Smart lights are the future. Remote and voice control plus colour shifting ability is just the way our homes are going. I’ve written before about how much I love smart lighting, and in particular, I’ve lauded Philips Hue’s lineup for it’s ease of set up and use and it’s flawless interface and functionality. So I was thrilled to find out Philips Hue had introduced a whole array of weatherproof outdoor lights. I recently received Philips Hue Bollards, and Philips Hue Spotlights to test in my yard.
Philips Hue Outdoor light review
It looks like you get a two or a three pack of Bollard lights in each box, but rather surprisingly, there is only a single unit in each. The lights are quite large; easily several times larger than traditional outdoor pathway or solar lights. They’re also a bit heavier. In each package alongside the lighting unit is a rather heavy duty controller and some cables.
In the Spotlight box, there’s three spotlights, and they’re substantially smaller than the Bollards. There’s also cables, plus spikes for in-ground use or extender posts.
Hue Outdoor lights need a bridge
It’s worth noting here that you will need a Philips Hue Bridge for these lights to work. The Hue can be purchased in a Starter Kit with some light bulbs or on its own for about $70.
In an era where smart lights are developing the ability to operate without hubs (LIFX for example), this may seem like a bit of an annoyance.
Setting up Philips Hue Outdoor lights
I started my setup with the Bollards. First you’ll undo some screws with the specially included star shaped Allen key and remove them, taking care not to lose track of the tiny rubber washers designed to keep water out of your brand new lights. This will allow you to remove the bottom of the light to pull the cord out and connect your wires.
You have a couple of options for securing the light. You can use the sturdy metal stake to set it in the ground, or you can screw it into your deck. If you choose this option you’ll have to drill through the small post holes in the base of the device and set some screws before attaching the base to your deck, then attaching the light top to the base with those screws you removed earlier.
Are Philips Hue Outdoor lights safe ? Are they water resistent?
Not surprisingly these outdoor lights are made to withstand the weather. Philips says they are “made for wet environments”. They are IP65 rated, meaning they’re dust tight and are protected from jetting water.
So they should withstand rain and snow; will they survive being flooded or covered in snow for a long Canadian winter? I can’t say yet.
UPDATE: I had these in my yard over a full, long winter where the sustained low temperatures were around -20C. These performed beautifully, and cam out the other side working great, and now they’re making my yard beautiful through the summer.
Philips Hue app is smart and easy
To set Philips Hue lights up in the app, download the Phillips Hue app then go to “Light set up” then, “Add light”. Then hit Search. After a few seconds the app will find your light and add it to all the lights in your house. This worked perfectly for me with both the Hue Bollards and the Hue Spotlights. In fact I found the set up process works absolutely perfectly with every Hue light I’ve ever set up.
The spotlights can be configured individually; you’ll find them one by one in the app. You can label them each so you know exactly where they are, if you prefer.
The set up of both sets of lights took just minutes. Once you have them placed, you can program them by putting them on timers or setting Routines.
Routines and timers is confusing
I will say getting these lights on a set schedule to come on in the evening and turn off in the morning was a challenge and I struggled with getting this simple task to work.
The Hue app has several options for what it calls Routines; Home and Away, where you can set up your phone to trigger the lights to come on or turn off when you arrive home or leave. Wake Up will turn the lights on and then off at a preset time, while Go to Sleep will fade out any lights that are on. “Other Routines’ allows you to create other options. This is where I started trying to get some automation set up for my outdoor lights, but the routine I set up didn’t work and the lights stayed on 24/7. I also tried to set up a Wake Up-Go to Sleep combo to get the lights on a schedule, but that didn’t seem to turn them off and on correctly either. I’m still working on sorting this out, so I hope to post an update soon.
The Timer function allows you to set lights that get turned on to turn off automatically after a preset time.
The Hue app also gives you simple remote control over the lights any time. You can create rooms where lights are grouped together, adjust brightness, colour, or use preset colour stories.
Use voice control with Philips Hue
Thanks to Hue’s compatibility with all the smart home digital assistants, you can control your lights with your voice too. Once you get the lights added to the Home control app of your choice, you can ask Siri, Alexa or Google to control the lights, change colours, set brightness and more.
Are Philips Hue outdoor lights bright enough?
The lights are very nice, and having some colour outdoors is a real treat. Are they bright enough to create a safe walking environment? I think so. Both the Bollards and the Spotlights put out 700 lumens per light. A 100 w bulb by comparison puts out about 1600 lumens. So they’re more ambient than safety focused. Even so I found them quite bright outdoors in dark areas, and I can say they seemed more like 60 watt bulbs than 100, but they provided more than ample illumination for my needs.
How many Philips Hue outdoor lights can I connect?
You can connect 5 Bollards to one power supply; one power supply comes with each light. You can also add additional spotlights to the starter trio, but it’s not clear how many it tops out at.
Overall review of Philips Hue outdoor Bollard & Spotlight
I love, love, love these lights. I’m still enthralled by the Philips Hue user experience overall and I recommend it highly for folks looking for an easy entry into the smart lighting sphere. They’re easy for anyone at all from kids to seniors to the non-technically inclined to get set up and to use.
Downsides? These are expensive, and they need that Hue Bridge to work.
The timer/scheduling function was also confusing and didn’t work right for me. Even so, the lights work great overall, and I love all the fun colour settings.
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