Want to get into smart lighting but put off by how complicated it all sounds? Now Philips Hue bulbs work over Bluetooth, which means you don't have to buy a Hue Bridge to set them up, and you can get up and running with smart lighting a lot quicker.
Traditionally controlled by a Zigbee radio, Hue bulbs and many of Hue's light fixtures now have both Zigbee and Bluetooth compatibility, so they can be controlled by either networks. This means if you already have Bridge-controlled smart lights, you can keep your current setup and use both type of bulbs interchangeably, or not even bother with the Bluetooth features. However, if you are new to Hue you can try out the system without investing in a Hue Bridge right out of the gate.
Read this: Philips Hue Bluetooth Bulb reviewed
Of course, the downside of the Bluetooth-only connection is that you don't get a lot of the cool Hue features you get with the Bridge, such as being able to control your lights when you're away from home, or set schedules or routines. You also canât use them with third-party Hue apps, so syncing to music or creating ambiance with flickering firelight are non-starters.
But you do get wire-free dimming, the ability to turn your lights on and off from your phone, and the ability to set light recipes or custom scenes. Plus, you can pair them with Alexa, using the third-gen Echo Dot, or Google Assistant through a Google Home device.
Here, we'll take you through the steps required to add your Philips Hue Bluetooth bulbs to your smart home, as well as look at what to do should you decide to add a Hue Bridge down the line.
How to pair your Philips Hue Bluetooth LED bulbs
To get your Philips Hue Bluetooth bulbs up and running just follow these steps:
1. Download the Hue BT app â this is different from the standard Hue app, so make sure to download the correct one from your App Store.
2. Launch the app and tap on Get Started.
3. Give Hue your name and email address, accept the terms and conditions and tap Next.
4. Screw in your first bulb and then tap Add Light.
5. Accept the Bluetooth pairing request from the Hue app.
6. The app will then search for your bulb; while it does so, turn your light off for 10 seconds and then back on again.
7. Once it's found the bulb it will show up in your app and you can click through to rename it or add it to your room (you can only have one room in the Hue BT app).
8. Repeat these steps for any other Hue bulbs you want to add (up to 10).
How to transfer your Philips Hue Bluetooth bulbs to a Bridge
If you decide you want more functionality from your bulbs, or you want to add more in different rooms (Hue Bluetooth bulbs will only work in close proximity to the controlling phone), then you'll need to upgrade to a Philips Hue Bridge.
This is very easy to do, and the Hue BT app walks you through it. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Plug your Hue Bridge into power and connect it to your router with the provided ethernet cable.
2. Open the Hue BT app and it will automatically see the Bridge.
3. When the app prompts you, press the button on the top of your Bridge.
4. The app will show you your connected bulbs and settings; tap on each one to transfer it to the Bridge.