The TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch wants to turn your boring old wall switch into a gateway to home automation. From controlling your ceiling fan with your smartphone to turning on the overhead lights with a simple voice command, the HS200 provides a number of basic features powered by the free Kasa app. There is no need for a hub or subscription service and the switch is relatively easy to install and setup on your existing Wi-Fi network.
If at first glance TP-Link’s light switch looks familiar, it’s because it’s almost a mirror image of the Belkin WeMo Light Switch. The decora-style switch doesn’t flip on and off but instead acts more of a button with the bottom half protruding outward. An audible click upon pressing it provides haptic feedback that you’ve successfully turned on or off the switch. It only comes in a standard white but has an attractive screwless faceplate that easily attaches to it (removing it can be a little difficult). In the event you have multiple switches in the same area, replacement faceplates from the hardware store will work although might be a little tight (we recommend plastic as metal may interfere with the wi-fi signal).
While similar in physical appearance, it differentiates itself from WeMo with its lighting. The TP-Link Light Switch lights up when the switch is in the off position. This allows it to double as a night light so you aren’t fumbling around in the dark trying to find the switch. This is a fine idea but we’d prefer a separate light for the night light or just having the on/off illuminate in a different color. Having the switch light up when it’s off seems a bit counterintuitive. Above the white LED is a wi-fi indicator light which is utilized during setup or if there is a connection error. A small restart and reset button are present underneath the switch as well.
Installation and Setup
Installing the light switch is similar to any other single-pole switch you’ve replaced before. For guidance, you’ll want to download TP-Link’s Kasa app (available on iOS and Android) to your phone. If you have never installed a switch before, it’s really not that hard. The app helps and TP-Link has an installation video up on YouTube (where you can find hundreds of other helpful videos on how to install a light switch) . One very important note is that this light switch requires a neutral wire. This may not be present in older homes. If you’re out of luck in that area, there are switches that will work without a neutral wire such as the Lutron Caseta Wall Dimmer. The switch is 120V 15A compatible.
After in-wall installation, we got back to the Kasa app which will not only work with your light switch but any other TP-Link smart home products you own. Connecting it to our wireless network was much quicker and easier than anticipated. Perhaps one benefit of TP-Link being in the router business is their products seemingly having better connectivity than some competitors. There is of course no hub and the switch connects directly to your router. A firmware update was waiting for us right away. One minor knock is that it will only work on a 2.4GHz band. This is likely not an issue for anyone but we’d like to see an option for 5GHz in future versions to avoid interference as our smart home product collection grows.
Wall switches are fairly simple devices that don’t require a lot of complicated testing. I chose to set up the TP-Link Light Switch to control the outside light at my front door. Turning on and off the light with the physical switch was seamless. Controlling it through the app also worked great though there is some relatively minor lag. Leaving the confines of my home and testing also worked without an issue either.
While the Kasa app could use some polish, it’s a favorite of mine for it’s sheer simplicity. As someone with other TP-Link items, I love the option of being able to choose a custom icon or just taking a picture of what I want to control for the app. Setting up schedules, timers, or an away mode are straightforward. There is an even an option to set your switch up on the current sunrise and sunset conditions in your area. This was perfect for an outdoor light and it was the first thing I tested. It worked perfectly as each day I woke up to the light being off and watched at night as the light would come on at sunset. Perhaps what I was most impressed with was the reliability of the switch. Others that have been tested tended to require a reset when network outages occurred or simply not follow-through with the intended scheduled settings. In over a month of use, the light switch has not missed an action once.
With voice controls being all the fad, we were happy to see that the switch works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Alexa gave us a little trouble connecting at first but Google Home synced up right away. Both worked great and a simple “Alexa, turn on the porch light” worked without a hitch. While still in beta, TP-Link’s Kasa now has a channel on IFTTT as of September 2017 if you’re looking for some ways to connect different online services and gadgets with your switch. There are already some great actions and triggers that would be perfect for an outdoor light. Unfortunately, the TP-Link Light Switch is not compatible with Apple HomeKit at this time and there is really no signals that we’ll see a change to that status in the near future.
At it’s current price point, this is the best available light switch for those without a hub. It’s easy to set up, has a basic app, and compatibility with most major smart speakers. But perhaps most important, it was extremely reliable in our testing. If you’re looking to control some outside lights, a bedroom fan, or some overhead lighting in the family room, you can’t go wrong with the well-priced TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch.