Installing new Smart Home products, especially when they work with voice assistants, is a really fun hobby of mine. Most are easy to install, but some products like smart light fixtures require a little DIY know-how. Those are the smart home products I really enjoy because they often have the biggest impact.
Today I’m reviewing three new smart lighting products from Artika. To be honest, I never heard of this company before, but they provide a range of great home decor products. I’m installing the Artika Stark, Pluto, and Galaxy smart lights.
These light fixtures have LED lighting built-in, work with smartphone apps, and connect to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Galaxy provides additional RGB lights for mood lighting. If you’re looking to upgrade to LED lighting, this review is for you. Let’s begin at the unboxing.
Unboxing the Artika Smart Lights
Each light comes with everything you need for a successful install. In each package, you will find the light, electrical connectors, machined screws, and the installation manual. The Pluto and Galaxy include diffusers that attach to the light fixtures.
The Stark model is designed for vertical walls. It can be used indoors or outdoors, but it must be installed on a wall. I installed it at my back door entrance. Two lights would be ideal for outdoor installations around the exterior of a door. I liked that the design makes it work both indoors and outdoors.
The other two models are designed for indoor ceiling installations.
Installing the Artika Smart Lights
As mentioned, these lights require some DIY install. If you are not comfortable working with electrical wires, I highly advise you to get some help. You’ll need a screwdriver and a ladder for the install.
After selecting a location for the lights, I went to my breaker panel and turned off the corresponding breaker. This is the most important step in the whole install. It ensures you are not working with any live wires.
I removed the old light fixtures and installed the mounting bracket. The Pluto does not come with a mounting bracket. It installs with just machined screws. To help with the wiring, the Galaxy and Stark have a carabiner that attaches to the bracket. This allows the light fixture to hang hands-free. I wired the black and white wires together with the electrical connectors. Then I connected the ground wire and attached the fixture to the mounting bracket.
I turned the breaker back on and tested the light. In all, each light took approximately 10 minutes to install. If you’ve installed a light fixture before, this will go like clockwork.
Setting up the Artika smart app
Once the lights are installed, they should start flashing. This indicates they’re ready for app configuration. After downloading the Artika App, I started to add the first light.
The app indicates that it needs to connect to the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band. This posed a big problem for me because I use a mesh Wi-Fi system that switches between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands automatically in a single SSID. After proceeding with the install, the light was not being detected. Yikes.
I suspect a lot of smart home owners with mesh systems are going to have this problem. There are two workarounds. The first is to move away from your mesh satellites until your smartphone moves to the 2.4 GHz band. In my case, I would have to go into my back yard. Since it was snowing outside, that wasn’t an option I wanted to do.
The second workaround is to go into the settings of your mesh system and temporarily disable the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band. That is what I did. I was then able to install each light inside the Artika App.
Using the Artika Smart Lights
Once the lights are installed, you really start to appreciate the flexibility LED lighting provides. With the app, I adjusted the colour temperature and brightness for each light. This will vary for each person and the area they’re lighting. This can also vary during the day.
The Artika App has built-in scenes such as Night, Read, and Working. Each scene has a different light temperature that can further be adjusted. Personally, I prefer a golden colour temperature that mimics a sunset at night and a bright white during the early mornings.
I connected the lights to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. To get the most out of smart lights, this is a critical step that should not be overlooked. Once it was set up, I could turn the lights on and off with my voice.
The Galaxy model also has RGB LED Lights situated in the center. Users can change the light to virtually any colour inside the app. Another great feature is the inclusion of a Bluetooth speaker. I connected my smartphone to the Galaxy and was impressed. At max volume, it’s loud. The speaker quality wasn’t amazing, but I can definitely see myself using this to listen to podcasts while I clean and cook.
It’s always fun to try products from new brands. Artika’s line of smart lights use LED lighting, are easy to install, and make a great addition to any smart home. The Artika App is simple to use, but it might be a little too simple. For example, the app has both scenes and schedules. However, you cannot set scenes inside a schedule. All the schedule allows is turning the light on or off.
I want to set a bright white colour temperature in the morning to help me wake up. At dusk, I want the colour temperature to be dim and golden. That will help my body fall asleep. Hopefully Artika will make improvements within the app after user feedback.
Another issue is with light switches. If they are turned off, all the smart features don’t work. I put tape on my switches to remind me to use voice assistants. However, not every family may want to do that. There’s a good chance that the smart features will not be used if people turn the lights off at the switch.
As for the RGB light in the Galaxy, I found that it was quite dim. That makes it okay as mood lighting, but don’t expect it to light up an area very well. The addition of a Bluetooth speaker is brilliant. All lights should have built-in speakers. What an amazing smart home world that would be.
After reviewing the Artika Galaxy, Pluto, and Stark lights, I truly believe LED lighting is the future of home lighting. Perhaps replacing light bulbs will one day become a thing of the past. The smart features make these great for homeowners building smart homes. Retrofitting your home with Smart LED Lighting is one of those DIY projects that you’ll never regret.