The most affordable color smart bulb in TP-Link’s Kasa Smart lineup, the TP Link Kasa Model KL125 Smart WiFi Light Bulb has some nifty tricks up its sleeve and deep programming functionality, even if other aspects of the bulb are rough around the edges.
Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, the Wi-Fi enabled Kasa Smart KL125 comes with an attractive (albeit sometimes complicated) mobile app, handy one-touch shortcuts for color temperature presets, an impressive number of programming options, and an “Auto-White Mode” that simulates sunlight.
But like many inexpensive color smart bulbs, the Kasa Smart KL125 has its downsides, including a lengthy Wi-Fi setup process and the inability to schedule lighting scenes (for now, anyway), while advertised Samsung SmartThings functionality did not work. during my test.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart bulbs, where you will find reviews of competing products, as well as a buyer’s guide on the features to consider when purchasing this type of product.
With an MSRP of $ 14.99 each (2-pack is $ 24.99, 4-pack is $ 39.99), the 800-lumen KL125 is the most affordable of the multi-color bulbs. style A19 by Kasa Smart. The brand also offers the Kasa Smart KL130 ($ 21.99 listing), which offers a slimmer housing, a flatter but curved bulb shape, and a wider range of color temperatures (from a warm 2,500 Kelvin to a cool 9,000K, vs. 2,500K at 6,500K daylight for the KL125), while the brightest, 1000 lumens Kasa Smart KL135 ($ 22.99 each) adds a more energy efficient design and easier Wi-Fi setup via Amazon’s “frustration-free setup” feature. Kasa also makes tunable and / or dimmable white bulbs, as well as a couple of filament bulbs (warm amber and soft white).
In contrast to the sleeker-looking KL135 and KL130, the KL125 we’re reviewing here has a traditional spherical A19 bulb shape and a smooth conical housing, and is equipped with an E26 base that screws into standard plugs. As I mentioned earlier, the bulb supports white color temperatures from a warm 2,500 Kelvin to 6,500 K, which is roughly the color of daylight on a hazy day, as well as up to 16 million colors. TP-Link rates the KL125 at 800 typical lumens, which I found more than adequate for lighting a room or workspace.
As with the other smart bulbs from the brand, the Kasa Smart KL125 connects directly to Wi-Fi networks and therefore does not require a (potentially expensive) smart home hub.
Installation and configuration
After allowing (or not) allowing the app to use your location, tap the “+” icon in the upper corner of the Devices screen, then go through a bunch of menus until you finally get to the “correct KL100 Series”. ”Of light bulbs (I would have preferred to simply scan the QR code on the box). Then you screw the bulb into a socket, turn it on, wait for it to blink three times, and then connect to the bulb’s local Wi-Fi network. Once connected, the app asks you to enter your Wi-Fi password, and if all goes well (and after you’ve named the bulb), you’re done.
The whole process worked flawlessly on the first try for me, but it’s quite a few steps, especially if you’re adding more than one light bulb.
Functions and functionalities
Tapping the light bulb in the Kasa app takes you to an attractive screen with a large power button, five “shortcuts” at the top, and three tabs at the bottom. Tap the power button to turn the bulb on and you’ll get four more tabs: Power (containing the main power button), Brightness (revealing a circular brightness slider, White (a color temperature slider, in Kelvins) and Color (a color wheel).
The shortcuts at the top of the screen refer to five color presets that you can access from the Presets tab. Four of the presets can be edited, allowing you to quickly change the color temperature and brightness of the bulbs with a single tap of a shortcut; These presets can also be activated from the Kasa app’s programming tool (which I’ll get to in a moment), or they can be accessed from the Devices screen. The fifth preset activates Auto-White mode, which adjusts the bulb according to the brightness of the sun and the color temperature during the day.
You can also put the bulb (or a group of bulbs) on a daily or weekly schedule. You can set the bulb to turn on or off at a specific time, at sunrise or sunset (with an offset of up to one hour) and with a fading (between five seconds and one hour), and the schedule can activate one of its shortcuts, including Auto-White mode.
The Kasa Smart app also allows you to create light scenes, which you access in the Scenes tab (yes, there are many tabs in the Kasa Smart app), and each scene can include a preset color and include one or more Kasa lights or devices. .
Unfortunately, the Kasa Smart app doesn’t allow you to schedule these scenes, or at least not yet. For now, the Smart Actions tab that would allow programming or activating scenes through another device (such as a security camera) has a message that says “We are in the process of implementing Smart Actions in the Kasa ecosystem; Stay tuned for more updates. “(I have asked when the deployment will actually take place and will report back when I have more news.)
The good news is that there it is a way to program Kasa Smart scenes and use them in smart routines, and that’s with the help of Alexa or Google Assistant; More on that in a moment.
Finally, the Usage tab in the bulb interface (not the main Kasa interface, which has its own set of tabs) allows you to view daily, weekly, and energy usage statistics, including how many kilowatt hours have been used. and the amount of energy in the bulb. You have saved compared to a dumb 60W bulb. However, the application cannot estimate the annual energy cost of the bulb.
Smart home integrations
TP-Link says that the KL125 smart bulb integrates with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings. Beyond voice control, Alexa allows you to add the bulb as well as Kasa Smart light scenes to routines, and for much of my testing, I had the KL125 in an Alexa routine that would turn the bulb on every time my Wyze Cam v2 was detecting motion. The Google Assistant also allows you to use the KL125 in routines, although it will not activate the light scenes of the bulb.
But even though TP-Link says that the bulb integrates with Samsung SmartThings, I was unable to add it to my other devices in the SmartThings app, which (after scanning the QR tag on the bulb box) laconically said that the bulb was not ” compatible”. I contacted TP-Link for more details.
Many of the rough edges on the Kasa Smart K125 will likely soften over time, and the bulb has one of the best applications and strongest feature sets we’ve seen in its price range. For now, we’ll stick with Cree Lighting Connected Max Smart LED as our editors’ choice in budget A19 color smart bulbs, due to its faster setup process, richer setup options, and rock-bottom price. TP-Link’s Kasa Smart K125 is a solid runner-up.