Apple HomeKit Smart Home System
The iPhone is one of the most popular cell phones on the market and people really love their Apple products. You may want to build your smart home around Apple's HomeKit if you are dedicated to the Apple ecosystem.
Before you start buying devices, we recommend reading our review of Apple HomeKit. You should also feel confident that you and everyone who needs access will always use an Apple mobile device to control the system. Unfortunately, HomeKit cannot be accessed from Android or other mobile platforms.
If you are ready to get started, here are our recommendations for building your HomeKit based smart home.
The best thermostat for Apple HomeKit is the ecobee4, which is their top-of-the-line device. If you don't need all of the features of the ecobee4, then also consider the ecobee3 lite since it is quite a bit cheaper. Be sure to check out our full review of the ecobee thermostats — it has a comparison of the two models.
If you are looking for a round thermostat to use with Apple HomeKit, then we recommend the Honeywell Round 2.0. Unfortunately, the Nest is not compatible with HomeKit. Be sure to read out detailed review of the Honeywell thermostats.
Honeywell Round 2.0
|Buy ecobee4||Buy Honeywell Round|
Before buying a light switch, check to see if you have a neutral wire in your switch's electrical box. Most smart switches require a neutral wire.
The best light switches for the Apple HomeKit are the Lutron Caséta Wireless system switches, especially if you don't have a neutral wire. While they require a separate smart bridge to operate, this also makes them more reliable when controlling remotely. There are a number of switches available for the system so you may want to read our full system review before you select one.
Another good Apple HomeKit light switch option is Wemo. Their switches require a neutral wire and they operate over Wi-Fi so they can be a bit less reliable if your network is overburdened. However, they are a great option if you don't want to deal with additional bridges. Read more at our Wemo light switch review.
Lutron Caséta Wireless Dimmer
Wemo WiFi Smart Dimmer
|Buy Lutron Caseta Dimmer||Buy Wemo Dimmer|
Smart plugs are great for controlling small appliances, lamps, and fans via an app or schedule. They are especially helpful for renters who want to have lights turn on when they arrive home.
We like the Wemo and iHome smart plugs. They only take up a single receptacle since they have a short profile — this leaves room to plug in other devices.
We lean slightly toward the Wemo plug. It has a front-facing on/off button, which is easier to find than the iHome side button. The Wemo plug also seems to be a bit more reliable than the iHome based on what we have seen in forums around the internet.
Unfortunately, there are no doorbell cameras that are compatible with Apple HomeKit. There has been talk in the past of some manufacturers making a HomeKit doorbell, but those plans seem to be put on hold.
The popular doorbell cameras do offer iOS apps so you can control them from your iPhone or iPad using the manufacturer's app. However, you cannot view or control them from the Apple Home app or with Siri voice commands. You also cannot integrate other devices through HomeKit; e.g. you can't have HomeKit turn the lights on when the doorbell senses motion.
There are only a couple of HomeKit enabled security cameras on the market. All of the major security camera manufacturers have iOS apps, but if you want to directly integrate your camera into the Home App or have other HomeKit devices connect to the camera then you'll need to choose between the two cameras below.
The Logitech Circle 2 is the best choice if you need an indoor/outdoor camera. If you only need an indoor camera, then the D-Link Omna is a decent option.
Logitech Circle 2 Security Camera
D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD
|Buy Logitech Circle 2||Buy D-Link Omna|
Voice Assistant / Speaker
If you want to stream music to a wireless speaker and have access to the Siri voice assistant, you should look for speakers that have Apple AirPlay compatibility, preferably AirPlay 2.
We recommend the Sonos One speakers, which are AirPlay 2 compatible, include Siri voice control, and have excellent sound. They are also compatible with a number of other smart hubs and voice assistants.
The Apple HomePod is also a great option if you want to keep everything within the Apple ecosystem. It also provides great sound, but it is more expensive and doesn't work with other hubs or voice assistants.
To be honest, you can use any streaming media device with your HomeKit smart home since most people don't need to operate their TV when away. However, you may want to consider an Apple TV since it also functions as a hub that keeps all of your other devices accessible when you are away. Read more about this in our Apple HomeKit review.
Leak detectors are important to prevent damaging floods from water heaters, washing machines, and sump pumps.
The FIBARO Flood Sensor works with Apple HomeKit to allow integrations with other HomeKit products.
Other leak detectors include iOS apps that will provide alerts to your phone so you do have other options, but if you are looking for HomeKit integration, the FIBARO is the best bet.
Door / Window Sensor
Many home security products include iOS apps that control your security system from your iPhone or iPad. However, there are only a few window and door sensors that include true Apple HomeKit and Siri integration.
Eve makes a Door & Window sensor that includes HomeKit integration. While they are cheaper than FIBARO, they are less sleek looking in our opinion.
The FIBARO Door/Window Sensor is a bit cleaner looking, but it comes with a larger price tag.
Door Lock / Deadbolt
Many people are concerned about installing a smart lock because they fear a hacker can gain access to their home. While this is a valid concern, there have not been widespread reports of these kinds of hacks. Regardless, we recommend sticking with large brands that have been making locks for a long time.
We like the Yale Assure Lock (with the iM1 module that makes it compatible with Apple HomeKit). Lock lock doesn't have a keyway, which means it cannot be picked. You will receive notification of low batteries, but if they run out you can recharge with a 9-volt battery from outside.
Another good deadbolt for Apple HomeKit is the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt. This lock includes a backup keyway in case the lock's "smarts" malfunction.