Review: If you have Philips Hue bulbs, you need Lutron Aurora

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in General Discussion
Philips Hue bulbs are arguably the most popular smart home accessory on the market, but they've always had one glaring issue. One that is easily fixed thanks to the simple Lutron Aurora.

The Lutron Aurora for Philips Hue
The Lutron Aurora for Philips Hue


If you've already bought into the Hue ecosystem you are likely familiar with the problem we are alluding to. That is the less than ideal situation when someone uses the light switch on the wall, killing power to the bulbs and rendering your lights useless.

This happens because the Hue bulbs require constant power to operate properly. When the power is cut off from the bulb by the switch being flipped, the bulb is no longer able to connect through Zigbee to the Hue Bridge, and can't turn on or be controlled until the switch is back in the "on" position.

Most Hue owners have found different ways of solving this problem, ourselves resolving to the old "tape the switch in place" trick to prevent guests and others from inadvertently disabling our smart light.

Lutron Aurora packaging
Lutron Aurora packaging


Hue-maker Signify has done its part in trying to remedy this issue by launching several different physical switches to control the bulbs. The Hue Tap is a round button that can set multiple scenes. The Hue Dimmer is a magnetic wall-mounted remote that can adjust the brightness of the lights. We also love the Hue motion sensor that can trigger the lights with no physical involvement. None of those, however, solve the issue of the switch being turned off.

Personally, I have a set of Hue bulbs in the downstairs bathroom that are a constant sore point. I've tried putting a Hue Dimmer switch on the wall but most still don't get it and try the physical switch first which just confuses them -- and the bulbs.

This small half-dollar sized control is designed to go over a standard wall light switch, holding it in place while at the same time providing an on/off button and dimmer.

Installation

Lutron Aurora mounting bracket
Lutron Aurora mounting bracket


Lutron Aurora is a two-piece device made up of the rear mount and the button itself. The mounting portion has an opening that fits right over a standard light switch and is locked into place with a small Phillips head screw. This tightens the grip and secures the mount to the switch preventing it from being moved to the opposite position and provides a sturdy surface to clip the button to.

Once the mount is in place, the button just presses right on top and clicks into position.

Lutron Aurora back
Lutron Aurora back


Upon finishing the physical installation, it needs to be added to the Hue app. In our experience, we actually had a difficult time pairing the Aurora to the Hue Bridge. Lutron says it should only take up to ten seconds to complete the setup in the Hue app. Eventually, after resetting the Aurora, we got it to successfully appear to the bridge.

Lutron Aurora setup in the Hue app
Lutron Aurora setup in the Hue app


After pairing it, you then choose which room in your home to assign the button, then you are good to go. Since it knows what room it is in, when you press the button or rotate the Aurora, it will toggle or dim the lights appropriately. You don't have to manually assign bulbs or create rules -- you just tell Hue which room the device is in.

Controlling your home

There are times where Aurora is delayed or slow in controlling our lights but that issue more lies with Hue rather than Aurora. We get similar hiccups using our other switches and buttons.

Aurora works well in our home, but flat toggle light switches won't work with Aurora. There is also only one off-white color that Aurora comes in which may not fit every home. It will fit the bulk, but not all.

If there was one thing we'd like to see differently with the Lutron Aurora it would be support for Apple's HomeKit. Lutron Aurora only works with Hue smart lights and in our home, we have many others around. In the living room, we have a HomeKit light switch in the wall controlling the built-in track lighting. Other rooms we have the decorative Sylvania retro filament bulbs that work with HomeKit. Other's are connected by smart outlets. Regardless, this becomes only entirely useful when you have just Hue lights in the room.

Should it operate as a HomeKit button, then when it is pressed, it could toggle any other HomeKit lights in the room as well.

With Aurora, you have newfound control over your lights. The physical switch is locked in place and can't be toggled off which solves Hue's biggest problem. Simultaneously, it is giving you another physical control for your home's lights.

Lutron Aurora dimming the lights
Lutron Aurora dimming the lights


We easily prefer Aurora to say, the Hue Dimmer Switch or the Hue Tap because it is also so much more natural to use. It goes on a light switch, where one would expect to find a control for the lights. It blends in well and doesn't scream "I'm a smart home switch" like so many others do.

If you have a home -- or even just a room -- filled with Hue lights, do yourself a favor and pick up the Lutron Aurora.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy

You can grab the Lutron Aurora directly from Hue with shipping commencing this month for $39.95.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    I currently have a Lutron switch controlling the main lights in our master bathroom. When we turn that switch on at night it also triggers some Hue lights to turn on over our bathtub via a Home automation. The switch that the Hue lights are on is constantly being turned off and it totally bugs me. Since it isn’t HomeKit compatible, would adding the Aurora have any effect on the automation I already have set up?
  • Reply 2 of 19
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 707member
    Philips should be kicking themselves in the teeth for not innovating this themselves.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 707member
    Philips should be kicking themselves in the teeth for not innovating this themselves.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 707member
    Philips should be firing employees over failing to come up with this idea themselves.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    An elegant solution to a problem I’m surprised hasn’t been addressed with a first party solution. 

    Here in Scotland options like this seem to be limited. I ended up using the standard Philips Hue switches on a mount which fixes over the top of regular light switches. 


  • Reply 6 of 19
    mr4jsmr4js Posts: 55member

    If you have Philips Hue bulbs, you Wasted Your Money!

    Plenty of better options available. Philips makes cheap junk. Philips is also a very unehtical company.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-29046449


  • Reply 7 of 19
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 446member
    Many of my switches are three-way, so this still doesn't solve that problem.

    FYI, a trick I learned to help pair Hue lights is to attach the light to a socket right next to the bridge to pair FIRST.   Then move the light to its appointed location.   In some cases where I had multiple new lights some would pair, some would not.  In the past I would have to send those bulbs back for replacement.  But I found that if I could get the bulb right next to the bridge (like nearly touching) I could ALWAYS get the bulb to pair.   This trick works with any Philips paired light including light strips.


    StrangeDaysmacgui
  • Reply 8 of 19
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 497member
    This is precisely why I never bought the Philips Hue bulbs. Unless you live alone, there will be strife. For that matter, if you do live alone, there will be self loathing. The better solution is to hardwire a HomeKit-enabled light switch in the first place. Then you can put whatever bulb you want in the lamp. After a rough start with a promise and failure to embrace HomeKit, Wemo switches have gotten with the program and turned out to work pretty well. 
    edited June 13
  • Reply 9 of 19
    mistergsfmistergsf Posts: 178member
    What if you have the flat type toggle switches? What's the solution for those?
  • Reply 10 of 19
    BlackwingBlackwing Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    And these do No good for a Newer home like mine where all light switches are decora (paddle). Phillips should come up with thier own light switch or touch control that fits in a decora spot.

  • Reply 11 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,943member
    mr4js said:

    If you have Philips Hue bulbs, you Wasted Your Money!

    Plenty of better options available. Philips makes cheap junk. Philips is also a very unehtical company.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-29046449
    Your assertion (I wasted my money) isn’t backed up by that link. I’ve enjoy years of value from my Hue lighting.

    Anything else?
    lolliverCarnage
  • Reply 12 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,943member

    AppleZulu said:
    This is precisely why I never bought the Philips Hue bulbs. Unless you live alone, there will be strife. For that matter, if you do live alone, there will be self loathing. The better solution is to hardwire a HomeKit-enabled light switch in the first place. Then you can put whatever bulb you want in the lamp. After a rough start with a promise and failure to embrace HomeKit, Wemo switches have gotten with the program and turned out to work pretty well. 
    Not at all true. It simply depends on your home’s wiring style. In my house, wall switches are only wired to ceiling lighting, and never wall outlets. This makes more sense to me. 
    edited June 13
  • Reply 13 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,943member

    mistergsf said:
    What if you have the flat type toggle switches? What's the solution for those?
    Buy a $5 standard switch at the hardware store and pop it in first. 
    macguillama
  • Reply 14 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,943member

    Blackwing said:
    And these do No good for a Newer home like mine where all light switches are decora (paddle). Phillips should come up with thier own light switch or touch control that fits in a decora spot.
    FYI there are existing HK-enabled smart switches in that form factor that do exactly this. I have an iDevices wall dimmer switch; besides turning the current on or off, you can use it as a trigger source to fire HK commands which would achieve your goals. 
  • Reply 15 of 19
    I have two Hue bridges and about 90 bulbs. Most of my rooms in my house have Hue bulbs. This switch is aesthetically nice looking, but at $40 a pop to simply have dim controls with no ability to switch scenes, that's just silly. For those talking about using tape... there are clear plastic light switch "locks" that use the plate screw to lock up under the light switch and rotate away. . These can be found on amazon in 5 packs if I recall. They end up being less than a couple bucks a piece. They are hardly noticeable unless you're staring at light switch plates which most people don't do until they're attempting to toggle lights. When guests try the switch, they realize it's locked, look at the switch plate, and notice the remote mounted alongside. They try that instead and it turns on lights withing the area they are in. Very few complaints there. I also have automatic lights in many places that are not hue(outdoor, walk in closets) that I use these for as well. I always tell guests that are residing in my home when I'm not home(aka babysitters and mother-in-law) that, when in doubt, these little clear locks can be twisted out of the way and the on/off switch will turn light on/off normal. The mother in law appreciates this greatly as she regards the hue dimmer remote as some sort of alien artifact that is far too complicated for her to be expected to use. This Lutron branded switch, like it's normal switches, is overpriced and incredibly limited. The reviewer clearly doesn't use hue bulbs in their home, likely because of the extra switch aesthetics they obsess over, or they'd see the limitations immediately. 
    edited June 13
  • Reply 16 of 19
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,303member
    Blackwing said:
    And these do No good for a Newer home like mine where all light switches are decora (paddle). Phillips should come up with thier own light switch or touch control that fits in a decora spot.

    I don't care. This will work great at my place.  I'll order one ASAP. They'll work a treat for the application they're designed for.


    emoeller said:
    Many of my switches are three-way, so this still doesn't solve that problem.

    Since both 3-way switches on a circuit need to be On, an Aurora on each switch would solve the problem. Neither switch could be turn Off, and dimming On/Off could still be done at either switch without disrupting the system. But having a lot of 3-way switches makes this a pricey solution, but it would work.


    emoeller said:
    FYI, a trick I learned to help pair Hue lights is to attach the light to a socket right next to the bridge to pair FIRST.   Then move the light to its appointed location.   In some cases where I had multiple new lights some would pair, some would not.  In the past I would have to send those bulbs back for replacement.  But I found that if I could get the bulb right next to the bridge (like nearly touching) I could ALWAYS get the bulb to pair.   This trick works with any Philips paired light including light strips.
    I've had a little trouble pairing a distant bulb. As the Hues form a mesh network, this shouldn't happen. But I'll put a socket near the hub just for the purpose of pairing. Thanks for the tip!


    The reviewer clearly doesn't use hue bulbs in their home, likely because of the extra switch aesthetics they obsess over, or they'd see the limitations immediately. 
    An informative post, all up to that bullshit line.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 707member
    I'm very sorry about the duplicate posts above. The page just wasn't refreshing properly so I thought it wasn't taking my posts.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 27member
    I find the best solution, particularly if you have decora switches and/or frequent guests in your home, is to physically install Lutron Caseta wall switches. This is less helpful if your goal is to install color bulbs throughout your house, but for normal soft white HomeKit lighting, it is the least disruptive - anyone can figure it out.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    emoeller said:
    Many of my switches are three-way, so this still doesn't solve that problem.

    FYI, a trick I learned to help pair Hue lights is to attach the light to a socket right next to the bridge to pair FIRST.   Then move the light to its appointed location.   In some cases where I had multiple new lights some would pair, some would not.  In the past I would have to send those bulbs back for replacement.  But I
    found that if I could get the bulb right next to the bridge (like nearly touching) I could ALWAYS get the bulb to pair.   This trick works with any Philips paired light including light strips.


    I just got a big batch of new bulbs, and had issues pairing them. The easiest solution I found was to just enter the 6 digit serial number from each before installation. After doing that, they paired almost instantly regardless of where they were in the house. 
    docno42
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