Practically every smart home company you can think of offers at least one smart plug: Amazon, Govee, TP-Link, Wyze, and others all make plugs to add smarts to dumb devices. Philips Hue, the long-reigning top dog in the smart lighting space, also offers a smart plug in the creatively named Philips Hue Smart Plug. At $35, it's a very good smart plug — if you're already set up with Hue, anyway.
With limited functionality without a Hue Bridge and a relatively high MSRP, it's not easy to recommend the Philips Hue Smart Plug to anybody not already invested in Hue lighting. If you already have your home kitted out in Hue gear, though, it's a great way to add smarts to any lights that aren't compatible with smart bulbs.
- Integrations: Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Philips Hue, IFTTT
- Current Rating: 15A
- Price: $35
- Electrical rating: 1800W
- Hub Required: No
- Dedicated app required: Yes
- Built-in surge protection: None
- Rated Voltage: 120v
- Seamlessly integrates into the Hue ecosystem
- Easy to use with simple setup
- Pricey for a smart plug
- No built-in Wi-Fi; control options are limited without a Hue Bridge
Price and availability
The Philips Hue Smart Plug costs $35 at retail. You can grab one at most places that carry other Hue products, including Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. The plug is also available direct from Philips.
Design and hardware
The Philips Hue Smart Plug is as plain as they come: it's a white rectangle with prongs on one side and a receptacle on the other. There's a single on/off button on the left side, and a subtle Philips logo on the top. It's about the same size and shape as most other smart plugs of this kind, which means it's not very noticeable connected to most outlets.
There's Bluetooth and Zigbee connectivity built in, but the Hue Smart Plug doesn't have Wi-Fi. It's controlled either by your phone directly, by a nearby smart speaker, or by Hue's dedicated Bridge device. The US version of the plug is rated for a current of 15 amps (and up to 1,800 watts), but Hue stresses that it's meant specifically to control legacy lighting products. The Smart Plug technically can manage devices like most coffee pots and electric kettles, but it's explicitly not made for that purpose. It's got an operating range of 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, but it's only meant for indoor use.
Setup, functionality, and app
The Hue Smart Plug is managed with the Philips Hue app. Setup is a breeze. You can use the plug with or without a Philips Hue Bridge, and either way, you just plug the Smart Plug in, navigate to the Hue app's add accessories screen, and follow the simple on-screen instructions. Once added to the Hue app, you can integrate the Smart Plug into your existing rooms and lighting scenes. The Hue app can also be connected to Google Home and Alexa, which allows you to add the Hue Smart Plug to routines that include devices from other manufacturers.
You can't control brightness with the Hue Smart Plug, even on lights that support dimming; it's on/off only. But you can use it to, for example, have standard string lights kick on at the same time as your other Hue lights each evening (rather than springing for Hue's spendy Festavia string lights). You can also turn the plug on and off on demand, of course, either using the Hue app or a connected virtual assistant. The Hue app lets you assign the plug a custom name and your choice of Hue's ready-made icons, so it more closely matches the device you're controlling.
The experience will differ based on how you control the plug, though. If you don't have a Hue Bridge, the Hue Smart Plug is controlled over Bluetooth. Using the plug this way, you lose the ability to control it from outside your home. You can pair the Philips Hue Smart Plug to a Nest or Echo speaker or display for voice commands at home or pair the plug with a Hue-compatible switch (like Hue's $28 Smart Dimmer Switch) for flexibility at home, but you won't be able to turn the plug on or off using your phone unless you're within Bluetooth range.
Using Hue devices without a Bridge also makes it so you can't assign lights and plugs to rooms in the Hue app, and restricts the types of routines you can set up (you can't use automatic sunrise or sunset times as triggers over Bluetooth, for example). The total number of devices you can add is limited, as well.
Adding a Hue Bridge to the mix opens up considerably more flexibility, lifting Hue's 10-device limit on Bluetooth control and enabling control of your Hue devices from outside your home. I already had a Hue Bridge, so my experience has been ideal; the Hue Smart Plug has slotted very neatly into my smart lighting setup.
If you don't own a Hue Bridge and you don't intend to buy one, though, the Hue Smart Plug probably isn't for you. You might want to consider other plugs that offer built-in Wi-Fi.
While you should never buy gadgets based on how they may work in the future, for what it's worth, it seems like the cross-manufacturer Matter standard won't change the situation much here. While there are plans to update the Hue Bridge to be Matter-compatible, the Smart Plug doesn't support the Thread communication Matter works over, and Hue tells me there are no Matter-specific updates planned for the Smart Plug itself.
At 35 bucks, the Philips Hue Smart Plug is a little more expensive than most competing options. The $25 Amazon Smart Plug is only slightly larger than Hue's, and offers integration into Alexa's smart home routines, as well as remote control over Wi-Fi, with no bridge device required. TP-Link also makes a similar plug with Wi-Fi connectivity that you can get for under $20 — also without the need for a hub. It can be integrated into either the Google Home or Alexa ecosystem, and either can be used for remote control and routine integration.
Should you buy it?
If you're not all-in on Hue and you don't intend to be in the future, the Hue Smart Plug probably won't be a good fit for you. Without Wi-Fi connectivity built-in, the plug's functionality is limited unless you've got a Hue Bridge; without one, you can't control the plug from outside your home, and you miss out on some of Hue's handy functionality like sunrise and sunset routine triggers.
Even if you're a Hue loyalist, the added convenience of controlling the plug from the same app as the rest of your lights might not be worth the higher price relative to competing options, especially if you're willing to fiddle with the Google Assistant or Alexa's routines that can integrate devices from multiple manufacturers.
For those already well-established in the Hue ecosystem who want to add a lighting source that isn't compatible with smart bulbs to existing Hue setups, the Hue Smart Plug is great. Setup is very simple, and intergeneration is seamless. I've been using mine to control a set of string lights along with dedicated Hue bulbs, and so far, it's been an ideal experience: the plug works like any other Hue light inside the Hue app, and I've had no issues with automation or remote control. It might not be the most affordable choice, but for the right person, the Hue Smart Plug is a great addition to Hue smart light setups.