Kasa Smart Light Switch by TP-Link HS200 – WiFi Light Switch, Works with Alexa & Google, Needs Neutral Wire
So, I finally get a chance to tackle one of the "big named" products of the smart home world, huh? The HS200, one of TP-Link's most popular WiFi smart light switches, is a well put together, solid product. TP-Link has their own smart app that handles every smart product made by TP-Link (basically, every "Kasa" product), so you will have yet another app to install and configure. If you're just getting into the world of smart home products and home automation, this may not sound like a bad idea, but keep in mind you will then need to buy ONLY TP-Link smart products if you just want to use the minimal number of apps on your smart phone. If the number of apps don't bother you, then you're golden.
I believe this particular smart switch, the TP-Link HS200, was the first one I bought and installed in my home. I already had several bulbs, but I wanted to start changing over to switches and this particular one was on sale. I've always been a fan of TP-Link, owning mostly routers and hubs by them including the Archer C9, RE590T, and even the TL-SF1008D, so I figured it was time I step into another line of their products — smart home light switches! I was pleasantly surprised with this product and it absolutely met my expectations, but let's take a closer look!
My headlines for this product are:
Very cool: Clean, elegant design. Simple "nightlight." Satisfying click.
Not cool: Tied to "Kasa" app (no Smart Life support). More pricey. "Slanted" paddle design.
Overall: If you're not OCD about your switches like me, this is a no-brainer. When compared to cheaper smart switches, you can see and feel the "premium" you get with TP-Link.
So Tell Me About the TP-Link HS200 — Why Pay the PREMIUM?
Well, I'm not here to tell you why you should pay a premium, but I'll be glad to point out the great, the good, and the not-so-good about each product I review. Again, I personally own this product, so I'm not telling you why I THINK a product may be outstanding or the worst thing ever, but instead I'm telling you my opinion on a product I personally own and use on a daily basis.
To reiterate an early statement, the TP-Link HS200 was one of my first smart switches. I wanted to begin replacing my smart bulbs in lieu of smart switches; however, I thought it would be a good idea to install smart light switches in areas that I did NOT have smart bulbs in yet. My laundry room was the first room to receive a smart light switch, the TP-Link Kasa HS200!
I've done light-duty electrical work before, so I was familiar with how to do the install. The complete physical installation took about 15-20 minutes, but that was for a couple of other reasons. I live in a manufactured home and mine included cheap, self-contained, "all-in-one" light switches and gang boxes. Basically, the paddle light switch sits on the gang box and the wires are inserted into it. What that means is if I replace the switch, I have to replace the gang box. If you're still not getting what I'm putting down, I had to cut my wall a bit and install a traditional old-work gang box, so that added to my time.
With that out of the way, the setup in the Kasa smart app was a breeze. The light continuously let me know it was in pairing mode by flashing and did not stop until it was paired up with the Wi-Fi. This could get annoying if your light "somehow" comes unpaired/randomly resets or you install the smart switch then immediately have a router problem, but it shouldn't affect a typical install. After you pair it to Kasa and add the Kasa app to your Google Home (if it's not already), then it works just like any other smart light switch.
Now for the Mechanics of the TP-Link HS200 Smart Switch
The switch FEELS good! It's an absolutely sound smart switch physically and I love it! There's nothing more satisfying than pushing a light switch and it just feels fantastic. It has a very satisfying mechanical click and doesn't feel "mushy" or have false clicks. I don't know if "false clicks" is the correct terminology, but basically I define a "false click" as I feel it click, I hear it click, yet nothing happens. That's not present in this smart switch, which you WILL see in other ones that aren't similarly priced. I've mentioned it in my other reviews, but it's just not present with this switch.
Amazon is a little conflicted with the images it shows, specifically one of them shows a "TP-Link" logo on the switch itself. I want to let anyone who is interested know that there is NO branding on the physical switch or on the cover plate. It is obviously in the shape of a typical paddle switch, but there is no paddle functionality. The switch appears in the "always-on" position, which I don't prefer, but I can't take away anything for personal preference. In addition, the Wi-Fi light on the switch is NOT always on and there are no engravings in the physical switch for the Wi-Fi logo. Don't worry, unless you're not connected to Wi-Fi, you will not see the illuminated Wi-Fi logo during normal operation.
Lastly, there is a physical reset switch on the front of this unit, allowing for easy-access to resetting the switch. Typically, you won't ever need to reset it, but it's there just in case. There is always a "1%" of people that will need this reset switch and will be extremely glad it's there (or extremely frustrated they went with another product). Even if you have trouble setting up the product, a handy reset switch will at least allow you to start over with a clean slate and start from scratch.
How easy IS the install?
It's easy for anyone to install!
I'm not an electrician by any means, but I understand colors, what they represent, and how to not kill myself touching wires. Heck, you don't really even need to know what the colors do, but as long as you know what to do with them, you're in good shape. As with any electrical install, please do your own research as it can be extremely dangerous and you CAN kill yourself if you're not careful! I assume NO liability if you hurt yourself, fry your product, catch your house on fire, or accidentally set off a nuclear bomb (pretty impossible, but hey, it's 2020!). Please review the pictures above and make sure you have a VERY FIRM UNDERSTANDING of how to do BASIC wiring before proceeding. Again, at the end of the day, this stuff is VERY basic, but it's also VERY dangerous. In a typical install, all you need to do is remove the old switch (ALWAYS pay attention to where the wires are going in the wall) and install the new switch. Obviously, MAKE SURE YOUR POWER IS OFF BEFORE DOING SO. Your typical "dumb" switch may only have two (or even three) wires running to it and you may be looking at your product going "Wth? I have four wires!" but it's super simple! Again, in a typical install, your "live" (POWER) wire goes to the bottom of your "dumb" switch and then you hook the "live" (again, POWER) from your light to the TOP of the dumb switch. When you flick the switch UP/ON, it connects both black/live/power wires and sends power to your light. Makes sense, right? With your SMART switch, your LIVE/POWER still connects to the black wire on your switch, but instead of connecting your LIGHT's power source to the top of the switch, you simply connect it to the RED wire on the smart switch. In this instance, power comes IN on the black wire and goes OUT on the red wire. Since ALL smart switches in 2020 require a neutral wire (white wire), make sure all of them on bindled and capped off and your ground wires (GREEN on the back of smart switches and BARE COPPER in your walls most likely), do the same with those. Again, I STRONGLY URGE you to YouTube some basics on "How to Install a Smart Switch" or even a basic switch to get a visual idea of how it works. It's easy, but can be unsure if you're not positive. Again, as always, TURN OFF YOUR BREAKER(S) FIRST! Also, one last note, these switches can be a bit "deep" and typically require larger gang boxes to be installed in the wall. If you already have gang boxes that are 2" deep, you should be okay. If not, you may need to replace your gang boxes with some deeper ones, such as the Carlon B114R-UPC Lamson Home Products Number-1G Old Work Box.
Closing Thoughts on the TP-Link Kasa HS200 Smart Switch
For a simple smart light switch with a "brand name," I don't think you could possibly get better. Although I only have one of these switches at this time, I can definitely see myself getting more of these if they go on sale or I find them at a ridiculous price. I would highly recommend the Kasa Smart Light Switch by TP-Link – Needs Neutral Wire, WiFi Light Switch, Works with Alexa & Google (HS200). I would rate it a solid 9.5/10, only removing a fraction of a point for forcing you to use its TP-Link Kasa smart app and for the "toggled on" position the paddle switch is always in.
TP-Link allows for ample time for you to get on your phone and setup the device which is relieving. Not having to rush around to find your phone in order to pair the switch as quickly as possible is a good feature. I suppose the downside is if your neighbor "just happens" to have the Kasa app and looks at it and decides "I'm going to see if I can add any nearby switches!" then they could hijack it, but the chances of that are EXTREMELY low, as I don't even think the pairing would reach over 50 feet.