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Written by Rob Green on February 16, 2021

Ikea TRÅDFRI Budget Friendly Smart Lights in 2020

Smart lighting is a grow business so it’s no wonder that Ikea, the global home furniture giant, has decided to get into the smart home market.

While their smart home products extend beyond just smart lights, such as plugs and blinds, we’ll be focusing solely on their lighting range in this article.

Their lighting range might not be as vast as say Philips Hue, but they offer some great features for a much more affordable price.

What are Ikea TRÅDFRI Smart Lights?

The name TRÅDFRI simply refers to the collection of smart lighting products by Ikea, similar to how Philips has named their smart lighting range – Philips Hue.

Budget Friendly

Coming in as more budget friendly than competitors they have a strong line of products which will in most cases fit your needs.

While not as refined as competitors, they are a great alternative for anyone looking to introduce simple smart lights into their home.

How to connect your Ikea Smart Lights

Similar to their “build yourself” furniture, the TRÅDFRI range isn’t exactly the easiest system to setup.

If you’re interested in understanding what’s involved in setting them up, we’ve outlined the steps you can expect to go through.

  1. First you need their hub in-order to get started, as all their lights run on Zigbee (wireless protocol) instead of WiFi or Bluetooth. You’ll also want to download the Ikea app to your phone.

There’s a few advantages Zigbee has over WiFi, the biggest one being if you had 30 WiFi connected products you’d most likely have interference issues. Whereas if you use Zigbee, you can have the same 30 devices or more connected without worrying about interference to your WiFi.

  1. Once you have the hub setup, you’ll need a Steering Device and unfortunately as we found out, a car steering wheel doesn’t count.
  2. The Steering Device for you will most likely be the wireless remote they include with the hub (though it could be any one of their wireless remotes). Once you’ve turned the wireless remote into a Steering Device it can be used to connect your smart lights to your hub.
  3. Now you just need to install a bulb into the socket, make sure the power is on and hold your Steering Device close (we’re talking 2cm or closer). The whole “pairing” takes around 10 seconds, per light.

That’s it, and thankfully you don’t need to re-connect (pair) your lights to the hub in the event of a power outage.

If you already have another hub that uses Zigbee, like the Samsung SmartThings or Amazon Echo Plus you could also use that to control them.

How long do Ikea bulbs last?

Similar to other LED smart lights, you can expect around 25,000 hours out of a single light. Varying on how you use it this will typically last around 15-22+ years.

Great news for anyone looking for lights that will last.

How bright can their lights get?

This one is a little harder to answer, as different products will have different max lumens (brightness).

Though you can typically expect around 800 lumens of brightness, which is equal to a traditional 60W bulb.

Do Ikea lights work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit (Siri)?

Yes, yes and yes. Ikea has chosen like many other companies to support the three major smart assistants on the market.

Smart assistants are one of the most popular smart products found in home, with their ability to answer questions, play music and enable you to control other products with voice commands.

Support for all three assistants means, you no longer need to worry about which smart assistant you use now or in the future.

Ikea Smart Light Indoor Range

The Ikea site isn’t the most user friendly when it comes to understanding what you should be opting to buy, mainly because their bulb range (as of Aug 2020) all start with “TRÅDFRI LED bulb” followed by the lumens.

Determining which ones can change colour and which are pure white takes a bit of digging, which we’ve done on your behalf right below.

While it’s true, they sell bulbs for as little as £7, they’re not the brightest – so stick with the £10+ bulb range.

Good to note, while you can purchase the lights though Amazon, some products appear to be limited. In this case, you might be better purchasing them in-store or online through their US Ikea site or UK Ikea site.

Starter Kit

If you’re going to be buying Ikea smart lights, it’ll pay off picking up what’s called a “Gateway Kit”. Which comes with a few starter bulbs, a remote for the lights and the gateway itself (connects all your lights).

This gateway will of course plug straight into your router, which then allows you to use your phone in order to initially setup and control your lights.

31Ui+y5G44L. SL250

IKEA Trådfri Gateway Starter Kit. Buy from Amazon

TRÅDFRI Bulbs

Ikeas’ smart light range is, small, with only a fraction of choices available when compared to competitors. Not to say this is inherently a bad thing, it does factor into the ability to mass product and in turn reduce the overall price of their bulbs.

214VqicTPDL. SL250
White Bulb
Check on Amazon

We’ve decided to break the bulbs up into selected rooms in the home.

TRÅDFRI Other Light Types

Ikea hasn’t yet branched out into other lighting solutions like Lamps or Light Strips in 2020. That’s not to say they won’t and we’ll keep you updated if they ever do.

Accessories

Setting up and installing your lights will require you to have what they’re calling a “Steering Device”. This can be one of their remote controls or dimmer switches, which you setup to in-turn setup the bulbs.

There’s 3 main accessories you’ll want to look at from Ikea.

Remote Control with 5 buttons, so you can turn on/off and dim your lights without using your phone.

41rimVMKtrL. SL250
Ikea Light Switch
Check on Amazon

Dimmer Switch for more refined control over how much your lights dim.

21Z2Fe+UDmL. SL250
Ikea Light Dimmer
Check on Amazon

Motion Sensor when you want your lights to turn on automatically.

31kpDuD1nPL. SL250
Ikea Light Sensor
Check on Amazon

Good To Know

Before you rush out and buy any lights there’s a few things we wanted to make you aware of.

  1. Dimming can be a little buggy at the moment, the dimmer switch can be over-sensitive
  2. Range of colours the bulbs can display is really limited compared to other brands
  3. Tradfri app is a bit too simple, sure it can set timers and mimic the lights to act like someone is home while you travel. You can’t control your lights while away from home and don’t integrate with third-party apps like IFTTT.

Ikea TRÅDFRI Going Forward

While nothing about them screams special, they do a good albert basic job of providing smart lights to your home. Their price is their biggest selling point and if you’re after some cheaper smart lights and don’t really care about extra features or functionalities that competitors offer, then they’re a great choice.

We look forward to Ikea expanding their range, to not only include more variety of bulbs, but also develop into other lighting areas such as lamps, light strips and outdoor lighting.

Before jumping into smart lighting, head over to our smart light guide to find out more.

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