LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 — What’s the Difference?

LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3

The LIFX Mini and Philips Hue represent two different smart lighting solutions that can add a splash of color to your home. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options, and each are part of a larger ecosystem that can collectively add something unique and special to your home.

Is it worth splurging for the more expensive Philips Hue Gen 3? Or will the LIFX Mini take the cake with more affordable pricing and easier setup? Let’s dig into the details by comparing the LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 so you can get a better idea of which bulbs will be the better fit for you and your home.

LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 — Things in Common

  • Light Bulbs Options – Both the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 offer three different types of light bulbs.

    The LIFX product family features the LIFX Mini Color, as well as the LIFX Day & Dusk and the LIFX White bulbs. The combination of these three bulbs should give you ample options when it comes to customizing your smart lighting setup just the way you want.

    The Philips Hue lighting line has been around for quite a while, and we’ve seen three generations of the bulbs thus far. However, within those three generations are three different types of light: White and Color Ambiance, White Ambiance, and White.

    Ultimately, while the three types of bulbs in each brand are named differently, they sort of accomplish the same things across the entire product family: A plain white light, a more ambient sort of lighting, and a bulb with access to tons of cool colors.

  • LIFX MiniLIFX Day & DuskLIFX White
    16 Million ColorsYes
    Adjustable WhitesYesYes
    Day & Dusk AutomationYesYes
    Color Temperature2500-9000K1500-4000K2700K
    Brightness800 Lm.800 Lm.800 Lm.
    App & Cloud ControlYesYesYes
    Leading Voice ControlYesYesYes
  • App Control – Both of the two brands have their own dedicated smartphone app, and this is the primary way in which you’ll control the settings on either device. Regardless of your bulb choice, you’ll control the entire ecosystem of either brand through this one central app.

    From these bulbs to accessories like the Philips Hue Lightstrip or the LIFX Tile, you’ll be able to adjust settings like lighting level and color from one convenient location. Additionally, remote access allows you to control your lighting levels from wherever you have an internet connection — whether that’s from the couch or from the other side of the country.

  • Works with Existing Switch – Both the LIFX Mini and the Philips Hue Gen 3 work with existing switches, although they do differ in how they interact with your existing default lighting.

    The LIFX lighting does not need an internet connection to function, and will work like a normal light if you turn them on or off at the switch. However, to control lighting and other smart features, you’ll need to be online.

    The Philips Hue bulbs require that you always have your existing switches in the “on” position, as this is the way that your smart lighting gets its power. Control of the bulb settings themselves comes from within the app as discussed above. If you lose power or you turn the switch off, the Hue bulbs will return to their default setting which is a bright white glow.

  • Voice Assistants – Regardless of your choice in brand, you’ll be able to control your smart lighting with a variety of voice assistants. Both the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 work with all major voice assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana. This makes them easy to integrate into an existing smart home setup and get everything running smoothly with hands-free operation.

  • LED Life-Span – Both bulbs have a very long LED lifespan, which is 22.8 years based off of three hours of use each day. Chances are that you’ll be using your bulbs more often than that if they are part of your main lighting system, so a more useful metric to consider is that the bulbs from either product family will generally work for around 25,000 hours — as is standard for most LEDs.

  • Dimensions – In terms of sizing, both the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 are pretty small. This smaller profile allows them to fit more lamps without peeking over the top, which means you should be able to fit the bulb into pretty much any socket you’d like. This is a unique advantage that these solutions have over bigger alternatives, and they still manage to pack in a good amount of brightness despite the small size.


LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 — Differences

Philips Hue - Extra - 02

  • Difference #1: Brightness – One of the most obvious differences between the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 is the brightness. The Philips Hue Gen 3 actually has a higher number of lumens at 806 compared to the LIFX Mini’s 800. What makes a bigger difference, however, is the fact that the LIFX color temperature ranges from 2500–9000K vs. the Philips Hue’s 2000–6500K. All in all, you’ll notice a slightly brighter glow from the LIFX Mini vs. the Philips Hue Gen 3 — despite the fact that the Philips bulb has a slightly higher lumen rating.

  • Difference #2: Technology & Hub – Another significant difference between the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 is the fact that the LIFX uses a WiFi connection and can connect directly to your router. The Philips bulbs, on the other hand, use ZigBee technology to communicate and require a Philips Hue Bridge to connect to the internet.

    It may seem at first glance that LIFX has the clear advantage in this category, but the ZigBee technology of the Philips Hue bulbs is actually faster and runs with less interference. It’s definitely a little less convenient to have to use a hub rather than just connecting your bulbs to the internet directly, but the Zigbee frequency is a common and capable technology that has been used with great success with a number of smart products and controllers.

    With whatever product family you happen to choose, you will be able to control your bulbs via the app over an internet connection. In day-to-day use, the hub doesn’t make a huge difference outside of the additional entertainment features we discuss below. It just adds another piece of equipment you have to consider when setting up your smart lighting.

  • Difference #3: Beam Angle – While brightness is perhaps the biggest consideration to keep in mind when trying to figure out how many bulbs you need for your home, Beam angle is another metric that can drastically alter how effective your bulbs are at filling a room with light. The 250 beam angle of the LIFX Mini is wider than normal and spreads the light out over a bigger distance — potentially reducing the number of bulbs you’ll need to buy. The 160 degree A19 bulbs of the Philips Hue Gen 3 just can’t compete.

  • Difference #4: Entertainment – As mentioned above, the Philips Hue bulbs need a hub in order to function. This is an extra piece of equipment to worry about, but having access to the hub opens up cool functionalities like Philips Hue Entertainment — controlled through the Hue Sync App. Using this nifty application, you can do things like set your lighting to adjust dynamically to your favorite movie or game. While this feature might not add any practical convenience, part of the fun of having a bulb with access to 16 million colors is experimenting and having fun — and Philips Hue Entertainment is a great way to do that.

    Unfortunately, LIFX doesn’t have a native app for entertainment, however there are third party apps that allow for the similar integration as Philips Hue Sync App.

  • Difference #5: Fitting – The last thing you want when you purchase a brand new smart light bulb is to find that it doesn’t work with your existing sockets. There are some differences between the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 in terms of fitting that are important to keep in mind when making your purchasing decision. The LIFX works with E26, E27 Screw or B22 Bayonet fittings, while the Philips Hue Gen 3 is compatible with E26, E12, BR30, GU10, and PAR16.

  • Difference #6: Outside Use – Sometimes it’s nice to take your 16 million colors outside, and you can use LIFX bulbs in outdoor areas that are not exposed directly to water. This also means that they are perfect for use in humid areas around the house such as the bathroom. The Philips Hue needs to be kept dry at all times, so it isn’t a good fit for your patio or bathroom. If you decide on Hue bulbs and would like to expand your lighting to the outdoors, there are a few different light bulbs designed for outside use, as well as a great line of outdoor lighting such as the Calla, Ludere, Lucca, and Inara fixtures.

  • Difference #7: Warranty – While the LIFX Mini has a lot of advantages, one area in which it does fall behind the Philips is in its warranty. Both bulbs are covered for a reasonable length of time, but the 3 year warranty on the Philips Hue definitely outclasses the 2 years of coverage you’ll get with the Philips light. This may not be important enough to swing the decision one way or another on its own, but it’s nice to know that your Philips Hue light bulbs are backed for a significant length of time — especially considering how expensive it can be to outfit a bunch of sockets.

  • Difference #8: Price — Speaking of price, there’s definitely a difference in cost when comparing the Philips Hue Gen 3 and the LIFX Mini. The LIFX bulbs are a less expensive investment, mainly because they don’t require a hub like the Philips bulbs do. Even without taking the bridge into account, however, the LIFX Mini is a less expensive product. This may not make a huge difference when buying a bulb or two, but when you’re outfitting your whole house with smart lighting, the savings can be significant if you opt for LIFX.


LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 — Comparison Chart

LIFX MiniPhilips Hue Gen 3
Lumens800 Lm.806 Lm.
Color Temperature2500K-9000K2000K-6500K
Colour Range16 million colors16 million colors
Dimming1% — 100%N/A
TechnologyWiFiZigbee
Requires a HubNoYes
Wi-Fi Router Requirement2.4Ghz 802.11b/g/nEthernet Port for Hue Bridge
AppiOS 9+, Android 4.1+, Windows 10iOS, Android
Apple HomeKitYesYes
Amazon AlexaYesYes
Google AssistantYesYes
Microsoft CortanaYesYes
Full Brightness9 Watts10 Watts
LED Life-Span22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)
Bulb TypesE26, E27 Screw or B22 BayonetE26, E12, BR30, GU10, PAR16
Beam Angle250 degrees160 degrees (A19)
SecurityWPA/WPA2N/A
Water ResistantNoNo
Outside UseYesNo
Product Dimensions LxWxH2.36 x 2.36 x 4.13 in2.4 x 4.3 in
Weight0.31 lbsN/A
Warranty2 years3 years

LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 — Integration

LIFXZ - Extra - 01

As mentioned above, both the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 work with all the major voice controllers. The also interface with a number of other smart home products that should make it easy to integrate your new smart lighting with your existing setup or kickstart expansion into a more connected home.

For the Philips bulbs, you’ll enjoy seamless integration with products from major manufacturers like Nest, Logitech, and Razer that give you access to everything from thermostat control and security systems to media remotes and gaming peripherals. Additionally, smart home control systems like Xfinity Home, Vivint, and SmartThings make it easy to keep everything interconnected.

The LIFX Mini has similar compatibility, with support for Xfinity, Logitech, Nest, SmartThings, and Flic.

Both the LIFX Mini and Philips also support IFTTT, which makes it easy to set up your own “recipes” for cooperation between your various smart products. Turn on your lights at sunset, flash your lights when your favorite team scores in the big game, or even flash the lights when someone rings your doorbell. The IFTTT compatibility offers near endless possibilities to tweak your smart lighting and customize to perfectly suit your needs.


LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 — Accessories

LIFX Tile

Both the LIFX Mini and Philips Hue Gen 3 are part of a larger smart lighting ecosystem, and both are easy to expand with additional products.

Expand the LIFX bulbs with other types of lighting solutions such as the LIFX Z Light Strip. Or really kick things up a notch by buying the all new LIFX Beam or LIFX Tile.

The Philips lighting system can also be expanded with the Philips Hue Light Strip, or a lamp such as the Go, Bloom, or Beyond. The lamps are especially good for general well being, as they provide an ambient light that is perfect for activities like meditation.


LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 — Our Thoughts

LIFX Mini - Extra - 03

In our opinion, the best bet when comparing the LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3 is the LIFX bulb. The lighting is brighter overall, and you can save money by skipping out on purchasing a hub. They’re also easily expandable into other LIFX products, such as the LIFX Tile that add a cool aesthetic and color ambiance to pretty much any room. While most smart lighting families have options like light bulbs and light strips, the LIFX Tile is a much more unique product that can add something truly special to your home.

However, the Philips Hue also has its own benefits — specifically in the form of the Entertainment feature. If you’re mainly looking for fun color control and entertainment, you may be better off with that option.

At the end of the day, either bulb will add convenience and fun to your home lighting. We do, however, have to give the LIFX Mini the edge.

Our Score:
  • LIFX Mini
  • Philips Hue Gen 3
4.9

Let us know what you think!

Have you noticed other differences between LIFX Mini vs. Philips Hue Gen 3? Feel free to add them or share your experience with the products in the comments section below. Your input can help other people make the right choice!


Last update on 2018-12-13 at 20:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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