IKEA Smart Plug Review
IKEA entered the smart home market some time ago with their smart lighting range, now they have added to the range with low priced smart plugs interestingly named Tradfri Control outlet.
Before IKEA launched the Control Outlet, the average price of a smart plug with HomeKit support normally started above £30. But that has all changed with the IKEA Control Outlet starting at £9.
When I reviewed the Tradfri lighting range, it left me underwhelmed. So let us see how things turn out in this Tradfri Control Outlet review.
Note – this was originally posted on activejr.com
IKEA Tradfri Control Outlet Review quick facts
- Price: Prices start at £9.95/$9.99 – Yes the price is very low for smart plugs with HomeKit support
- Colour – White only
- Energy monitoring: No energy monitoring
- Regions: UK, Europe, USA
- Smart Home Support: HomeKit (coming soon), Alexa and Google Home
- Hub Required: Yes if you want to use with the Tradfri app, Google Home, HomeKit and Alexa. This will add another £25 plus the cost of a steering device.
You can get a Control Outlet with a remote, but this review only covers the option without the remote.
IKEA Tradfri Control Outlet Review in pictures
IKEA Tradfri Control Outlet Design
- Simple Design
- Good construction
The Tradfri control outlet is a very simple design and is only available in the colour white, which is like most Smart plugs on the market at the moment anyway.
The plugs are made of plastic and a little larger than a single plug socket – they aren’t as big as the Wemo insight smart switch, but both do the same job. The Control Outlet features a light which indicates if it turned off or on.
Turning the plug around you will find the bit that slides into the power socket and depending on the region you have bought the smart plug will dictate what prong configuration you get. This is a UK setup, but you can get EU and US configurations.
- Zigbee protocol
- Trådfri Gateway required if you want to use the App, HomeKit ect
- Steering Device required to pair with the Gateway.
The Control outlet does come with very clear instructions on how to set up, but like the smart light range, it does seem a little strange to require a steering device in order to pair with the gateway. This will add to the cost if you are starting out with Tradfri.
Please note: This review is based on starting from scratch with the Tradfri system. If you already have Tradfri in your home, some of the setup steps will be different.
As already mentioned the review is based on the Control Outlet without the remote, so you will need the following:
- A Steering device such as Tradfri Remote Control, Tradfri Motion Sensor or a Tradfri Wireless Dimmer
- Tradfri gateway.
- Tradfri App
- Wifi enabled router
Tradfri Control Outlet setup process
Start by downloading the app and plug the Tradfri Gateway into your router and pair the app and the gateway by following the instructions. All of this is very simple and takes about 5 minutes.
The next stage is to pair the steering device, I used a the wireless dimmer to pair the Control Outlet for this review. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the Tradfri app, but You will need to be next to the Tradfri Gateway as you have to hold the sensor within a couple of centimetres and press the sync button for 4 seconds to establish a connection with the Gateway.
Once you have connected the steering device to the Gateway, the next step is to add the Tradfri Control outlet. Plug the Outlet into the power socket and follow the instructions within the App. You will need to hold the steering device within 2cm of the Control Outlet and hold the pair button for 10 seconds until you see the connection made in the app, that’s it.
So whilst the process is fairly simple to get set up, I still question why IKEA decided to add the steering device into the mix as this adds unnecessary cost and steps in my view.
- Scheduling through app
- Very Simple app, limited features.
The IKEA Tradfri app is pretty basic and to some this will be a good thing, but to others that demand more from a smart home product, you may be left disappointed with the Tradfri app.
If you not using HomeKit, Google Home or Alexa, then you need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as your Tradfri Gateway to control your devices. So this means if you are out of the home, you can’t turn on the Control Outlet.
There is a scheduling feature within the Tradfri app though. Marked with a timer icon in the top left of the app, this offers three features:
- Rise and Shine
- Away from Home
- On or Off
- Along with the ability to add extra timers
I did say its a simple app didn’t I?
The Rise and Shine feature is pretty much pointless for the Control Outlet as its only really for use with the Smart lights, so we will skip over this one.
Away from Home allows you to set your plugs to turn on and off at specific times, mimicking someone being home. This would be useful if the Control Outlet is connected to a lamp.
The On or Off feature is pretty much the same as Away From Home, allowing you set up exactly when you want your plugs to turn on and off, so not sure why this is even an extra option.
In the settings section of the app, top right of the home screen, you can manage your devices. This includes adding a new bulb, a new room, as well as integrations.
- Energy monitoring
- Cost monitoring
- Total time on
However, when you take it back to the cost of this smart plug, it is under £10/$10 and the likes of Eve and Wemo will set you back £40, so it is not surprising that you don’t get these features.
One final point on the missing features, whilst some may use these features, in our home we have the above brands and never use the energy monitoring, so is it really worth the extra cost for something you may only use for the first week of ownership.
Tradfri Control Outlet HomeKit
- Siri voice support
- Home app
- Can integrate into scenes, automation
Note – Homekit is a coming soon feature that will be released in 2019 by Ikea. I used a hack to get HomeKit to work for this review.
When IKEA announced the control outlet would work with HomeKit I was not surprised given the rest of the Tradfri range already does.
The Tradfri COntrol Outlet works with HomeKit like any other smart device that is enabled to work with Apples smart home ecosystem. You simply pair the device via the Home App, well its the gateway that you pair with.
Once you have the Control Outlet paired with HomeKit, you can then control it with Siri or turn the plug off and on using the Home App. You also have the option to include the plug in scenes and automation triggers.
In our home, the smart plug was used along with a LED floodlight attached to the garage. This was then included in an automation trigger when the Netatamo Presence detected motion, the Floodlight would turn on.
Ikea Trådfri and Google Home
- Voice control
- Control through Google Home app
As part of the Control Outlet review, I also used the smart plug with Google Home and the experience is pretty much flawless. The two systems work seamlessly together without any issues.
You can use “Ok Google, turn off the kitchen lights” or “Hey Google, turn off the bedroom lights” This is useful when you entering a room and don’t have your smartphone to hand.
The Google Assistant app also allows you to control the smart plugs when you are out of the home and want to turn on or off the appliance connected to the Control Outlet.
Tradfri Control Outlet review price
The Tradfri Control Outlet is brilliant for the price if you are already a Tradfri user as the smart plug without a remote start at £9.95/$9.99.
However, If you’re starting from scratch, the price soon jumps up when you add the steering device (£16), gateway (£25) and the Control Outlet (£9.95) making the total price £50.95. But then when you want to add more control outlets, the price starts to come down compared to other competitors like Eve and Wemo.
Tradfri Control Outlet review verdict
Despite my first experience with the IKEA Tradfri lighting system being a negative one, the Tradfri Control Outlet is brilliant for the price if you already a Tradfri user.
If you’re starting from scratch, the price soon jumps up, but if you plan to have a few of these in your home, the overall cost compared to other brands is lower.
The inclusion of Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri compatibility for voice control, as well as scheduling and app control is another added bonus. Granted the app is not the best when you compare it to other competitors and it does not come with energy monitoring.
Overall you can beat the price for a HomeKit controlled Smart plug. The bottom line the Tradfri Outlet does the job when it comes to a smart plug. But without all the bells and whistles, that most will never use.
So thats it, thats the end of Tradfri Control Outlet review. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive the latest on smart home. If you have a question or comment, then leave it below. You can also checkout more HomeKit reviews via this page.