Do all lights have to have a hub to connect to Home Assistant?

From what I can tell Home Assistant is a hub. I’m trying to get started in automation and want to begin with bulbs since they seem to be the cheapest device you can control. I have a GE C-Life Smart bulb that came with a google mini hub. HA saw the Google mini hub and the chrome cast on my network but not the bulb. I was hoping to not have to buy something like an Ikea hub and Ikea bulbs. If I had to do that why bother with HA at all?
Does anyone know a cheap way to get my feet wet with HA?
I’m running HA on a Rasberry Pi 3 B+.


There are 1492 current home assistant integrations, of which 76 are lights.

HA is meant to combine all the hubs and different integrations you use into a single place to control and automate it.

Your GE C-Life Smart bulb is controlled via Bluetooth, as far as I know there is no easy way to integrate it into home assistant. There are a lot of other bulbs that are supported as you can see in the link of @nickrout
There are some WiFi bulbs which can connect directly to Home Assistant e.g. Yeelight.
There are some bulbs using ZigBee which you can connect through the hub of the manufacturer e.g. Ikea bulbs, but there’s also the option to attach a ZigBee USB Stick like ConBee, which allows control of ZigBee devices from different manufacturers without using their hub.
There some bulbs using Z-Wave which you can connect through the hub of the manufacturer or also through a generic Z-Wave USB stick like the one from Aeotec, which allows control of Z-Wave devicec from different manufacturers without using their hub.
There are possibly others as well.

For Z-Wave you will need an Aeotec USB Dongle or something like it.
For ZigBee you will need a ConBee USB Dongle or something like it.
For WiFi bulbs you need no hardware just check the Integrations page in the Home Assistant Doc’s to see if they are supported. I know TP-Link Bulbs (most all from what I see) are supported and some other manufacturers are as well.

I don’t see this component as being supported, so I wouldn’t expect it to find that device. It appears it’s only controllable over bluetooth.

Please note that not ALL components are going to be auto discovered, and not ALL components that you buy for your house are supported by HA. You need to verify with the integrations list on the HA website which devices are compatible, and each compatible integration/component has a page that will explain how to get it added to your system.

Here is the integrations page for Lights.

Also be aware that WiFi Bulbs like the TP-Link would need to be configured in the Vendors App first to get them on the network. Once they are seen by HA you most likely never need the vendors app again.
For Z-Wave and ZigBee they are added through the HA interface unless you use DeConz with a Conbee.

I would go with a ConBee II USB Stick using Home Assistant native ZHA integration not DeConz and use Sengled ZigBee bulbs to get started.

Just my 2 pennies worth of advice…