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Can I Use Philips Hue Bulbs Outdoors?


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Philips Hue lights are great to have in your house, and they can add a lot of convenience to your living space. However, what if you want to use these smart bulbs outdoors in porch lights or flood lights? Will Philips Hue bulbs work properly in an outdoor environment?

It’s important to know that any light bulb and its circuitry that are exposed to rain and other forms of precipitation isn’t safe and can easily ruin the bulb and the wiring. This is why pretty much all outdoor light fixtures are weather-sealed to some extent.

Philips says that its Hue bulbs are meant for indoor use only, because the weather can impact the bulbs negatively, which makes sense. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that these bulbs will stop working the moment you use them outdoors.

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One reason why Philips doesn’t recommend using Hue bulbs outdoors is because of the heat during the summer. Philips Hue bulbs already run pretty hot when they’re used in the cool A/C in your house, so using them outside when it can easily reach 90 degrees simply makes these bulbs run even hotter, which can shorten the lifespan of the bulb.

Of course, typical LED bulbs are rated to last around 25,000 hours, so even if you left a Hue bulb on for eight hours every day, it would take a little over eight-and-a-half years before the bulb finally died–a little less if they’re ran in less-than-ideal conditions. By then, there’ll probably be newer versions of Hue bulbs available that you’d want to upgrade to anyway.

Overall, though, there’s really not much to be worried about. Many users have Philips Hue bulbs mounted in various outdoor fixtures and haven’t run into any problems. I personally have a Hue bulb mounted in my front porch light that turns on at dusk and stays on all night until dawn. Even during the big heat wave earlier this summer, the bulb still worked just fine.

Just as long as the bulb is mounted in a moderately sheltered light fixture that protects it from rain, snow, hail, and other elements, then it’s completely fine to use a Philips Hue bulb outdoors. Just know that the bulb may not last as long as it could if it were used indoors in better conditions.

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Above: This outdoor light fixture probably isn’t ideal for any kind of light bulb, let alone a Philips Hue bulb.

Keep in mind, though, that you don’t want to go too far out from your house with a Philips Hue bulb, because then it might not be able to communicate with your hub. So if you’re planning on putting a Hue bulb into your driveway light by the street or even in a light fixture out by your shed, you’ll want to make sure that it will still reach the Philips Hue Bridge. If not, the bulb will still power on just fine, but you won’t be able to control it remotely from your phone.

Craig Lloyd is TIME Magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year, as well as a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, and an introvert to the max. He began his career as a young, naive teenager tinkering around with the family computer and has since blossomed into the beautiful geek that he is today.


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