Philips Hue Wall Switch Module Review: Finally smart (2023)

You have no doubt come across glued light switches like the one pictured above if you’ve ever spent time in Airbnbs. Hell, you might have some of these in your own smart home. No judgment we have all been there which is why I just installed a Philips Hue wall switch module in my own house.

Many smart home fans can trace their obsession to the very first Hue lightbulbs, launched in 2012 as an exclusive Apple Store. But, like all smart lights, Hue lights have a few catches. First, they need a constant source of energy to function. That means you’ll lose control of that fancy Hue lightbulb hanging over your kitchen table as soon as someone flips the light switch. To solve this, many people disable the switch mechanism with tape or a dummy wall panel, only to realize that physical controls are useful when you or your roommates and guests aren’t bothered to shout a command or pull out a phone. So they buy a Hue remote and stick it on the wall. This comedy of mistakes is then repeated over and over until they have a house full of mismatched wall switches and legitimate concerns about life priorities.

There is a small home industry of aftermarket solutions for this, including Lutron’s Aurora dimmer that sits on a light switch. But Philips has never addressed it directly before. The new $ 39.95 Hue wall switch module solves these problems by making most existing wall switches Hue-smart.

Notice I said Shade-wise, not smart. This is because the switch you rewire to the Hue module can only control Hue lightbulbs, not normal, inexpensive lights like other smart switches. Nonetheless, it is aimed at fans of smart lights and smart switches by offering the benefits of both as long as they can accept the cost and the ecosystem connection.

Signify’s Philify Hue wall switch module is a much simpler device than it initially appears. Basically, it is a buttonless ZigBee remote control for Hue lights. You add buttons by plugging the tint module into a standard household light switch. The Switch + Tint Module acts as a Tint remote control, whether it’s hidden in the wall or not, as the Tint module is powered by a single CR2450 coin battery (included). That way, you can make sure the Hue module and switch are working properly with your Hue setup before plugging everything back into the wall. It also means that at some point in the future you’ll have to disassemble everything to replace the battery, but not for at least five years, according to Philips Hue.

Philips Hue Wall Switch Module Review: Finally smart (1)

(Video) Philips Hue Wall Switch Module & Outdoor Amarant - Announcements!

In about fifteen minutes, I was able to install a Philips Wall Hue switch module behind the existing switch in my laundry room. The steps were pretty simple, but you’ll need enough free space in the cable box behind the switch to accommodate the 0.51 x 0.39 x 1.5 in. (4.3 x 1.0 x 3.8 cm) tint switch module. You should also be familiar with household electricity – if not, find or call someone who is an electrician.

Philips Hue Wall Switch Module Review: Finally smart (2)

(Video) These Smart Light Switches Are Modular!?

Philips Hue Wall Switch Module Review: Finally smart (3)

Installation is straightforward with the help of video tutorials from Philips Hue. After turning off the power on my circuit breaker, I removed the switch assembly from the wall. I then disconnected the two electrical wires attached to my rocker switch and re-routed them into a tiny Hue-supplied wire connector to complete the circuit and ensure my lightbulb socket was never without power. I then plugged a Hue-supplied pair of cables into the Hue module and back to the light switch in the same places where the two household cables were removed.

The Hue Switch Module is added to the Hue app and Hue Bridge (required) like any Hue light or accessory. After assigning the module to control the hue bulb in my washroom, all I had to do was plug the hue switch module into the wall box and reassemble the switch.

The hue module can be assigned to control multiple hue lights in a hue defined room or zone, or in my case just one hue lamp. The switch can be set to simply turn on and off, or to cycle through predefined color tone scenes assigned to one, two, or three presses.

Philips Hue Wall Switch Module Review: Finally smart (4)

(Video) Using smart relays in your home

Scenes didn’t work so well on my rocker switch, as a “press” is only registered after an on / off movement, which means that I have to toggle the switch up, down, up, down, up to toggle the assigned scene until the third press. And since my laundry room doesn’t need mood lighting anyway, I decided to simply switch it on and off.

The Philips Hue wall switch module solves the problem of someone pressing the light switch and rendering the smart light bulb unusable. Although it occasionally misses a hit, it will cause the switch to reverse orientation. Over the weeks that I had it installed, I noticed that flipping the switch up turned the lights off on some days and off the lights on other days. That means the module couldn’t trigger the light anywhere along the way, even though it was installed in the middle of my relatively small house, which is covered by a strong ZigBee signal, that of ten other Hue lights and plug-in accessories is produced.

To test the failure rate, I turned the switch on and off 100 times with an interval of one second in between. The light did not respond adequately five times, which corresponds to a failure rate of 5 percent. It’s not a big deal unless you’re a stickler on such matters. I believe that when a switch is in the up position, the light should always be on, just as toilet paper should be rolled out towards the user and bath mats should be used to dry wet feet. These things are non-negotiable in my house.

The Hue app cannot be configured in such a way that the wall switch module automatically switches off a light after a specified time. That would be ideal for my laundry room, which is actually only used for a few minutes for loading and unloading laundry. After a few weeks, I added an Aqara motion sensor to the room to automatically turn off the lights when motion was no longer detected. (You can also stick to the Hue ecosystem and use a more powerful Hue motion sensor instead for $ 39.99.)

Other notable:

(Video) Philips Hue to launch a smart light switch

  • The module has two inputs that can be used to control two individual switches or a unit with a double rocker.
  • The module also works with push button switches, which have the advantage that the lights are dimmable.
  • The module turns the lights on and off smoothly, not suddenly with a flash of lightning.

Now I have a $ 14.99 shade lamp, $ 39.95 shade wall switch module, and $ 15 motion sensor to replace the 99 cent LED lamp I used earlier. That’s a total of $ 70 to automate a simple task and save a bit of energy by not teaching my kids how to turn off a $ 1 lightbulb.

Was it worth it?

Depends on. If you’re like me and can afford to be irrationally excited about smart lighting and actually enjoy the hours you’ve spent configuring open source tools like HomeBridge to run on a Raspberry Pi, then it’s worth it it is. It’s a little complicated for everyone else.

The Philips Hue wall switch module has the power to unite two opposing camps of home vending machines that, unsurprisingly, have a serious religion when it comes to the primacy of smart lightbulbs over smart switches.

Smart bulb fanatics advertise having control over the color and dimming options of their lights. For example, tint lights are compatible with Apple’s adaptive lighting feature, which allows tint lights to automatically adjust for cooler colors during the day and warmer colors at night. That’s nice, but there is still a problem with switches that turn off the power. Smart switch fanatics, meanwhile, enjoy an endless selection of inexpensive decorative faceplates and switch types, as well as inexpensive standard lamps. However, they are limited to switching the power or dimming the lights, not changing the color or discretely controlling different lamps on the same circuit.

The Hue module connects these two worlds in a clean way and offers the advantages of both. The downsides are increased complexity for Smart Bulb fanatics (who often buy physical remotes anyway) and increased cost for Smart Switch fanatics. This is a particularly attractive option for anyone who can afford to invest heavily in the Philips Hue ecosystem of high quality, feature-rich devices that work on all major smart home platforms.

(Video) Smart Switch Buying Guide 2022

The tint module is not for you if you want to make ordinary cheap light bulbs smart. There are a variety of alternatives for this. For example, I’ve installed a number of Duewi Z-Wave switches and dimmers, but there are also several ZigBee solutions available that sit behind your existing switches just like the Tint module. Aqara, for example, makes inexpensive (and sometimes hard-to-find) wall switch modules (with and without neutral) that make existing switches intelligent, but are powered by the mains and, unlike the hue module, work with any standard light. If you can afford it, you can even upgrade Lutron’s great switch and dimmer replacement parts.

If you’ve already invested in Hue, or want to do so, the Philips Hue wall switch module can do two things well. It neatly solves the problem of unresponsive lightbulbs attached to wall switches that has long plagued Hue smart lights, and allows you to take advantage of smart lights and smart switches. The Philips Hue wall switch module is available now in Europe for € 39.95 and arrives in the US in late June for $ 39.95.

Photography by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

FAQs

Is Philips discontinuing Hue? ›

In a nutshell, no, Philips Hue is not being discontinued.

Does Philips Hue have a smart switch? ›

The Aurora smart bulb dimmer switch locks a toggle light switch in the “on/up” position. That way, no one can accidentally turn the switch — and your Hue smart bulb functionality — off.

What does Philips Hue wall switch module do? ›

Installed behind light switches, the Philips Hue wall switch module lets you use existing switches with your Philips Hue smart lights. Your lights always stay powered on and reachable — and you can even use the switch to set multiple scenes on an individual light or in a Room or Zone.

Is there a better alternative to Hue? ›

Best alternative

Philips WiZ Connected bulbs don't require a hub, connecting directly to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth via the WiZ app. Despite being less expensive and not working with the rest of the Philips Hue ecosystem, these bulbs aren't any less capable. They can be dimmed and color-tuned to your liking.

Is Philips Hue still the best? ›

Philips Hue White Ambiance A19 (Bluetooth + Zigbee) — Best white smart bulb. Our choice won't surprise anyone who's been following this market. Philips dominates this space and is also our top pick for best color LED smart bulb.

Is it better to have a smart switch or smart bulb? ›

Most experts recommend smart switches because they don't have the usability problem of smart bulbs. However, the release of some recent smart switches that are able to work with smart bulbs means that you don't have to choose one or the other. You can have both.

Do you need Hue bridge for Hue switch? ›

Speaking of bridges, the Hue Bridge is required to use the Hue Dimmer Switch. If you have Hue lights in your home that you've been controlling via Bluetooth rather than Zigbee, you'll have to pony up for the bridge to add the new switch to your setup.

Are smart light switches worth it? ›

Smart switches retain the manual option of conventional ones, while expanding control to apps and smart speakers. A single switch can control many lights, which could actually save you money versus replacing every light in your home with smart bulbs.

What do smart wall switches do? ›

A smart light switch replaces an existing light switch. When you link it to your home's wireless network you can flip that switch off and on remotely or via voice assistants. Your light bulbs don't need to be smart lights, they just need to be the lights connected to that switch.

Do you need Philips Hue bridge in every room? ›

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.

How long does the Hue switch last? ›

The Philips Hue dimmer switch is common in many smart homes because it allows users to control their smart lights with it conveniently. This battery-powered device uses the 3V CR2450 that is built to last an average of 3 years.

Is Ikea compatible with Hue? ›

Read about IKEA smart lighting and other brands

Also, since the IKEA smart lighting products use the ZigBee Light Link protocol, they are compatible with other ZigBee certified products. Philips Hue Bridge is also supported, provided you have a TRÅDFRI Gateway.

Can I have multiple dimmer switches with Philips Hue? ›

Yes, you absolutely can! We did this same setup with one remote being at the front of the house and one in the actual room where the lights are. Note, you must pair the remotes and the light bulb together.

How many lights can Hue dimmer switch? ›

Connect up to 10 smart lights

With the Philips Hue wireless dimmer switch, you can connect up to 10 lights to control simultaneously from a single dimmer switch.

Do Hue lights increase electric bill? ›

The short answer to that question is, “Yes, they do.” However, it's important to understand the context. Smart lights are “vampire devices”, which means they use electricity even when they're turned off or in standby mode.

Is Philips Hue future proof? ›

A key benefit of Philips Hue is future-proof and always up to date.

Why is Philips Hue the best? ›

Philips Hue commands a premium for its smart lights for a good reason: Hue devices consistently produce strikingly high-quality light across a spectrum of genuinely pleasing colors, while cheaper alternatives often do not. Thankfully, however, you don't have to sacrifice smart lighting quality just to save on cost.

Is Hue worth the money? ›

Is Philips Hue worth it? Yes. It's not the cheapest smart lighting solution, but as someone who's been reviewing the best smart bulbs for many years now, I think it's the best smart lighting system you can buy.

Where is the cheapest place to buy Philips Hue? ›

Amazon is already one of the cheapest places to buy Philips Hue lights. However, the Amazon Warehouse can have some truly great deals. If you don't know, Amazon Warehouse is where Amazon sells items that are either pre-owned or open-box products at discounted prices.

Which Hue is the brightest? ›

What is the brightest smart bulb? If you're lighting a large, functional space — a kitchen or garage, for example — choose a bulb with a brightness higher than 800 lumens, such as the Philips Hue White A21 bulb. Our brightest smart bulb yet, it offers up to 1600 lumens and is equivalent to a 100 W incandescent bulb.

What is the best smart switch to use? ›

Here are the best smart switches.
  • Best Overall: Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Dimmer Starter Kit at Amazon. ...
  • Best Budget: Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch, Dimmer at Amazon. ...
  • Best Compatibility: Meross Smart Wi-Fi Wall Switch at Amazon. ...
  • Best 3-Way Switch: ...
  • Best Motion Sensor: ...
  • Best with a Display: ...
  • Best Z-Wave: ...
  • Best No Neutral:
20 Jul 2022

Do smart switches waste electricity? ›

However, it is crucial to recognize that smart switches will use more energy than a standard switch. In general, smart switches with Wi-Fi controls will use two watts of power while idling, while a ZigBee or Z-Wave switch will use about 0.5 watts at idle. Energy savings does tie directly into user behavior.

What are the most reliable smart switches? ›

The best smart light switches you can buy today
  1. Leviton Decora Smart WiFi Motion sensing Dimmer. ...
  2. GE Cync Smart Switch Motion Sensing Dimmer. ...
  3. Brilliant Control Panel. ...
  4. Lutron Caseta Smart Home Dimmer. ...
  5. Lutron Aurora. ...
  6. Philips Hue Dimmer. ...
  7. LeGrand Smart Dimmer Switch. ...
  8. Jasco Enbrighten Z-Wave No Neutral Smart Dimmer.
1 Nov 2022

Does Philips Hue use WiFi or Bluetooth? ›

You can control Philips Hue lights with a bridge via WiFi, or via Bluetooth without a bridge. Every Hue light works both ways, except for the outdoor lighting. With a bridge, you have extra functions. Setting fixed routines and having the lights dance along to your Spotify playlist, for example.

Can I use Philips Hue smart button without bridge? ›

There are two ways to connect a Hue smart button to your system: with a Hue Bridge or with Bluetooth.

Can I use Philips Hue without router? ›

There are two possible ways to connect your Philips Hue Bridge without a router. One way is to enable WiFi manually by opening up the device and manipulating the hidden WiFi radio inside. The other method is to buy a Wireless Access Point and then using this device to connect to your hotspot.

What are the disadvantages of smart lighting? ›

The biggest disadvantage of smart light bulbs is that they're much more expensive than regular lightbulbs. As of this writing, a standard incandescent bulb costs about a dollar, while a non-smart LED light bulb costs around $5. A smart bulb costs around $15 each, and that's not counting additional hub expenses.

Do you need an electrician to install smart switch? ›

Do I need an electrician to install a smart light switch? No, you do not need an electrician to install a smart light switch.

Can smart lights be hacked? ›

Can Smart Bulbs Access Data On Your Computer? Just because your computer is connected to your Wi-Fi network, that doesn't mean your smart lights have access to it on the same shared network. No hacker can directly access your PC or laptop via your smart bulbs.

What is the difference between a switch and a smart switch? ›

In general, managed switches are capable of comprehensive network management and monitoring, support QoS, Web GUI, VLAN, etc. On the contrary, unmanaged switches offer no management capability at all and are very cheap. Smart switches fill a middle ground.

Do smart switches need Wi-Fi? ›

Smart light switches will continue to work even if the Wi-Fi goes out. They will lose most of their smart features, but they'll still function as old-fashioned light switches without an internet connection.

Why do I need a smart switch? ›

Smart switches allow you to control lights anywhere in your house with a single tap on your smartphone, so you do not need to get up and search for light switches. Smart switches help you save energy by turning off lights when you're not around and by adjusting settings in a way that minimizes electricity use.

How many hue Bridges does a house have? ›

Multiple bridges package is unlimited. Perhaps you have more than 5 bridges. No problem! As long as your phone can handle it, feel free to add more and more.

How far can a Hue light be from the bridge? ›

Place the first Hue outdoor light within 10 metres of your Hue Bridge or a maximum of 10 metres from the last power point in your house. Make sure there are no metal objects between the Bridge or power point and your outdoor lighting. The maximum distance between each Hue outdoor light is 20 metres.

Can you have two Hue hubs one house? ›

Previously, users with more than 50 Hue devices–and thus, more than one Hue Bridge–had to create separate Hue accounts to control their lights when they were away. Now, Hue users with more than one bridge at home no longer need to juggle accounts when trying to control their lights while they're out and about.

How much power does Philips Hue use when off? ›

When you turn off the smart bulb, the power draw is very low. Again, it is based on the type of bulb as well as the manufacturer's brand. It will only be a few cents per bulb in a month. Philips Hue can draw a maximum of 0.3 watts which will cost 1.6 cents a month.

How many hours gameplay is Hue? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, HUE is about 4½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 6½ Hours to obtain 100% completion.

How long do Hue switch batteries last? ›

Battery? No worries! Compared to the Tap controller/switch, you're probably wondering why this switch requires batteries. Not to worry, one battery will last at least 3 years before it needs replacing.

What brands works with Philips Hue? ›

Other brands of smart lighting can also be connected to the Hue Bridge and controlled by Hue controllers—which can save you money and provide more options in terms of lighting.
...
Some of the more popular ones include:
  • Cree Connected.
  • ERIA.
  • GE Link.
  • GLEDOPTO.
  • Innr Zigbee Smart Bulb.
11 Mar 2022

Do Zigbee switches work with Hue? ›

The Lightbee Zigbee Switch is compatible with Philips Hue products and other smart devices through the Zigbee standard. You can customize the buttons on the compact gadget to suit your needs. Light Solutions has unveiled the Lightbee Zigbee Switch.

Can you use Zigbee with Hue? ›

Innr Smart Zigbee bulbs are highly adaptable: they connect seamlessly with Philips Hue. Learn how you can pair your Innr Zigbee bulbs with your Hue bridge.

Can I use a regular dimmer with Philips Hue? ›

With a Hue Bridge: Open the Hue app and navigate to Settings > Accessory setup and tap on Add accessory. Follow the on-screen instructions to put your Dimmer switch into pairing mode and connect it to your existing Hue smart lighting system.

Does Philips Hue work with regular switches? ›

Installed behind light switches, the Philips Hue wall switch module lets you use existing switches with your Philips Hue smart lights. Your lights always stay powered on and reachable – and you can even use the switch to set multiple scenes on an individual light or in a Room or Zone.

Does Philips Hue work with regular dimmer switch? ›

A: No, they will not work properly with dimmer. You need to remove your dimmer and install regular on/off light switch.

How many Hue lights can I connect without bridge? ›

This does come with limitations, though: you can only connect up to 10 bulbs, there's no remote control once you leave the house and third-party app integrations aren't supported.

Do Hue lights work on a 3 way switch? ›

These will work with 3-way bulbs BUT only at whatever 'brightness' the bulb is set at. The Hue app will not change the brightness setting; it will only turn the light fixture on and off.

How long will Hue last? ›

With an average lifespan of 25,000 hours, a Philips Hue light bulb will not need replacing anywhere near as often. Exactly how often you will need to change a Hue light bulb depends on how many hours a day it is used — but it can last up to 25 years.

Which bulbs are being phased out? ›

The EU is not only phasing out CFL bulbs from 1 September 2021, the regulation also applies to three other light sources: R7s halogen bulbs with a luminosity over 2,700 lm (in about 140 W). Low-voltage halogen bulbs: GU4, GU5. 3 and G53 with reflector and a beam angle of more than 10 degrees.

What lightbulbs are being discontinued? ›

The end of an era is coming for incandescent light bulbs. The Department of Energy put two new rules on the books this week banning the production of these energy-sucking light sources in 2023, at which time manufacturers will be able to sell only energy-efficient light bulbs.

Do Hue lights run up the electric bill? ›

The Philips Hue draws between 0 and 0.3 watts which, based on paying a little above average at 15 cents per kilowatt, this will cost you 1.6 cents per month.

Does Philips Hue use a lot of electricity? ›

Philips Hue has a wide range of lighting products powered with efficient LED technology that saves up to 80% of the energy compared to incandescent lighting when used at full light output.

Why are CFL bulbs banned? ›

CFLs use high levels of mercury, and exposure to mercury vapor is dangerous if the bulbs are broken.” Now, the ban is fully in place, and the replacement turns out to be not the expected CFLs, but light emitting diodes, LEDs.

What will replace LED bulbs? ›

A laser diode has a number of important benefits. In the first place, laser diodes are considerably smaller than their LED counterparts. The fact that a laser diode can produce up to 1,000 times as much light for only 2/3 of the energy means that it is even possible to light a complete house using only one laser diode.

Why are light bulbs banned? ›

As part of a nationwide push towards energy efficiency, federally mandated requirements state that lights must now produce more light energy than they use, or at least 45 lumens per watt. Halogen and incandescent bulbs pass an electrical current through a tungsten filament to produce light.

Can Philips Hue be hacked? ›

Attention Philips Hue device owners: You need to update the Philips Hue Bridge's software, because hackers could exploit Philips Hue smart light bulbs to get into your home network via the bridge.

Why are some lightbulbs banned in California? ›

General service lamps (GSLs) that do not meet a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt (LPW) are no longer for sale in California. In May 2022, the federal government adopted regulations on GSLs that mirror California's, so most GSLs will no longer be for sale in the United States.

Why don't they make light bulbs that last forever? ›

When the bulb is active, the current running through it is equal, but the filament thickness is not. This causes the thinner parts to burn hotter, and hotter, accelerating the evaporation of tungsten over time. The problem is also compounded by the act of turning the bulb on and off continuously.

Are old light bulbs banned? ›

You can buy incandescent and halogen products until August 1, 2023 (unless you're in a state with current restrictions). After that, some incandescent and halogen bulbs will still available for purchase. The new federal ruling requires general service lamps (GSLs) to meet a minimum efficacy of 45 lumens per watt.

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