Ikea Trådfri Range: Review and User Guide
Everything you Need to Know about Ikea Tradfri Smart Lights and Plugs, from features to compatibility and best uses
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Smart lights and plugs have been around for several years now. So much so the market is saturated with a wide range of companies offering their variations on these products.
Ikea has recently stepped into the smart home ecosystem by introducing its line of Trådfri Smart Lights and Plugs. In case you’re wondering, ‘Trådfri’ is a Swedish word for wireless, which is precisely what you expect from smart devices.
But in this saturated smart device marketplace, does IKEA have what it takes to stand out? What sets Ikea Trådfri apart from well established smart device options like Philips Hue, WeMo, and many others?
Well, to put it simply, Ikea isn’t trying to make waves with an overly innovative twist on smart lights and plugs. Instead, Ikea Trådfri attempts quite the opposite — minimalism.
Ikea Trådfri smart lights and plugs are some of the most reasonable and — for lack of a better word — basic smart devices on the market. Will that strategy work in their favor?
Read on for a detailed review of Ikea Trådfri smart lights and plugs and let’s find out!
Ikea Trådfri Smart Lights Review
aren’t overly innovative or creative in terms of functionality. In fact, they’re pretty unremarkable, and that might just be their greatest advantage in an ecosystem in which smart device companies are tripping over themselves to add a greater degree of complications.
So far, Ikea has developed ten Ikea Trådfri bulbs, all of them with various degrees of brightness (lumen output), fittings, and colors.
While the color spectrum is decent, you can only access the different colors and shades through the smartphone app. It’s also worth noting that the color spectrum is still limited when compared to other smart lights like Philips Hue, which can offer every shade, temperature, and color in existence, with a range of 50,000 shades of white and 16,000,000 colors.
You can also use the Ikea Trådfri remote to control up to 10 Ikea Trådfri bulbs together. The remote allows you to dim the lights, switch them on or off, and change the color temperature. These smart lights consume approximately 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs and they last 20 times longer.
You can control Ikea Trådfri bulbs in three ways — the Ikea Trådfri remote, the Ikea smartphone app, or motion sensors. However, all of these different methods of control have different installation methods and give you access to different features. We’ll explore more of that later in the section titled ‘Ikea Trådfri Smart Lights & Plug Setup’.
The greatest advantage of Ikea Trådfri smart lights is that you can control them without a wired-in installation. That’s what makes them suitable for most people, including renters and those who travel often — you can simply connect the Ikea Trådfri bulbs in the relevant fixture and there’s no need to play with your home’s wiring.
Ikea Trådfri bulbs are also some of the most reasonable smart lights on the market. Depending on the lumens and fixture style, the cost of Ikea Trådfri bulbs ranges from $8.99 to $19.99.
It doesn’t have many bells and whistles — no USB port, no nightlight, no energy monitoring, and no power button. As such, this smart plug can only remotely control your device and there’s no means of turning it on or off physically — unless you turn off the power outlet it’s connected to.
Ikea Trådfri smart plugs also have great compatibility with different smart devices like Apple HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Home. And you get all of that compatibility for only $9.99, which might sound like a steal… but there’s a caveat.
On the outset, Ikea Trådfri smart plugs only cost $9.99, which is pretty brilliant considering they have Apple HomeKit compatibility. But unlike a lot of other smart plugs — like WeMo and Teckin — Ikea Trådfri smart plugs don’t work independently.
To make the Ikea Trådfri smart plugs work, you’ll also have to get a Zigbee-based gateway hub along with an Ikea Trådfri remote/ steering device. When you add all of that up, you get a smart plug that costs at least $45.
For all their attempt at simplicity and minimalism, the Ikea Trådfri smart plugs don’t seem so minimal anymore considering they necessitate the use of a separate smart hub and Ikea “steering wheel” — we’ll discuss more of that in the section titled ‘Ikea Trådfri Smart Lights & Plug Setup’.
The Ikea Trådfri smart plugs perform quite well. They’re consistent, there are no glitches, and they respond well to smartphone and voice commands. However, if you’re looking for a smart plug that you can simply plug, connect, and play, this isn’t the one for you.
If you already have a Zigbee-based smart hub and you’re purchasing other Ikea smart devices as well, the purchase will be worth it. But it’s not a justifiable purchase if all you want is an individual smart plug.
Ikea Trådfri Smart Lights & Plug Setup
Ikea Trådfri installation is certainly more challenging than the setup for a lot of other smart lights and plugs. Even though they don’t require any wiring, the smart lights and plugs have other necessities like a Zigbee-based smart hub or an Ikea Trådfri gateway, an Ikea Trådfri remote or “steering device”, and the Ikea smartphone app.
The Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs work on the Zigbee protocol so you need a device that can communicate with the Ikea Trådfri devices.
If you don’t have any other smart hubs, you can get the , which costs $35. The gateway needs an internet connection — you can use the provided ethernet cable to connect the device to your internet router. You can’t connect the gateway to the network using WiFi. The gateway is fairly large because there space within the hub to coil the wire for a neat display.
However, you don’t need to purchase a separate Ikea Trådfri gateway if you already have a smart hub that works on the Zigbee protocol, such as the Amazon Echo Plus or the Philips Hue Bridge.
Ikea Trådfri Remote, AKA Steering Device
In addition to the Ikea Trådfri gateway, you also need to purchase and connect an Ikea Trådfri steering device.
Ikea Trådfri defines the following devices as “steering devices”.
Ikea Trådfri App — IKEA Home Smart
Finally, the last requirement is the IKEA Home Smart app installed on your or . If you have an Android phone, it needs to be at least KitKat 4.4 or Lollipop 5.0. If you have an iPhone, it needs to be at least iOS 9.
You can control the Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs without the smartphone app as well. The aforementioned Ikea Trådfri steering devices can be used to perform the basic functions like dimming the lights, turning them on/off, and changing the color/temperature.
However, you need the Ikea Trådfri App — which, it’s worth noting, is extremely simple and minimalist — to access the advanced features like creating ‘moods’, setting schedules, and changing the brightness or colors of individual bulbs rather than collectively.
Step-by-Step Ikea Trådfri Installation
Now that you’re aware of all the necessities of installation, the following is a step-by-step guide for how to set up the Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs.
Please note that we’ll discuss the installation based on the assumption that you’re installing the Ikea Trådfri devices for the first time and don’t have any other smart hubs. If you already have the Ikea Trådfri gateway or another Zigbee smart hub installed, you may have to skip some of the steps mentioned below.
The following is an overview of the steps involved in the Ikea Trådfri setup:
Overall, the setup process doesn’t take too long but it does have one too many steps. The inclusion of the Ikea steering device is especially confusing because it doesn’t do anything vital. The Ikea remote or steering devices are useful for those who don’t want to constantly control the bulbs and plugs from the app — but its inclusion didn’t have to be mandatory.
Ikea Trådfri Features
Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs have a limited set of features. For example, the smart plug doesn’t have energy monitoring and the smart lights don’t have a wide range of colors and temperatures.
Furthermore, the amount of features available to you also depends on how you’re controlling the Ikea Trådfri devices, whether it’s through the Ikea Trådfri steering devices or Ikea Trådfri smartphone app.
Ikea Trådfri Remote Features
Ikea Trådfri Wireless Dimmer Features
Ikea Trådfri Motion Sensor Features
Ikea Trådfri App Features
The Ikea Trådfri app offers a greater number of features amongst all the options available. However, despite that, the number of features available is still quite limited. The app is extremely minimal and simple to use but the lack of advanced features may be an issue for smart home enthusiasts.
The greater problem with the Ikea Trådfri app is that you need to be on the same WiFi network as the Ikea Trådfri gateway to control your Ikea Trådfri devices. As such, you can only use the smartphone app to control your device when you’re home. You can’t control the devices from work or elsewhere, which is a great disappointment.
The following is an overview of the features available in the Ikea Trådfri app.
The following are some of the primary features missing from Ikea Trådfri devices that are available in their competitors.
Ikea Trådfri Compatibility
Ikea Trådfri Amazon Alexa Compatibility
Ikea Trådfri Amazon Alexa Setup:
Examples of Ikea Trådfri Amazon Alexa Commands:
Ikea Trådfri Google Home Compatibility
Ikea Trådfri Google Home Setup:
Examples of Ikea Trådfri Google Assistant Commands:
Ikea Trådfri Apple HomeKit Compatibility
Ikea Trådfri Apple HomeKit Setup:
Examples of Ikea Trådfri Siri Commands:
With Apple HomeKit integration, you can go beyond the basic features of the Ikea devices. You can now set complex scenes and automations as well. You can set up a chain or commands so a single command with control several of your Ikea devices simultaneously. The following are some examples.
Ikea Trådfri Philips Hue Compatibility and Setup
Do you have a range of Philips Hue bulbs and lights installed already? Are you now considering Ikea Trådfri lights and bulbs because they’re cheaper and you want a more reasonable means of expanding your smart lights?
If so, you may be concerned that you may need two different apps to control the Hue lights and the Ikea lights. However, Ikea Trådfri is perfectly compatible with Philips Hue, which is why you can control your Ikea Trådfri bulbs from the Hue app as well.
Philips Hue supports the Zigbee 3.0 protocol but also works with Zigbee Light Link protocol, because of which it can also support your Ikea Trådfri devices. As such, if you already have a Hue, you don’t even need an Ikea Trådfri gateway.
While you can technically connect Ikea Trådfri to your Philips Hue, this isn’t the most elegant solution. Connecting the two devices can be quite painful, time-consuming, and you need to follow several different steps to accomplish that.
Update your Ikea Trådfri Bulbs
Make sure all of your Ikea Trådfri bulbs are updated with the latest firmware. If you bought your Ikea Trådfri devices recently, they’ll already have the latest firmware and you can skip this step. If not, you’ll have to update the devices from the Ikea Trådfri app — a process that may take several hours. You can do so by following these steps:
Connect your Ikea Trådfri to the Philips Hue Bridge
Ikea Trådfri Samsung SmartThings Compatibility and Setup
Just like the aforementioned Philips Hue Bridge, the Samsung SmartThings Hub is also compatible with a Zigbee protocol. As such, if you already have a SmartThings Hub, you don’t need to purchase an Ikea Trådfri gateway.
If your Ikea Trådfri devices are already connected to the Ikea Trådfri gateway, you’ll need to first disconnect them in order to connect to the SmartThings hub. Once you’ve done that, the following steps will help you connect your Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs to the SmartThings hub:
10 Top Uses of Smart Lights and Plugs
As you can see, there’s a lot to unpack with the Ikea Trådfri range of smart lights and plugs. For some, these smart lights and plugs will be the most affordable means of expanding their smart home. For others, it will be riddled with inconveniences.
Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs are certainly minimalist in terms of features and functionality. They can do the bare minimum of remotely turning your lights and plugs on/off, dimming the lights, and changing the colors/shades.
The range of colors is limited to a maximum of 20 while other smart lights offer thousands of colors and shades. Furthermore, even the remote control capacity is limited because you need to be connected to the same WiFi network as the Ikea Trådfri gateway. As such, you can turn the lights on or off using your IKEA app if you’re at work — you can only do so if you’re connected to Alexa, HomeKit, Google Home, etc.
While Ikea Trådfri offers minimal features and functions, their setup is actually quite unnecessarily complicated. To successfully connect the Ikea Trådfri lights and plugs, you need the Ikea Trådfri gateway (or any other Zigbee-based hub), a steering device, and the smartphone app. That’s a lot of complexity when you can also find smart plugs and lights for which you don’t need anything more than a single smartphone app.
The biggest advantage of these lights and plugs is that they’re compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. As such, those platforms can increase their range of features by allowing you to create intelligent and creative automation coupled with voice navigation.
On the one hand, the minimal features are justified because of the low price range. However, you also have to consider the cost of the steering device and the Ikea Trådfri gateway — so the overall cost actually becomes pretty expensive if you’re planning on just getting one or two smart bulbs and plugs.
So who is Ikea Trådfri really suitable for?
If you’re creating an entire ecosystem of Ikea Trådfri devices with a wide range of bulbs and plugs, then you can go for this because a large number of devices will offset the cost of the Ikea Trådfri gateway and steering device.
Alternatively, if you already have a smart hub like SmartThings Hub or Philips Hue hub, you can get Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs because you won’t need an additional gateway since Ikea Trådfri is compatible with all of the Zigbee-based smart hubs. In that case, expanding your range of smart lights and plugs with Ikea Trådfri will be far more reasonable than getting other Philips Hue devices.
That pretty much sums up what Ikea Trådfri is all about. I hope this article has helped you decide if you want to invest in them!
Frequently Asked Questions about Ikea Trådfri Smart Lights and Plugs
Does IKEA smart lighting work with HomeKit?
Yes, Ikea Trådfri smart lighting does work with Apple HomeKit.
Is Ikea Tradfri compatible with Hue? How do I connect IKEA hue to Tradfri? Does IKEA motion sensor work with Hue?
Ikea Trådfri is compatible with Philips Hue. As such, you can connect all your Ikea Trådfri devices, including the motion sensor, to the Philips Hue bridge. The following is a broad overview of the steps necessary to connect your Ikea Trådfri devices to the Hue bridge:
Update all of your Ikea Trådfri bulbs.
Bring the Ikea Trådfri devices close to the Hue to connect them.
In the Hue app, tap ‘Add Light’ to integrate them.
How do I add IKEA Tradfri to SmartThings?
The following steps will help you add Ikea Trådfri to the SmartThings hub:
If you have an Ikea Trådfri gateway, disconnect it from your Ikea Trådfri devices.
In your SmartThings app, navigate to ‘+’ > ‘Device’ > ‘IKEA’ > ‘Lighting’ > ‘Start’.
Choose your SmartThings hub.
Add the Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs to connect them.
How do I pair my Tradfri remote?
You can pair your Ikea Trådfri remote to the Ikea Trådfri gateway and devices in the following methods:
- After connecting the Ikea Trådfri gateway, tap the remote to the gateway and hold down the pairing button.
- Bring the Ikea Trådfri remote close to all of Ikea Trådfri bulbs and tap the pairing button for a few seconds until they appear in your smartphone app.
How do I reset my Tradfri gateway?
If you want to reset the Ikea Trådfri gateway completely, including removing all the connected devices, follow these steps:
- In your Ikea Trådfri app, navigate to ‘Devices’ to select the individual devices and remove them. After selecting a device, tap ‘Remove’ > ‘Proceed’ > ‘Remove’. Do this for all the connected devices to remove them from the Ikea Trådfri gateway.
- Factory reset the Ikea Trådfri bulbs and plugs by holding down the power button six times repeatedly until the bulbs start blinking.
- Hold down the Reset button in the Ikea Trådfri gateway.
Why can’t I add the Ikea Trådfri bulbs into the Ikea Trådfri gateway?
You can only connect the Ikea Trådfri bulbs to the gateway if you’ve also got a steering device paired to the gateway. You need to purchase an Ikea Trådfri remote, wireless dimmer, or motion sensor and pair them to your gateway first to successfully add the Ikea Trådfri bulbs.
Can I control the Ikea Trådfri lights only using the steering device?
No, you can’t control the Ikea Trådfri bulbs or plugs with the steering device alone. You also need an Ikea Trådfri gateway connected to the IKEA Home Smart app.
I have several Ikea Trådfri bulbs connected to my Ikea Trådfri remote and motion sensor but they’ve gone out of sync. How do I sync them again?
To sync all of your Ikea Trådfri bulbs again, you need to turn all of the connected bulbs off and then turn them back on. If that doesn’t work, factory reset the bulbs by deleting them from the IKEA Home Smart app and holding down the power button six times. However, if you factory reset the devices, you’ll have to start the installation all over again.