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HomeKit is Apple’s smart home ecosystem that centres around the Home app and Siri as a voice assistant. If you’re an iPhone and Mac user, chances are that this will be your go-to smart home platform.
Due to Apple’s strict requirements for HomeKit devices, there aren’t as many compatible devices as Google and Amazon’s ecosystems, but once you dig deep, there are some great products to choose from. Luckily, I’ve done all the digging deep for you and shared everything in this guide.
Here are my recommended smart home devices for HomeKit:
HomeKit works slightly differently from other smart home ecosystems. Whilst you can use your iPhone to control devices when you’re at home, their framework requires you to set up a hub which is always powered on and issues commands to your other HomeKit devices when you’re away.
Devices that can act as a hub include:
- HomePod Mini
- Apple TV
Apple has done this for privacy reasons so that everything is processed at home. If you want automations to work whilst you’re out, the HomeKit hub will do this.
Your designated hub will also process Apple Secure Video locally. This means all object and facial recognition is done in your home before it is encrypted and sent to the cloud which makes it very secure.
Top Pick: Apple Homepod Mini
My recommendation is the HomePod Mini (especially since Apple announced in 2021 that they were discontinuing the flagship HomePod). It’s also the only HomeKit hub that supports Thread.
The Homepod Mini might be small in size, but it delivers crisp audio that’s perfect for day-to-day listening, and with 360-degree sound, it fills the room. You can also pair two HomePod Mini’s for left-right audio.
It can be used as a HomeKit hub and also provides convenient access to Siri so that you can control your other HomeKit devices with your voice. Siri can recognise up to 6 different family members via the HomePod Mini and provide personalised responses.
Smart Light Bulbs
Now, your smart home is going to need some smart lighting which can be done through smart bulbs or smart switches.
I prefer using smart bulbs as they are the cheapest and easiest option, although they render your existing light switches useless. Alternatively, smart switches give you access to both physical switches and smart features, but you won’t have access to coloured bulbs.
Look for bulbs that support Apple’s HomeKit Adaptive Lighting which launched in iOS 14. This adjusts the lights in your home throughout the day, starting with warm colours in the morning, then bright energetic during the day, and finally removing the blue in the evening to help you wind down.
Top Pick: Philips Hue
Philips Hue is one of the only brands to support HomeKit Adaptive Lighting so I’d recommend you stick with their products.
I recommend you start with their white and colour ambiance bulbs, these are available with almost any fitting including Bayonet-style, Edison Screw, and most spotlights.
The only downside is that Hue bulbs use Zigbee and require a dedicated Hue Bridge which adds extra costs to get started.
A smart button is the kind of device that you don’t realise you need until you have one. You can use a smart button to trigger scenes in HomeKit.
For example, you could use them as light switches so that you still have a physical switch, or you could use them to open/close your smart blinds.
Top Pick: Eve Button
The Eve Button is an accessory designed especially for HomeKit so it connects directly to your HomeKit hub. There are three ways you can press the button; single press, double press, or long-press.
You can configure each of the presses to activate a different scene from HomeKit. This device is super portable and has a long-lasting battery. My only criticism is that there’s no proper way to attach it to a wall so I’d recommend getting some 3M sticky pads.
Adding a smart thermostat to your home allows you to set more advanced heating schedules than a traditional thermostat and lets you control it using Siri.
Convenience isn’t the only selling point, they also make your home more efficient. Depending upon the device, you can use the native app or the Apple Home app to adjust your devices based on who is home.
Top Pick: Tado
Although Google recently added HomeKit support to the popular Nest Learning Thermostat, I recommend you consider an alternative device from Tado which offers better functionality at a cheaper price.
The Tado Smart Thermostat has all the usual things you’d expect, you can set schedules via the app and change the temperature with Siri, however, it has a few other tricks up its sleeve.
You can add smart TRVs to each radiator and create zones in your home, this means you can have different temperatures in each room which is far more efficient. It also has geofencing so your home can be toasty when you arrive back from work and can control your hot water.
Smart TV Box
Whether you have a dumb TV or a smart TV, chances are that it doesn’t natively support HomeKit. However, you don’t need to go out and buy a new TV set as you can add support with a TV box.
This will plug into the HDMI input on the back of your TV to access streaming services and other smart features such as controlling your HomeKit devices.
Top Pick: Apple TV 4K
The Apple TV box plugs straight into a HDMI port to make your TV smart, giving you access to a range of streaming services including Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more. It also supports Airplay for streaming photos and video from your iPhone or Mac.
The Apple TV comes in a HD or 4K version, I’d recommend going for the 4K version if you want to future-proof your setup. The TV can be voice-controlled via the Siri button on the remote.
Keep in mind that you can’t yet watch Freeview on an Apple TV, but you’ll be able to install broadcaster apps such as BBC iPlayer to watch live TV channels.
Apple TV can also act as a HomeKit hub and you can use the Apple TV to trigger scenes. However, you can’t create new scenes or add accessories as there’s no Home app for the Apple TV just yet.
Smart Home Controller
Being able to control your smart home using your voice is awesome, but it’s not always the most convenient. Especially if you have guests around that don’t know the commands, or you don’t want to make noise at night.
That’s why a wall-mounted control panel is a great HomeKit accessory. This will also give you a convenient place to access your live camera feeds without having to get your phone out.
Top Pick: iPad (with Wall Mount)
Apple’s Home app already has an excellent interface to act as a smart home controller so I recommend using an iPad as your controller. Simply pair it with a wall-mount and leave the screen on all the time and you’re good to go. It’s best to create a custom Apple ID for this iPad so that it’s not interrupted with notifications.
I would recommend opting for a wall mount that still allows you to remove the iPad such as the Elago HomeKit Hub Mount shown in the above image. If you’re up for a bit of DIY, you can run a USB cable through the wall to the iPad, or for an easy life, you can install it near a power socket.
If you want a bit more customisation, the premium Home+ app is similar to the Home app but with more options for creating a personal dashboard.
When it comes to the cool factor, there’s just something awesome about your blinds or curtains opening by themselves in the morning. This is no longer the work of sci-fi, Siri can now handle that for you.
Using smart curtains, you can create a morning scene in HomeKit to open all the curtains in your home. You could even create an automation for when you’re on holiday so it looks like someone is home.
Top Pick: Switchbot Curtain
My favourite device for making your curtains smart is the Switchbot curtain. This retrofits to your existing curtains and can be installed in minutes.
There are several different devices depending upon whether you’ve got an I-rail, U-rail or curtain rod. You can even purchase a solar add-on so you don’t need to recharge it.
If you’ve got blinds, unfortunately, I can’t recommend any good smart blinds for HomeKit right now but hopefully, something will launch soon.
Garage Door Opener
If you’ve got a motorised garage door, it’s cheap and simple to give Siri access with a smart garage door controller. These devices can be retrofitted to existing garage door systems so that you can simply say “Hey Siri, open my garage” for access.
It doesn’t stop there, once you’ve added your garage door to HomeKit, you can create some epic scenes. For example, when you arrive home, your outdoor lights can turn on, your garage door can open, and the smart kettle can boil ready for a brew once inside, ideal!
Top Pick: Meross Smart Garage Door Controller
Meross have a dedicated garage door controller for HomeKit. It can be retrofitted to most electric garage doors from major brands such as Chamberlain, Skylink, Liftmaster, Somfy, and more.
It’s easy to install and doesn’t require a professional, if you get stuck their customer support is very helpful. For the devices that don’t work natively, they can recommend adaptors to fit.
With a video doorbell, you can see and speak to whoever is at your front door from anywhere in the world. You’ll receive a notification to the app on your phone when it detects motion so you can check in on the live feed, it will also ring you when someone presses the button.
By choosing a HomeKit compatible doorbell, you’ll also be able to see the live feed from the Apple Home app along with any other security cameras and you can ask Siri to bring up a feed on your Apple TV.
Top Pick: Arlo Video Doorbell
For an epic video doorbell that works with HomeKit, I recommend the Arlo Video Doorbell. Its AI can differentiate between objects and people to provide more intelligent alerts.
There is a subscription required for cloud storage and AI features, although if you have an Arlo smart hub, this will allow you to store clips locally instead.
There are both wired and battery-powered devices, however, only the wired doorbell currently supports HomeKit. Keep in mind that it still doesn’t support HomeKit Secure Video, however, there aren’t any video doorbells in the UK that support this just yet.
Once you’ve seen who is at the door, you might want to unlock it remotely. This is just one of the many features you’ll get from a smart lock.
When you add a smart lock to HomeKit, it will appear as a tile in the Home app where you can easily lock or unlock it. You’ll also be able to unlock it with your voice via Siri or using an Apple Watch.
One of the best ways to use a smart lock with HomeKit is via a Goodnight scene that will lock your doors, arm your alarms, and turn off all the lights and plugs in your house.
Top Pick: Nuki Combo 2.0
There are surprisingly few smart locks that work with HomeKit and can be fitted to UK locks.
However, one device that seems to be doing a good job is the Nuki Combo 2.0. Whilst I have no experience with this brand myself, the strong reviews speak for themselves.
One of the biggest selling points of the Nuki smart lock over others is the ease of installation. It fits directly over your existing lock so you don’t need to fiddle around changing locks. It can simply be clamped or glued to the door.
Smart Door Sensors
If you want to create some great automations in HomeKit, I recommend you get hold of some door or window sensors.
You can use this for clever things such as lighting up a cupboard when you open the door, alerting you when a toddler is trying to escape their room or to remind you if you’re leaving the house with windows or doors left open.
Top Pick: Eve Window/Door Sensor
The best HomeKit door and window sensor is from Eve because it can be connected directly to your HomeKit hub without the need for an additional bridge or Wi-Fi connection.
Once added to your HomeKit dashboard, you can quickly see if the door or window is open or closed on a dedicated tile. Plus, you can easily add it to automations with your other HomeKit devices.
It runs off 2 x half-AA batteries (ER14250) which are included. These will last about three months between charges. These are not rechargeable but are very cheap to replace.
A smart plug is a great way to retrofit an existing device in your home so that you can add Siri control without having to go out and buy a brand-new state-of-the-art device.
Simply plug it into the wall socket and then plug your device into it for smart control. This tends to only suit devices that are always on or always off. Some example uses might be a lamp, fan, radio, Christmas lights, games console, etc.
Top Pick: Meross (HomeKit Edition)
The Meross Smart Plug (HomeKit Edition) can be used to turn any device smart. It’s 13amp which makes it suitable for any device up to 2990W in the UK.
Meross have two smart plugs, one of them has the Apple-certified chip inside that allows it to connect to HomeKit, make sure you choose the correct plug when purchasing.
It’s simple to set up, but you need to remember to set it up in the Meross app before adding it to HomeKit.
I’ve already mentioned a video doorbell as an excellent security device, but you can also opt for smart security cameras instead.
Add your smart security cameras to HomeKit and you’ll be able to pull up live feeds from within the Home app. I recommend looking for cameras that support HomeKit Secure Video, this means the video is processed on your home network by your HomeKit hub before being encrypted and stored in your iCloud account.
With Secure Video, you can also use motion from your camera as a trigger in automations. For example, when the camera detects motion, it can turn on a nearby floodlight.
Top Pick: Eufycam 2 Pro
I would recommend Eufy’s devices to anyone, but especially to HomeKit users since they are one of the brands to properly embrace HomeKit Secure Video across their cameras.
The footage is recorded in clear 2K and you can set activity zones which is ideal if you live on a busy street. Using HomeKit, the footage can be stored in your iCloud account so you don’t need a separate subscription.
The Eufycam 2 Pro is a battery-powered device. Eufy claims 1 year of battery life, although most users will agree that 6 months is more realistic, still impressive for a smart camera.
Smart Smoke Alarm
Smoke alarms are an essential gadget that every home needs. But why not give them a smart upgrade and bring them into your HomeKit ecosystem.
The benefit of this is that you can get an alert whenever your smoke alarm goes off, no matter where you are in the world. You can then use your other HomeKit devices to check what’s going on or contact a neighbour if in doubt.
Top Pick: Netatmo Smoke Alarm
The Netatmo Smoke Alarm is the only device I came across that’s available in the UK and directly supports HomeKit. It doesn’t connect directly to a HomePod, you’ll need to connect it to your Wi-Fi router and set it up with the native app before adding it to HomeKit.
The device will last 10 years without needing to change the battery, this is great news if you’ve ever been woken up by a smoke detector low on battery.
It is self-testing so it regularly checks its own batteries, smoke detector, and Wi-Fi connection and will alert you if there is any problem. That’s what I like to see.
Smart Outdoor Lights
Now that the inside of your home has had a Siri upgrade, now I want to share some smart devices for the garden, starting with some lighting.
Whether you want to provide safety along your pathway, light up your patio for guests, or add some feature lighting to the flower beds, by using smart lights they can control themselves.
To control your outdoor lighting, I would recommend that you use the sunset option within the time automation tab, this way you won’t need to adjust the timing of the lights as the days get longer or shorter.
Top Pick: Philips Hue Discover
I already mentioned that Philips Hue was one of the better options for indoor lights, well they are also great for outdoor lights, not least because they have such a huge range to choose from.
My favourite are these Hue Discover wall lights, they are simple but also very bright so you can easily use them in outdoor entertainment areas so that your BBQ can go on all night long.
But, if you’re looking to add some ambiance to your garden, there are also Hue Lily Spotlights and a Hue Outdoor Light Strip. The best part about Hue is that they use Zigbee, a mesh network. This means each light only needs to be within range of one other light rather than the router as is the case with Wi-Fi outdoor lights.