Best Philips Hue Outdoor lights 2019: smart, sophisticated garden illumination

Philips Hue's state-of-the-art, Wi-Fi-connected, outdoor lighting that screams elegance, style and finesse

best hue outdoor lights

Philips is way ahead of the curve when it comes to smart, ambient lighting, initially for indoor but now there's so much Hue garden lighting that it's quite hard to decide what the best Philips Hue Outdoor lights are. But we'll do our best.

Best Philips Hue Outdoor lights: what you need to know

First launched in 2012, the Hue system connects to your home’s Wi-Fi via a Hue Bridge (sold with some bulb kits but also available separately) and uses long-life LED bulbs capable of producing a vast range of colour temperatures – up to 16 million colours – and a brightness of up to 2,300 Lumens. Moreover, users can control the brightness and colour schemes using either Philips’ own Hue app (recommended) or a large variety of third party apps. Granted, a single Philips Hue bulb may seem expensive (about £44 for Colour Ambience and £15 for white only) but, with a lifespan of around 15 years, it’s actually pretty good value.

Some indoor Hue kits come supplied with a Hue Bridge which you connect to your router via an Ethernet cable. However, none of Philips' outdoor range comes with a Bridge so you’ll need to figure in another £50 on top. The bridge basically enables you to turn your lights on and off using the app at home or anywhere in the world and change lighting pattens as a group of lights or individually. You can also use voice commands with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Some Hue apps will also allow you to create smooth lava lamp-style transitions from one colour to another or have them pulsate to musical beats. You can also set ‘routines’ so the lights come on at dusk and switch off at a predetermined time. Amazingly, you can connect up to 50 bulbs to a single bridge, turning your abode into a fantasyland of gorgeous colours and textures.

The first tranche of Hue bulbs were designed for indoor use only, but now there’s a great range of outdoor-specific weatherproof models too that work in exactly same way as the indoor range. All you have to do is ensure the bulbs are within range of your home's wifi signal – perhaps fit an extender if your router and Hue Bridge is situated at the other end of the house. Philips also sells a small battery-operated outdoor PIR that turns on any lights it’s remotely connected to the moment it senses any movement.

We’ve been on the blower to Philips and called in a quintet of models from the new Hue Outdoor range, and set them up in the garden and around the patio. Which one is our favourite? Read on to find out.

The best Hue outdoor lights, in order of preference

best hue outdoor lighting: Lily spots

1. Hue Lily Outdoor Colour Ambience Spot Light Set

Top choice for garden lighting

Reasons to buy
+Adds a touch of class to any garden+Easy to install+A multitude of colour schemes at your fingertip
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap-Requires a Hue Bridge

• Buy from John Lewis & Partners

This low-voltage spot system is far and away our favourite new Hue outdoor product. Comprised of three mat 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 couldn’t be easier, 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). By the way, the Lily kit doesn’t include a Hue Bridge so, if you haven’t already got one, you’ll need to purchase that separately (£50).

The Lily spots produce a light output of up to 600 lumens but 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.

This writer is truly smitten by these exceedingly well made spots. The garden looks incredible at night – like something out of ‘Avatar’ – and I love the way I can control them from the sitting room and turn them off when heading to bed using Alexa’s Echo Dot. Highly recommended – despite the rather steep price.

best hue outdoor lighting: hue econic

2. Hue Econic Colour Ambience Outdoor Wall Light

Classy illumination for contemporary homes

Reasons to buy
+Contemporary elegance for your wall
Reasons to avoid
-Requires professional installation-Doesn't come with a Hue Bridge

•Buy now from Philips

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.

best hue outdoor lighting: hue welcome floodlight

3. Hue Colour Ambience Welcome Garden Floodlight

Top choice for entertainment and security

Reasons to buy
+Perfect for nighttime entertainment+Doesn't dazzle+Excellent security light
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't include a bridge-Requires pro installation

 •Buy now from Amazon

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.

best hue outdoor lighting: Hue Lightstrip Colour Ambience Outdoor

4. Hue Lightstrip Colour Ambience Outdoor

Ideal for patios, boats and mobile homes

Reasons to buy
+Brings elegance to the patio+Easy to install
Reasons to avoid
- Requires a Hue Bridge

 •Buy now from Philips

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.

best hue outdoor lighting: Hue Fuzo

5. Hue Fuzo Outdoor White Ambience Wall Light

Simple white for outdoor ambience

Reasons to buy
+Cheaper white-only alternative
Reasons to avoid
-Requires a Hue Bridge a pro installation

 •Buy now from Amazon

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.