IKEA Home Smart lighting review – Affordable HomeKit lighting

We know IKEA for being the king of flat pack furniture and they do this well. When I heard about the IKEA smart lighting range I had high expectations couple with the low entry point. So lets take an in-depth look in this Ikea Home Smart lighting review.

The Trådfri smart home range or has it is now known, Ikea Home Smart following its rebrand. Is IKEA’s smart lighting offering to compete with the likes of Philips Hue. The smart lighting product is available in the UK and other countries and comes in various fittings. You also have the choice of warm white, white spectrum and Colour and white spectrum. Controlling the smart devices is done via a “steering device” such as a TRÅDFRI remote control or the Home Smart app when connected to the TRÅDFRI gateway. You can also use operate most of the IKEA smart lighting products with HomeKit via the Home App.

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Ikea Home Smart range and cost?

The big attraction to the IKEA smart lighting range is cost. IKEA’s smart lighting pricing starts at £7 for one bulb and up to £100 for panels or starter kits. However, in the main Ikea has kept the cost down for its smart lighting and this is welcome.

Besides the smart light range, Ikea has several other smart devices in the Home Smart range. These include the Fyrtur and KADRILJ smart blinds and the Ikea Control Outlet smart plug

So if you are thinking of putting smart lighting into your home then the IKEA Smart lighting is a good start based on price. But continue to read the Ikea Home Smart lighting review for the pros and cons and if it’s worth buying.

IKEA Home Smart lighting review in pictures

IKEA Smart lighting review – Design

  • The gateway has a simple design with hidden cable ports for a clean design
  • Smart bulbs come in E27, E17, G10
  • Clean finish to the product range.

The TRÅDFRI gateway is a simple circle design made of plastic. Ikea has hidden the power and network ports inside to allow for a clean finish. It also features a series of lights to let you know the status.Ikea tradfri gateway

The IKEA smart lighting bulbs work just like any other LED bulb on the market. The bulbs come in E27, E14 and G10 options. You can also get lighting strips that work with the Tradfri driver along with light panels from the FLOALT range.

IKEA Home Smart lighting Setup

  • Fiddly to set up
  • You need a steering device, even if you buy a gateway
  • Can only pair one bulb at a time.

You start by Installing the TRÅDFRI gateway, which just requires you to plug-in the network cable and the power cable. Once you have confirmed that you have power and a network connection, you then download the TRÅDFRI app from the App store. Once the app is installed, you then follow the instructions which involved scanning the QR code on the back of the unit with your smartphone camera.

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Hardware install

Before you can start installing any bulbs or smart lighting, you first need to add the steering device. You do this by firstly adding it to the app. You need to press the button on the bottom of the IKEA steering device on and off 4 times in 5 seconds. The next step involves adding holding down the multipurpose button for 10 seconds with 2cm of the gateway.Ikea home smart tradfri setup

I found this really tricky and you need to be careful with the timing of the pairing. It took a few attempts to get it right, which was frustrating.

To set up up the smart bulbs, you first power them on. You then hold an already setup Steering device so it’s touching the bulb or at most 2cm away. The final steps involved holding the multifunction button for 10 seconds and the bulb should dim and flash, which confirms it is paired.Ikea steering device

So you need to take note that each bulb needs to be set up separately and if you have a lot of lights it will take time, but you only need to do this once.

Setting up the IKEA smart lighting range reminded me of setting up electronics in the early eighties. I found it an overly complicated, drawn-out process that would fail at any time meaning you would need to start over.

IKEA Smart lighting review – in your home and app

  • TRÅDFRI app is basic, but it does the job.
  • IKEA smart lighting supports Apple HomeKit.
  • The bulbs get hot during use.

Once you have jumped through all the hoops of setting up, you then have the IKEA smart light system setup. Turning off the lights can be done easily by the app. The TRÅDFRI app is basic, but it does the job of turning off lights and setting alarms. However, if you are a user of the Philips Hue app, then you will feel like you have been short-changed as some advanced features are missing.Ikea home smart app review

Looking at the Ikea Home Smart app, on the main page, you get a layout which displays the devices you have connected, separated into rooms. To control the lights you can turn them off and on via the steering device control. But if you have more than one light connected, this would control them all. So for individual control, you can turn each device off and on via the dedicated controls. You can also control the brightness of the light bulb with a slider.

The side menu on the left allows you to set timers for the lights, however these are only time-based. So you can choose any day and time, set the desired position, and that’s it. While this will suit most people to open and close them at certain points, it would have been good to have options to open with sunrise for instance.

Ikea Home Smart HomeKit support

The IKEA smart lighting range supports Apples HomeKit, but only if you are using the TRÅDFRI gateway. It is also worth noting that the steering devices from IKEA don’t work with HomeKit.

Adding the Tradfri gateway to HomeKit is like adding any other device. You scan the HomeKit code and follow the setup process and I had no issues at all when setting up.Ikea homekit setup

Once added to HomeKit you can control the Tradfri bulbs through the Home app, Siri voice control, and through automations. You can also group the lights together like any other HomeKit accessory. This is useful if you have multiple lights covering one area like in my case in the bathroom.

When using the Home app to control the Ikea smart lights, you can turn them off and on using the toggle. This method will turn on the light to 100%. However, if you want more precise control, you can set the light to the desired brightness, such as only 50% if desired. If you colour changing bulbs installed, you can also set your choice of colour.Ikea smart lighting HomeKit control

Using Siri voice assistant to control the lights works well too. You can use commands like “Hey Siri, Open the kitchen blinds” or “Hey Siri, Open the studio blinds to 75%.” Both commands worked as expected.Ikea Homekit automations

It’s when I came to HomeKit automations that I got the most out HomeKit control. This is because I can include the Ikea smart lights into my existing HomeKit automations. Which allowed me to turn off and on at certain points in the day.

IKEA Home Smart lighting review summary

Overall I was impressed with the light levels of the TRÅDFRI lighting range and they compared well with the likes of Philips Hue and Hive smart lights. The whites and warm range is acceptable and the colour options are a good. I also like that Ikea is introducing new products to its Home Smart range such as the smart blinds and smart plugs.

However, my main grip is the setup process and software. Why do you need a steering device if you have a gateway? This is something I have complained about in previous Ikea Home Smart reviews. In addition to this, the Ikea Home Smart app is clunky and in my view not user friendly.

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But kea has made some improvements since the product was first launched in 2017 and this looks like it’s set to continue. So if you are after smart lighting that works with HomeKit on a budget, then the Ikea Home Smart range is a good option.

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Ikea Home smart review
IKEA Home Smart lighting review – Affordable HomeKit lighting
Summary
Starting the review for the IKEA TRÅDFRI smart lighting range I had high hopes due to being a fan of the IKEA brand, however, I felt the smart lighting product lacked in many areas. The setup process is complicated and despite having a gateway hub in its product line, you still need a steering device to pair lights, which adds to the cost. The bulbs perform well for lighting a room and the app works to alter the lights and made adjustments.
Good
Cheap way to put smart light in the home
Clean and simple design
HomeKit support
Not so good
Bulbs don’t work without a “steering device”
The bulbs can get hot depending on location
Set up is fiddly and not user friendly.
75
Acceptable

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Jon Ratcliffe
I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles. I write for active JR covering wearables and smart home My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.

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