Ikea Trådfri guide: Your missing manual to Ikea's smart lights, plugs and more

We unpack everything on Ikea's range of smart home devices

Ikea Trådfri guide

Ikea’s getting into the smart home. That's right, the Swedish furniture giant isn't just here to help you furnish your college house with chairs (you know the exact ones we're talking about). In 2017 it launched its Trådfri smart lights and has since followed up with a smart switch, a motion sensor and – soon – will release the first fruits of its partnership with Sonos, the Symfonisk speakers. There are smart blinds in the works too.

Sure, you might know your Dagstorp from your Knutstorp, but do you know the ins and outs of Trådfri? We’re here to help you put together your Trådfri knowledge like a Bygstad flat-pack. We’ll explain how it all works, what it works with, what you need to get set up, etc etc.

Right now, Trådfri encompasses Ikea’s range of lights and plugs. There’s also a remote control – we’ll get to that. First of all, here’s how it works.

Ikea Trådfri: The ecosystem as a whole

Like Philips Hue, Lifx and Sengled, Trådfri encompasses a whole smart light ecosystem. Everything can be controlled using a smartphone app and digital assistants, but there’s also a remote control should you prefer to go slightly more old school. Or, there's the Trådfri wireless dimmer, which gives you another tactile way to control those lights.

Back to those assistants for a second: Ikea’s Trådfri supports Google Assistant, Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit, the last one meaning you can also use Siri to control your lights and plugs. This support is much-needed, as the Ikea app itself is lacking on automations or even the ability to control your kit remotely.

However, an important caveat is that you do need a hub to make everything work, which can be bought separately or in a starter kit. Alternatively, because Trådfri is Zigbee, you can connect the lights directly to an Echo Plus instead. You can actually connect them to the Philips Hue app too, although that method is a little… fiddly.

Then there's the smart plug, which launched at the end of 2018. This also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, but not HomeKit, yet. The official line from Ikea is that it’ll happen in Q1 of this year – so hold tight.

Like the lights, there’s also a remote for the smart plug, but you’ll be able to control them with the app or using Alexa/Google Assistant too.

You might be wondering why you should consider Ikea when Philips, Lifx and the rest of the gang seem to have this market covered. Quite simply, price. The Ikea range is super cheap, with bulbs starting at $7.99, and unless you’re picking up a starter kit, don’t expect to pay anything more than $36. So let's get into the kit.

How to set up Ikea Trådfri

Ikea Trådfri can play nice with wider ecosystems such as Alexa and Google Assistant, but each has its own setup requirements. Below you'll find guides to each of them, as well as a guide to using your Trådfri lights with a motion sensor, whether it's Ikea's own or another brand.

Ikea Trådfri guide: Your missing manual to Ikea's smart lights, plugs and more

Ikea Trådfri: The bulbs, plugs and more

This is everything you can get from Ikea's Trådfri range right now. As we said, you can expect this lineup to grow throughout 2019.

Ikea Trådfri gateway kit

$79.99, ikea.com

This is the jumping-off point. The starter kit is the most expensive thing in the range, but it'll get you up and running with a hub, two bulbs and a remote control. That hub is essential (unless you're connecting via an Echo Plus or Hue) so this is a good place to start if you don't have any Trådfri kit in your house. Right now the starter kit is only available in the US, for some reason.

Ikea Trådfri LED bulbs

Starts at $7.99, ikea.com

We're grouping the individual bulbs together as the difference between them is mostly a matter of lumens, however one important thing to know is that only one offers a range of colours, and comes with the option of a bundled dimmer. Otherwise, when you're browsing different bulbs, pay attention to how much variation you'll get in the white tones.

Ikea Trådfri wireless motion sensor

$19.99, ikea.com

Ikea's motion sensor is solely for use with its lights, letting you activate select bulbs when movement is detected. The sensor can be placed up to 30 feet away from the light (with no walls blocking it) and can detect motion up to 15 feet away.

Ikea Trådfri wireless dimmer

$9.99, ikea.com

Not ready to go all-in on the app or an assistant? Ikea's wireless dimmer can connect to 10 different bulbs at one time, and it comes with a two-year battery life (after which you can just swap the battery out). It also uses a magnet that makes it easy to mount to the wall bracket.

Ikea Trådfri smart plug

Starts at $9.99, ikea.com

Ikea's "wireless control outlet" is the odd one out here, in that it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the lights. Like other smart plugs, Ikea's can turn any of your other "dumb" devices into connected ones, letting you control the outlet remotely. And you can tie it into your routines on your smart home platform of choice. Comes with a smart plug remote for an extra $5.


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TAGGED   lighting   smart home

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