Firstly, apologies for the basic query here, please don't read on if you might be upset by this.
I have my HE Hub, and have no physical devices yet nor do I have any Smart Lighting features.
From extensive research, it appears as though Philips Hue is of the best solutions (although not the cheapest by any means).
I have two queries:
I have read that one shouldn't have Hue bulbs in the main mesh as they are very poor repeaters. Therefore, I take it that I should also buy a Hue Hub and connect Hue lights in this mesh only?
Are there any better solutions out there than Philips Hue?
Oh, and I am based in Europe, not the US, so I don't have access to as wide range of products compared to the US market.
What you've heard about Zigbee meshes with bulbs is generally correct, though Sengled is one brand known not to repeat (so OK for this), and some people have reported better luck with some newer bulbs. However, I think Hue is an incredibly reliable system and see almost no disadvantages to it besides price and the fact that it doesn't have a way to "push" outside changes back to Hubitat, which relies on periodic polling to get updated bulbs states. In most cases this is of little concern--no concern if you manipulate the bulb from Hubitat in the first place, and only of concern if you make changes outside (e.g., Hue app or other integration) and rely on them being updated quickly in Hubitat (e.g., maybe as some time-sensitive app/rule trigger).
Hue has its own advantages besides stability. Native scene support works better than Hubitat Groups and Scenes (the built-in Hue integration in Hubitat does not support this, but I wrote and shared a custom integration that does), Hue has a variety of accessories that work directly with the Hue system (Tap, Dimmer, Lutron Aurora) that some people like, and it has native HomeKit/Siri and Alexa (Hubitat can do the latter) integration, and your lights will still work when you're rebooting Hubitat for firmware updates.
If you only have a few smart bulbs, it may not be worth it. If you don't need color or color temperature control, smart switches/dimmers are probably a better choice (you do have to figure out the "switch problem" if you use smart bulbs). But I'm not sure what your needs are or what is readily available there, being in the US myself.
Thank you Bert. I am quite interested in color and white light temperature changes, so I think I will proceed with Hue. Just for absolute clarity, would you recommend I get the Hue Hub also [I think this is what you are saying, just want to be doubly sure].
Yes, I would recommend the Hue Bridge to avoid Zigbee issues, at the very least.
I'm in the UK, alternatively you have 2 hubitat hubs this is all with the proviso that you want lamps AND other ZigBee products. I only have one hub and it only has lamps and a few ZigBee buttons and I don't have a issue. The issue arises mostly as you go bigger and you get motion sensors.
Personally I'm not a fan of Philips hue (I have some and there just not all that good for the price. They are also not ZigBee 3.0 and from my experience the ZigBee 3.0 ones have been much more reliable.
So for lamps I would look at inner, Aurora and ledvance smart +. Price is better and brightness/colour seems better.
BTW I plan to put my old non 3.0/ Philips hue lamps, aswell as my z-wave devices on a separate hubitat Hub at some point. Then I'll have another that is only ZigBee 3.0 stuff and z-wave + stuff, that way I can expand without the limitations.
If you do end up going the hue bridge route, once you are setup with bulbs and the bridge and get familiar with the hue setup and features, I'd recommend looking at the phone/tablet app All 4 Hue for more fine-grained control of the rules on the hue bridge. It provides more options than what you get natively through the hue app and even their hue labs feature.
@Prolle O and another reason I don't recommend hue is they are also different than the Americans experience, over there the lamps can be changed when the lamp is in the ON state where as over here they can't. So you end up with odd things happening when you ask them to come on at a colour or Kelvin and they don't. This is the same if they are joined directly or through the hub (I tested I was hoping the hub was the work around) there will be a driver coming out that will fix this at some point. This is mostly designed for the ZigBee 3.0 products but should fix the Philips and other older lamps aswell but it won't fix it for the hue bridge driver. Not sure if there is any plans for that? @bobbyD ?
Basically place don't go down the hue route if you not in America, you will regret it.
I don't fully understand what you are saying here. Is it in relation to HE integration ? Say I keep the HUE system separate and don't integrate with HE and I add some other brand ZigBee 3.0 or Z-Wave bulbs to work with automation tasks within HE? Is this sensible?
Yes but it's only because our lamps are different to theirs so they didn't know. They need to create a separate driver for us.
No you don't need to do that, if you already have it integrate it, all that will happen is your need to ensure you split your ON/level commands and colour/Kelvin. I'm saying if you don't have hue don't waist money on it it make things complex to get working as you would expect and costs more. There is literally no advantage to hue.
If you buying lamps because you need or want colour/Kevin changes in a area then ensure you buy ZigBee 3.0 lamps because that will work soon (driver is being worked on). If you don't want colour or Kelvin changes in a area you should be looking at ZigBee dimmers anyway (main advantage over lamps is cost and you can also control them with and without the hub) and they don't have that issue.
Great, thanks. I currently have absolutely no smart lighting whatsoever.
I am interested in getting high quality and reliable colour changing and white light temp changes bulbs.
What do you recommend as a Hue alternative?
These are all ZigBee 3.0 so they are too the latest standard, which is now more regimented on what they have to be capable off. Part of that is that they have to work to 1.2 HA which is what Hubitat is currently, I would think they plan to go to 3.0 at some point as that will open up more devices IE the kinetic energy switches.
I have at least 2 of each of these brands and so far they have all been much better than the hues. Hue is not the worst stuff there are others that are far worse, there just not as good as the above and they are more expensive than them go figure.
thanks Borris. Food for thought there.