The smart bulb market continues to get more and more crowded, but TP-Link thinks there's room for another device: the Kasa Filament Smart Bulb, to be specific, which we've been testing to see whether it's worth a place in your smart home setup anytime soon.
You might have noticed quite a few Kasa-branded smart home products appearing in recent months, and TP-Link certainly seems keen to cover all of the possible bases with inexpensive, unfussy, reliable devices. The filament bulb we've got here fits that trend.
A filament bulb, as you might already be aware, recreates the look of those old original Edison bulbs from the earliest days of home lighting – it's something worth considering if you want a bit of style and variation to go with the rest of your smart lighting setup.
This is the soft white (KL50) version of the filament bulb in the Kasa range, which just does variations on white. You can also pick up multicoloured bulbs from the same series, though you'll need to switch to a non-filament standard bulb if you want several colours.
Kasa Filament Smart Bulb review: set up and design
You don't need a smart hub or anything plugged into your router to get the Kasa Filament Smart Bulb up and running: you just plug it in and use your phone to connect it to your Wi-Fi (the Kasa app will take you through the process).
The bulb uses an E27 screw fitting – you can get B22 bayonet bulbs that work with the TP-Link Kasa platform, but not with this vintage filament style. Just add as many Kasa bulbs as you want and you can manage them through the Kasa app.
We had our bulb up and running in just a few minutes, and even if you've never dealt with any smart home gear in the past, you won't have a problem with this. The filament bulb effect looks really nice too, if you like your old-fashioned bulbs.
It's worth noting that the Kasa Filament Smart Bulb works with IFTTT, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you've got plenty of alternatives for controlling it besides the Kasa app. The Apple HomeKit platform isn't supported, however.
Kasa Filament Smart Bulb review: features and performance
Working the Kasa Filament Smart Bulb through the supplied app is a breeze – response times are really quick, even though the instructions are travelling over your Wi-Fi network. That Wi-Fi connection means you can control it while you're away from home as well.
This is just a white bulb, so as well as turning it on and off, the only other smart light trick you can do is adjusting the bulb's brightness. Either pick from one of the presets on screen, or set the brightness manually on a dial.
It's all very straightforward, and the Kasa app also includes options for setting a schedule: you can have this bulb turn itself on or off at certain times of the day or week as well (which might be handy for convincing would-be burglars that you're at home).
You couldn't really ask for any more in terms of features and performance – the bulb is rated to 800 lumens brightness and will last 15,000 hours, TP-Link says. We also like the part of the app that tells you how much energy the bulb is using.
Kasa Filament Smart Bulb review: verdict
There are now an abundance of affordable, simple smart home devices on the market, which is good news for consumers – you no longer need to break the bank or have a computing qualification to start setting up your smart home.
The Kasa Filament Smart Bulb from TP-Link impressed us as much as other Kasa bits of kit we've tested have. They all work perfectly well, without the need for a hub connected to your router, and the app is polished and straightforward to get around.
Add in the extra flexibility that you get with support for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, and it's a really good all-round package. The filament style won't be to everyone's tastes, but other Kasa bulbs (including coloured ones) are available.
From what we've seen so far, you can do a lot worse than these Kasa devices when it comes to choosing products to kit out your smart home. A lot of it depends on the other hardware you've got installed of course, but this bulb is well worth considering.