This is a we own it review of IKEA Trådfri.
If you don’t know what IKEA Trådfri is it is the new range of IKEA smart lighting. They were released in the UK only this year. At present they are only white bulbs but colour bulbs are to be ‘released soon’.
In this review we tested:
- TRÅDFRI Dimming kit
- TRÅDFRI E27
- TRÅDFRI Hub
However the full range of smart bulbs includes:
They also have a good selection of controllers or as they call them ‘Steering devices’:
- Remote control
You can see their full range on their website.
The first noticeable thing about Trådfri is the mass market packaging. Normally with Smart Home tech the tech is packaged in a glossy box with a minimally designed manual, not Trådfri.
This is packaged in plastic with the standard IKEA style manual. However, this does fit with the product – this is affordable, dare we say cheap, smart lighting for the masses.
The bulbs themselves look like any LED lightbulb, the fitting is standard and we could easily put them into any matching fitting, we tested screw.
The bulbs are bright and compare to competitors being 1,000 lumens but also available in less bright options.
How easy is it to setup?
Setup is a little tricky and took a few attempts.
The first thing you do is remove the cover from the hub to reveal the Ethernet port. You then plug this into your router and power it on.
One nice design feature is you can wrap spare cables around the hub and cover the cables with the cover, leaving it with a clean tidy look.
You then install the app, scan a QR code to connect the app to the hub.
Next you setup a controller and this is where the tricky part came.
First you add it to the app. You need to press the multipurpose button (on the bottom of it) on and off 4 times in 5 seconds, then open the app and add it.
We found you must be careful with the speed of pressing and the 5 seconds or it does not work.
Next you must add it to the hub. Again you must use the multipurpose button this time holding it in for 10 seconds when it is touching the hub.
Watch for the light changes on the hub as holding for too long and again it does not work.
Next to setup the bulbs power them on, hold an already setup controller so its touching the bulb or at most 2cm away. Press the multifunction button, again for 10 seconds and no more. The bulb should flash and be paired.
This also took a few attempts for us, for best results we turned off other ZigBee lights and timed the 10 seconds.
Its not a hard setup just a little more fiddly than you would expect. However once you have got it adding more bulbs didn’t take as long.
What’s the connectivity?
At present there is none other than the app, however later this year they are releasing an update to integrate Amazon Alexa and Apple Home Kit.
How much does IKEA Smart Lighting cost?
This is where the big difference comes in when compared to market leading smart lighting.
IKEA sell one bulb with a controller for £15.
The hub is only £25 or they sell a pack with two bulbs and controller and hub for £65.
This price makes it a perfect step into smart lighting or making your home smart!
IKEA TRÅDFRI Dimming kit
What’s it like living with it?
Good and like other smart lights. Both controllers or ‘steering devices’ have a magnetic sheath and sticky pad. This is a nice touch as allows you to easily attach them to the wall and remove when you want to use them.
This is a nod to the known frustration with smart lighting where one switch of the actual light switch and the app and remotes are rendered useless. With the included sheath you can mount it on the wall and leave the main switch permanently on.
We especially liked the black disc dimmer, its very cool. You can put it on your sofa and turn like a volume dial. You don’t need to put it on a flat surface but when we didn’t we could not get a repeat result each time.
The app has some obviously competitor inspired features like Rise and Shine, Scenes and moods. This allows you to automate the lights coming on and easily enable your favourite settings you have saved as moods.
The app does however have an annoying bug where if you are multitasking and tap out the app, when it comes back it tells you it is unable to connect. To fix it you just need to close and reopen the app.
What are our final thoughts?
The big lacking feature is connectivity, at present they do not support Apple Home Kit, Alexa or IFTTT. This makes these smart lights well less smart – however as we said this should be fixed soon.
The thing to remember with these is this is mass market smart lighting. For the price point they work well, setup could be streamlined and the app does have a few glitches but it works.
We’re excited to see what the future brings for IKEA Smart Lighting as this is an impressive start and for the price it’s hard to argue!