Philips makes the best smart bulbs. There, we've said it. But don't go just yet: while Hue indoor smart lights are all sorts of amazing, the best Philips Hue Outdoor lights are arguably even better.
They're certainly the most creative and atmospheric lights of the company's range, and they'll transform any garden into a dusky delight – the best smart outdoor lighting transforms your garden in the evening the way a great flower display does during the day… except you can change the colours at will.
Best Philips Hue Outdoor lights: what you need to know
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How did we get here? Philips Hue was first launched in 2012. While the range was slow to expand at first, Philips has recently mounted a major expansion; 2018 saw Hue making it outdoors for the first time, and in early 2020 the company introduced a whole host more lights to the outdoor selection.
The Hue system has traditionally been based around a hub controller which deals with the tricky task of talking to and controlling a houseful of smart bulbs. The Hue Bridge, connected to your router, uses the Zigbee smart home protocol to communicate, meaning it operates on its own slice of the radio spectrum, with a theoretically longer range and less potential interference than competing Wi-fi bulbs.
While the £50 Bridge adds a little extra cost (it's included with some indoor bulb packs, but not outdoor kits) its 50-bulb capacity, long reach and high reliability make this the perfect system for smart garden lighting. If you're an existing Hue user any outdoor lights you add should work just fine with your indoor Bridge. Zigbee is technically a mesh network; as long as your Hue Bridge can reach the closest garden light, it should be able to pass messages on to those further down the path.
With recent bulbs, the Bridge is no longer (technically) required; Philips Hue added additional support for Bluetooth as of its mid-2019 releases, though you lose a whole host of functionality connecting that way. Advanced functions go out of the window, and the convenience of being able to connect to your lights remotely through the internet is also in the bin. Go for the full Bridge experience if you can.
So, whether you want to fill your garden with ambient light, get everything flashing away for a party, or hook up a Hue PIR and add a little security, there's something for you.
The best Hue outdoor lights you can buy today
You're not short of pedestal light options in the Hue range, and while we have a soft spot in our hearts for the classically-styled Econic pedestal, we can't look past the razor-sharp appearance of the Nyro. Bursting up from beside your path or patio with its sharp coated aluminium features, this is an absolutely stunning light before you've even switched it on. When you do, you get a downlighter with all the colour options Hue is famous for, and one which won't get in your eyes.
It has enough weather resistance to deal with splashed water, which means it'll be fine in the rain, but we probably wouldn't set a sprinkler on it just in case. At 1,000 lumen, it's one of the brighter options in the Philips Hue range, which means you'll get some significant path coverage; if it's a modern look you're after, look no further, and there's a similarly sexy wall light version if you're trying to make everything match.
This low-voltage spot system is very neat. Comprised of three matte black aluminium spot lights replete with mounting stands for walls and spikes for ground installation, these spots are fantastic for lighting up shrubs, flowers and trees. Set up is straightforward, especially if you already have an outdoor power outlet. Simply join the three spots together using the supplied three lengths of 5m cable and two waterproof connectors, and stick them in the ground or mount them to decking, a wall or fence post. Total coverage is about 25 metres in length, which is ample for most medium-sized gardens. However, you can always add another two for extra range (single Lily spots retail at £80 each).
The Lily spots produce a light output of up to 600 lumens, although some colours will be less bright so perhaps steer away from fully saturated colours and select a slightly lighter hue. That said, once full darkness descends, these lights proved plenty bright enough to illuminate trees and shrubs up to about four metres in height. Beyond that, the light softens somewhat. Highly recommended – despite the rather steep price.
We love the Lily, but for larger gardens, bigger trees, or for those who want slightly more than its small-ish cone of light, the recently-released Lily XL is a significant upgrade. It bumps the brightness way up to 1,050 lumen, giving it enough photon-pushing power to light up just about any lawn on its own; if you feel you need more than one, you've either got some significant acreage or you're going for some nifty colour-mixing effect. Either way, you've got options.
We appreciate the slight redesign to the Lily frame here, which adds a small hood to (hopefully) stop this dazzling you as you gaze into your outdoor space. It's IP65 rated, so it's fully suitable for a regularly watered lawn; that's enough waterproofing to adequately protect the Lily XL from jetting water. Feel free to turn the hose on it.
Lights are about far more than just making dark things bright. They can be a significant architectural addition to your home. The Appear's triangular projection, emanating from both ends of the cylindrical fitting, is amongst the most striking in the Hue range. It's perfect for making a dull wall into a feature, or used in a pair it's a neat way of highlighting a doorway.
It's IP44 rated, so there's no need to install under a canopy or porch, though as with all Hue wall mounters you'd be best served getting a professional to do the dirty work. You can of course tweak the Appear to hit whatever colour or white temperature suits your wall the best, and compatibility with Hue automations means you can keep its lighting confined to darkness hours or switch it on and off to feign occupation when you're out.
The elegant fish tank-like Econic measures 26cm (10 inches) square and emits a wonderfully warm glow that’s perfect for a patio wall, an outdoor ceiling or even a conservatory. It uses a single full-colour 15w 1,150-lumen LED bulb set behind an opaque plastic box surrounded by a black metal frame and five panels of clear glass. It does, however, require professional installation (it doesn’t come with a mains cable) and you will also need to purchase a Hue Bridge (unless you already have one).
This lamp is a top choice for stylish nocturnal ambience but it’s perhaps better suited to a contemporary Grand Designs-style home rather than a Victorian bricks and mortar one.
The powerful 2,300-lumen Welcome is so much more sophisticated than your average bogstandard floodlight. For starters, its colour balance and brightness can be infinitely adjusted to suit the mood, and, because it kicks out so much diffuse illumination without dazzling everyone like a halogen bulb, it’s a top choice for evening entertainment. It’s also perfect for security, especially if used in conjunction with Philips’ battery-powered PIR sensor. The Welcome requires both professional installation and a Hue Bridge.
Like many Hue outdoor lights, this reasonably priced circular wall model requires invisible wiring and an electrician to install it, so perhaps consider having it wired in while having the porch decorated; unless of course you’re simply replacing an existing wall light.
The Daylo produces an attractive arced light effect that casts a soft glow on the wall while throwing a decent amount of illumination across the porch. Being of the Colour Ambience variety, you can change the colour tone in a thrice using the Hue app or by shouting in the direction of any Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit device.
At a shade under £110, this is a great value entry into the amazing world of Hue. Believe us, once you tried one Hue product you’ll be filling the house with them – at great cost it must be said.
Hue Colour Ambience strips are a popular choice for narrow and wide-beam boats since they consume very little power and are able illuminate a wide area while being concealed from view. They also add a touch of classy ambience to contemporary living rooms. Well here’s a two-metre weatherproof version to tack behind the facade of your conservatory, under your decking or anywhere else you think requires a strip of colour.
Like the Lily spots above, this is a low voltage self-installation model that comes with its own transformer and 4.25metres of cable. The strip itself is two metres long and can’t be cut to length so make sure you have the required distance to install it. Also bear in mind that there’s large transformer box 1.4 metres from the plug so you might want to figure in how best to conceal it. As with all outdoor Hue lights, its operating temperature range is -20°C to 45°C – hardly a concern in the UK. The Lightstrip Outdoor boasts an illumination range of between 850 and 900 lumens – more than enough to create an aura bright enough for an al fresco evening under the stars.
If a choice of 16 million colours doesn’t rock your boat and all you want is a pleasant warm white light to illuminate the patio, verandah or balcony, consider this small, stripped back version of the Econic above. The Fuzo measures 13cm x 14cm and uses a 1,150-lumen LED bulb behind its frosted plastic housing and tough but stylish aluminium surround. There’s no glass enclosure on this model but that can be a good thing since there’s less chance of water droplets leaving their mark and upsetting the ambience.
As with all of the outdoor Hue products on this page, the Fuzo requires a Hue Bridge (available separately) to function correctly. Just remember that this one is a white-only model which can only be dimmed or brightened.