Looking for advice on how to use Philips Hue with Alexa? You'll be pleased to know that smart lighting is one of the most satisfying and easy to implement smart home gadgets to install in your home. So, our step-by-step instructions shouldn't cause you too much distress.
Philips Hue is one of the market leading systems you can use for smart lighting, while Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant – the one you’ll find in Amazon Echo and some other third-party speakers – makes it possible to control the brightness and colour of your lighting all around your home using your voice.
Below TechRadar's James Peckham talks you through what you need to install Philips Hue lighting in your home, how to control it and what you else you can do when you’ve paired your lights with Amazon Alexa.
Want to see how Philips Hue compares to other smart bulbs models? Browse our pick of the best smart lightbulbs for more smart lighting buys. Looking for more smart home tech advice, inspiration and unbiased reviews? Head over to The Hub, our home page for all things technology.
- Want to know our thoughts on Alexa? Read our Amazon Alexa review
What is Philips Hue and how does it work?
Philips has a range of lighting products under the Philips Hue banner, all of which can be controlled through an app on your phone or with your voice through a smart speaker. When set up, correctly, it's possible to:
- Change the colour of your lighting to suit your mood
- Adjust brightness throughout the day
- Turn your lights on and off from your smartphone
It's worth noting that the Philips Hue range is now quite expansive, and while you won’t need to buy specific fittings to be able to use it, there are a variety of bulb types available to suit ceiling sockets, freestanding lamps and more, so it's worth taking the time to choose the correct variety to suit your needs.
You can pick and choose the products you want to add to your Philips Hue lighting collection, but what you’ll need to get started is a product called the Hue Bridge.
This is the hub for the whole lighting system – it can be bought separately or if you decide to buy a Philips Hue Starter Kit, you’ll get one alongside your first selection of bulbs. You’ll have to think about what areas in your home you want to have smart lighting and what type of lighting you’ll want.
Need a smart speaker to help you get started? Browse our pick of the best smart speakers. Don't miss our reviews of these other Philips smart lighting buys:
How to set up Philips Hue with Amazon Alexa
While all major smart speakers support Philips Hue, this guide focuses on how the smart lighting system works with Alexa. Find out how to use Philips Hue with Google Assistant in our separate guide. Follow our handy step-by-step instructions to ensure you get it right, first time:
1. You’ll need to grab your phone or tablet and check they have Android 5 or iOS 9 software onboard. This can usually be found in your devices settings.
2. Open up the Amazon Alexa app. We expect you’ve already used it to set up your smart speaker.
3. Position yourself close to your smart speaker.
4. When you've opened the Amazon Alexa app on your phone, you’ll be able to open the main menu by pressing the three horizontal lines in the top left corner.
5. You’ll then find a section called ‘Skills’. These are the apps you can use your Amazon Alexa with, and in here you’ll want to search for the word ‘Hue’.
6. Once you’ve found it, you’ll find a button called Enable that’s in blue at the top. You’ll want to tap on this.
7. Add your details for your My Hue account, or setup an account from this section. While you may be tempted to skip this sign up, its essential to registering and controlling your smart lighting.
8. Once you’ve signed up, head back to the Amazon Alexa app where you’ll be asked to sign in. You’ve now enabled the skill and connected your accounts.
9. Once all your smart lighting is set up in your home, you’ll be able to use Alexa to control it.
How to set up Philips Hue 'skills' with Amazon Alexa
Once you've set up your Philips Hue lights – using the instructions on the box – and connected your Philips Hue with Amazon Alexa as instructed above, you can start thinking about exploring the different features available. Here are some of our favourites:
Turning your lights on and off
As with most Alexa skills, you just have to say 'Alexa,' to wake your smart speaker. From there, you can then ask a request, and we’d say the first one you should try is 'Alexa, turn on my lights'.
That’ll turn on all the lights in your home to full power. Depending on whether you have white or colour bulbs, you’ll be able to change a variety of different settings.
Experiment with different colours
Some bulbs from Philips are just for white lighting, but others have over 30 million colours, meaning you can set the lighting to a variety of different shades. If you ask it to go red, it’ll be able to do that but you can also set up your favourite colours in the app, too.
As much as it’s useful to say 'turn my lights to blue', you won’t always get the perfect shade the first time. We find it useful to set up colours within the Philips Hue app, and then you can ask Alexa to turn your lights to that colour.
For example, name it 'evening living room lighting' and that’s all you’ll have to ask Alexa for when you want that exact set-up again.
Set up rooms
When you’re first setting up your Philips Hue lighting, you’ll be able to create 'rooms,' which are essentially zones within your homes.
This is particularly useful, as you won't have to control specific devices. Instead, if you’ve got two or more lights set up in one room they can be adjusted with one, simple voice command. For example, 'Alexa, turn bedroom lights to 25 per cent.'
Change the tone of your lighting
One tip we have when you’re changing the tone of your lighting is to refer to it as either warmer or cooler. Alexa understands that language best when you’re trying to get a more relaxing shade of light in your home.
Philips Hue lighting already works fantastically well with Alexa, and the two companies are constantly improving the service so you can expect to discover more and more features in the future too, with extra updates landing all the time.