The best Apple-approved HomeKit smart home accessories you can buy right now

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2016
Apple's HomeKit framework provides developers with a platform to build hardware and software solutions that make controlling your home easy and secure - and these must-have HomeKit-enabled accessories do just that.




It's no secret that home automation is big business. Gone are the days when homeowners can only manage a security system - now it's easy to control lighting, appliances, window coverings and more with the touch of a button or the sound of your voice thanks to Apple's HomeKit protocol.

Similar to how the universal remote changed the way users manage home theater functions, Apple's HomeKit framework aims at saving consumers time and money by pairing Siri with third-party accessories, all of which communicate through an encrypted Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. In order to use HomeKit, users must have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with iOS 8.1 or later.

Need to control accessories away from home? You'll also need an Apple TV (3rd generation or later) along with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch equipped with iOS 8.1 and later to manage HomeKit accessories remotely.

From a security and privacy perspective, Apple keeps the framework under wraps by only allowing Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad (MFi) hardware developers access. On the software side, authorized app developers can use HomeKit APIs to build applications that communicate with HomeKit hardware.

Unfortunately, licensing fees and a secure chip requirement have delayed several HomeKit-enabled products from reaching the market since the framework's release in 2015. However, 2016 is looking to be a brighter year for HomeKit products, and these top accessories are available for purchase right now.

Insteon Hub Pro Advanced Central Controller




As HomeKit gains a wider following, more and more aggregate applications will hit the market that allow you to manage multiple devices throughout your home. The HomeKit-enabled Insteon system does just that and is available now. The platform offers the ability to build scenes, control appliances, manage light schedules and more. There's also a multiple house feature in case you care for an elderly parent or own additional homes.

The Insteon Hub Pro Advanced Central Controller is currently out of stock at Amazon.com but can be purchased for $149.99 at Smarthome.

iDevices Switch




Want more control over your energy bill? By plugging electronics into the iDevices Switch and installing the Connected app, you'll be able to monitor consumption, schedule "on" times and generate reports. The iDevices Switch works with lamps, TVs, coffee pots, stereo systems and more. And since it's compatible with HomeKit, simple tasks can be accomplished through Siri.

The iDevices Switch is currently available for $45.95 at Amazon.com.

First Alert Onelink Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm




When lives are on the line, knowing when there is a fire or carbon monoxide situation is of the utmost importance. The HomeKit-enabled First Alert Onelink Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm provides 24/7 monitoring with the ability to test alarms and silence false ones on compatible iOS devices. The voice feature alerts you to where the danger is and multiple alarms are triggered when one goes off.

Two HomeKit versions exist, one hardwired and another with a sealed 10-year battery. The First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery is currently available for $109.98 at Amazon.com.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit




Can't decide on a room color? Why not change it daily with the Philips White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit? Featuring 16 million colors and tunable white light, the system's bridge connects to Wi-Fi and can control up to 50 bulbs. Fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, the lights can even be programmed to sync with your favorite music, making it a handy decorating tool around the holidays.

The Philips Hue Smart Lighting Control White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit (456194) is currently available for $199.99 at NewEgg.com and BestBuy.com.

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt




Searching for a pesky house key is never fun with one arm full of groceries and rambunctious kiddos to watch. The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt makes the list of must-have accessories due to its illuminated touchscreen, built-in alarm, and Siri voice control capabilities. Using Bluetooth, the HomeKit-enabled deadbolt allows users to communicate with the lock to create unique codes for various occupants, view activity, and check to see whether a door is locked or unlocked.

The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with Century Trim in Satin Nickel is currently available for $204.00 at Amazon.com.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    The Insteon Hub Pro has been Unavailable via Amazon for quite some time. Look at the product reviews and you will quickly understand why.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 713editor
    The Insteon Hub Pro has been Unavailable via Amazon for quite some time. Look at the product reviews and you will quickly understand why.
    You're correct that it's unavailable.

    Interestingly, it's pretty much they and Lutron that do HomeKit with backwards compatibility for their other devices. I had good experiences with the Insteon gear and mixed experiences with the Lutron ones (connecting and initial setup. Once past those, it works pretty well, too.) I still need to install the Fan Linc for Insteon, but they do Works with Nest, they control my ecobee thermostat... their app has been solid.


    mooeymoose
  • Reply 3 of 28
    ctmike78ctmike78 Posts: 21member
    Interesting that you show a picture of the ecobee thermostat by don't mention it. :smile: 

    Currently have 2 ecobee thermostats and the Schlage Smart Sense - both have been problem free. 

    Maybe it's just me but I'm very anti-hub. I don't want to end up with a mish mash of hubs to control different products, I just want things that are HomeKit compatible, no hub required. I'm considering the GE C bulbs that do not require a hub... Whenever they are released. 

    Next up are smoke/CO detectors and garage opener. The Onelink has mixed reviews; enough that I'm considering gen. 2 nest Connect detector instead despite not being HomeKit compatible. Will probably wait and see if First Alert improves things. Chamberlain has a garage opener with mixed reviews, waiting on that as well. 
  • Reply 4 of 28
    I bought a shade for Serena (Lutron) and it work perfectly with HomeKit

    http://www.serenashades.com
  • Reply 5 of 28
    This review could use more feed back on ease of use and reliability. I am waiting in jump into HomeKit till I move in June but was planning on getting the ecobee thermostat since this seemed like the best one. I do not like what I read about first alert and may use conventional ones, wait for 2nd gen or go with non HomeKit nest. All these hubs seem ridiculous and I would think that hubs should not be needed given the "HomeKit" standard or at most one hub for all like an Apple TV?  

    I am also a little concerned that I read HomeKit is not 100% reliable. I hope this gets better.   I do hope to see more reliable hubless devices soon. 
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 6 of 28
    I have several Hue bulbs (and scenes), a few Lutron switches and dimmers and an iDevices Switch. 

    So far the Lutron stuff works the best. If I ask to have lights turned on/off or dimmed (to a certain percent no less) the result is almost instantaneous. I have almost zero issues with the hardware but the app could use some work. Currently I can't figure out how to add devices from other manufacturers to Lutron scenes (say if I have a Lutron dimmer in the bathroom as well as some Hue bulbs on a different light switch also in the bathroom). 

    The same goes for the Hue app, there is no integration for non-Philips devices. 

    I use the Eve app to mix my devices into scenes but even that isn't perfect and I have some difficulty getting things to work together sometimes. 

    The iDevices Switch is the worst in the group. It's constantly losing its connection to my home Wi-Fi and to get it reconnected is somewhat of a bitch. I have to completely remove the Switch from the iDevices app and set it up as new every time. That means recreating all the schedules and scenes again, as well. I'm really not happy with it and currently do not recommend it to anyone. I went from a WeMo switch do the iDevices Switch only due to HomeKit compatibility but since it works so terribly I'm considering going back to the WeMo for now, even though it marginally harder to use. 

    The only other issue I have sometimes is Siri "can't find any devices right now" and that is true for all three of the above. Most times all I have to do is turn a Lutron switch on physically and that immediately resolves the problem, but still. 

    I understand wanting to go hub-free but in my experience the devices that use a hub are more reliable and easier to fix when an issue arises. 
  • Reply 7 of 28
    2oh12oh1 Posts: 501member
    I own a Philips Hue setup (4 bulbs and 2 light strips), and all I can say is it's awesome. It's great that it'll work with homekit, but I don't need that. For me, the best thing about Hue is that it has an open API which is documented well. I use Applescript to control Hue from my Mac, and I set up hotkeys to trigger the Applescripts using BetterTouchTool. The setup is seamless and it's fantastic. BetterTouchTool also has the ability to assign hotkeys to Apple Remote button presses... which means ...I have Hue on remote control. Like I said, the whole setup is seamless. I'm using one of the old white Apple Remotes. The 6 button version (up, down, back, forward, play and menu). I created a different scene for each button with one scene being All Lights Off. Did I mention how fantastic the whole setup is? Applescript and the Hue API. It's awesome.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 8 of 28
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    The one that you left out is the only one worth to buy: Ecobee3. The rest is garbage!
  • Reply 9 of 28
    Schlage deadbolt lock doesn't do push notifications on its app when someone locks or unlocks. Apparently it's a limitation to HomeKit that they're not able to do that. Hope Apple addresses that. It's kind of pointless to have remote access but you don't push notification and have to open the app to find out the status of your lock.

    It's the same as the Eve door/window sensors..
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 10 of 28
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    jsmythe00 said:
    Is it me or are these things feeling overpriced?  I know you have engineering, production and other costs but these prices bordering robbery
    Not overpriced but extremely overpriced. $50 for a remote control outlet? BS!
  • Reply 11 of 28
    The Ecobee is shown, but not mentioned? I'd highly recommend it!
  • Reply 12 of 28
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,042member
    fallenjt said:
    The one that you left out is the only one worth to buy: Ecobee3. The rest is garbage!
    It's still overpriced and I don't understand why they're charging so much for any of these devices.Their hardware cost can't be more than $40-$60 (being generous) so either the licensing fee is $100 or more or they are happy with gouging the customer. I know R&D and other development costs add to the final cost but there's nothing in these devices that are anymore expensive than a throwaway tablet. Apple critics point to Apple's product cost but even after looking at the estimated component costs, they aren't gouging customers as much as the home automation vendors are. An electronic thermometer can be purchased for less than $10 and it has most of the circuitry necessary for a digital thermostat. Add a simple CPU with WiFi for next to nothing and you're on your way. 

    Yes, I spent too much money of the Nest when it first came out, have canceled my account with Nest/Google, and won't be getting a replacement until someone comes out with a reasonably priced replacement. By that I mean somewhere under $50, which can easily be done using today's technology.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    RobS71RobS71 Posts: 1member
    This is all well and good but where's the list of HomeKit enabled devices in the UK? I'll tell you shall I? The list is so pathetic and short that it probably wasn't worth mentioning! We have Philips Hue, which is great but, we have no Insteon (which I would love), no iDevices, no Lutron, nothing. Would you believe we don't even have a single company offering switches?!

    Why must we always have to wait forever over here?

    If Apple ever does offer this rumoured Apple TV channel package, do you think they have something similar lined up for the UK? No fricking chance! We pay just as much for Apple products as anyone else so why don't we get looked after the same? Are we being punished because we were actually ahead of the game with contactless payments?

    Ok, ok, rant over. I'll go and get my own violin, don't worry.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    Schlage deadbolt lock doesn't do push notifications on its app when someone locks or unlocks. Apparently it's a limitation to HomeKit that they're not able to do that. Hope Apple addresses that. It's kind of pointless to have remote access but you don't push notification and have to open the app to find out the status of your lock.

    One might assume that high priced HomeKit accessories would be targeted at upscale homes and more affluent clientele, however in my experience most upscale homes have Baldwin mortised in locks or something even more expensive which do not have traditional separate deadbolts. I certainly would not want to replace my $10K front door and use a crappy lockset just to be able to outfit it with HomeKit. Perhaps the side garage door...but even that is behind a locked gate.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 15 of 28
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    rob53 said:
    fallenjt said:
    The one that you left out is the only one worth to buy: Ecobee3. The rest is garbage!
    It's still overpriced and I don't understand why they're charging so much for any of these devices.Their hardware cost can't be more than $40-$60 (being generous) so either the licensing fee is $100 or more or they are happy with gouging the customer. I know R&D and other development costs add to the final cost but there's nothing in these devices that are anymore expensive than a throwaway tablet. Apple critics point to Apple's product cost but even after looking at the estimated component costs, they aren't gouging customers as much as the home automation vendors are. An electronic thermometer can be purchased for less than $10 and it has most of the circuitry necessary for a digital thermostat. Add a simple CPU with WiFi for next to nothing and you're on your way. 

    Yes, I spent too much money of the Nest when it first came out, have canceled my account with Nest/Google, and won't be getting a replacement until someone comes out with a reasonably priced replacement. By that I mean somewhere under $50, which can easily be done using today's technology.
    Kickstart project needs to pay back the Sharks. To be honest, even with Ecobee3, I don't buy it until Keen Home Smartvent is compatible with it. It doesn't make sense to buy any smart thermostat for controlling the...thermostat, nothing else. When a smart thermostat detects an occupied zone in a house, it triggers the AC to run for the whole house until that zone reaches the preset temp. Unless it can control open/close a smart vent in the particular zone to heat up or cool down ONLY that area, smart thermostat is pretty much useless.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 16 of 28
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    jsmythe00 said:
    Is it me or are these things feeling overpriced?  I know you have engineering, production and other costs but these prices bordering robbery
    new things cost more. they get cheaper over time as the techniques and equipment get reused, refined, etc, and as the product scales to more units sold -- the bigger the market the cheaper they become. same thing happened when controllers were first released for iOS devices.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    If the FBI wins the case against Apple, all your Home Kit devices will be useless. Especially the security related.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    volcan said:
    Schlage deadbolt lock doesn't do push notifications on its app when someone locks or unlocks. Apparently it's a limitation to HomeKit that they're not able to do that. Hope Apple addresses that. It's kind of pointless to have remote access but you don't push notification and have to open the app to find out the status of your lock.

    One might assume that high priced HomeKit accessories would be targeted at upscale homes and more affluent clientele, however in my experience most upscale homes have Baldwin mortised in locks or something even more expensive which do not have traditional separate deadbolts. I certainly would not want to replace my $10K front door and use a crappy lockset just to be able to outfit it with HomeKit. Perhaps the side garage door...but even that is behind a locked gate.
    I kinda like the August lock. It is also home kit compatable and does all the push notification stuff plus it only replaces the inside part of the deadbolt.   The only downside I know is the poor battery life of 6 months. That will get annoying. 

    I was thinking of putting this on my garage door.   So from what I know it will work with Baldwin. 

    On the cost side they will charge what ever they can get away with. If us suckers buy it they will keep charging these crazy high prices. Plus early adapters always pay a premium. 

    I do have to say this is still a lot cheaper then the automation equipment the rich folks.  I am building a house and had an Elan home automation guy give me a quote. 15,000 was the bare bones system. 5,000 was for programming. That is a rip.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 19 of 28
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 713editor
    rob53 said:
    fallenjt said:
    The one that you left out is the only one worth to buy: Ecobee3. The rest is garbage!
    It's still overpriced and I don't understand why they're charging so much for any of these devices.Their hardware cost can't be more than $40-$60 (being generous) so either the licensing fee is $100 or more or they are happy with gouging the customer. I know R&D and other development costs add to the final cost but there's nothing in these devices that are anymore expensive than a throwaway tablet. Apple critics point to Apple's product cost but even after looking at the estimated component costs, they aren't gouging customers as much as the home automation vendors are. An electronic thermometer can be purchased for less than $10 and it has most of the circuitry necessary for a digital thermostat. Add a simple CPU with WiFi for next to nothing and you're on your way. 

    Yes, I spent too much money of the Nest when it first came out, have canceled my account with Nest/Google, and won't be getting a replacement until someone comes out with a reasonably priced replacement. By that I mean somewhere under $50, which can easily be done using today's technology.
    You're going to be waiting a long time for a $50 HomeKit compatible thermostat. Even non-smart thermostats cost $50 or more.
    The very cheapest one so far is the $149 iDevices unit. 
  • Reply 20 of 28
    I had a recent re-model of my house and jumped all in on the HomeKit bandwagon with three purchases: The Schlage Sense (reviewed here), two Ecobee 3s, and the Lutron Caseta:
    Schlage Sense:
    My family loves the Schlage sense and I love how it allows me to set custom codes depending on who needs access and for how long. My only complaint is that the HomeKit connectivity took several attempts to get it to connect reliably to my 3rd-generation Apple TV. Once it did, it is quite slow to monitor or set remotely, but it does work
    Ecobee 3:
    While the wife wanted the Nest for the looks and simplicity, I am happy with the Ecobee extra features and complex analysis. Grouping two sites was easy. The sensors initially had a problem but Ecobee was good about letting me know and providing instructions to fix and a replacement
    Lutron Caseta:
    I purchased 6 hard-wired controllers along with 8 remote controllers. The contractor had to wire the additional switches in the traditional way to pass local building code, then had to tie up the switches to place the wireless remotes. However, the contractor recommended Lutron as a solid, professional brand so was surprised this was not included in this Homekit review.
    Overall, I have to say that while I am happy with these three products individually, I have yet to see the Homekit functionality integrated to provide "if-then" capabilitiy. For example, to be able have a "goodnight" scene that simultaneously dims the lights on the Lutron, sets the temperature down on the Ecobee, and locks the doors on the Schlage Sense. 
    I feel that until Homekit provides this capability I have paid about 30% more for what is still a promise...
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