IKEA’s TRÅDFRI Smart Lighting – 1 Month

I wanted to love the TRÅDFRI system during the month I had it installed.  In fact, I tried hard to make those 11 TRÅDFRI components part of my life.  But today I have exactly 0 TRÅDFRI components in my house; they are all back at their original home in IKEA (or wherever returned products go).

Why You Might Love it

Some parts, like the remote control units and timers, worked well.  Our front door light, and bedroom lights, were definitely more useful/convenient with the associated “smart” aspects.  Having “moods” set for our down-lights and corner wash light in the living room was cool and actually quite useful.

Why You Might Hate It

The app and gateway proved to be very buggy. For decades, I’ve been accustomed to the experience of flipping a light switch and immediately seeing light flood a room.  Almost every time I opened the app, I was greeted with a message about waiting for it to connect to the gateway.  Each passing second seemed to drag endlessly. After a week or two, I found myself avoiding putting certain lights on, because of the annoyance of waiting for the app.

Yes, there are physical remotes available, but those don’t support the pre-programmed moods and can only be paired with a single group of lights.  More than once, I tried to show a friend my new setup, only to be left explaining “oh, sometimes it takes more than one tap to get it to actually activate” or “huh, it seems those bulbs became unpaired”.


Key parts of the allure of a smart light system, to me, are convenience and coolness.  On both counts, the “immaturity” of the TRÅDFRI let me down.  While many of the issues are software/app related, and I’m sure will be fixed/improved in future releases, I couldn’t justify the already $300+ investment on just 7 lights and some remotes.  Maybe later, IKEA, maybe later.

Leave a Reply