When the name Nanoleaf comes up, people tend to think of those feature pieces on the wall (or ceiling) that syncs to your music or TV. They are definitely a feature piece, and I have a few around the house. But there is more to just feature pieces, with the Nanoleaf Essentials line we have bulbs, lightstrips and also what I am going to write about, downlights.

Why does this make waves? Because I can have the one ecosystem for my lights. Almost one. But let’s talk about that almost bit later.

Nanoleaf Essentials Downlights


I think it would be safe to say every house has LED downlights. They are pretty ubiquitous especially anything renovated in at least the last decade. I have a bunch of them put into the place I call home now when I did some remodelling.

LED downlights are easy to deal with, low energy and with great working life spans. The traditional limitations has been they come in warm or cool white, and you do have to specifically get dimmable ones if that’s what you need.

I have a particular area of the house that I leave the light on overnight for the younger kids in case they need to get a drink or the toilet. When the original work was done, we haven’t quite figured out how things were going to work so it never crossed my mind to get a dimmable downlight. Besides the light switch face plate was a special one, I don’t recall if I ever saw that style come with a dimmer switch. Of course the other challenge is that until I get up in the morning, that light stays on. I know the kids would never turn it off. Light? What light dad?


First Impressions

The Nanoleaf Essentials downlight is just that. A smart downlight with all the features you would expect from Nanoleaf.

It is a standard size at 3.5″ so if you have existing standard downlights, it is as simple as pulling the old one out of the roof, disconnect the power. Throw the power onto the Nanoleaf and slot it back into the ceiling. Literally a 30 seconds job.  Then another 5 to clean up any plaster dust.

If you don’t have an existing one to replace, Nanoleaf provides a template in the box to help plan and visualise how it will look in position. Like I said before, the opening it needs is a standard size so no special tools required.

In one of my banks of three downlights, there was one that was fault and over my sink area. It was so simple to change a working one out of the area I planned to put the Nanoleaf in, and essentially swap two lights in the space of minutes. Including time to move the ladder around so I could reach.

In the box also comes with spare set of QR code stickers to pair your lights to the app, after all you really don’t want to be pulling the units out of the ceiling unnecessarily. Just a pro tip, write down which QR code is for which light because you will absolutely set and forget about it.

Nanoleaf Essentials Downlights


In Use

If you are like me with plenty of Nanoleaf gear around, then it is as simple as adding the device via the app.

The app will guide you through the process which was simple enough. I did have an issue initially as my phone runs an always on VPN which can interfere with the traffic required during the pairing process. Nothing that wasn’t quickly resolved on my end of things.

One thing of note is that compared to a non-smart LED, the Nanoleaf will take a little longer to power up from a cold start – turning on via a wall point. It’s not a long delay but enough to be noticeable.

What do I like about it? It ties into my existing Nanoleaf installations and I can set it on a schedule to turn on and off – no more relying on the kids to remember to turn off the lights.

If I want to be funky about it, I can have my own aurora borealis at home. Or I can set any brightness and ambiance I want to match my mood, or what is on TV. To be fair the cats are not impressed by the light show but they have gotten used to it.

I also do like that the Nanoleaf app has a routine for sunset to sunrise, and the ability to set how the light transitions for it.

The Nanoleaf Essentials line is Matter compatible. My constant tinkering with the network has broken something for that, but that one is on me. It does latch onto the Thread routers quite nicely.

Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App
Nanoleaf App



This is something I have observed from time to time when I have to jump into the Nanoleaf app.

Generally my lights automation routines and controls are all tied into Home Assistant rather than vendor native apps. But having to go back into the Nanoleaf app, it does irk me that from time to time I just can’t connect to all my devices easily even though I can clearly control them from HA. It doesn’t bother me quite as much because I have very little reliance on the Nanoleaf app, but it would be an annoyance for others.

Nanoleaf Aurora scene



The Nanoleaf Essentials line brings the common light globe types into the fold. Rather than having to go to a competitor product, along with their own idiosyncrasies for connection and app use, it is good to be able to brings things together under the same banner.

Other than that Nanoleaf really needs to put out some E14s and they will cover the full gamut.

The Nanoleaf Essentials Matter 3.5″ Downlight are available in singles (AUD$54.99), 2-pack (AUD $99.99) and 4-pack (AUD $179.99)

DRN would like to thank Nanoleaf for providing the review units.