When you think about TP-Link, you think about DSL modems, Wi-Fi range extenders, network switches, zzzzzzzzzzz... exactly.
But while its networking products are actually great for boosting the performance of your smart home, it's the Chinese company's Kasa Smart brand that's the more interesting aspect for us.
Kasa Smart is evolving and expanding all of the time - there's way more to it than the smart plugs the branding initially launched on.
Read on for everything you need to know about TP-Link's Kasa Smart home ecosystem.
Kasa Smart: What is it?
Essentially, Kasa is TP-Link's smart home ecosystem. It's important to note that it's not just a range of products, it's also a smart home app that ties all those products together so that they get along better.
For instance, Kasa will monitor the energy use in your home and tell you how much you're using and how you can be saving. This is pretty simple for TP-Link to do because it makes a series of smart plugs and switches that do exactly that.
There's also scheduling that will let you turn things on or off at certain times, which is about par the course in the smart home world. What's cooler is Away Mode, which you can activate when you're out for the night or on vacation. Kasa will automatically do things like randomly turn on the lights for a bit to make it seem like you're home. It's like psychological home security.
One important distinction with Kasa: While the Kasa brand is alive and well, TP-Link also offers very different looking Wi-Fi cameras under regular TP-Link branding. But it's the Kasa Smart range we're focusing on here.
Kasa Smart: Cloud storage with Kasa Care
TP-Link makes a range of smart cameras and these naturally need some cloud storage to safely store some video footage should you need it. If you get a Kasa Smart cam, you'll automatically get 30 days of premium service. Once that 30 days is done, TP-Link will automatically switch you to free plan.
That free service gets you two days of cloud storage and up to 1GB of storage. It's available for up to three Kasa Smart cams. The next tier up is the Plus plan, which gets you 14 days of video clips and up to 14 GB of storage for $4 a month or $40 a year. You'll need a Plus plan for each camera.
Finally, there's the Premium plan, which gets you 30 days of footage and up to 30 GB of storage for $7 a month or $70 per year. Again, that is per camera. So if you have multiple cameras you'll need multiple plans.
Kasa Smart: The devices
Kasa Smart Cams
Every smart home ecosystem needs some sort of camera to keep an eye on things, and then it also needs an outdoor variation to make sure things are all good on the outside. Both the Kasa Cam and Kasa Cam Outdoor mostly do the same things.
Verdict: Kasa Cam security camera review
They both provide 1080p footage, and the indoor variation comes at that with a 130-degree wide angle lens. Both of them work with Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can even watch your footage on your Echo Show or Lenovo Smart Display if you want.
Like other smart cameras, activity zone support is here to let you know when there's a disturbance in a particular area either inside or outside. You'll also get notifications when it senses any movements or sounds ‚Äď should you want those notifications, of course.
TP-Link also has the Kasa Smart Wire-Free Camera launching later this year, with Full HD video, and built-in siren. Monitor anywhere and everywhere with Kasa Smart's indoor and outdoor wire-free camera.
Kasa Smart Plugs
The bread and butter of the Kasa ecosystem, and the reason you may have heard of the Kasa brand in the first place. Kasa's smart plugs come in a variety of different styles and packages.
The best deal is likely the Kasa Smart Plug Lite, which gives you two Kasa smart plugs for $49.99. They'll both allow you to turn off devices in your home remotely, also using Alexa and Google Assistant ‚Äď and again, they don't require hubs. They also come with Away Mode, so they can turn your lights on randomly to pretend you're home.
They don't, however, come with energy monitoring. For that, you'll have to purchase the $29.97 Kasa Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring. While this one isn't as conveniently shaped as the Lite, which will save you space by your wall outlet, this will let you know how much energy you're using. Like other Kasa plugs, it also comes with Away Mode.
There are also extension leads, and gang-plugs in the range as well; and the company also recently announced an outdoor variant, which is IP64 rated.
Kasa Smart Light Switches
There are two variations on the Kasa Light Switch. There's the regular switch, which just turns lights on or off, and then there's the dimmer. The dimmer lets you fade the lights on or off with a click, or you can double click to fade it even more gently (good for when your kid is going off to sleep).
As is becoming a habit with Kasa devices, the light switches also come with scheduling and Away Mode. There are also handy little LED indicators on the switches to let you know they're connected. Plus, they kind of light your way when it's dark.
The regular light switch will cost you $39.99 while the dimmer will set you back $59.99. Unlike other Kasa products, these will also work with Nest and Cortana, expanding your smart home compatibility game.
More exciting than these though is the Kasa Smart Light Switch with Voice Assistant, which will launch later this year with Alexa or Google Assistant (TBC) built-in.
Kasa Smart Bulbs
TP-Link may not be the first name when you think of smart bulbs, but they do make a number of smart bulbs that don't require a hub. Plus, they're not that expensive, which will make it easy on your wallet.
It all starts with the tunable white LB120 bulb, which comes in at $24.99. It's the equivalent of a 60W bulb, and you'll get a range of whites from soft white to bright daylight. There's also Circadian Mode, which matches the light up to how the sun rises and sets.
The idea is that the light will gently get brighter in the morning to wake you up, and gently fade away at night when you're trying to get to sleep. There's also the LB130, which adds multicolour to the mix. If you'd like to step up those lumens to 1,000, you can also opt for the $49.99 LB230, which has all the same features but is brighter.