TP-Link Kasa Smart Switch Series – Form and Function in One
Smart light switches are the perfect addition to any smart home. They offer the ability to control your lights remotely, set schedules, and adjust the brightness of your lights to create the perfect ambiance for any occasion.
With the TP-Link Kasa smart switch series, you can easily update your home’s lighting to the modern era of convenience and control. Imagine being able to turn off the lights while you’re away on vacation or adjust the brightness of your living room lights with just your voice. With these smart dimmer switches, you can do just that and so much more.
They are easy to install, compatible with most standard light fixtures and with the added features of individual control and remote control, they’ll provide your home with the ultimate smart lighting experience.
Combined with the power of a home assistant such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, you can control everything with your voice, set up routines and automations, and really make controlling your light switches more convenient than ever.
This is not going to be a super technical article, so if you are just starting your research on smart light switches, this is a good place to start, but please keep in mind there may be certain aspects not covered and will require you to do a little more digging to make sure that you are buying the right products for your house. Please plan ahead before making any purchases, this will save you time, money, and frustration.
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Anyway, let’s start at the beginning with one of the many questions you may have asked yourself: “There are so many different options out there, which one am I supposed to pick?” and that is a great question. When we were picking the right smart switch for our home automation we asked the same question.
We also thought “are they that different? Why don’t we just get the cheapest one?”. Digging deeper, and all the technical jargon really starts to get overwhelming. Ever scratch your head wondering what a multi-switch is or what a neutral wire is? Do I have one? Do I need one?
If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, well you are not alone. We went through the same motions, and we ended up just trying several different ones before deciding on the TP-Link Kasa smart switches.
We’d like to share that experience with you in hopes that it can help you with your project. We’ll cover why we chose TP-Link, what are the other brands we tried, what are the differences between the HS200, HS210, HS220, H230 models, and what’s the user experience like.
Smart Switch Basics
There are several different types of smart light switches on the market, each with their own set of features and capabilities. Most commonly you’ll see:
Basic Smart Switches: These switches allow you to control your lights remotely and set schedules, but do not have the ability to adjust the brightness of the lights. An example of this is the TP-Link Kasa Smart Switch HS200.
Dimmer Switches: These switches have the added ability to adjust the brightness of the lights. They typically use a device called a dimmer to control the amount of power that reaches the light bulb, leading to the ability to adjust the brightness. An example of this is the TP-Link Kasa Smart Switch HS210 and HS220.
Multi-switch Smart Switches: These switches allow you to control multiple lights or light fixtures from one switch or one app. They are designed for multi-switch lighting setups, such as those in large rooms or multiple rooms. The TP-Link Kasa Smart Switch HS210 is capable of this.PRO TIP
If you have more than 1 switch that can control a single light source, those are multi-switches. These switches have a neutral wire, which we will cover later in the article.
Smart Outlet Switches: These are smart switches that can be plugged into an existing outlet and then controlled via a smartphone app or voice commands. They can be used to control any device that can be plugged into an outlet, such as lamps or small appliances. An example of this is the TP-Link Kasa Plug KP200 which we will not talk about in this article other than mentioning it here.
Smart Bulbs: Smart light bulbs are an alternative to smart switches, they can be screwed into any standard light fixture, these types of bulbs can be controlled remotely and with voice commands. TP-Link makes their Kasa line of smart bults as well, as white dimmable LED’s or the full color versions.
Smart dimmer switches with remote control: These types of switches allow you to control your lights remotely and set schedules and adjust the brightness of your lights to create the perfect ambiance for any occasion. They also include a remote control for easy access. An example of this is the Lutron Caseta series of smart dimmer switches, which we will mention later in the article. Lutron has an amazing Caseta starter kit which we have in our home.
Yes, some smart light switches require a hub while others do not. This was a big factor for us and our home, so please make sure you evaluate this for yourself. Basically, a hub is a device that acts as a bridge between the smart light switch and your home’s wireless network, allowing you to control the switch remotely through a smartphone app or with voice commands.
Smart light switches that do not require a hub are typically called “hubless” or “direct-connect” switches. These switches connect directly to your home’s wireless network and can be controlled through a smartphone app without the need for an additional hub. The TP-Link Kasa HS200, HS210, HS220, HS230 are all smart light switch that do NOT require a hub and can be controlled directly through the Kasa app. This was a major plus in our decision making.
On the other hand, some smart light switches require a hub to function. These types of switches use the hub to connect to your home’s wireless network and then can be controlled through a smartphone app or with voice commands. An example of this is the Philips Hue smart light switch which requires the Philips Hue Bridge to connect to your home’s network. We actually tried the Philips Hue, and we didn’t like how expensive a simple setup could quickly become and we did not like how bulky the design of the switch was. Another example is the Lutron Caseta system, while also not a cheap option we did end up getting a starter kit to try, because we like the design of the switch and the fact that the system comes with a mini remote also.
If you have a temperamental Wi-Fi network, you may want to consider a hubbed setup for better performance stability. If you know you have a very robust network (especially if it’s smart enough to blend 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals, you can opt for the more simpler hubless option.
The main advantage of hubless switches (this was a huge deciding factor as we mentioned previously) is that they are simpler to set up, as you only need to connect them to your home’s Wi-Fi network and then control them through an app. However, smart light switches that require a hub may offer more advanced features and better compatibility with other smart home devices. For what we were trying to accomplish, there was nothing that the hubless TP-Link Kasa smart switches could not do that a hubbed one could, so we went hubless.
Can you imagine a future where our homes are essentially so smart that they’re “alive”? They can be automated to the point where they know when we’re coming home and know our preferences and change the lighting and colors to set the mood based on how we feel that day. I know this might be a little too extreme for some readers, but here at Smart Design Living, we’re smart about embracing AI-based technology. We just have to know as a species when to draw the line.
Until then, you can certain use a combination of smart switches and smart bulbs to accomplish something very similar with automation and make your house look something like this. Pretty cool, we think!
TP-Link Kasa Smart Switches
The TP-Link Kasa HS200, HS210, HS220, HS230 are all hubless smart light switches that can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app or with voice commands through a smart home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The HS200 and HS210 are basic smart switches with just a on and off setting without any dimming functionality. The difference is that the HS200 is a single pole switch while the HS210 is a 3-way switch, which means you can control a single from from different locations.
The HS220 and HS230 are both smart dimmer switches, which means they have the added ability to adjust the brightness of the lights in addition to turning on and off. In this pair, the HS220 is the single poke switch and the HS230 is the 3-way switch.
All of these models can be configured and controlled with the app as well to set up automation and routines.
Below are some of the tech specs of these models, and this will be as technical as this article will get so if you need more detailed info, you can check it out on the manufacturer’s website.
The user experience has been fantastic! I have all my switches connected to Google assistant, so I don’t even need to open the Kasa app anymore. I can control everything with the Google home app, nice! You will need to download the Kasa app and set up your lights once, which is very straight forward to do and the app provides you instructions on how to do this during the installation process. In fact the app walks you through the entire wiring process as well as how to install the switch and replace your existing ones.
If you are planning to do this on your own, please remember to turn off the main circuit breaker before working with the exposed wires.
If you are not confident with electricals (we don’t blame you) then please consult your local electrician to have them help you install these switches. It just needs to be installed once correctly and you shouldn’t have to tough them again.
When setting them up in the app, please name them with unique names that are easy to pronounce. Have fun with it and experiment to see what’s comfortable for you. Once you’ve named all the switches in the Kasa app, then set up the link with Google assistant and it will automatically pull over the names you gave them initially. If you want to change the name of the smart switches, please do so within the Kasa app, and the Google assistant app should automatically refresh as well. Very convenient. The integration is done really well.
You can actually name your smart switches whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be “kitchen light” you can name it “Ralph” if you want. We find it best to give them simple and unique names with as few syllables as possible.
Don’t forget to get a nice cover plate for your final setup. Whether you have a 2 gang or 3 gang or even 4 gang cluster, you may want to consider replacing the current cover plate for a premium look. These things are called decorative wall plates and come in different configurations. Below you’ll see an example of what it looks like with a decorative plate (left) and the original plate (right). Looks way better with the premium decorative plate, don’t you think? No more visible screws!
You may also have a situation where you have a non-smart switch next to your other brand new TP-Link Kasa Smart switches and you find yourself accidentally hitting that dumb switch all the time. Well, another useful little gadget to consider is a clear switch guard cover. They come in all different flavors depending on the switch that you have, so check out this link to see which guard covers are right for your home.
As mentioned earlier, we do also have a Lutron Caseta starter kit that we’re running in our home. The reason we are running the Lutron kit with the dedicated bridge (hub) is because Lutron has a very powerful system that can expand into other smart home territories such as curtains (which we will eventually want to do). Remember how we mentioned that systems which use a hub could offer more advanced capabilities? This is one of those capabilities. Now, can we just get a smart curtain system that is also hubless? Sure we could, but Lutron is a very trustworthy and reputable brand, so since we bought the starter kit to try out, we decided to just keep it for the long run so that we’ll be ready when time comes.
The app experience on Lutron is much less exciting as the Kasa app, but it doesn’t matter to us since we control the Lutron system with Google assistant and Google home as well.
We hope this article was useful in helping to decide if the TP-Link Kasa smart switch system is suitable for you. We encourage you to look at your home’s setup and budget out what you would need ahead of time. Look for lights in your home that can be controlled by multiple switches (these switches will be replaced by the 3-way Kasa switches). It helps to know how much of each switch you need to buy so that you don’t start taking everything apart in your house just to realize that you got the wrong ones.
Check out some of our latest articles that cover other smart home devices.