Trying to decide what types of smart home gadgets to buy, but not sure of the different ones that work well together? It will probably depend on which devices you want to control. If you’re deep in Apple products, it might be helpful to consider the Apple HomeKit ecosystem for your smart home updates.
Google and Amazon certainly offer a wide range of devices. Sometimes, however, quantity is no better than quality. And HomeKit is very focused on security and stability. Having smart devices that have multiple protocols and checks that you must follow to be HomeKit certified adds another level of confidence when you connect your home parts to the internet.
If you use an iPhone and you like the idea of using all-in on the Apple HomeKit, here are 10 products you should consider first.
- Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt – $ 155.99
- Philips Hue White and Color LED Starter Kit – $ 179.99
- Wemo Smart Plug – $ 19.99
- Ecobee SmartThermostat voice control – $ 242.99
- Touch Level – $ 329
- Serena Shades by Lutron – over $ 480
- Eve Button – $ 49.95
- Logitech Circle View Ringtone – $ 199
- Linksys Velop Mesh Router (WHW0303) – $ 379.89
- Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller – $ 201.99
Schlage offers a few different smart locks, but the Sense version is compatible with HomeKit right out of the box. I’ve installed two different Sense Smart locks in the last few years, and each one offered instant response via the Home app, which means I rarely have to open the Schlage app from the first part. The battery life has been great, and the buttons remain perfectly intact after hundreds of presses. Schlage has a long history of blockchain and has done a perfectly good job moving to a new technology strategy.
Buy from Amazon and Home Depot.
The best smart lights for your home? This is not a simple question. Long and short is that Hue has a wide range of products that work fantastically with HomeKit. This Hue three-bulb starter kit includes a bridge and a physical button, so you can switch the lights on and off without using your voice or phone. Despite being one of the most premium, expensive lighting options, Hue is well supported and continues to advance. One of the best benefits is that Hue also supports Amazon and Google ecosystems. Your lights won’t tell you which phone or device you want to use in the future. Your investment in smart lights will continue to live on.
Buy from Amazon.
The point of a smart connector is that anything connected to it can be controlled by voice or phone. One of the first manufacturers of smart sockets, Wemo, remained a top competitor in terms of transforming any device connected to it. The start and stop functionality works perfectly every time, but it fits almost anywhere. The brilliance of this Wemo Smart Plug is its small footprint. Two of these smart outlets fit on a single outlet so that multiple items can be turned into connected ones.
Shop at Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.
When it comes to smart thermostats that allow you to control your home temperature from anywhere, the two major competitors are Nest and Ecobee. Ecobee has the distinct advantage over Nest of working with HomeKit and all other major platforms. Ecobee also uses room sensors to try to get a better sense of the full temperature of your home. This latest version of the thermostat even includes built-in Alexa voice assistance for more controllable options.
Buy from Amazon and Best Buy.
One of the coolest HomeKit products in recent months has been Level Touch. It’s a smart lock that doesn’t look like a smart lock. It doesn’t need more space than a typical bolt, which means it should work in more places for more people than other locks. The touch level is named for its ability to be locked and unlocked with one touch, but includes several ways to use it. You can use the two keys included in the most traditional sense, but it also includes two cards for use without a phone. It can also be locked and unlocked with the phone application. There are temporary permissions that you can issue to guests and you can see the entire history of when the lock was used.
Buy at the level.
Lutron’s Serena shades come in many different styles and with lots of customizable options. NewsweekJosh Smith guarantees their usefulness and says that they are a difficult HomeKit item to live without once you have made the leap. Window treatments can be increased or decreased on demand through the Home application or using Siri. You can also include shadows in your automation routines to open or close at sunrise and sunset. This is a luxury item on the HomeKit list, but it may be exactly what you are looking for.
Buy at Home Depot.
Part of HomeKit’s smart home feature is automation control. It can set the lights to go out at a certain time. It can make many different things happen automatically, depending on the products you have connected. Another way to trigger these devices or automations is through a button. Eve button here for that job. By default, the button does nothing on its own. But, if you’ve ever thought: I wish I could make X, Y and Z happen just by pressing a button, well, now you can. It can be configured in several ways and then, if you receive new devices, it can be changed in the future.
Buy from Amazon and Best Buy.
The advantage of using a HomeKit video ringtone refers to the service part. As part of the Apple HomeKit, the video is encrypted and secured so you don’t have to worry about other people hiding that video feed. All HomeKit sounds, including this Logitech Circle view, can create activity zones, so you are only notified when certain zones are triggered. In addition, you will be able to access previous activities worth 10 days. A lot of bell makers will charge a long history and areas of activity, but all of these are included in the cost of the bell itself. If you have a newer Apple TV, you will see a preview of who is at the door on the screen when the button is pressed.
Buy from Logitech.
With a HomeKit-enabled router, it gives you the advantage of a secure firewall, which keeps all devices separate, while still being able to communicate with each other when needed. A capable router like this Linksys Velop Mesh system also allows you to use the Home application to view and adjust the security settings of each HomeKit accessory. After testing this Velop Mesh Router, I can check if it works well and it is as simple to configure as connecting the devices to the power supply and following the application instructions. This mesh system will cover most homes and offers a lot of powerful options.
Buy at Amazon, Best Buy and Linksys.
Adding smart home devices should make your life easier, not more complicated. After a year of having a Rachio 3 smart sprinkler controller, I can say that it has definitely made my life easier, without having to think about my sprinkler system. Replacing a bad sprinkler controller with this smart one is incredibly simple and then, once it’s in place, it adjusts to your local weather. If you want to turn on or off the sprinklers manually, you can ask Siri to do it through HomeKit or simply press a few buttons in the Home app.
Buy at Amazon, Best Buy and Rachio.
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