assistant, and Siri. However, LIFX has LED lightbulbs that are brighter than Philips Hues.

LIFX is also known not to require a hub for it to function. Each LIFX lightbulb independently connects to a wireless network, so, no need to spend more money on hubs, like the Philips Hue Bridge.

Pros of Using LIFX over Philips Hues

Brighter and Vivid Colors

LIFX has brighter light bulbs (1100 lumens) than Philip Hues (800 lumens), even though the latter is more expensive. Also though LIFX has slightly lower prices than Philip Hues, both have access to the full spectrum of colors. So by choosing LIFX over Philip Hues, you get a slight discount for just about the same brightness and color variations as you would have with Philips Hues.

Easy Installation and Compatibility

Like Philip Hues, there is a Homekit support in the box, so you would not have problems with the installation. Both are compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri; the advantage in LIFX is the fact that you essentially pay less for the same feature.

Simple Setup

With LIFX, the moment the bulbs are connected, it will automatically be detected by the local wifi. The signals emitted by the LIFX bulbs are going to be easily detected by your phone, so you can easily pair with it. With Philips Hues, you would need the Philips Hues Bridge (HUB) to connect and pair with the bulbs.

Third-Party Integrations

The LIFX lighting system can connect to Nest Thermostat, Nest smoke detectors, and other third-party integrations. While Philips Hues also offers this feature, you get more from your money spent on LIFX.

Cons of Using LIFX

Bulbs get hot

LIFX bulbs get hotter than Philips Hues due to the brightness it displays. This is the reason why most experts will say that Philips Hues is more durable and longer-lasting than LIFX. The brighter the output, the hotter the bulbs get. Although LIFX bulbs do not heat as much as incandescent bulbs get, still compared to other LED bulbs, LIFX might be the one that gets the hottest.

LIFX Apps have lesser features

LIFX lighting systems pale in comparison to the applications Philips Hues has. LIFX does not have customized color cycles, nor does it have light scheduling. Therefore, you cannot set your lights to go on/off at a specified period. 

LIFX App is less user-friendly

The app of LIFX is quite complicated. Perhaps the system is trying too hard to be unique that it actually lost basic functionality. The most common feature that people complain about LIFX is the complicated color wheel it has, as compared to the basic and effective color wheel used by Philips Hues.

Special Features of LIFX

Saturation Control

Regardless of how complicated LIFX’s color wheel is, the same color wheel offers the user control over the saturation of a certain light color. By using the color wheel on the app, you can control how saturated or strong the color of the light is. If you desire bolder colors, use the color wheel to make the light that comes out bolder.

LIFX Cloud

By connecting to the LIFX Cloud, you will be able to control your lighting system wherever you are as long as you are connected to the internet. LIFX Cloud allows you to remotely control your lighting system even if you are not at home. Just imagine the number of scenarios, this feature could be of great help.

Voice control activation

Similar to the Philips Hues, LIFX also has voice activation features. You can turn on/off your lights by the use of your voice. You could also change the colors displayed by just voicing out certain commands.

Cost of Fitting LIFX In A Regular Size House

A regular size house would ordinarily be having around 45 light bulbs. If you desire to outfit your lighting system with the LIFX lighting system, you will need to know the estimated costs. For starters, each multi-colored LIFX A19 light bulb will cost you $59.99. A pack of four LIFX A19 costs $250.

For comparison, a two-pack Philips Hue multi-colored light bulb costs around $150. So if you will need four multi-colored light bulbs, you will only spend $300 with Philips Hues as opposed to only $250 with LIFX. Assuming you want to outfit your regular home with 40 LED bulbs, you will be buying 10 four packs of A19 priced at $250 each pack. That would bring the total expenses to $2500 with LIFX as compared to $3000 with Philips Hues.

Since LIFX does not need any hub, you won’t be spending on the hub. LIFX bulbs are ready to go the moment they are hooked up. But if you are on a tighter budget, you can buy 20 LIFX bulbs and strategically place them in areas where they are really needed. 20 LIFX bulbs will only cost you $1250.

Yeelight LED

Yeelight is now a famous smart lighting system that is associated with Xiaomi, a Chinese company. Yeelight offers light bulbs with innovative smart features, bright colors, and long-lasting quality at a significantly lower price. Significantly is an understatement as Yeelight bulbs do not even exceed half the price of Philips Hues.

Pros of Buying Yeelight over Philips

Cheaper Price

At a significantly lower price, you can avail of the same 16 million color options and smart lighting features that Philips Hues and LIFX have. It also has the same support for dimming and scheduling that allows you to have lights that adjust at any time. Again, at the same price, you can also have the same music syncing feature that Philips has.

You can already start setting up your Yeelights at only $90 (pack of three). With Philips Hues, you will need the Hub to control the bulbs, which compels you to buy their starter kit that is priced at $160. Yeelight is definitely the choice if you want to save money.

Easy Installation

Similar to other alternatives in this list, Yeelight Lights is easy to set up. There is no need to buy a hub for you to connect the bulbs to the wifi network. All you have to do is hook up the bulbs, and your Wifi network will automatically detect them through the Yeelight App. 

Cons of Buying Yeelight over Philips Hues

Bulbs are less brighter than Philips Hues

Yeelight is less bright than both Philips Hues and LIFX. Yeelights only reach 600 lumens, which is significantly lower than both Philips Hues (800) and LIFX (1100). However, new bulbs of Yeelight now reach 800 lumens. So you have to make sure to buy the newer bulbs of Yeelight. 

Phone App sometimes malfunctions

Yeelights phone app is less intuitive than Philips Hues. There are times when the app on your smartphone malfunctions making it a bit of a hassle. However, some have discovered the instant remedy, just restart the app, and things will run again smoothly.

No Geofencing

Yeelight does not have the feature of Geofencing. Philips Hues’ unique feature is the fact that the lighting system allows you to turn on/off lights based on your location. Simply put, the Philips Hue system uses the GPS of your smartphone or tablet to turn on lights whenever you are home automatically. Yeelight does not have this feature, yet.

Warranty is only for one year

Philips Hues offer a 3-year warranty for their products. Meanwhile, Yeelight only has 1-year warranties, which makes it less appealing as compared to Philips Hues. So in case of malfunctions and company defects, your bulbs are only protected by Yeelight for just 1 year.

Special Features of Yeelight

Music Syncing

Like Philips Hues, Yeelight has a feature that syncs the lighting system with any music you are playing. With this feature, you can experience how lights change the way you appreciate your favorite music, and vice versa. So with a cheaper budget, you can still experience the same innovative music syncing feature with Yeelight.

Group and Remote Control

Yeelight allows you to control the lightbulbs of your lighting system either independently or collectively. Therefore you could separately control each lightbulb to shine in different colors or have them all shine in one color. This gives you maximum control over the ambiance that you want to set up in your smart homes.

Control Even When Not at Home

Similar to LIFX and Philips hues, you could control your Yeelight lighting system even when you are not at home. So if you forgot to turn on the lights to mimic presence at home, you could quickly turn it on using your smartphone. You no longer need to go home from work just to turn on the lights.

Cost of Fitting Yeelight In A Regular Size House

If you desire to outfit your lighting system with the Yeelight lighting system, you will need to know the estimated costs. For starters, each multi-colored Yeelight bulb will cost you $35. 40 Yeelight bulbs will cost just around $1400. That is way cheaper than LIFX ($2500) and Philips Hues ($3000).

If you want to tone it down, you can just have 20 LED light bulbs for an even cheaper $700. However, since Yeelight is already cheaper, you might want to spend more. 

Belkin Wemo LED

Wemo is another good and cheaper alternative to Philips Hues. Like the rest of the alternatives listed here, Wemo is also less expensive than Philips Hues. Nevertheless, Wemo is still an excellent smart LED lighting system. 

Pros of Buying Wemo over Philips Hues

Connectivity

A Belkin Wemo pack usually comes with two smart light bulbs and a WeMo Link. The WeMo Link is somewhat like a hub that allows you to control the smart light bulbs, just like Philips Hues Hue Bridge. However, the WeMo does not need to connect to a router because it already has a built-in wifi system. 

Bright Bulbs at a lower price

Both Wemo and Philips Hue have an output of 800 lumens of light. However, Wemo only prices their starter kits at $100, which is significantly cheaper than the regular price of Philips Hues starter kits. The bulbs of Wemo are less expensive than Philips Hues when bought independently, despite the fact that both have 800 lumens of light output.

Easy Configuration

Wemo lighting systems are easy to configure. Lighting options such as timers and schedules are easy to set up. There is no need to read lengthy instruction manuals.

Color Rendering

Experts have applauded Wemo when it comes to color rendering. The colors it produces are said to be as accurate as it could be, although Wemo struggles to produce an accurate, vibrant red. However, overall, Wemo bests its competitors in color rendering.

Cons of Buying Wemo over Philips Hues

Wemo built-in Wifi may not be compatible with your network

Since Wemo lights are designed to operate independently with its built-in wifi system, as opposed to the ethernet cable connection that Philips Hues has, Wemo  often encounters connectivity issues. This often leads to power interruptions and other technical issues. Wemo users solve this problem by unplugging and restarting the setup process.

Special Features of Wemo

Randomized Lights

With Wemo, you can set your lighting system to turn on some lights randomly so that it gives the impression that there is somebody home. This feature can protect your house as robbers would think twice when they see the house lit up. Perfect when vacationing or camping, you can be sure that your home does not look like an unattended house.

Compatible with ALEXA, Google Assistant, and Apple Homekits

Wemo lighting systems are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and even with Apple Home kits. With this, you can surely control your lights via voice activation. So if you are too tired to turn on the lights after a long tiring work, just command the lights through your voice.

Cost of Fitting Wemo In A Regular Size House

Prices may differ depending on where you get your LED light bulbs, but more or less, Wemo sells its products by requiring buyers to buy starter kits. Without the starter kits, buyers will have no way of controlling the lightbulbs. Wemo’s starter kit contains two light bulbs and a Wemo link that would control the bulbs.

The starter kit costs just around $100. You can even have cheaper deals if bought online. After purchasing the first two light bulbs contained in the starter kit, you will be buying the additional bulbs at $30 per bulb. You can have 40 light bulbs after spending almost $1240, which is about the same costs you would spend with Yeelight. 

MagicLight Smart LED

Next, we have MagicLight, another smart LED lighting system that offers just about the same features that Philips Hues offers. MagicLight LED bulbs are priced at almost half the price of a single bulb sold by Philips Hues. It is a good budget alternative to Philips Hues.

Pros of Buying MagicLight over Philips Hues

Easy Bulb Managing

MagicLight bulbs are easy to manage. You can make a group of up to 5 bulbs and still have each bulb be a part of different groups. For instance, you can have a lightbulb be a part of your kitchen group of bulbs so that you can easily turn them off together. At the same time, you could also have bulbs of said group form another group with other bulbs, so you can make a group of bulbs that turn on in the middle of the night, one from each part of the house.

Long Lasting Bulbs

Magiclight LED bulbs are relatively long-lasting bulbs as compared to their counterparts. Even though it is cheaper, MagicLight can slightly edge out other alternatives when it comes to longevity. 

Cons of Buying MagicLight over Philips Hues

No mass controls

The setup of MagicLight allows you to group bulbs only up to 5. You cannot turn off/on all lights within the house with a single click or command. You will have to turn off/on each group separately. This is due to the lack of a hub that will control all of the light bulbs within the system.

Either LED White or LED RGB

Unlike Philip Hues, MagicLight does not have lightbulbs that can change into both LED White and LED RGB colors. So if you have a MagicLight LED white bulb, it cannot turn into any color. In the same way, your MagicLight colored bulbs cannot change into LED white bulbs. This lack of flexibility makes it inferior to the Philips Hues.

Special Features of MagicLight

MagicLight may be a cheaper alternative to Philips Hues. Nevertheless, it is still a smart lighting system with its own features to boast. It has voice activation control, compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, works with IFTTT, Android, IOS, and also has various scene modes. The scene modes that are available for you to choose to include sunset, music mode, and sunrise/sunset.

Cost of Fitting MagicLight In A Regular Size House

An 80-watt light bulb from MagicLight will cost you $54 per bulb. However, you could opt to buy the 60-watt 4-pack MagicLight priced at $40.95. That is by itself very cheap as compared to the others in this list, even Yeelight. 

You could buy 40 light bulbs with just a budget of $409.50.  Since it also does not require the purchase of a hub, you don’t need to buy a starter kit. By far, MagicLight is the cheapest of the list.

Conclusion

In summary, these are the budget alternatives available for you to consider. Philips Hues is still the leading provider of smart LED lighting systems, but due to its hefty prices, people have been trying to look for alternatives. Alternatives that will still provide the same, or at least almost the same, smart lighting features that Philips Hues have. 

Regardless, this article gave you a glimpse of what other companies can offer too. It was just recently when LIFX and Yeelight added the feature that would allow you to control your lighting system from far away with just the internet. On the other hand, Philips Hues also answered by raising its lumen output to 800 lumens from 600 lumens. 

Simply put, all these LED providers have been adjusting, competing, ultimately providing consumers the best smart LED lights they could ever have. Philips Hues started the rise of LED lights, and now others are trying to catch up.

Reference(s):

Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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