Last week (or so) Matt Paligaru gave us an interesting article on the TP-Link brand of smart light switches entitled Enhance your Smart Home with TP-Link Smart Switches. In it he not only covered 3 excellent switches by TP-Link, but he also gave us some useful information on the brand itself as well as some key commonalities among its various switch models that make them easier to understand and use. Matt has first-hand knowledge of several TP-Link products from having tested and installed them himself for the Best Buy blog, and this experience always informs his articles.
Today’s blog is closely related to Matt’s in that it continues our look at the TP-Link brand family of products, including both plugs and switches. In it we’ll discuss the features and specs of 4 different TP-Link products and how you can get the most out of them. Only one of the products we’ll cover here today is different from what Matt covered, but we’ll try to take a different enough approach so as to give you some new and interesting things to consider when deciding whether the TP-Link brand family of products might be right for you. Read on for full details.
The TP-Link Brand Family of Smart Plugs & Switches
TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini
First up we’ll consider the TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini, which is the one item that wasn’t addressed in Matt’s article. For this reason I want to give it some extra focus here over the other devices that we’ll cover. This plug takes the place of a standard wall outlet simply by plugging into it. While each unit is equipped with a single outlet, it’s small enough that it doesn’t encroach on the other outlet it shares a facing with. Functionally, the TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini works with the Kasa App to provide you with basic on/off control of any electronic device that’s plugged into it—from virtually anywhere on Earth.
You can also schedule the plug to power your devices on and off automatically as you wish. For instance, with Halloween quickly approaching, you may wish to schedule some Halloween decorations to come on each night as soon as it gets dark, even though you may not arrive at home from work until well after that.
Similarly, you may want to use the Mini to manipulate lamps, TVs, or pretty much any other electronic device as a basic security measure—as in making it look like someone is at home even when they are not.
The Mini even provides local 2.4GHz Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) control over your outlet, as well as remote control via the TP-Link Cloud, so it’s definitely got you covered when it comes to controlling your electronics.
TP-Link HS220 Wi-Fi Dimmer Light Switch
The next item we have is the TP-Link HS220 Wi-Fi Dimmer Light Switch. Matt did a full installation and review of this switch a couple months back, and that is an excellent place to begin if you want to learn all about installing TP-Link smart switches.
As for features and specs, this wired-in switch allows you to turn your lights on and off (as well as adjust their brightness to the desired level) at any time and from any place via the Kasa App (which conveniently manages all of your other TP-Link products as well).
It’s also compatible with various smart voice assistants such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana, meaning a whole new world of control possibilities are opened up to you, along with a reduction of the total number of apps that you’ll need to control everything.
Additional features of the HS220 include IFTTT and Nest Away compatibility, on/off scheduling of your connected lights, and customizable operation and lighting effects (such as being able to set up a gradual fade-in or -out effect).
Things you need to know about the HS220 include the facts that it only works as part of a single-pole setup and that successful installation absolutely requires a neutral wire.
Aside from that, all the components you need to install this switch yourself (that’s 1 wall plate, 2 wire nuts, wiring labels, and a step-by-step guide) are included in the box, although you do need a secured 2.4 GHz wireless network to set up and operate the smart dimmer switch.
TP-Link Wi-Fi 2-Location Smart Switch Kit
Third up is the TP-Link Wi-Fi 2-Location Smart Switch Kit, which comes with 2 switches and has the distinct advantage of working with 3-way switches. This set, which is compatible with standard home Wi-Fi setups, has most of the same features of the other TP-Link switches, only it allows you to replace your existing 3-way switches in places like stairways and halls where you might have one switch at either end that controls a light somewhere in the middle. Switches like the HS220 cannot do this.
The TP-Link 2-Location Smart Switch Kit is fully compatible with voice controlled speakers like the Amazon Echo family and Google Assistant family of devices. This not only gives you complete voice based control over your lights when you’re at home, but it also reduces the total number of apps you’ll need to mess with.
It’s also easy to install for determined DIYers. This is because the Kasa App provides complete step-by-step instructions on how to do the job yourself. Don’t worry, you won’t need a degree in electrical wiring to install this kit—it’s relatively straightforward as long as you’re good at safely following instructions.
TP-Link HS200 Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch
Finally, there’s the TP-Link HS200 Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch, which is another switch that Matt has installed and reviewed for the Best Buy blog. This review is from a couple of years back, but it’s still completely relevant and worth taking a look at—especially the video where Matt demos the full install for us. As for the features of the HS200, it’s all about convenience. You’ll be able to wirelessly control your lights (or a ceiling fan) using the Kasa App from virtually anywhere, and you’ll be able to set on/off schedules or even use the Sunrise/Sunset Mode to program your outside lights to come on when it gets dark outside and then go back off again when daylight arrives.
The Kasa App (and, by extension, the HS200) is fully compatible with both Android (4.1 and up) and iOS based smart devices (iOS 8 and up), so pretty much everyone can use it.
There’s even a slick Away Mode that randomly turns your lights on and off when you’re not there to make it look as though someone is still at home. How slippery is that??
Bringing the TP-Link Brand Family Home
Bringing the TP-Link brand family of smart plugs and switches home is easy enough, but which product(s) should you pick up first?
I would personally suggest beginning with the Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini and the HS200 Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch and going from there. These devices seem like the most straightforward to me, with the dimmer switches and 3-way switches being a bit more advanced.
The Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini simply could not be easier to set up as it merely requires plugging in and a download of the Kasa App. Once you get used to using the app, you’ll be more confident to move on to the switches, of which the HS200 is probably the easiest.
As for the bit about how easy it is to bring all of these devices home… simply visit Best Buy Canada’s TP-Link page and make your selections. Good luck!