TP Link Kasa vs Tapo Hub scaled

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I will preface this by saying I love TP-Link networking and smart home products. I personally use a large number of the Kasa and Tapo smart plugs. The Tapo P110 (and now the P110M) are the best smart plugs on the market due to their affordable nature and energy monitoring.

I have also recently invested in the TP-Link Tapo S210 Smart Light Switch, as it is one of the most affordable smart switches on the market and doesn’t require a neutral. I haven’t reviewed them yet, but I also bought the Tapo L630 GU10 bulbs for my bathroom because you can get four of them for about the same price as a single Philips Hue White & Colour Ambiance Smart Spotlight.

My recent review of the TP-Link Kasa KE100 smart radiator valve was highly critical due to it being a half-baked product which doesn’t work with Tapo and has poor third party support, which is what led me to write this post.

I find the mixture of the two brands a complete mess. Things have improved with Tapo, allowing you to use Kasa devices in the Tapo app, but it is far from ideal.

TP-Link Kasa was supposed to be the premium brand, and Tapo was affordable.

TP-Link started off with Kasa and later launched Tapo. It seemed like an odd thing to do at first, but the idea was that Kasa would be the premium range and Tapo the affordable range, which is something I was OK with, and it seemed to make sense.

However, over time, as TP-Link launched more products, the distinction between the two brands became quite confusing.

There wasn’t really much difference between competing products. The smart plugs had essentially the same functionality, just a different app, with Tapo being a bit uglier.

With the limited functionality differences, it became increasingly frustrating that there was a separate Tapo and Kasa app.

TP-Link Kasa & Tapo Integration + Reported Kasa Discontinuation

TP-Link seemed to start favouring Tapo (probably because more people bought the more affordable products). TP-Link has launched far more products under the Tapo name recently than they have Kasa. At one point, there were so few Kasa launches I had assumed TP-Link had abandoned the brand.

Back in March 2022, I was told:

TP-Link is working on an integration between Kasa and Tapo into one app to make sure there is continued functionality for both products sets together as Kasa goes end of life.

That was supposed to happen in Q3 2022, but they finally rolled out the integration in November 2023.

TP-Link seems to have changed their mind about Kasa as they have continued to launch devices under this brand (not that you’d know in the UK).

UK vs US Differences

TP Link Kasa US

After a bit of research, this seems to be more of a UK problem. Looking at Amazon UK, the TP-Link store doesn’t even bother to list the Kasa plugs (even though they are on Amazon). Similarly, the official TP-Link store is branded as Tapo. If you look at the new launches, they list 23 products, all of which are Tapo, with the exception of the new Kasa KE100 smart radiator valves.

In the US, there is a proper Kasa Amazon store which shows a much wider range of products.

Kasa KH100 vs Tapo H100 Hub

TP Link Kasa TRV and Hub

In my recent review of the TP-Link Kasa Smart Thermostatic Radiator Valve KE100 KIT, the issues with having two separate brands became much more pronounced.

Even though you can now integrate Kasa with Tape, the KE100 is not compatible with Tapo.

The hub used for both Kasa and Tapo is identical hardware. Even though I already had the Tapo H100 hub, I had to get the Kasa KH100 Hub and pair the KE100 with that.

Then, you can see the Kasa KH100 hub within Tapo, just not the KE100.

This wasn’t the only problem.

Even though the KE100 isn’t compatible with Tapo, it is compatible with sensors. But all the sensors are Tapo branded. However, I can’t use my existing Tapo sensors, which are paired with the Tapo H100 Hub. I’d have to reset everything and pair them all with the Kasa KH100 hub.

It is quite possible that this is a temporary issue, and when TP-Link get the KE100 working with Tapo you will be able to use the Tapo hub.

Slow Matter Rollout & Confusing Plans

TP Link Matter 2

Another issue has been the slow rollout of Matter and the confusing situation with Matter-enabled hubs.

To be fair, most companies have delayed (or messed up) the roll-out of Matter, but in the UK, the only Matter enabled device is the Tapo P110M smart plug. However, in the US there is the Tapo and Kasa S505 Matter enabled light switch and Kasa KS225 Dimmer Switch.

Similar to the hubs, the Tapo S505 is literally the same as the Kasa S505, however the Kasa model has an RRP $3 higher.

TP Link Matter 1

As for the hubs, most smart home brands, such as Philips Hue, Aqara, and SwitchBot have rolled out firmware updates to enable Matter on the corresponding hub. However, Tapo listed the Tapo H100M as the Matter enabled hub, and I was told by the Tapo PR team:

The current H100 model does not currently support Matter, however, there is a newer version coming out later this year that will.

But, it now seems that Tapo will be rolling out a firmware update to enable Matter support on the existing H100. It is expected that this will be rolled out with firmware 1.4.0. My H100 is currently on 1.3.9.

TP-Link also lists the Central Control Hub, but this has been in development for months with no word of a launch date.

I am hopefully that TP-Link will provide some more clarity about the Matter situation at CES 2024.

Future Prospects

To try to add some positivity to this post, I am hopeful that the current state of Tapo and Kasa is just a transitional phase.

It is likely TP-Link will make some big announcements at CES 2024, including the Tapo H900 Home Base, which is reported as supporting Wi-Fi, Sub-GHz, Bluetooth, Matter, Thread, and other protocols. This might also be the same as the Central Control Hub they have listed.

I would also expect some sort of announcement for the Matter rollout on the Tapo H100, or perhaps the announcement of the Tapo H100M.

I think once TP-Link has rolled out Matter to more devices and has a hub that can control them, most of the above issues will be resolved. Hopefully.

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