HomeKit is the Apple platform for smart home products. It is integrated with all iPhone and iPad sold by the company. To enjoy it, simply download the free Apple Home app and then pair it with your HomeKit compatible smart home gadgets. Whether it's lights, door locks, a plug, cameras, a thermostat, motion detectors, blinds or the like, the application Home can handle everything at once and you can control items with the help of Siri's voice assistant commands too.
So, which HomeKit products should you buy? The list of options continues to grow, but we are here to help you choose the best of the best HomeKit devices. Here are our best choices for HomeKit households, all based on years of CNET smart home testing.
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You can pair Apple HomeKit devices with your iPhone as soon as you set them up, but if you want to control the products when you're not at home, you'll need a HomeKit hub. The idea is that the hub works a bit like a bouncer for your home's Wi-Fi network. For example, when you try to control a smart lock from the Apple family app when you are at work, the role of the hub is to verify your identity before you enter.
Read more: All you need to know about Apple HomeKit
Apple does not offer a stand-alone HomeKit hub, but requires you to choose between three expensive Apple gadgets that can do all the work: the HomePod smart speaker, a third-generation Apple TV or better, or a dedicated device. , still on iPad.
At $ 300, the HomePod is still too expensive for what it is. Meanwhile, the road for iPad is awkward and will not add any extra utility to your home. That's why I would opt for the Apple TV – preferably the Apple TV 4K, which David Katzmaier of CNET considers to be the best streamer available to date. At $ 180, this is not cheap, but none of these HomeKit hubs do. And, in addition to serving as an excellent streamer, you will be able to extract the video stream from compatible HomeKit cameras to your TV with a quick voice command in the remote control.
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For $ 279, your August Smart Lock Pro purchase provides you with the lock, as well as the Wi-Fi hub plug-in you need for syncing with HomeKit and an open / closed sensor for your door. It also offers tons of useful integrations beyond HomeKit compatibility, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, IFTTT and optional Z-Wave support.
Read more: The best smart locks of 2019
This is certainly not an inexpensive smart lock, but it is the best for HomeKit households that we have tested to date. I say to wait for a sale and then to jump.
Chris Monroe / CNET
If you're looking for a smart thermostat, there are many cool options, including two thermostats that support Siri control via Apple HomeKit. Of these, we prefer the Ecobee thermostat. At $ 250, the Ecobee4 thermostat is the newest, but it really adds an Alexa speaker built-in experience. This is not the biggest drawback if you dock your smart home in Apple HomeKit and you focus on Siri for voice commands.
Read more: The best intelligent thermostats of 2019
That's why I think it's wiser to stick with one of the cheaper thermostats of the previous generation of Ecobee. They all work equally well with Apple HomeKit and also support the nifty temperature sensors of Ecobee. The Ecobee3 thermostat is listed as out of stock on the Ecobee website, but the Ecobee3 Lite thermostat is still available for a price between $ 169 and $ 190. This is the right price for HomeKit compatible air conditioning.
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At $ 180, Logitech Circle 2 can be used indoors or out. It has proven reliable and responsive when we tested it with Apple HomeKit. The hardwired design means that you have to keep it close to a power outlet, but I actually prefer that to something with batteries that can be exhausted at inappropriate times. And hey, a battery-powered version is available for $ 20 more if it's your preference.
Read more: The best security cameras for the 2019 smart home
Once you've found a location and you've set it up, you can view the stream directly from the Home app (or, if you have an Apple TV, directly on your TV). The Circle 2 features motion sensors, night vision for nightfall, as well as two-way audio. You also get a free backlog of 24-hour clips based on events, as well as the ability to extend this history to 14 or 31 days for a monthly fee of $ 4 or $ 10 (subscribers also have access to a motion alert zone feature). My favorite part, though, might be the variety of accessories Logitech sells to help you get it to smart places. All this is an excellent little camera that costs less than its popular competitors like the Arlo and the D-Link Omna.
It's counter-intuitive, perhaps, but Philips Hue is better when you skip the colors and focus on the Hue White bulbs, which emit an intelligent and dimmable light at 2700 K yellow. That's because the best thing about Hue bulbs is not colors at all, but rather the strength of their best platform, which works with everything, goes extremely well with Apple HomeKit and offers many useful features.
Read more: The complete guide to Philips Hue lamps
To get started, you need a Philips Hue starter kit that comes with the essentials of the Hue Bridge – and the Hue White two-bulb starter kit, currently available at Amazon for $ 70, is an affordable solution. And yes, you can always add color-changing bulbs to your installation later (preferably at the time of sale).
Chris Monroe / CNET
If you prefer bright colors to your smart lamps, go for Lifx, an Australian startup that has become a major player in the smart lighting sector in recent years. Like Philips Hue, its bulbs work with just about everything, including Apple HomeKit, but they also emit more vivid and beautiful colors. In addition, Lifx bulbs use a Wi-Fi connection to communicate, so they do not need a hub.
Read more: The best intelligent lamps with color change (cheaper than Philips Hue)
Lifx manufactures many bulbs, projectors, light strips and even tiles for your wall, which you can program, control and program with the excellent Lifx application. I like the Lifx Mini, which costs less than the comparable Hue bulb. An added bonus to the Lifx Z light strip, which can emit multiple colors at once. Hue's band of light still can not do that.
Want something that costs even less? Discover the Sylvania Smart Plus LED, which changes color, and you currently have for less than 30 USD on Amazon.
Chris Monroe / CNET
They're not suitable for everyone, but if you're planning a glitzy playroom or decorating a kids room, think about Nanoleaf's changing LED wall panels. The nine-panel starter kit comes in the form of second generation triangles or squares – both cost about $ 200, but I prefer Nanoleaf square panels because of the touch sensitivity and the fact that you have more room to develop. your configuration should make you decide to go crazy with things.
Read more: The best intelligent lamps to cover your walls with colors
Panels use Wi-Fi to connect to your router (and HomeKit), so they do not need a hub. Once they are set up, you can switch between hundreds of animated presets created by the user, including those using the built-in mic to synchronize color changes with the music you're listening to or playing that you wish. re play. In addition to supporting Siri voice commands, they also work with Alexa, Google and IFTTT.
Bonus points for the optional Nanoleaf remote control, a 12-sided motion-sensitive dodecahedron that you can use to trigger Nanoleaf scenes or HomeKit automations by simply rotating different sides up. The cost for this gadget: $ 50.
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Smart switches are another good option if you want to automate the lighting of your home, especially in places where a single switch controls multiple bulbs at a time. You have several options that work with HomeKit, but our favorite is by far the Lutron Caseta recessed light dimmer.
Read more: Connectors, light bulbs and smart switches: what's right for you?
Why Lutron? For starters, Lutron has been working in the field of dimmers for decades, and is also a pillar of the smart home. Its well-designed switches work with everything, they support three-way configurations and have the impression of being distinctive without being garish. In addition to a wide variety of lighting switches, the Caseta platform also offers specialized switches for ceiling fans and Sonos speakers, as well as for the Serena luxury smart blinds. All this communicates with the Lutron Bridge using Lutron's proprietary Clear Connect wireless standard, which is one of the fastest and most reliable standards we've tested at CNET Smart Home. .
It's a long way of saying that these are really very good smart switches. At the present time, you can buy one on Amazon with the Lutron Bridge and an additional Pico remote that you can hang on the wall as a second switch or can carry with you for a total cost of $ 79. . It's a fantastic deal.
Tyler Lizenby / CNET
You just want a plug that you can turn on and off with Siri commands? Go with the WeMo Mini, which you can get for under $ 30 each. It was actually the first device to synchronize with HomeKit via a software protocol, unlike an integrated MFi chipset (no WeMo bridge is needed). It is clear that WeMo wants a smooth and up-to-date connection with the Apple cloud. A subsidiary of Belkin, WeMo also has a long history of rapid response to platform issues and potential vulnerabilities through regular firmware updates.
Read more: The best connectors and smart switches of 2019
The disadvantage of WeMo is that the application is a little more bulky than I would have liked, with occasional problems of shifting and pairing. But, having used WeMo products fairly regularly over the last five years or so, I have not seen the same delay in automations, voice commands, or integrations with third-party services such as IFTTT. And, once you have synced with HomeKit, you will use the Home app, not the WeMo app. Bottom Line: If you have a lamp, coffee maker, desk fan, or any other object you want to automate that needs to be plugged in, the WeMo Mini is a great choice.