Philips Hue Wall Switch and buttons: which one should you have?

If you are looking for a physical button to control your Philips Hue Wall Switch lights, you can choose from official accessories from Philips Hue or the Friends of Hue wall switches. Do you opt for the Dimmer, Smart Button or a third-party switch? Here you can read what your options are.

Philips Hue Wall Switch and buttons

Even though we like to operate our smart home from the iPhone, there are situations that you still need a physical button. For example, because you have roommates who do not want to use a smartphone. Or because you often have guests who you don’t want to give access to your HomeKit account. Or maybe because sometimes pressing a physical button is faster.

You can then choose from all kinds of smart HomeKit buttons from Eve, Aqara, Fibaro and other manufacturers. But you could also opt for buttons that are specially made for Philips Hue. In that case, you can choose from the Hue Dimmer, Hue Smart Button and the various Friends of Hue buttons and wall switches from external manufacturers. In addition, you could opt for the somewhat older Philips Hue Tap, which has unfortunately been discontinued but can still be bought (and used!).

  • Buttons
  • Hue Dimmer
  • Hue Smart Button
  • Hue Tap (end of life)
  • Friends of Hue switches
  • Which button is right for you?
  • Our advice: take the Hue Dimmer

Pay attention! The Philips Hue Tap will disappear. Instead, you can opt for the Hue Dimmer or the many Friends of Hue buttons, which we’ll also discuss below.

Philips Hue Wall Switch and buttons

The manufacturer of Philips’ smart lighting is now called Signify, but the products are still in stores under the brand name Philips Hue. You can choose from all kinds of products, from lamps to fixtures and from light hoses to spotlights. You usually control the lamps via an app or voice commands. If you have roommates who prefer to press a physical button, you can choose from these three officially released buttons:

  • Philips Hue Dimmer
  • Philips Hue Smart Button
  • Philips Hue Tap

Which button suits you best depends on the situation. The Smart Button is mainly intended to switch certain scenes on and off, while with the Hue Dimmer you have more buttons and therefore more options. The Hue Tap is still fine to use but is no longer officially available.

The best Hue button: Hue Dimmer

The Hue Dimmer is an elongated switch with buttons. The back is magnetic, so you can stick the dimmer on a metal door frame or bookshelf. You can also attach the dimmer to the wall with screws or self-adhesive tape, as a luxury light button. The Dimmer offers many more options than the Smart Button and Tap. You can turn the lights on and off and adjust the light intensity.

Another strong point of the Hue Dimmer is that it is so cheap. You often get the dimmer for free with a set of lamps or a fixture. You can set many dimmer functions via the Hue app, including for third-party accessories. You cannot do that with the Tap and Smart Button.

The Hue Dimmer is relatively cheap and offers many functions, even if you use third-party accessories. You often get the Hue Dimmer for free with the purchase of a lamp.

You can also set other actions, which you trigger with a single or double press of the button. You can activate different scenes, for example by pressing the button three times. The Hue Dimmer is equipped with a CR2450 button cell battery, which lasts a long time.Philips Hue switches

The Philips Hue Dimmer Switch can be used as a switch for HomeKit. If you only use it for your Hue lights, you can scroll through set scenes by pressing the top button a few times. You use the middle two buttons to dim the light, while the bottom button switches your lights off. As soon as you link it to HomeKit, the buttons are seen as four separate buttons.

Another tip from iCulture reader Frank: there are also all kinds of covers available, so you can mount the Dimmer Switch in front of your regular light switch.

Pros:
+ Four control buttons, not all programmable
+ Inexpensive to buy
+ Light tapping is sufficient
+ Neutral rectangular design, fits next to normal light
buttons + Logical layout in terms of buttons

Cons:
– Works on battery (but will last for years)
– You can link more functions to just one button
– Does not match the design of existing wall switches

Philips Hue Smart button

Philips Hue has a smart button with which you can activate all kinds of scenes. You control the lamps with one push of a button and you can also switch on the light based on the time. If you press the button in the morning, you get, for example, bright lighting where you can have breakfast and work. But if you press the same button late at night, the Hue Smart button activates a cozy scene with warm light.Philips Hue Smart button

You can control your smart lights with one click, without the need for a smartphone. So also suitable for roommates who are not that technically handy. Press once to turn the lights on and off, or press and hold the button to dim or boost them.

You can use this button separately or attach it to the wall with the special wall bracket. The button is only available in white and is made of silicone rubber. It has an IP value of IP44 and is therefore also suitable for the bathroom because it can withstand splash water. However, the outdoors is less suitable. It measures 32 x 14.5 mm and if you want to use the wall plate with it you have to take into account a wall surface of 76 x 76 mm.

As with the other Hue products, it works with HomeKit (via the Hue bridge), Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana. The Philips Hue Smart button is preconfigured and can therefore be used immediately after pairing with your Hue system, without having to program things.philips hue wall switch module

Pros:
+ Compact design
+ Behavior of the button depending on the time of day
+ Also suitable for the bathroom
+ Already preconfigured in the packaging

Cons:
– Few actions to link
– Requires Philips Hue hub
– Only available in white

Philips Hue Tap (end of life)

The Hue Tap has been removed from the Philips Hue range, but can still be used and is still supported. You can still buy this switch at various places.

The Hue Tap is a round switch with four buttons: three small buttons and the space around it forms the fourth button. You link a scene or action to each of them. For example, you can set one button to switch everything off and another button to dim the lights for moments when you want to watch a movie. There is no battery because the button generates energy itself when you press the buttons. So you don’t have to charge anything. The Friends of Hue switches that we discuss later often work in a similar way.Philips Hue Tap

The Hue Tap only works with Hue lamps, while other smart buttons can often be linked to multiple brands. If you want, you can put the Hue Tap on the table or mount it on the wall. The Hue Tap costs 45 to 50 euros in the store, as long as stocks last because this product will disappear.

Pros:
+ Four programmable buttons
+ No batteries
+ Clearly audible and tactile click
+ Assign buttons to 16 million colors when using the 3rd generation Hue lights
+ Assign buttons to many scenes and brightness levels
+ Comes with mounting plate and 3M strip
+ More automation options than with the dimmer

Cons:
– No on/off button, such as on the dimmer
– Sometimes does not work when you press softly
– Only works with Hue lamps
– No dimmer function
– Buttons placed all around are less intuitive than the straight button row of the dimmer

Friends of Hue switches

The buttons we discussed above can be used as separate accessories. If you prefer a wall switch that looks like a traditional light switch, then that is also possible. Manufacturers such as Busch-Jaeger, Scenic, Jung, Gira, Feller, Niko, Vimar and NodOn have created wall switches for the Friends of Hue program. They can be nicely concealed in your interior because they look like traditional light switches.Friends of Hue switches

Philips Hue and EnOcean provide the technology, the manufacturer provides a nice plastic sleeve so that it matches your other light buttons. You can stick them anywhere with double-sided tape, which is usually included. You can then set the light switch with the Hue app.

These light switches are easy to install as they do not require a power connection. There are two variants:

  • Light switches that generate their own energy (EnOcean)
  • Light switches with battery (Sunricher)

A big advantage of the Friends of Hue switches is that no power supply is required. With most models, you also don’t need a battery, because they generate power themselves as soon as you press the button. Kinetic energy is generated thanks to a specially developed EnOcean module). However, there is a downside: these switches are a bit heavier to operate and have a clearly audible click when you press them. The Chinese manufacturer Sunricher has therefore developed an alternative module that works on batteries.Hue switches

The quality and material of the Chinese battery-powered switches are slightly less than that of well-known brands such as Gira or Busch-Jaeger. However, if you want, you can take the Sunricher module out of a cheap light button and build it into a more expensive Friends of Hue switch from a well-known brand. Signify has not yet certified the Sunricher module. The battery lasts about 8 years.

With a Friends of Hue switch, you decide what happens when you press the button. You can set individual functions, such as off / on, dimming / amplifying or favorite light scenes.

Friends of Hue products are intended to receive regular software updates with new features. You can configure them in the Hue app and then get access to all the functions that you are used to with Hue.Philips Hue switche

Advantages:
+ Fits with existing wall switches
+ Many colors, designs and materials
+ Available from various well-known brands for switching material, including Jung and Gira
+ No power connection required, works with kinetic energy or battery

Cons:
– Quite pricey
– Does not work with HomeKit

Which Hue switch should you have?

Which switch suits you depends on what you are looking for and what your budget is. Fortunately, there is a lot of choices.

If you are looking for a switch that can be discreetly integrated into a normal row of switch buttons, then you should buy the Friends of Hue switches. They are a bit more expensive, but you only have to install them once and you can enjoy them for years (or maybe even decades).

If you are looking for the cheapest possible button, the Hue Dimmer is often the best solution. You sometimes get that with a set of Hue lamps and otherwise the price of 25 euros is also doable. IKEA’s Tradfri switches maybe even cheaper, but it doesn’t work with HomeKit. This also applies to many cheap light switches from China.

The Hue Dimmer is often also the best solution for less experienced users. The imprint on the buttons immediately makes it clear what it is for: on, off, brighter and dimmed. The rectangular design and the magnetic back make it easier to attach the button.

The Hue Tap may be more convenient for advanced users because you have more options for programming (we use the unofficial iConnectHue app for that ). This offers more options than the standard Hue app. The disadvantage is that the Tap is no longer officially sold.

Speaking of programming: iCulture reader Remco gave the tip that you can also build in the Hue Tap in normal switch buttons. You take the Tap apart and process the switch box behind a special 4-way switch, like this one.

Our advice: take the Philips Hue Dimmer

If you are unsure which button to use, we recommend the Hue Dimmer. This is the cheapest, is easy to operate, has a logical layout and is always handy to have with it. You buy it for 25 euros.

A point of attention is that the Philips Hue switches are mainly intended for the Hue lamps. If you are looking for a smart button that can turn on your Hue lights and also control other devices, you could also opt for a smart button with HomeKit. The disadvantage is that they are often a bit more expensive, around 50 euros.

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