One of the biggest challenges of using smart home tech is keeping up with what’s going on at your favorite smart tech companies. This gets even harder when a company fumbles a product launch. TP-Link has left some big questions on the table, and we’re going to answer them.
The biggest differences between Kasa and Tapo is that Tapo is the newest brand from TP-Link, and it can operate on a 922MHz network, instead addition to just over Wi-Fi. Tapo and Kasa devices will likely not be able to connect with each other without using a workaround. TP-Link has stated that neither brand name is discontinued (in America), and new products are coming out for each of them.
If you’re a fan of Kasa devices, or you’re looking to see what’s on the smart home horizon, this article has exactly what you’re looking for.
Who Are TP-Link?
TP-Link is a familiar brand name for people all over the tech world. After being founded in 1996, TP-Link built up their name as a leader producer of modems, routers, and adapters. TP-Link is most known for their routers and modems, but their smart brands are only getting more widely recognized.
TP-Link has been in the smart home tech market for a while now, and it looks like they are shaking things up. TP-Link has been behind the Kasa smart home brand, and they have just launched their Tapo brand. TP-Link has issued statements signaling more smart products on the horizon.
What Is TP-Link Tapo?
Tapo is the new smart product line from TP-Link. Tapo is in fact so new that there are currently few products on the market for this smart brand. However, we do know plenty of information about what makes the Tapo brand unique and how that will impact owners of Kasa devices.
These Tapo devices make one major departure from TP-Link’s Kasa devices. Rather than solely connecting over Wi-Fi, they have the option of connecting over a different frequency that allows you to free up Wi-Fi space. This means that all systems are able to operate with a central smart hub, such as the Tapo H100 hub:
This is going to have some important benefits as more Tapo products start to roll out. You’ll be able to get all of your smart devices connected without putting that additional burden on your home’s Wi-Fi network. This could be especially appealing for individuals who have high internet demands like gaming or uploading large files like videos.
Note: however whilst some of Tapo’s initial products seemed to require this hub, some of Tapo’s newer products can connect over Wi-Fi instead. So this is another area where TP-Link aren’t really consistent. Hopefully going forward, all of Tapo’s products can use the hub or Wi-Fi – but we’ll see.
There’s also some evidence that suggests that TP-Link is going to favor the Tapo app going forward. Some of these statements imply that TP-Link plans to combine the Kasa app and the Tapo app under the Tapo brand name.
Ultimately, we’re going to have to wait awhile for the Tapo brand to start to solidify and more products are being released. As it stands, the biggest difference is the change in how these devices communicate with the rest of your smart home ecosystem.
What Is TP-Link Kasa?
Kasa is the first smart brand to come from the TP-Link company. There are people that have literally hundreds of different Kasa devices in their smart home ecosystem. You can even use Kasa devices to put together an entire smart home ecosystem from the ground up.
Kasa covers everything from smart switches to smart light strips. You’ll be able to find your standard smart light bulbs as well as the gear you need to put together more complicated smart home setups. It’s the wide range of products that have made the cost of line stand out in a crowded Arena of smart home devices.
Kasa is now one of two brands being operated by TP-Link. This has given people some reason to worry about the future of the Kasa product line. Generally speaking, TP-Link has stated that they have no intention to leave Kasa behind and are actively creating new Kasa products… but this varies depending on where in the world you live.
Is Kasa Being Replaced By Tapo? Is Kasa Discontinued?
Answering whether TP-Link is replacing Kasa with Tapo is a little complicated. TP-Link might be replacing some of the Kasa functionality with the Tapo brand. The company has made statements suggesting that they will be rolling in the Kasa app functionality into the new Tapo app.
This means that you’re going to be able to find your Kasa controls and functionality inside of the Tapo app. Outside of using the new branding, this app is going to be able to fully control your Kasa devices.
There was a lot of talk in the online rumor mill about TP-Link for placing their Kasa products for Tapo products. A good amount of this miscommunication draws from the truth about Kasa and Tapo.
TP-Link has decided to not make the Kasa and Tapo products able to communicate with each other. There are workarounds, so you can get these devices functioning in tandem, but TP-Link hasn’t announced any potential support for having Kasa and Tapo devices work together.
Indeed, TP-Link’s statement in 2022 mentions that they have continued plans for Kasa – but it doesn’t mention Tapo directly. So it does look like TP-Link are firmly standing behind the Kasa brand for now.
This position is certainly true in America and some other countries. However some British sales people have told UK customers that the “Kasa” line-up is being discontinued. So the situation might vary depending on where in the world you live.
Is Tapo Being Discontinued?
Another common misconception is that TP-Link is going to be discontinuing their Tapo products. After all: if TP-Link are firmly backing Kasa, what will happen to Tapo?
Thankfully a lot of this information is simply just speculation in online forums that are responding to a company that hasn’t been very forthcoming about their big changes.
TP-Link has released the Tapo product line in the United States, and elsewhere in the world. These smart devices are going to operate differently than the Kasa system, and each product range will have some different and unique products.
There is a grain of truth to the rumor though. TP-Link has also stated that they’re going to be slowly rolling in the Kasa app functionality into the new Tapo app. This means that individuals are going to eventually need to switch over to the Tapo app to control their Kasa devices. TP-Link haven’t said when this switch will happen, though.
In Short: It’s confusing! TP-Link have given slightly unclear and sometimes contradictory information to different customers in different parts of the world. Right now, it is clear that both Kasa and Tapo products will continue to work – although you might have to switch from the Kasa app to the Tapo app at some point.
Will Tapo Work With Kasa?
One of the most important things to know about the new product line from TP-Link is that Tapo and Kasa devices are currently not compatible with each other. These devices are currently not able to communicate with each other, but they can still be organized using a third-party app like Alexa. TP-Link has also stated that they’re rolling the Kasa app functionality into the new Tapo app in the near future.
Having both apps in one is going to help you be able to control these devices together. However, this does not necessarily mean that Tapo and Kasa devices are going to be able to work together very seamlessly. The big difference comes down to how these two types of devices connect.
Kasa devices came first in this means that they have a more old-school approach to smart Home conductivity. Instead of using a different radio communication frequency, they’re using standard Wi-Fi. This means that there is a risk of Kasa devices adding undue burden to your home’s Wi-Fi network.
Tapo devices use a completely different approach to conductivity. Many of Tapo’s initial products required a 922MHz connection to a Wi-Fi- enabled Tapo Hub, which will then control all the other devices. This means that Tapo devices should not be interfering with your home’s Wi-Fi. However some of Tapo’s newer products now allow for “hub free” connections over Wi-Fi.
Nonetheless, right now Tapo and Kasa devices are designed differently and cannot directly work toegher.
Here’s one quick tip for getting your Tapo and your Kasa devices to start working together even though they do not have the ability to directly connect with each other. You can use a central, third-party app such as Alexa to get both of these brands working in tandem. This will get these devices acting like they work together even though they can’t on a technical level.
This is possible using things like Alexa routines, allowing you to turn on a Kasa light bulb when a Tapo smart camera detects motion. For more information on this, check out our flashing light doorbell article.
If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!
16 thoughts on “The Difference Between Kasa, Tapo and TP-Link (Which Is Discontinued?)”
I don’t really like the idea of controlling my power switches etc from someone else’s computer (read: the cloud). Kasa plays nicely in this respect. I don’t need an account anywhere in order to control my units. Kasa works perfectly locally on my LAN. The limitations are that schedules, profiles and such don’t work. You need an account for that. Also, I cannot control my units remotely. I have to be connected to my LAN. I take care of that by connecting to a VPN server in my router. The Kasa units can, however, be controlled by a Python script on a computer. You can find the script (tplink-smartplug) on github. Since I already have a Linux computer running 24/7, I just use that to control the units. Otherwise I would have gotten a Raspberry Pi to do it. Some simple cronjobs take care of scheduling etc.
I know, this may not be for everyone, but it works great for anybody who are a slight bit tech savvy and aren’t helpless in front of a computer.
My question to you is:
Do the Tapo units (when connected to wifi) work the same way? Can they be controlled locally with no Internet connection whatsoever?
I agree entirely with your concerns Bjorn, ‘smart’ homes that basically rely on the cloud aren’t that smart..! tplink-smartplug looks nice for sure, I’ll have to check that out soon.
Regarding Tapo units (connected to WiFi), my understanding is that they do allow local control yes. A few people have purchased their C200 camera’s because of their local streaming feature, and the P100 smart plugs allow local control too (you can use the app on a smartphone too, as long as it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network).
Sorry but that’s false. If you lose your internet connection, all hell brakes loose.
Everything goes off live, except the cameras, but only if they have Rj45 connection to the router, then LAN access is allowed.
Thanks for the extra info, it has been a while since I tested them in any real detail. It’s disappointing if they aren’t properly locally controllable. I’ll aim to try this out soon.
Bjorn Hakon – take a look at Hubitat. It’s a small “puck” device with really good community support. I use it to control my Kasa devices. I have 4 AP on a DMZ into my SonicWall to get the best of both worlds while being protected. All scheduling is on the Hubitat on the DMZ. No account, no fees. I know it’s a little excessive, but it’s kinda what I do where I work.
Hey Michael, thanks for the comment – glad to hear that you have had good results with Hubitat. It definitely seems a nice device.
Your comparison fails to mention the key differences between Tapo and Kasa
1. Current switching capacity on Kasa is 16amps but only 10amps on Tapo
2. Scheduling on Kasa is done in the device and will work without internet access where Tapo does not store schedules in the device and will fail to operate if no internet access.
Thanks for pointing this out David, both great points. I will look to add a side-by-side comparison section in due course (for this and a few other points), which I agree would be beneficial.
So wait correct me if I’m wrong but tp link is advertising Tapo as add ons to a system but it not compatible with anything on that system unless you buy the new stuff…..so it’s a bait and switch…you tell us it’s compatible and it connects to the same system but after we buy you tell us it’s not but if we want to have everything the way you advertised it you need to buy all new stuff to replace the old stuff that is not compatible with the fully compatible with the old equipment equipment…..
It’s all a little unclear from TP-Link, but it does seem like that yes (annoyingly). It feels like Tapo’s new range was basically a Wi-Fi based replacement to Kasa… until TP-Link changed their mind. Now we have both brands. That last bit is me speculating, but it seems a confusing roll-out/change.
Hi Tristan and thanks for your thoughts at this transitional time.
Might be worth noting that TP-Link have recently made a serious commitment to the new standard called MATTER.
I’m not sure what that will mean in real terms just yet but Matter is about making the automation ‘adaptors’ talk to all controllers, Siri-HomeKit, Alexa, etc.
I’m hoping to get a firmware update to the Kasa KP105’s etc. but we’ll see.
I’m using a number of Kasa devices through HomeBridge on RaspberryPi (RPi) to HomeKit.
Using Pi-Store HomeBridge Build for RPi, with Kasa plug-in is simplicity itself to setup.
Thanks for the comment, you’re right to flag up Matter – it’s a massive development in smart homes. It’s still a little early to know exactly how it’ll impact things (hopefully for the better), but I’m glad to see so many of the key players are backing it.
I’m definitely keeping an eye on it, and will be updating this article (and others) in due course when we know more.
A sub-headline reads: “Is Tapo Being Discontinued?”
Is that supposed to say, “Is Kasa Being Discontinued?” The section speaks of fears of Kasa being reduced, as Tapo is the new line.
Apologies, you’re right – thanks for flagging this up. I have re-jigged the sections a bit. It gets confusing because TP-Link have contradicted themselves a few times, and seem to have a different strategy in different countries. I have cleared up the confusion in the article now though.
Thanks again Tye,
Tapo smart plug worked like a charm while I had so much trouble with Kasa smart plug disconnecting all the time! So I would like to see Tapo rolling out with more products.
Glad to hear you had a good experience with Tado. To be honest, my Kasa smart plug works fairly well, but Tado has also been really reliable from what I’ve tested.