Light strips are everywhere these days. From the back of our desks and TVs to the outside of our homes, light strips are a quick and simple way to add a touch of color to almost any surface. While light strips have gotten brighter, gained the ability to display multiple colors simultaneously, and even added new wireless capabilities over the years, most have been stuck at the same six-foot length — especially HomeKit-compatible options.
One of the latest HomeKit-enabled light strips to hit the market — the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip — goes above and beyond the norm by including not one but two colorful 16.4-foot strips for less than the price of one. With a combined total of over 30-feet in length, the Meross light strip is easily the longest, and therefore the most convenient HomeKit option available, but is it enough to stand out in a crowd full of competitors from the likes of Philips Hue, Eve, and Nanoleaf? Let's find out.
Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip
Bottom line: The extra-long Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip is perfect for larger installations, adding millions of colors, dimming, and HomeKit controls to just about anywhere indoors with a peel-and-stick design. Slick, customizable effects, and an affordable price make it an excellent choice for smart, colorful lighting.
- Includes two 16.4ft strips
- No smart hub required
- Includes mounting clips and extension
- Works with Alexa, Google, HomeKit
- Only one power supply included
- Designed for indoor use only
- Lacks color temperature adjustments and HomeKit Adaptive Lighting
Short setup, long length
Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip review: What I like
While the overall length of the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip equals 32.8-feet, the light strip comes in two 16.4-foot sections in the box. Both portions of the strip are neatly wrapped on plastic reels, which are nice for storage if you only want to set up one and are accompanied by a control module, power brick, and several handy accessories that make installation easy. Accessories include a mounting sticker for the control module, ten mounting clips that offer additional security over the peel and stick tape on the strip itself, and two extension clips that can be used to connect the two sections.
One thing that immediately stood out to me after unboxing was how narrow the Meross light strip is. I would estimate that the width of the Meross' strip is about 10-20% less than other light strips in my home, which may not sound like a lot, but when combined with a slightly thinner depth, it could open up additional installation options.
Another hardware highlight is the compact control box and how it has two power connection leads for powering both sections of the strips without having to be physically joined together. Outside of those differences, though, the Meross strip looks similar to its competitors, with a series of tiny LEDs evenly spaced throughout and areas for cutting the strip to length clearly labeled.
Connecting the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip to my home network, like other Meross HomeKit products, was quick and easy. I like how Meross gives users the ability to pair the light strip with the Home app right out of the box — forgoing the need to download another app or register for an account. After a scan of the HomeKit pairing code, the light strip was up and running in just a couple of minutes after unboxing without having to enter a Wi-Fi password or installing a dedicated hub.
To get the most out of the light strip or to use the light strip with Android, Google Assistant, or Alexa, though, you will need to download the Meross app. The Meross app is easy to navigate, with clearly labeled tabs and paired devices sitting front and center on the home screen. Through the app, you can set up schedules (called Routines) that bring the strip to life at specific times, Scenes that can include other Meross accessories, and access remote controls outside of HomeKit.
Another benefit of using the Meross app is the ability to apply different lighting effects. The Meross app offers a total of five different presets: Night, Reading, Working, Reading, and Party, each of which can be customized through speed and color options. My favorite effect is Party which cycles through a variety of colors, automatically matching other smart lighting accessories that I use within the home. I did find the default speed a little too fast for my tastes, so I love the aforementioned customization options, which allowed me to set it to just the right rate.
Through the Home app, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip offers the same familiar HomeKit smart lighting controls that we are all accustomed to. With a tap of the accessory in the Home app, the light strip can be turned on or off, and a long-press brings up brightness adjustments and quick preset color options. HomeKit also enables the light strip to integrate with automation and scenes that can include other accessories, and of course, also puts controls just a shout away with Siri.
No matter which control method I used during testing, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip responded pretty much instantly to commands, with most executing within a second. The Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light strip has been incredibly reliable as well, as I have yet to come across any failed commands or No Response messages from the Home or Meross apps throughout the past few months. The Meross HomeKit lineup continues to impress me in this regard, and combined with the lack of a required account or app, the company is one of my go-to recommendations for affordable, reliable accessories.
When it comes to actual lighting, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip provides what appears to be the industry standard of 16 million different colors and shades of white. Most colors produced by the Meross strip looked great at full brightness levels, but I was particularly impressed by darker red tones, which were surprisingly rich, and among the best that I have seen to date. Lighter shades of blue were also quite nice, but some colors were not quite up to par — more on that later.
Shifting to brightness, while I was unable to track down an exact lumen specification from Meross, it was plenty bright for most accent lighting scenarios, but not for whole room lighting. Based on my previous experience with other smart lighting products, my best guess would be that the light strip tops out at around 800 lumens, which, again, is great for accent lighting but not as the only light source in a room.
One and done
Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip review: What I don't like
As previously mentioned, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip ships in two 16.4-foot sections, which would make it an ideal candidate for outdoor installations — if it was weather-resistant. Also, the company only includes one power supply in the box, so don't expect to use it in more than one location. Since the strips are so long, I believe that one will cover the needs for most, so there's going to be a lot of unused sections sitting around, which seems wasteful. I hope that Meross is either working on an updated model with weather-resistance and includes another power supply as it looks like a missed opportunity to make it stand out from the rest.
If the 16.4-foot sections are more than you need, the Meross light strip, like others, can be cut to size, and the included extension clips are a great addition. However, getting cut sections to work together with the clips proves to be quite difficult and doesn't always produce the best result. During testing, I struggled with seating the clip and making adjustments as they are incredibly hard to open once clamped down. When I did finally get two sections to work together, minor bumps to the strip would result in the second section displaying different colors from the first, so I eventually just gave up altogether as I didn't need it for my particular installation.
Moving over to color performance, the Meross light strip isn't perfect, and it has one glaring omission. Now, to be fair, some colors — particularly darker shades of green — are a universal problem for smart lighting no matter which brand you choose, but the Meross light strip struggles with other colors like purple and yellow. The light strip doesn't produce many variations with these colors, and even getting some semblance of them takes careful adjustments in the Meross app. Lack of color variants prevents color temperature adjustments as well, which, to its credit, Meross is upfront about, and lets you know about the lack of these adjustments.
The Meross light strip is also a little wonky, with color adjustments made via the Home app. Using the default quick color options provided by the Home app results in shades that sometimes look nothing like their on-screen representation at all, and using the color picker doesn't always apply subtle shifts like you would expect while swiping around. Finally, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip doesn't support iOS 14's HomeKit Adaptive Lighting feature like other options on the market.
The HomeKit light strip market, while limited when compared to other platforms, has its fair share of options that can meet almost any need. Our picks for the best HomeKit light strips currently highlight options from popular brands like Philips Hue, Eve, LIFX, and Nanoleaf, as well as cheaper alternatives from VOCOlinc and SANTALA.
When compared against the $80 Eve Light Strip, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip is three times longer, $30 cheaper, and sports a thinner profile. However, the Meross light strip doesn't support HomeKit Adaptive Lighting and isn't near as bright as the Eve Light Strip, which can light up larger areas at 1,800 lumens despite the smaller length. Both light strips connect via Wi-Fi with almost identical response times, and they both offer rock-solid reliability.
Going up against our current top pick, the HomeKit Adaptive Lighting-capable Nanoleaf Essentials Lightstrip, the Meross offering is again outclassed in maximum brightness levels as Nanoleaf's option hits 2,200 lumens peak. Also, like the Essentials A19 Light Bulb, Nanoleaf's light strip includes the latest wireless standard, Thread, while the Meross strip relies on Wi-Fi. Thread has been deemed as the future of HomeKit by some, with its low power consumption, great range, fast response times, and high levels of reliability. However, Nanoleaf's Thread implementation currently requires a HomePod mini, while the Meross light strip offers the same performance using your existing network.
Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip review: Should you buy
You should buy this if ...
You want an affordable HomeKit-enabled light strip
At just under $50, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip is an affordable alternative to some of the more popular options from the bigger brands. The low price doesn't mean it skimps on features either with millions of colors, smart controls, and easy pairing.
You want a smart light strip that is extra-long
The Meross light strip goes above and beyond its competitors in overall length, with two 16.4 strips in the box covering 32.8 feet total. The extra length means one less power supply to manage, and of course, it can still be trimmed to fit any need.
You want a light strip that is quick and easy to set up
The Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip is incredibly easy to get up and running as it requires no additional hubs to setup. For HomeKit users, the light strip can be added directly to the Home app without an account using just a scan of the pairing code on-device.
You should not buy this if ...
You want a light strip that is suitable for the outdoors
Since it lacks weather and dust-resistance, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip is not suitable for the outdoors. The extra-long length of the light strip makes it well-suited for installations outside, but unfortunately, it must be kept dry inside for safe operation.
You want the absolute best color reproduction from a light strip
As with most smart color lighting, the Meross' light strip struggles with certain colors, like darker greens and purples. The Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip is also inconsistent with color adjustments made through Apple's Home app, and it lacks color temperature options.
You want to use both 16ft strips in separate locations
Despite coming in two 16-foot sections, Meross only includes one power supply in the box. If you want to use the strips in different locations, then you will need to purchase another set.
If you want an affordable way to cover large areas with colorful lighting without having to purchase multiple kits or more than one power adapter, Meross' strip is hands-down the best choice. The Meross light strip is also easy to set up through HomeKit, and the included accessories make installation a breeze. However, if you want the brightest and the best color reproduction, or if you want HomeKit Adaptive Lighting, then you will be better off with another option.
Even though the extra-long 32.8-foot total length is its biggest selling point, Meross' HomeKit-enabled light strip gets enough right in other areas to make it worthy of consideration for most — even if you don't need the length now. With millions of colors, handy included accessories, affordable price, and a dead-simple setup process through HomeKit, the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Light Strip offers quite a lot of bang for the buck. It may not be the best overall HomeKit light strip that you can buy today, but it is the best when it comes to length right out of the box.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.