Philips Hue Bridge: what does it do and is it necessary?

Let us tell you all you need to know...

The Verge
(Image credit: The Verge)

We are huge fans of the Philips Hue range at T3 and we're not afraid to shout about it. Known for their outstanding smart lighting, Philips Hue have been illuminating homes and gardens since 2012. They provide the perfect way to bring light, colour and ambiance into your space, setting the mood in the best way possible. You can also customise your smart lighting using apps, voice commands and timers. 

When it comes to controlling your Philips Hue smart lighting, there are two ways to do it:  Bluetooth and with the Hue Bridge. As there is the option of using Bluetooth, many buyers assume that they don't need to purchase the Bridge. Whilst this is technically true, adding a Hue Bridge to your set-up unlocks the full suite of smart lighting features, some of which aren’t available with a Bluetooth-controlled system. 

We're going to walk you through all of the things you need to know about the Hue Bridge, so you can decide whether it’s the right choice for your smart lighting system.

Before we begin, check out some of our recent guides on how you can put your smart lighting to use: 

How to introduce smart lighting to your garden

How to make the perfect outdoor dining space using smart lighting

How to create your own Barbie Dreamhouse using smart lighting

Do you need a Hue Bridge?

Considered the heart of the Hue smart lighting system, the Hue Bridge uses ZigBee technology to connect to your Wi-Fi. This lets you control your Philips Hue smart lights using the Philips Hue app both at home and from anywhere else in the world where you have an Internet connection.

However, the Hue Bridge is not required to use Philips Hue smart lighting. Most Philips Hue smart lights are also Bluetooth-enabled (look for the symbol on the packaging) and can be controlled with the Philips Hue Bluetooth app without a Hue Bridge – but a Bluetooth set-up does come with some limitations.

What does the Hue Bridge do? 

The Bridge unlocks the full suite of features. Find out what these are below: 

It gives you the ultimate smart control

The Hue Bridge makes it possible to control your lights any way you want – from anywhere with an internet connection. Using the app, you can schedule your lights to turn on and off. If you set up an automation once, the Hue Bridge will also remember what you want your lights to do.

You can get full voice control

Get the full range of voice control features with a Hue Bridge. Use voice commands to turn your lights on and off with the leading smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Home and Google Assistant.

It provides instant light response 

The Hue Bridge uses Zigbee to communicate with your lights and accessories. Your lights react instantly, and you’ll be able to control them even when your Wi-Fi is down. 

It enables Matter

The Bridge enables Matter, the new foundation for connected things. That means that your Philips Hue lights and accessories automatically support Matter – and you can easily integrate other smart home brands through Matter too.

Can you use the Hue Bridge with all of the Philips Hue smart lighting range? 

Yes. All Philips Hue products can connect to the Hue Bridge to create a comprehensive smart lighting system. 

Hue Bridge: availability and price 

You can purchase the Hue Bridge on the Philips Hue website for only £49.99 - there are also many purchasing packages available with the Philips Hue range so make sure you check these out if you're buying the Bridge with a lighting accessory. 

Final verdict: Hue Bluetooth vs Hue Bridge

A key difference between controlling your lights with Bluetooth versus a Hue Bridge is the number of lights that you can control. If you have a Hue Bridge, you can connect up to 50 lights throughout your entire home, but if you control your smart lights via Bluetooth, you can only connect up to 10 lights in one room.

The Hue Bridge allows you to control your lights from anywhere in the house – and, in fact, anywhere in the world. Whether you’re at work, running errands or away on holiday, you can turn lights on and off, dim or brighten, or even set up automations just like you would at home.

With Bluetooth control, you’re limited to only being able to operate your smart lights within Bluetooth range – about 10 metres. If you have a larger home or Philips Hue outdoor lights (which require a Hue Bridge to function), the full power of the Hue Bridge is your best option.

Interested in more? Check out these 5 mistakes everyone makes with their Philips Hue smart lighting and 5 things you should know before purchasing any of the Philips Hue range!

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.