Having smart bulbs is extremely useful and provides a plethora of benefits to their owners. Smart bulbs are far more energy efficient than their tungsten and incandescent counterparts and are extremely easy to install. In most cases, you can replace existing bulbs with smart bulbs without altering the wiring.

However, this can create issues. Whilst you have full control over the lights via the smart light app, if you control your smart lights via the light switch you won’t be able to turn it back on via the app—as it has no power. The solution to this is installing another light switch to control these smart lights, one of the most common of these switches is the Philips Hue Dimmer Switches.

For some applications, you will want to control lots of lights at the same time, such as a group of spotlights in a kitchen. But, how many lights can a Hue Dimmer Switch Control? Through the Hue app, you can control a maximum of 10 lights within 2 rooms at a time using the Hue Dimmer Switch.

This limitation is due to the way that the ZigBee protocol works. ZigBee sends one command at a time every tenth of a second, this means that to turn on/change 10 lights it would take one second. So the enacted limitation is not an actual hardware limitation of the protocol but more to ensure that the transition is smooth and so the end user doesn’t complain.

If you do require control over more lights on a single switch there are third-party solutions to tackle this, which you can read below.

Being able to control Hue lights is extremely useful, but the functionalities of the Hue Dimmer Switch are far greater than just a simple switch. After adding a Hue Dimmer Switch to your system you’re given a plethora of options for the switch, one of the most prominent examples of this is groups and scenes.

Groups and Scenes

When first adding bulbs to your Hue app you’ll want to group them together into the different rooms of your house, this is required for the Hue Dimmer Switch to function—as it bases its groups on this information. To add/create a group:

  • Open the Hue app, and navigate to settings.
  • Select ‘Room setup’, and press ‘Create room’.
  • On this page you have the options to name and add select bulbs to this room, this is the group which you will then be able to control using the Hue Dimmer Switch.

Once you have created this group you can then add it to the switch so you can control all those lights together via the same switch, to do this:

  • Open the Hue app, and navigate to settings.
  • Select ‘Accessory setup’, and select your desired switch.
  • On this page, you will be able to name the switch, select which room is being controlled, and select the different scenes that occur when the On button is pressed multiple times.

The Hue app comes with many scenes built in such as ‘Tropical twilight’, ‘Savanna sunset’, and ‘Arctic aurora’, as well as some generic setups like ‘Energize’ and ‘Nightlight’. This gives a large range of different setups which will meet most user’s requirements, but occasionally you may want to create your own scenes and setups. The setup for this is extremely simple and very customizable:

  • Open the Hue app, and navigate to the home tab.
  • Select ‘New scene’, and select the room you want to create the scene for.
  • On this page, you will be greeted by a color wheel with markers for each of your bulbs, set these to where you want each of your bulbs to be, enter a name and hit save.
  • This scene will now be available to you, and can now be used as a scene for your Hue Dimmer Light Switch.

Controlling Other Brands Lights

Being able to control all of the Hue lights in a room is extremely beneficial, but sometimes you may want to buy third-party bulbs. Whether for the price or some additional functionality offered, but all this is useless if these bulbs can’t be controlled by your light switches!

As long as these third-party bulbs use the ZigBee protocol this means that you are able to add it to the Hue Bridge, which is the requirement for third-party bulbs to be Hue Switch controlled. Adding a third-party bulb is simple:

  • Open the Hue app, and navigate to settings.
  • Select ‘Light setup’, and press ‘Add light’.
  • On this page, select search, and your bulbs should be added automatically! If not, you can manually add the serial number of these devices to connect them.

Once you’ve added your third-party lights to the Hue app you then need to add them to the respective groups just as you would native Hue bulbs. If you want these third-party bulbs to display slightly different or completely different colors you can do this in the scenes—this allows you to attempt to better color match bulbs from different manufacturers.

The Third-Party Solution

For most uses, the limit of 10 bulbs per switch will be absolutely fine! The only immediate expectation to this that I can think of will be for some kitchen-diners where there could be upward of 20 GU10 spotlights in the ceiling of a room.

To get around this issue you can use the iConnectHue app which allows a greater number of bulbs to be connected to a single Hue Dimmer Switch. The only caveat of this app is that it is only compatible with iOS, this means Android users will have to wait/find an alternative. The iConnectHue app also offers far greater control than the Hue app, allowing users to select certain scenes to only be triggered at certain times of the day.

For more information about the iConnectHue app check out their website at https://iconnecthue.com/

Related Questions

Here are some related questions that you may have around this topic! Hopefully, if you do still have questions on the topic, they’ll be answered below. But, if you do still have any questions or suggestions, drop a comment below!

How long does the battery last in the Hue Dimmer Switch?

Due to the fact that the Hue system uses ZigBee, it means that it’s devices require very little power to function, the Hue Dimmer Switches are powered by a CR2450 3V battery which you can find here. On average this battery will last approximately 3 years, or 50,000 presses.

When changing the battery, it doesn’t mean you will need to re-connect the Hue app, the Hue app should remember the Dimmer Switch after changing over the battery. You also can’t check the remaining battery through the native hue app, but you can through several third-party solutions, such as Apple’s HomeKit.

Check out our Hue Dimmer Switch–Ultimate Guide for how to replace the battery.

Can I control non-ZigBee lights with a Hue Dimmer Switch?

 Depending on what your smart home ecosystem is, several third-party solutions all you to use the buttons on your Hue Dimmer Switches to issue commands to other brands, including those that don’t use the ZigBee protocol.

One example of this is Apple HomeKit which gives you the ability to assign commands to each button on the Dimmer, not just the on the switch—as the native hue app allows.

However, when adding non-ZigBee lights to the Hue Dimmer Switches it is important to note that they won’t follow scene changes created within the Hue app, and instead will only have one set state for the on and off buttons.