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Swedish for Smart Home: IKEA’s TRADFRI collection


Ikea Smart Lightbulbs

When most people finally dip their toe into the world of smart home devices, they often start with smart lightbulbs. What’s nice about them is that they’re fairly easy to set up, they don’t require a huge outlay of cash, and they’re don’t require a permanent install of anything (of course you can take your thermostat or smart lock with you when you move, but that won’t be nearly as easy as unscrewing some lightbulbs).

Even though they don’t require a big investment, that doesn’t mean they’re cheap: Sylvania lightify bulbs are around $35 each, and Sengled’s Pulse bulbs that have JBL speakers built in are nearly $70 each. That starts to add up if you want to do an entire room, or several.

Enter IKEA’s TRÅDFRI collection: An easy to assemble, cheap option. That’s what IKEA does best, after all. Each bulb is about $19 and the starter kit that includes a dimmer and gateway is $79.99.

TRÅDFRI’s bulbs can be dimmed and the light color can be changed from a warm glow (perfect for bedtime) to a task-friendly bright white. But what sets these bulbs apart from the pack is their app-independence. You can dim up to ten bulbs at a time with a physical dimmer, and the optional motion sensor means you don’t have to hit the switch at all when you enter a dark room.

I love this idea— always having to grab my phone to control my home can be inconvenient or annoying or both— it’s nice that they include a switcher option so you don’t have to launch an app to dim the lights. That said, like always, I’m reticent when a company that makes flat pack furniture suddenly decides to make technology. Philip’s Hue’s starter kit includes two bulbs and the gateway and is only $69, but to get a similar tap controller you need to add another $49 to the investment. At this point I might recommend that over the cheaper IKEA solution, but I’ll be watching closely as the reviews come in.

TRÅDFRI will hit the IKEA shelves in April. No allen key required.

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