IKEA

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IKEA

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Selected products from this vendor are presented on this page, with my assessments where I have personal experiences to share. The links are primarily directed to the vendor’s own pages, in English; for local pages/prices you will have to conduct your own search.

About the vendor and its products

IKEA is arguably known to most people, but everyone might not know that IKEA is also an important player within the market for smart home products. With its Trådfri line, IKEA has gradually expanded its range of products, typically at prices lower than similar products from their competitors. As of now (new products are continuously being launched, albeit sometimes with delays compared with announced launch dates) the selection covers:

  • Smart light bulbs, which come with sockets E27, E14 and GU10, including a smaller E14 bulb that fit lamps where very few, if any, alternatives exist, and in line with the trend for 2019–a filament bulb

  • Smart light sources, where the key to the “smartness” is in the so-called Trådfri Driver, which comes in versions for respectively three and ten light sources. Compatible light sources are connected to the driver and the driver is then connected to power. This way, all connected light sources can be turned on/off and dimmed (for all sources at the same time). Compatible light sources cover many different types; from cabinet lighting, picture lighting, and spot lights to more specialized solutions for wardrobes, drawers, kitchen cabinets, etc.

  • Smart furniture lighting, which includes doors with built-in lighting and light panels, which can be installed on walls, ceiling, or on furniture

  • Control devices, which include a remote control, a square, wireless dimmer, a round wireless dimmer, a motion sensor (which in February 2021 got HomeKit support), an on/off/dimmer switch, and a shortcut button, with enclosed scene stickers (which also got HomeKit support in February 2021)

  • Smart plug, which in April 2019 finally got the promised support for HomeKit

  • Base station, which in IKEA’s vocabulary is called a Trådfri Gateway, which in most cases should be installed before starting to use Trådfri products (as mentioned above, you will find descriptions online on how to use Trådfri devices in a Hue system, which I have myself found to work to some extent, but for more advanced functionality and to update firmware of devices, the gateway is required)

  • There is also a signal repeater, which can be used to extend the signal range in cases of connection problems

  • In the summer of 2019, in collaboration with Sonos, a series of smart speakers was launched under the same of Symfonisk, partly as stand-alone speakers and partly as a combined table lamp and speaker, with support for most streaming services, and after some time also a remote control for the Symfonisk line has been launched, later also a speaker shaped like a picture frame

  • Smart blinds, under the names Fyrtur and Kadrilj (which are not yet available on English pages), which after some initial delivery problems went on sale in August 2019

  • Smart air purifier, launched October 2021, either as a stand-alone unit or built into a table

The Trådfri products are controlled using an IKEA app (previously called IKEA Trådfri, in July 2019 renamed IKEA Home Smart). In my experience, this works fairly well, but in contrast to similar apps, be it from Philips Hue, Fibaro, Elgato Eve, etc., it works only when you are at home and with range of the base station. The opportunities for setting up and programming the system are more limited than the mentioned alternatives. Another negative issue is that many of the control devices, for all practical purposes, only are possible to use with other Trådfri products, as the control devices are connected directly to bulbs/light sources, instead of providing a “generic” ZigBee signal to be exploited for automation with other devices (you will find the occasional recipe, though, on how to connect a Trådfri motion sensor to Philips Hue bulbs). Even though the Trådfri control devices are considerably less expensive that similar products from competitors, this makes them much less useful in a more extensive smart home system.

The Trådfri line builds on the Zigbee protocol (more about this under control & automation) but does not work as a properly open protocol. It is, however, compatible with both HomeKit as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Our experiences

In our home, we have a wide range of Trådfri products, see more specific experiences in the table below. I have generally few objections against these, especially considering the price, but it would have been useful with even tighter HomeKit integration. I should also mention that the stability could be better.

Notice that on phones, the table might only display in landscape mode

Component Room Experiences

Trådfri Gateway base station x 2

Office and basement living room

IKEA’s base station is a fairly inexpensive gateway into the increasingly extensive ecosystem of products. We acquired ours at about the same time as the similar hub for Philips Hue, but the IKEA one requires much more frequent relogging into the app or restarting the base station. It has remained like this through several rounds of firmware updates, without noticeable improvements, but I should point out that a recent experiment of assigning the base station a fixed IP address might have helped. Another irritation is that the IKEA app cannot be used when outside the range of the base station (in contrast to, e.g., the Philips Hue bridge), but luckily the connected devices are accessible via the Home app. As we have expanded our selection of devices, at around 60 devices, we saw an increasing problem of both the responsiveness slowing down and the ability to add more devices eventually stopping. We therefore had to get a second Gateway, and this has helped a lot.

E27 smart light bulb x 14

Living room, library, guest room 1, guest room 2, and outdoor This is arguably some of the most affordable smart bulbs for sale, and they have worked without any problems, also outdoor during Norwegian winters. The issues we have had of bulbs not turning on/off as part of programs/automations have been caused by the base station problems and not the bulbs.
E14 smart light bulb with white light x 9 Library, living room, master bedroom, hallway, and guest room 2 As for the E27 bulbs, this is probably also the most convenient alternative for E14, and we have the same experiences with these

GU10 smart light bulb with white light x 5

Guest room 1 and outdoor And for GU10 there is no doubt, these are quite much cheaper than competing products, and have been rock solid, including outdoor

Trådfri Driver with three outlets x 4

Living room, office, and master bedroom These are a kind of “mini base station” that controls connected light sources and is a clever way of “smartening” light sources where smart bulbs can not be fitted. They are easy to install and have worked flawlessly.
Trådfri Adapter smart plug x 11 Attic, office, library, hallway, basement living room, and outdoor shed As the number of these we have indicated, we are very pleased with these. This is arguably by far the most affordable smart plug you can buy and it has posed no problems, even in an outdoor shed (again, problems with IKEA components are related to the base station). The plug has a useful and discrete light to show when it is turned on. If I were to criticize something, it would be that it is larger than the smallest versions on the market, which could be an issue if there is little room around the outlet it should be plugged into.

Motion sensor x 2

Attic and guest room 2 Also for this type of component, the IKEA version is undoubtedly among the least expensive one can find. The reason why we don’t have more of them is, as explained above, that they only work with IKEA’s other components and the “programming” consists of linking the sensor to one or more devices, it is not possible to set up more complex rules. Where the conditions are right, though, they work perfectly and arguably responds faster than other such sensors we have, probably because they communicate directly with the bulb/light source.
Dimmer switch x 5 Master bedroom, guest room 1, and guest room 2 As mentioned above, these are sold, at least by now, only in sets with a smart plug, but they are not linked to this plug, the can be used with any IKEA component. We use ours both as on/off switches for smart plugs and as dimmer switches for smart bulbs, and we truly like these. Since they attach magnetically to the mounting plate, they can easily be moved and they do just what they should.
Omlopp smart lighting strip for drawers x 2 Kitchen We are also very pleased with these. They have a built-in sensor and thus makes it very easy to achieve smart lighting in drawers.
Norrfly smart light strip for closets x 3 Master bedroom

Like the drawer lights, these also have a built-in sensor and work perfectly. In addition, they are connected to a Trådfri Driver so that they can also be remotely operated.

Urshult cabinet light Living room

This lamp is in itself not smart, neither in the form of a smart bulb or built-in electronics, but has been designed to be connected to a Trådfri Driver. That allows remote control, both turning it on/off and dimming, which works very well.

Fyrtur smart blinds x 7 Office, library, living room, master bedroom, and guest room 1 We have four such smart blinds (these come in kits with a wireless signal repeater, which is also sold separately, and a remote control) and are very pleased with these. I should mention, though, that the initial setup for the two first was a little vexing, it took many attempts to pair the remote control with the blinds (for the latter two, it all worked on the first attempt), but the physical installation is very easy, including a straightforward procedure for reducing the width of the blinds.
Trådfri signal repeater x 9 Office, library, living room, basement master bedroom, living room, and guest room 1 Five of the seven of these we have came with the Fyrtur blinds while the other were purchased separately. The purpose of these is to extend the Zigbee signal and the two separately purchased ones have been installed to extend the range toward the outdoor lights. Without any means of objectively measuring this, I believe this has helped, and a side effect is that they have a USB A outlet that allows plugging in devices for charging.