The primary goal of smart lights are to provide convenient access to light, and TP Link and LIFX both do a great job in that regards. However, when it comes to extra perks and technology, we do feel that LIFX pulls ahead.
When most people think of smart lighting, they’re likely thinking of voice activated bulbs or ones that can change color. While that’s a large part of the industry, the LIFX shows that there’s more to be had if you’re looking for better smart home integration, brightness, and even flawless syncing with your favorite tunes.
Below we break down the similarities and differences of the TP Link vs. LIFX. Read on for the full picture, or use our navigation bar to jump right to a specific section.
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TP Link vs. LIFX — Differences
Difference #1: Music Syncing – The first difference we’ll discuss while reviewing the TP Link vs. LIFX is a pretty major one. Most people assume that their smart lighting will be able to sync up and respond to their favorite music, but this feature is not available with TP Link.
LIFX, on the other hand, has an Effects feature which allows you to get really creative and enjoy brilliant light that will follow along with your favorite tracks. You can do everything from simulating a fire, to using the Music Visualizer that uses your phone’s microphone to change light color and intensity along with the flow of the music.
The lack of music syncing on the TP Link is a pretty major disappointment, and is one of the main reasons that we feel that the LIFX is the better buy.
Difference #2: 16 Million Colors – Both lighting solutions feature a huge range of colors, but only LIFX has 16 million. TP Link has a lot of different shades, but they’ll actually skip in quantum color changes as you slide the dot around the spectrum. One of the biggest ways that this becomes apparent is with the lack of adequate shades for warm white. As you slide your finger around, you’ll end up stuck with light that’s perhaps a bit too yellow or a bit too cool. TP Link took a shortcut here, and unfortunately it really shows.
With LIFX, you get access to that huge line of 16 million colors with no skipping around or cutting corners.
Difference #3: Brightness – The color temperature of the two bulbs is the same, in a range from 2500-9000K. However, the LIFX is significantly brighter with 1100 lumens vs. the TP Link’s 800 Lumens. The LIFX also does have a slightly higher wattage at full brightness, with 11 Watts vs. 10.5 Watts.
Difference #4: Beam Angle – There are also some difference in the beam angle, which will further emphasize the difference in brightness when comparing the two bulbs. The TP Link has a beam angle of 220 degrees which will spread the light over a wider area, while the LIFX’s beam is a little more compact at 135 degrees. Neither is necessarily better than the other, with the TP Link losing a little brightness due to the greater spread and the LIFX remaining more concentrated.
Difference #5: Bulb Base – The bulb base can affect whether the lighting is compatible with your socket, and on that front, the LIFX is a lot more flexible. With support for E26, E27 Screw, or B22 Bayonet, it’s much more likely it will work in your home than the TP Link with support for only E26 sockets.
Difference #6: App Support – Another area where LIFX pulls ahead is in its app support. Both brands support iOS and Android, but LIFX is compatible with slightly older versions — supporting iOS 9+ and Android 4.1+ while TP Link support iOS 10+ or Android 4.4+. If you’re looking to control your bulbs from the computer, LIFX has you covered as well with integration into Windows 10.
Overall, LIFX does a better job of working with Android and IOS than TP Link, and LIFX alone supports Windows.
Difference #7: Apple HomeKit – From a smart home perspective, LIFX will work better with Apple devices due to its support for Apple HomeKit.
TP Link, unfortunately, does not support the system.
Difference #8: Smart Home – Both TP Link and LIFX work well with Nest, which allows you to use the “Nest Home and Away” features to automatically adjust your lighting when you arrive or leave home. This is an alternative option to the IFTTT geofencing that might be a little more accessible if you’re already invested in the Nest ecosystem.
LIFX integration, however, is a little bit more impressive with the added ability to do things like turn your lights on randomly to make it look like you’re home, or even activate to warn you of smoke or carbon monoxide.
Long story short, while both brands integrate with nest, the LIFX has access to way more features when collaborating with that technology. Add to that the support for programs like Stringify, Flic, Logitech Harmony, XFINITY Home, Scout Alarm, and abode, and it’s easy to see which bulb comes out ahead when it comes to smart technology.
Difference #9: Outside Use – As long as your bulbs are not exposed directly to water, you can feel free to bring the LIFX’s 16 million colors outside to your patio or yard. The moisture resistance also makes it great for use in humid areas around the house, perhaps to add more ambiance to the bathroom while you’re drinking some wine in the tub!
The TP Link does not play well with moisture, so you’ll want to keep it in a dry area. This means keeping it indoors as well as out of areas that could get too damp.
Difference #10: Warranty – One area that TP Link does pull ahead is with its warranty, lasting for 3 years as opposed to the 2 years with LIFX. Just keep in mind that the TP Link warranty offer is only available in the United States.
TP Link vs. LIFX — Comparison Chart
|Lumens||800 Lm.||1100 Lm.|
|Colour Range||Multi-Color||16 million colors|
|Dimming||Yes||1% – 100%|
|Geofencing||via IFTTT||via IFTTT|
|Away Home Control||Yes||Yes|
|Requires a Hub/Bridge||No||No|
|Wi-Fi Router Requirement||2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n||2.4Ghz 802.11b/g/n|
|App||iOS 10 or Android 4.4 or higher||iOS 9+, Android 4.1+,
|Full Brightness||10.5 Watts||11 Watts|
|LED Life-Span||22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)||22.8 years (based on 3hrs/day)|
|Bulb Base||E26||E26, E27 Screw or B22 Bayonet|
|Beam Angle||220 degrees||135 degrees|
|Product Dimensions||2.36 x 4.65 in||2.48 x 2.48 x 4.52 in|
|Weight||0.31 lbs||0.46 lbs|
|Warranty||3-year limited warranty
TP Link vs. LIFX — Things in Common
Away Home Control – Whether you’ve forgotten to turn off the lights when you walked out the door, or you’d like to make sure your home is warm and inviting when you get home from work, it’s great to have the ability to control your lights while away from home. Both TP Link and LIFX feature Away Home Control to allow you to control your bulbs from anywhere using the free smartphone app.
No Hub Required – A lot of smart devices require some sort of hub to function, but TP Link and LIFX lights can hook directly into your WiFi themselves — no extra equipment required!
Voice Control – Using simple voice commands, you can control your multi-colored light bulbs using popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Microsoft Cortana. From changing the color as you wake up in the morning, to dimming the lights when it’s time to wind down for the night, you can do it all with just a few spoken words.
Scenes & Schedules – Using the light bulbs’ dedicated app, you can put your lighting on a schedule to automatically turn on or off when you’re at home or away. You can also create a “scene” with the perfect colors and brightness, which is perfect for adding some extra fun to a party with the tap in the app.
Dimming – Sometimes it’s nice to keep your lights from shining at full blast. A dimming feature with both brands allows you to pick the perfect brightness for your current mood.
Geofencing & IFTTT – Both TP Link and LIFX support the smart home conditional trigger system, IFTTT. This is great for connecting your technology to one another for a more convenient and autonomous home, but where it really shines with lighting is in the ability to add geofencing.
Through IFTTT, you can set your bulbs up to trigger your lights whenever you connect or disconnect from your WiFi network, which should line up with when you’re coming and going.
Other smart lights, such as the Philips Hue, have native geofencing built in, so that’s an option to consider if you don’t want to fiddle with IFTTT.
If the program has piqued your interest, however, you’ll be happy to find that TP Link in particular can do some really fun things. For example, you can set up a trigger to change the color of your lights every time your favorite Twitch streamer goes live.
With IFTTT, the sky’s really the limit, and you’ll be able to control the color, brightness, and transition time from within the app for both brands.
TP Link vs. LIFX — Accessories
Smart lighting is much more fun when you expand the functionality with more products from the same brand.
For TP Link, we’d recommend options like the Smart Dimmer Switch for easier control of your lighting, or perhaps the to control even “dumb” electronics from the dedicated smart phone app.
TP Link vs. LIFX — Our Thoughts
Ultimately, deciding on the better product when comparing the LIFX vs. TP Link is pretty clear. By pretty much every metric, the LIFX offers a better and more comprehensive product.
From a lighting perspective, the TP Link is a great bulb, but when put head to head with the LIFX, it’s pretty clear that its features miss the mark.
Last update on 2020-02-18 at 15:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API