TP-Link has released a range of smart bulbs and after having them for a few weeks now, let’s see how I got on with them…
The TP-Link Smart Bulbs have lots of good features – considering the low price of around $45. Perhaps the most notable feature is the fact that these bulbs do not require a separate hub, this saves money and makes set up easier. My favourite feature is Alexa integration (see my review of Alexa here). I can simply walk into my house and say ‘Alexa, turn on the lights’ without having to fumble in the dark for a switch. You can also schedule the light to come on at certain times, or come on it the morning to wake you up. There is no ‘away’ mode like Philips hue, but you can still set up schedules at random times of the day to behave as a security feature.
The mobile app is very user-friendly and first-time setup is very straightforward. The app has a devices page with all of your lights and other TP-Link smart devices so you can simply click on a light and right away turn it on or off, dim it, or change the colour (if you have the colour changeable version).
The most popular alternative is perhaps the Philips Hue, they have all of the features you would expect, and from what I have found they also preform very well, but they are much more expensive. There are also brands like Hive and Belkin WeMo. But the downside to all of these is the need for a hub or base station. So you’d have to spend around $50 more to make the bulbs compatible with your WiFi network. This is where the TP-Link bulbs are different, they connect to your existing WiFi network themselves (assuming that it is 2.4Ghz) and they work straight out of the box without a hub. You may have seen other smart bulbs that don’t need a hub, but these are mostly Bluetooth and only work at
This is where the TP-Link bulbs are different, they connect to your existing WiFi network themselves (assuming that it is 2.4Ghz) and they work straight out of the box without a hub. You may have seen other smart bulbs that don’t need a hub, but these are mostly Bluetooth and only work at very close range. WiFi bulbs work from anywhere in the world. There is only one other WiFi bulb I have found that doesn’t need a hub and that is the Lifx Bulb, which can be found for around $70.
What’s the difference compared to Philips Hue?
Philips hue, as I said before, needs a hub and is more expensive but there are other differences. Philips hue is Apple Home Kit compatible. This means that you can use Siri or the IOS built in Home app, and if you have Philips hue and any other Home Kit enabled lights, Siri could turn both on at the same time. Philips Hue comes in bayonet or edison fittings whereas the TP-Link only come with the edison fitting – this was a slight issue as it is very hard to find edison fittings where I live and I only had bayonet fittings in the house. There is no widget in the iOS control centre so you will have to unlock your phone and open the app to change the colour – as you can’t change the colour using Alexa yet. There is also no Apple Watch app for the TP-Link bulbs, unlink the Philips Hue bulbs.
After living with the TP-Link Smart Bulbs for a few weeks, I definitely recommend them – for they price they are unbeatable! With all of the features, they are well worth it!