The best smart home gadgets for Siri and Apple HomeKit of 2017
Apple’s HomeKit smart home ecosystem might not have the same cool factor as Amazon Alexa, but it’s still a compelling solution, especially if you own lots of Apple devices.
Just as Amazon Alexa requires you to own an Echo speaker, Apple HomeKit requires an iPhone. And if you want remote control of your devices (which trust me, you will), you’ll also need an always-on iPad left at home or an Apple TV. Since it’s cheaper and more practical to leave at home, we recommend going with an Apple TV as your HomeKit hub. With HomeKit, you’ll also be able take advantage of voice control via Siri, as well as control all of your devices via Apple’s Home app.
Although it’s been slow to take off, new HomeKit-compatible devices keep coming to market, which can make it difficult to know which products to get for your smart home. Luckily, we’re constantly reviewing new smart home products. Below you’ll find the best devices we’ve tested that work with Apple HomeKit. And as we review more products, we’ll continue to update this roundup with new recommendations
1- Apple TV
Unfortunately, when it comes to HomeKit hubs, you only have two options—Apple TV or iPad. Since the hub always needs to be in your home—powered on and plugged in—we think the Apple TV is the best option. It’s much more affordable than an iPad and also doubles as a streaming device for your TV.
The Apple TV isn’t our favorite streaming box, but it plays nicely with other Apple devices and offers Siri voice control via its included remote. You can even ask Siri to dim the lights as you decide on what movie to watch—all from the remote.
2- Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit
If you want smart bulbs for your home, you can’t go wrong with Philips Hue. We’ve tested the system twice now over the past few years and it simply can’t be beat. The initial setup is easy. The app is intuitive and highly responsive. The bulbs will change color (with millions of color options) and dim in realtime, a feat that not all smart bulbs can ace.
Philips Hue also works with Apple HomeKit, making it easy to integrate these bulbs with other smart home products. It’s pretty cool to have Siri change the color of your lights, too.
If you want additional Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs for your Philips Hue and HomeKit system, you can find them on Amazon for $49.99.
3 - iDevices Switch
The best HomeKit-compatible smart plug happens to be the iDevices Switch. This nifty little plug can be used to control lamps, fans, humidifiers, and more.
Among all the ones we tested, the Switch offered the best experience thanks to reliable remote control, scheduling, and energy monitoring. It also offers a unique multi-color nightlight, which can be set to a handful of different colors via the app and Siri. While the plug lists for $45, it’s lately been available on Amazon for as little as $25, making it even cheaper than our Best Value pick (which isn’t HomeKit-compatible).
4 - Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Starter Kit
For more polished smart lighting without individual smart bulbs or pesky plugs, you need to get smart dimmers. Lutron makes the very best, with a responsive and usable app experience on par with Philips Hue (high praise indeed). And of course, the Lutron Caséta Wireless Starter Kit also works with Apple HomeKit, allowing you to control lights and other appliances from the Apple Home app and Siri.
The other great thing about the Lutron system is that it will work with the wiring found in older homes, unlike many other smart dimmers and switches on the market. This is because Lutron switches and dimmers don’t need a neutral power line, which isn’t common in the electrical wiring found in older homes. The Lutron system isn’t cheap—extra dimmers cost $55 and extra switches cost $65—but it’s a lot cheaper than getting your home re-wired. The polish of the system is also definitely worth the mone
5 - Leviton Decora Smart Switch (Apple HomeKit)
The Leviton Decora Smart HomeKit Switch is almost identical to our Best Overall Smart Switch: the Leviton Decora Smart WiFi. The only difference is that this switch includes a special hardware chip that makes it HomeKit compatible. It also works with a different app that’s only available on iOS called Leviton Decora Smart Home. We actually preferred the app experience of the HomeKit switch over the WiFi switch, as it was more polished and intuitive.
The only downside to this switch is that it requires a neutral wire. If you live in an older home without a neutral wire, then we recommend going with the Lutron Caséta Wireless Starter Kit and buying Lutron switches, which cost $65 a piece. The system isn’t cheap, but it’s a lot cheaper than re-wiring your home!
6 - Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt
The best HomeKit-compatible lock you can get is the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt. It’s very easy to set up. It locks and unlocks quickly and offers an intuitive app with support for up to 30 passcodes. Of course, you can ask Siri to lock and unlock the door for you too.
The Schlage Sense also recently added support for Android phones and released a WiFi adapter, meaning you can remotely control the lock without an Apple TV!
7 - D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD
We can’t really call the D-Link Omna the best HomeKit security camera, as it’s currently the only HomeKit security camera on the market. However, as cameras go, it was one of the best we tested, with an impressive 180-degree field of view.
The Omna was also very easy to set up and offered up good quality video both during the day and at night. The only issues our reviewer ran into was the Omna’s smartphone notifications, which offered no scheduling or snoozing and could become pretty annoying at times. The Omna also offers no cloud storage, which could be dealbreaker for some people.
8 - Fibaro Flood Sensor
Similar to the Omna security camera, we can’t call the Fibaro Flood Sensor the best HomeKit leak detector as it’s the only one on the market. It only works over Bluetooth, which isn’t ideal, given the range issues that might present. Nevertheless, it’s one of the few detectors that can survive a real flood.
Most of the detectors we tested were not fully waterproof and would die after being fully submerged, but the Fibaro got around that problem by being airtight, causing it to float in a flood and keep sounding its alarm.
The only weird thing about the Fibaro is that it only sends alerts via the Apple Home app, not the Fibaro app. It’s not a big issue because if you’re investing in HomeKit you’re probably using the Home app, but it seemed like a strange feature omission.