Using Philips Hue bulbs with HE without Hue Bridge

I’m wondering if there’s any downside to using philips hue bulbs directly with HE and bypassing the hue bridge entirely.

The internet at my house is iffy at best and there are periods where internet is out for minutes at a time. In these outages, none of my Phillips hue bulbs work at all, but my other Zigbee devices with HE are fine.

Any reason not to just get rid of the hue bridge entirely?

You could do that. But from memory, and it's been a while, bulbs do not repeat well, so keeping them away from your HE zigbee mesh is preferential.

I think you'll find the best way to integrate Philips Hue into Hubitat is via the Hue Bridge. It's the recommended method. Also, flakey internet will not stop the connection between Hue Bridge and HE, as it's all inside your network. If you mean your local network goes down, well, that's something you will need to fix. It sounds like you will need to fix your local network wifi connection.


I second the recommendation to use a Hue Bridge. If you don't have other Zigbee devices on your network, you could theoretically be fine just using them on Hubitat, but the issue above with repeating (a concern if you have non-bulb Zigbee devices on the same network) could indeed be a problem. This is summarized in the "Tips..." section at the end of Hubitat's Zigbee docs, but you can also find a plethora of posts written on woes with these bulbs and others on the "naughty list" (Cree, GE Link, first-gen Osram, and others) with a search here and in several other forums.

Using a Hue Bridge gives you several benefits:

  • the ability to use native Hue groups, which work better than even Hubitat Zigbee groups in my experience in terms of speed and reliability
  • Hue scenes, which aren't natively import-able to Hubitat but still usable on Hue or with third-party Hubitat integrations and are again speedier and more reliable in my experience vs. Hubitat's scenes, which do not use true Zigbee scene "recall" and send individual commands to each bulb;
  • A rock-solid Hue network and app that will be there even if Hubitat goes down for some reason--or if, say, you're rebooting for an update

The downsides are few, with the main one being that changes made to Hue outside Hubitat will take a bit of time to "sync" over (the polling interval, configurable in Hubitat's Hue Bridge Integration app) since Hue does not provide a way to immediately "push" changes to third-party integrations. Making changes within Hubitat is the best way to avoid this, but it's also not of any concern unless you have automations that rely on bulb state for some reason (e.g., rules that you want to trigger immediately on a bulb state change, or Dashboards with a bulb tile where you'd care that it may take a few seconds or more to reflect reality).

I'm curious what doesn't work here. Anything entirely within the Hue system should work without the Internet; the only thing that would need Internet in the Hue app is optional away-from-home control via the My Hue "cloud." Control from the app when you're on the same network will default to a local/LAN connection. Automations set up with in Hue (e.g., Hue Dimmer or Tap to control bulbs; motion sensor to bulbs) will work, with some requiring the Bridge (unfortunately more and more of this lately) but much of it working even if the Bridge is entirely missing. Other things would require the Bridge to be on (e.g., time-based schedules) but not necessarily have even a LAN, much less Internet, connection. Most third-party integrations, including Hubitat's as mentioned above, would also work over the LAN (so LAN required but not Internet). Are you sure there isn't another problem here?


TBH, it’s possible there’s another issue happening with my LAN setup, but so far, in all my testing, it seems to perform just fine. However, when my actual internet modem goes out for a bit, I can’t reliably connect to the hue bridge at all and at times, I’ll notice that any control actions via hubitat will only manifest partially. Honestly, it feels like it’s not a cloud based integration. I will attempt to take some screenshots of the hue app when the network cuts out again and post them hear.

And, by network, I actually mean internet, not my actual wan/lan.

That's an odd one, hue is local, the app will connect locally as well. My internet was down for 3 days after a large storm and HUE still worked fine. As long as the wireless router is up then HUE should not care about an actual internet connection (you don't even need the router if you don;t need the HUE app). I prefer to run my bulbs on the HUE bridge (I have two and around 50 bulbs/devices) as it keeps the HE hub less cluttered and tidy, also adds a little redundancy.

1 Like

Has it always been possible to use HUE with HE without the bridge?

I remember when I crossed over to HE, I believe I was instructed that the Bridge was required...????

Stick with the HUE Bridge. The lights are much slower to respond when connected directly to HE.

Nope, definitely not required, but definitely made it easier!

Repeating what others have said, the Hue Bridge itself runs local, so losing external internet should not prevent the bridge from being able to control the lights as long as the controlling device (phone, tablet, etc) is on the same LAN as the bridge.

I was another who came into HE and thought i'd ditch the bridge but ended up going to back to using it because the Hue API works with just about everything out there in SmartHome-land. The Node-RED palette "Hue Magic" alone is worth the backtrack to using the bridge.

1 Like

Two good reasons to use the Hue bridge.

  1. Bridge updates the firmware for all hue devices connected to it.
  2. If power is lost the hue bulbs will come back up in the last state they were in (this is selected in the app)

Is your "modem" a combination modem/router/switch/AP? Since the Hue app still needs a LAN connection to get to the Bridge, that could explain these problems if the entire device is down and it's also your local network switch or your phone's Wi-Fi AP and thus connection your LAN (among other possible explanations), for example.

1 Like

No. The devices are separate.

Looking for an answer to an issue I am having with my Hue lights I just noticed your post and it is exactly the issue I am having, let me explain the issue. Yesterday cleaning I broke one of my hue bulbs called Co2 in my Hue hub, so I though just to change the name of another of my Hue bulb that I wasn't really using from Fre1 to Co2. This worked perfectly in my Hue hub but in Hubitat I still see both bulbs Fre1 and Co2 and the bulb still respond to Fre1 name in Hubitat. I already got into the Hue integration and refreshed everything but still Hubitat keeps having the old configuration and haven't received the new name for this bulb. Is there anything I can do here to sync any change done in my Hue hub with Hubitat?

After a bulb has been added to Hubitat, the device name will not change on Hubitat if updated from Hue. Further, Hubitat associates Hue and Hubitat devices using the Hue "ID" for that device rather than the name, so you are free to change the name on either Hue or Hubitat at any time without fear of causing problems.

In this case, if you already had both bulbs added, I'd remove the "old" Co2 bulb and rename Fre1 to Co2. If you didn't have Fre1 added in the first place, you should be able to add it from Hubitat's Hue Bridge Integration app. If not, I think there's a "Refresh bulb discovery" option you can try, otherwise I'd verify that you didn't already add it under a different name.

thanks for the information. i didnt want to break anything or cause any issue between Hue hub and Hubitat, it was just weird that i was still able to see both bulb, fre1 and Co2, in Hubitat when on Hue app Fre1 didnt exist anymore. So because Co2 was part of a bulb group so I am guessing that even if I change Fre1 name to Co2 in hubitat I will have to modify the group as well, correct? Otherwise the group will still be connected to the old ID, am i right? it is just strange that this changes are not sync between the two hubs.

I should also mention that if you delete a bulb (or group) from Hue, the device will remain on Hubitat. To avoid confusion, it's probably best to make a change on Hubitat whenever you make a corresponding change on Hue (if you have that device exposed to Hubitat), but you have free reign to do what you want on either system for the most part (obviously, Hubitat can't control a bulb or group whose ID no longer exists in Hue, for example--which should only happen if you removed it from Hue).

Whether you will have to change anything with the group on Hubitat depends on what you did on Hue. If you kept the group on Hue and just changed bulbs and/or changed the name of the group, the Hue group ID should remain the same (unfortunately, there's no good way to see that in the Hue app like you can for bulbs). This means the Hubitat device should still "point" to the same Hue group. You can rename it on Hubitat if you need to. If you created a totally new group on Hue, you'll need to add that new group to Hubitat (even if the name is the same, as again, Hubitat associates with Hue devices based on an internal Hue-Bridge-assigned ID for lights or groups).

While it might be nice to have a "name sync" option between the two, nothing like that currently exists. If it did, I'd personally want it to be optional. :slight_smile: But I definitely understand the desire!

Side note: I think there's also a possible point of confusion where the Hue Integration app will show devices already added to Hubitat by using their Hue name instead of their Hubitat name, which may be confusing if they are different. I haven't checked that in a while and might be remembering wrong...

Hi everyone! New HE-user here and just starting to learn about the Hub and all that comes with it...

Ok, so I keep my Hue bridge for my Hue bulbs. But what about my Osram and Innr plugs that are currently connected to my Hue bridge? Do I keep them on the Hue bridge or do I transfer those over to HE istead? Wich solution is to prefer?

I'd keep them on Hue. Most Osram bulbs in the US won't even pair to Hue (different Zigbee profile), so I assume you're either i Europe or very lucky. :slight_smile: They can be problematic on Hubitat due to the above mentioned issues with being poor repeaters.

The Innr plug are probably good either way, so in that case I suppose I'd pick whichever network might need more repeaters or Hue if you want to use them more easily with Hue features like scenes.


Personally, @monsterdykaren, I have all non-hue bulbs connected directly to HE, bypassing the Hue Bridge. Including a bunch of Innr outlets. I've had a mixed experience with Hue bulbs on the bridge. But I am pretty sure that has more to do with my relatively long distance between my bulbs and the hue bridge.

1 Like

Correct, I’m in Europe. I was reffering to the Osram smartplugs for outdoor use thou. :slightly_smiling_face:

Ok - I am brand new to Hubitat but experienced in HA since my X10 days.

Sorry for the ramble.

TLDR version - to use HE to manage the ~14 Heating Zones in the house ......
It appears to be able to use existing ~14 Hue Temp Sensors in the Hue Motion Sensors so I have Temp Sensors to be able to manage the Heating Systems Zones I have to migrate all the Hue Motion Sensors and about 10 Hue Lights (for a minimal mesh to support Sensors). An then replicate all the existing automated lighting logic in HE and drive the Hue lighting through the HE Hue gateway.

Now mostly Hue (Zigbee) and Zwave with some 433MHz for some sensors (inside Fridge and Freezers) and some LightWave remotes.

I am looking for Hubitat to run more as an appliance, to replace functionality provided by Indigo. I expect to keep Indigo as the overall controller, it has a lot of connectivity to areas that are unlikely to be reached by anything else.

Ideally I am looking to create standalone hubs to control specific sub systems, Hue for lighting and possibly Hubitat for Heating/Hot Water systems (and look at it for other areas as well).

I would really like to keep Hue running lighting it is solid and I have hub maxed out and a second hub picking up the odds and sods.

80% of the lighting is automated in the Hub, another 19% by Indigo for event triggers that Hue Hub cannot manage. It is a very rare day that Lighting needs any human interaction with - and that is managed by Echo/Alexa.

The issue I could really use some guidance on is:-

I am using 14+ Hue Motion detectors, that do the lighting BUT ALSO report Temperature extremely reliably very 2 mins for two years on a couple of AAA batteries. Also one use case for capturing Luminance from the outdoor motion Detector to manage ambient light levels in the house.

I use the Hue Motion detectors reliable Temp reporting to manage the 14 odd heating zones in the house.

And my understanding is that Hubitat Hue Gateway does not support the Motion Detectors/Temp Sensors, is that correct - I cannot see them when I have connected HE to the Hue Hubs.

So for Hubitat to manage heating I need to migrate the Hue Motion Sensors into HE and drive lighting automation from HE to the Hue Hubs.

Now my understanding is that in order for all the Hue Motion Sensors to be able to receive a good signal I need manning powered Zigbee devices to create a mesh.

That means migrating a minimal set of Hue Bulbs across to HE, I am thinking right now all the Hall and Landing lights (~10 bulbs) as they are the centre of the house and have the best bet to provide a reliable mesh for the Hue Motion Sensors.

My concern is then, that I am deviating away from the optimal model - Hue runs Lighting - HE runs Heating.

The alternative is to add another ~14 HE temp sensors replicating the Hue temp sensors, which just seems wasteful.

Anyway to get the HE Hue gateway to read temp and possibly luminance - I understand there are issues with the Motion side requiring polling, but polling every 2 mins fo r Temp changes is still better than most ZWave Thermostats that at best will do every 5 mins.