If you’re in the market for smart home lighting, you’ve likely seen or heard of Philips Hue. They have fantastic retail product placement and were the first real players in this space. However, there are others and the one I’m most impressed with is LIFX.
LIFX, like Hue, offers a family of bulbs including whites, colors, and LED light strips. The argument over which one is better has generally been based on preference and less on features. They both utilize an app that offers scenes, schedules, and off-network access. Until recently, LIFX was a clear winner in color accuracy – especially blues and greens. However, Hue has caught up with its recent release of The Gen 3 White and Color A19 Ambient bulbs. Both of these brands create excellent lights.
The question everyone wants to know – why pick one over the other? If you asked me a few months ago I would have said LIFX, easily. Today, I don’t think it really matters. The one clear advantage LIFX has in quality is their LIFX Z LED light strips. In my opinion, they are just brighter and produce richer colors than the Gen 2 Hue light strips. If you’re going to go nuts with light strips, consider LIFX.
Today, the best way to decide between the two might be based more on your home’s ecosystem.
LIFX supports all the big players in the Smart Home space like Echo, Nest, Harmony, and IFTTT. What it lacks is native Google Home support (you’ll have to go through IFTTT). However, the LIFX ecosystem is strong and growing.
Hue has native support for Goggle Home and dozens of other 3rd party products. It’s quickly becoming a wash – they both support almost every 3rd party device on your wish list.
The Primary Differences
- LIFX doesn’t support HomeKit, but it’s coming soon.
- LIFX offers an infrared light (LIFX +)to help security cameras like Nest record better/brighter images.
- Hue offers other products that work in conjunction with their lights (tap, dimmer switches, and a motion detector). Keep in mind that although LIFX doesn’t have these devices, you can add 3rd party remotes, switches, etc. to your smart home to achieve the same thing. For example, you can control your LIFX lights through Harmony remotes.
- Hue uses a hub to connect to your lights and Hue branded devices. LIFX integrates into your home’s wifi. I don’t see an obvious advantage of one over the other – just keep in mind that the Hue hub requires a LAN connection to your router.
If you’re deciding between Hue and LIFX, you need to first consider your current smart home’s ecosystem and where you want to take it. At this point, Hue is a little easier if you are starting from scratch or smart home gear intimidates you. This is especially true if you buy Hue motion sensors and a switch, or two. I personally prefer the LIFX app over Hue and am comfortable using IFTTT to get what I need. So, which one? Well, I own both Hue and LIFX so they go head to head with each other everyday. If you forced me to go with one over the other, I would tell you to pick for me – it’s that close. I would love to see LIFX integrate with Google Home without IFTTT and my dream would be for one of these companies to have motion detection built into their lights like Stack.
Enjoy your smart lights and don’t stress about which one to get – they’ll both brighten your day.
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