The Philips Hue lighting system is really great and easy to control with your smartphone, but people love physical switches. The new Hue Dimmer Switch is the perfect way to add a wall switch to your Hue lighting system. Let’s see how it works now.
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Smart lights are great (and we’re big fans of our Philips Hue system), but there’s something to be said for having a more traditional switch to control your lighting system. When you just want to turn on the light when you leave and enter a room, nothing beats a physical switch on the wall.
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Philips initially solved this problem with the Hue Tap switch. To say the switch was poorly received would be an understatement. The mechanical buttons were very difficult to press (the switch design actually relied on moving the switches mechanically to generate power to operate) and were as loud as a mechanical keyboard.
The worst thing about Tap was that the interface was completely unintuitive (buttons were labeled with dots instead of standard icons or letters), which actually took away one of the big benefits of having a physical switch: ease of use for people in your home who weren’t familiar with smart lighting and/or didn’t have a companion smartphone app. The only thing that Tap really dealt with was selecting multiple lights/scenes from the same physics interface.
Luckily, Philips went back to the drawing board and created the Hue dimmer switch, which fixed the omissions in their previous design. It runs on battery power (so don’t get bored with hard-to-press buttons). The buttons are clearly labeled as «On» and «Off» and buttons with a bright or dim icon are visible between them. This is the traditional form of a wall mount switch. It can be easily removed with a magnetic mount and can act as a kind of remote control. Indeed, Dimmer Switch is the switch they should have released in the first place.
As far as we know, the best feature is the price. The Tap switch still sells for almost $60, but you can get a Hue Dimmer Switch for a very reasonable $25 and a dimmer kit (for that aforementioned hubless standalone feature) that includes one bulb for just $35.
While praising the new design and emphasizing how useful it is to have a physical on/off switch for your smart lighting system, let’s take a look at how to set it up.
Unpacking and Installing the Hue Dimmer
Physical installation is very easy thanks to the included magnetic plate and adhesive backing. After unpacking the Switch and removing all of the shrink wrap (go ahead and leave the small battery retainer in the Switch for now, as removing it will automatically turn on the switch and start the process), your biggest challenge is deciding where you want to mount it.
You can install the switch in one of two ways. The first is the tool-free method: simply peel off the paper from the adhesive strips on the back of the Switch and press on the wall where you want it to be mounted. This is the method we used when we added the switch to the bedroom as shown in the photo above.
The second mounting method requires screws and drywall anchors (or appropriate anchors for the environment you are mounting them on). If you turn the plate over, there will be mounting holes and small protrusions that you can insert with a small screwdriver to separate the backing from the front of the plate. You can then install the backplate in a more traditional way with screws. To be honest, this degree of editing is probably unnecessary unless your family members are very rough on things and you’re sure the glue won’t stand up to their pranks.
Remember that your original light switch must always remain on for the dimmer switch to work properly. We have placed our dimmer switches next to our original switches, but if you want to prevent people from getting confused and switching the wrong switch, you can always get a light switch cover like this to prevent the old physical switch from being accidentally turned on. off
Connecting a dimmer to your shade system
If you bought the Hue Dimming Kit that comes with the Hue bulb, then there is no pairing or pairing required. As soon as you screw in the light bulb and turn on the dimmer, it immediately starts working without any additional settings. However, if you want to connect your Hue Dimmer Switch to an existing Hue setup or multiple lights, here’s how to do it.
To get started, open the Philips Hue app on your smartphone and tap the settings icon in the top left corner of the screen.