Philips Hue Bridge FAQ: What features to expect from the HomeKit-enabled hub

Philips Hue is one of our favorite smart home brands here at 9to5toys, though there’s often times some confusion from new or potential adopters as to how the ecosystem works. The biggest source of this is the Philips Hue Bridge, which arrives as an extra piece of hardware in addition to the lights, sensors, and switches that the company makes. So how does it all work? We break it down after the jump.

Philips Hue Bridge: Everything you need to know

The most recent Philips Hue Bridge was first released back in 2015 and arrives as the second-generation version of the accessory. Alongside a tweaked design, the V2 release brought with it support for Apple HomeKit for the first time. It originally launched with a $60 price tag, though Amazon and other retailers often times have sales on the hub by itself and in bundles with various lights and accessories.

A more affordable way to try and pick up one of the V2 Philips Hue hubs would be to check eBay. Those already in the Philips Hue ecosystem often times will purchase starter kits and then sell off the completely new, duplicate hubs in order to make back some of the cash. Pricing is far below the $60 retail and serves as a great way to score an otherwise new hub for far less than retail.

Buy the Philips Hue HomeKit Bridge

How does the Philips Hue Bridge work?

The bridge is an extra accessory in addition to the brand’s light bulbs and sensors that ties the entire network together. It relies on the Zigbee Light Link standard in order to talk with lights, and plugs into your home network over Ethernet. Lights are then paired right to the hub in order to keep your Wi-Fi free of extra traffic.

Do you need a Philips Hue Bridge?

It depends on which light bulbs you have. Most of the newer Philips Hue releases work over Zigbee and Bluetooth, and so adding the hub is optional for taking advantage of extra features. Though if you’re looking to use an older light that doesn’t support Bluetooth out of the box, you’ll need the Hue Bridge in order to sync the accessory with the rest of your smart home.

What features does a hub enable?

On top of enabling Zigbee-only accessories, the Philips Hue Bridge also allows you to control accessories away from your home Wi-Fi, set automations, configure schedules, and more.

Which voice assistants will a Philips Hue hub work with?

All three of the big voice assistants are currently compatible with the Philips Hue Bridge. Adding the accessory to your smart home will allow you to control lights with Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Is the Philips Hue Bridge V2 compatible with HomeKit?

Yes! Adding a Philips Hue Bridge to your smart home will allow the lights to sync with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.

What kinds of accessories work with the Philips Hue hub?

Everything from smart light bulbs and standalone lamps to motion sensors, light switches, and other remotes are compatible with the Philips Hue Bridge.

How many lights and accessories can the Philips Hue Bridge support?

Each Philips Hue Bridge can support any combination of 50 lights and accessories. You can add a second hub to the app once you hit that threshold, though automations, scenes, and room setting only sync across each hub.

Does the Philips Hue hub work with other lights?

Yes, but you’ll have to make sure it’s from a compatible brand. Accessories from companies like Cree, GE Link, Ikea TRÅDFRI, Sonoof, and Icasa are all supported, alongside any other light that uses the Zigbee Light Link standard.

You can learn more about Philips Hue in our guide, which covers all of the best deals on lights and accessories on top of new releases and news.

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