Smart Plugs That Work With Philips Hue

Smart plugs go into a wall outlet and devices are plugged into them, and you can then turn the plugged-in device on or off.

Philips Hue, on the other hand, is a brand of smart lighting products.

They seem like they are completely different, so why are so many people interested in whether a smart plug is compatible with Hue or not?

There’s a range of choice of Hue-compatible smart plugs out there, from the Innr Zigbee Plug to Hue’s own brand one. They connect to standard (‘dumb’) plug-in lamps and allow you to import them into the Hue app for smart automation, with some caveats.

Recap: Smart Plugs And Philips Hue

Before I dive into this article and explain why it’s worth buying Hue-compatible smart plugs, I wanted to briefly back-up recap what these two products do.

The boxes for the Philips Hue B22 Starter Kit and the Philips Hue White Ambiance E14 bulbs, both of which say "ZigBee Certified product" on their side.
Two Philips Hue products: a starter
kit and a candle (E14) bulb.

Instead of plugging an electrical device straight into your wall outlet, you can instead plug a smart plug into the outlet – and then plug your device into this. You can then download the smart plug’s app, and turn the device on/off wherever you are. This is useful for turning a slow cooker on in work, disabling the internet (by turning the router off) at meal times, and a whole lot more. You can also usually integrate the smart plug into Alexa or Google Assistant routines, allowing you to start automating your smart home.

Philips Hue is a range of smart lighting owned by Signify (previously owned by Philips Lighting). They sell dozens of different lights and bulbs, and some pump out just white light, whilst others can produce 16 million different colors. You can control your Hue lights in the Hue app, along with via Alexa and Google Assistant integration. You can also setup light routines (where groups of lights will change color/turn on/dim at the same time), along with adding third party features via the Hue Labs which can sync up with music, simulate Star Wars battles, and a whole lot more.

Why To Buy Hue-Compatible Smart Plugs

Since they’re fairly different products, the inevitable question is why would people want to buy smart plugs that can sync up with Hue’s system? Well, the answer is that Hue bulbs aren’t cheap, and sometimes you won’t want to change an existing dumb light (i.e. one that isn’t smart) to be a Hue light.

Heck, whilst Hue has a wide range of bulb types for sale, they might not even produce a bulb for some of your lights. This can especially be true of older table, side and floor lamps.

A side light/lamp in my master bedroom, which takes an E14 and has a switch on the side to turn it on and off.
A side lamp.

This could mean that most of your house has smart lighting, but a few plug-in lamps aren’t smart. This is inconvenient because you can’t then setup light routines which control an entire room or your whole house, because those darned dumb lamps will still be on (or off) irrespective of your smart light routines.

The solution is therefore to purchase a smart plug that ‘speaks the same language’ as your Hue Bridge. By this, I mean that most smart plugs work by ‘speaking’ over WiFi (i.e. they connect to your router wirelessly). Some smart plugs ‘speak’ Bluetooth instead.

But your Hue Bridge ‘speaks’ ZigBee, a less well-known smart home protocol, but one which is perfect for how Hue bulbs work. In other words, if you find a smart plug that also ‘speaks’ ZigBee, you can integrate this with your Hue Bridge and allow the plugged-in device (such as your floor lamp) to also be controlled via Hue. This means the lamp can be turned on/off as part of your whole-room or whole-house smart lighting routines.

Or to put it another way: you can turn your dumb lights into smart lights (kinda), but at a lower cost compared to buying all-Hue bulbs! Noice.

What You Need For Smart Plugs To Support Hue

I touch on this in the above section, but to the gist is that you need a Hue Bridge (not ‘Hue Bluetooth’ lights without a Bridge), and a smart plug which is ZigBee/Hue compatible.

Two years ago this situation would have been fairly easy: all Hue bulbs required the Hue bridge. But now Hue have released a range of Hue bulbs that support Bluetooth, meaning that you no longer need the Hue Bridge to get started with smart lighting (the bulbs can instead interact with your phone and hence Alexa/Google Assistant over Bluetooth).

However if you’re interested in making your dumb lights smart (via smart plugs), though, then you will need the Hue Bridge. You can get this by itself for around $50, but there’s various starter kits which come with the Hue Bridge and 1-4 bulbs that work out cheaper than buying the individual components – so it could be worth getting the Bridge via this route.

Next up, you need to make sure that the smart plug you buy supports Hue. This should be fairly clear: the product information will either say that it’s “Hue Compatible”, or it’ll say it supports “ZigBee”.

Check the end of this article for a full list of these products. But in short, a ‘Hue Compatible’ or ‘ZigBee’ smart plug should mean that you can import the smart plug (with the plugged-in lamp) into your Hue app, and start automating your dumb lights.

Using Dumb Lights Within Smart Light Routines

Once you have purchased a Hue compatible smart plug, you can go to the Hue app and search for the new device via Settings -> Light Setup -> Add light:

Screenshot from the Hue app's "Add light" screen, showing that smart plugs are supported.
The Hue app’s “Add light” screen shows that smart plugs are supported.

The description does actually mention smart plugs too (albeit Hue’s own one, for obvious reasons), showing that this is a perfectly supported method.

Once it’s added, you can name your new light however you’d like. In the below case, I’m calling my discovered smart plug as “Office type room bulb”, and then I’ve assigned this to a room (Study):

Hue app screenshot showing a smart plug device named as "Office type room bulb".
My new smart plug device, imported into the Hue app and named ‘Office type room bulb’.

Now I can go into Philips Hue and setup a routine, including this room/smart plug as though it’s any other room/smart bulb:

Screenshot from the Hue app showing that 'lights' from smart plugs can be added to routines as normal.
Adding a Hue routine allows you to choose any light/device (via a room), irrespective of whether it’s a smart bulb or smart plug.

This is a really nice way of making your existing dumb lighting system smart, albeit there are some limitations as I’ll look at below.

Limitations Of Hue-Compliant Smart Plugs

In general, Hue/Zigbee-supporting smart plugs work quite well for general routines. However smart plugs usually don’t support dimming, even if the bulb plugged into the lamp does support dimming.

This is because many smart plugs only have one state (on or off). They don’t support voltage fluctuations, which is how light dimming works.

What this means is that if you have a fancy dimmable lamp, when you plug this into a smart plug and import it into Hue, you often won’t be able to dim the lamp with any automation (i.e. light routines) that you setup.

Note: While most smarts plug do not support dimming, there are a small number of ‘inline smart plugs’ that allow you to dim a plugged-in lamp. Samotech, Treatlife and MOES all sell dimming-compatible smart plugs. These aren’t as common as ‘normal’ smart plugs, but you can sometimes find them.

Other Hubs That Support Smart (Zigbee) Plugs

If you look at the marketing of a Zigbee smart plug, they usually list other hubs that they work with: usually the SmartThings Hub and Amazon’s latest Echo devices.

This is because both of these smart hubs also support ZigBee. Some people don’t realise this about the Echo Plus, thinking that it’s just a standard voice assistant – but it contains a ZigBee chip, meaning that you can connect your Hue bulbs and smart plugs to your Echo Plus (or SmartThings hub) instead.

This therefore means that you don’t actually need the Hue Bridge if you have Zigbee-compliant bulbs and a Zigbee-compliant smart plug. However if you do have Hue bulbs, you will lose some functionality by skipping the Hue Bridge and connecting them straight to a compatible Echo or SmartThings Hub.

Recommended Smart Plugs That Support Philips Hue

Philips Hue smart plug box - front view
Philips Hue smart plug box – front view

Assuming you’re now sold on the idea of making your dumb lamps (and other plug-in lights) smart by using a Zigbee/Hue compliant smart plug, what options are available to you? Well a quick search on Amazon for “Zigbee smart plug” and “Hue smart plug” turned up the following results:

  • The Innr Zigbee Smart Plug 2-pack for $34.99. This is one of the best sellers in this field, and it currently has 4.6/5 stars across 406 ratings.
  • HIBRO’s Zigbee Smart Plug Outlet is $14.88 (hence under $30 for 2, cheaper than Innr) and whilst it’s rated slightly worse at 4.2/5, it still has pretty good reviews and works well with the Hue ecosystem overall.
  • Philips Hue’s official smart plug isn’t cheap at $29.99, but it’s a solid product with 4.7/5. Even though it’s a Hue product, it still can’t make lamps dim – even if the lamp contains a Hue bulb. This is entirely expected, but it’s worth flagging up in-case you thought the price premium bought extra features.
  • Finally, SYLVANIA’s SMART+ ZigBee plug is $18.93 and has a 4.3/5 rating.

To be honest, as long as a product hasn’t got terrible reviews, there’s no real difference between any of these. You just want a Zigbee-compatible smart plug, and it should import into the Hue app just fine. I don’t personally see any reason to pay a premium and get Hue’s official smart plug, for example.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

12 thoughts on “Smart Plugs That Work With Philips Hue”

  1. I’ve hears that a disadvantage of the Hue smart plug is that it reports everything back as a light to Alexa. So if you say “Alexa, turn off the lights” it will also turn off your coffee maker. Do you know if this applies to everything running through the Hue bridge?

    • That’s interesting John. Nope, my Hue Smart Plug luckily shows up under “Plugs” not “Lights” within my Alexa app – so saying “Alexa, turn off the lights” will not affect my Hue smart plug. Maybe that is because I’m running through the Hue Bridge.

  2. You are an oasis of brevity and clarity surrounded by oceans of blogs and articles that either bore one to death before finding the appropriate information or paddle around the subject at hand, never truly covering the topic or informing the reader. Yours does all of that whilst answering all of the questions that I had prior to reading the article. I’m glad I stumbled on this page. Well done mate!

  3. Watch out, Hue doesn’t use regular Zigbee they use Zigbee Light Link so not all Zigbee devices are compatible. I ordered the SONOFF S31 Lite before I realized this and it is not Hue compatible.

  4. I presume this is an older article but the date is showing as last week.

    You mentioned “However smart plugs don’t support dimming, even if the bulb plugged into the lamp does support dimming”:

    I’ve installed inline ZigBee dimmer devices for lamps that give the full smart option and also manual dial + on/off (example is on Samotech website). This option gives the best of both worlds but in terms of smart plug, dimmer plugs ARE available, e.g. on Amazon.

    • Thanks for the comment – good point Ray. Yes, this is a slightly older article but when we update a batch of articles for any reason (including to re-organise where they ‘live’ on the website), it updates the date.

      Anywhoo, I have tweaked the article a bit now, and also added a note that some smart plugs do support dimming.

  5. I have seen a plug in that converts a lamp to a touch dimmer lamp. I also have smart plugs that will dim the light on command.

    My desire is to have a plug that does both: one that allows you to touch the lamp to cycle through brightness options or allows you to control the lamp brightness/on/off by voice through my Alexa speaker.

    • I’ll hunt around for options (and reply back if/when I see something that does both), this would be useful for sure.

      Is it possible, however, to set up Alexa routines that can change the lamp brightness (or on/off state)? While it’s a workaround, if this is possible, you would at least be able to say “Alexa, lamp mode 1” (for example) to then achieve the state you want – via routines.


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