Did you know that you can get Ikea’s Trådfri smart light bulbs showing up – and controllable – within your Philips Hue app? Yep, you really can fill your whole house up with smart bulbs without breaking the bank, and still only have to use the Hue app.
Philips Hue is part of the Zigbee Light Link standard protocol and, as such, Zigbee Light Link compliant products and devices work with the Hue Bridge. So, it’s not just Ikea’s smart bulbs – you can also get bulbs from the likes of GE and Osram set up on your Hue system.
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However, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. In fact, George Yianni – the man who created Hue – recently told us just that. So, before you embark on the fairly fiddly – and often frustrating steps below – be warned that it might just be more hassle than it’s worth…
Connecting your Ikea Trådfri bulbs to your Philips Hue Bridge
This is pretty straightforward… according to Ikea, at least who say:
Simply follow these steps:
– First of all, make sure that the light sources you want to connect have an updated software version (1.2.x or later).
– Keep the light sources close to the Philips Hue Bridge.
– Search for new devices with the Philips Hue app.
– Do a factory reset of the light sources by toggling the main switch 6 times
In theory, it’s a lot less simple than that. The steps are correct but getting them done isn’t the easiest. Let’s break it down.
Updating your Ikea Trådfri bulbs
If you bought your Ikea bulbs recently, then chances are they are already going to be on the latest firmware. If this is the case, then it does mean you can get away with never buying a Trådfri Gateway, or a steering device (remote control/wireless dimmer/motion sensor), at all.
However, if you bought your bulbs in 2017 – and you’ve never connected them to a Trådfri Gateway, they could be rocking some old firmware. It’s simple enough to update them, within the Trådfri app – but it does take ages. Updating two bulbs on our system took well over an hour.
Now, Ikea doesn’t mention this in its simple steps – but your next step is to remove the bulbs from your Trådfri system. Don’t just do the reset, you need to remove it within the app first. Only then do the 6 switch reset method.
Syncing with your Hue Bridge
Now comes the infuriating part – getting the Trådfri bulbs to show up in the Hue app. It took us around 15 attempts to just get them showing up – and even then, we resorted to putting the Ikea bulbs in a lamp and almost touching them to the Hue Bridge to try and get a good connection.
It’s a good idea to turn off any other Zigbee hubs you have to reduce interference – and that includes your Trådfri Gateway. You might even want to turn off your other Hue bulbs as well.
Now, fire up the app and search for a bulb in the same way you would with a regular Hue bulb. If it shows up – lucky you. If not – try, try and try again.
That’s it, you’re done.
We’ve had mixed success in what controls the Hue app allows us with our Ikea bulbs – there's on/off and dimming but we don’t seem to be able to switch between white modes, for example – but there are people on forums boasting of full colour control, the whole shebang.
You should also still be able to use Alexa to control your Ikea bulbs that are paired to a Hue Bridge – although there’s no HomeKit or Google Assistant features just yet.
If you do want to use your Ikea physical controllers again, this is possible – but it’s an absolute ball-ache… believe us. Don’t go there. Please.
Ikea Trådfri on other smart home hubs
As well as getting your Ikea smart bulbs up and running (sort of) on your Philips Hue app – there are other hubs and platforms it sings and dances with too – all without the need for an Ikea Trådfri Gateway.
Any smart home hub with Zigbee on board, in theory, should work with the Trådfri bulbs although some are more straightforward than others.
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Pairing with a Wink hub, and controlling through the Wink app is super simple – although, like Hue, you’re limited to just on and off controls and dimming, no white spectrum or colour changes.
Samsung SmartThings is a much more complicated beast and requires not only a SmartThings developer account, but also an understanding of coding. Seriously.