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Best Apple HomeKit devices – CNET

Updated Nov. 5, 2021 3:00 a.m. PT

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Molly Price Former Editor

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Looking to control your lights or thermostat with voice control? Or do you want a smart door lock or smart outlet? If you’re the proud owner of an Apple device, it’s time to start looking at a HomeKit accessory — or five. 

You see, HomeKit is Apple’s platform for smart home products. It comes baked into every iPhone and iPad the electronics giant sells. Even better, HomeKit integration is a breeze — download Apple’s free Home app, pair it with your HomeKit-compatible devices and presto: an Apple smart home you can control with a few taps or with a Siri voice command.

What sort of smart devices can you connect to HomeKit? You have a lot of options — door locks

lights, a plug, cameras, a thermostat, motion sensors, window shades, you name it — and the Home app can handle all of it in one place.

As for Apple’s assistant Siri, it’ll be happy to lock the door, dim the lights, adjust the air conditioning, run a smart home scene or whatever else you demand of your fancy, voice-activated abode.


Watch this: What happened to Siri?

The real question is which of these smart home devices are worth the cash — because a lot of them don’t come cheap. There’s a growing list of options, but we’re here to help you narrow it down to the best HomeKit devices for your smart home. Here are our top picks for Apple HomeKit products, all based on years of tests in the CNET Smart Home, which we update periodically.

Read more: Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 15, landed on devices in late September 2021. Here’s all the new HomeKit and HomePod features in the new iOS.

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The long-awaited HomePod Mini bridges a strange gap between smart speakers, costing $99 like the Nest Audio and Amazon Echo, but in a small package like the cheaper Nest Mini and Echo Dot. 

This smaller, more affordable Apple smart speaker sounds great. Siri is on board for HomeKit control and general voice assistance. The HomePod Mini can serve as the output for your Apple TV, and you can pair two HomePod Minis for stereo. Features like Intercom and Handoff make living with the Mini a little bit more fun. 

In short, if you like Apple, you’re going to love this smart speaker. If you’re already living with an iPhone, Apple TV or original HomePod, the Mini makes sense as your next small smart speaker.

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Apple’s latest streaming device, the second-generation Apple TV 4K, was released mid-2021 with many of the same features as its predecessor. With the same black box and $179 price tag, the only substantial upgrades are a faster processor and a revamped Siri remote. 

While the remote certainly needed improving from its previous trackpad-driven controller design, — and this new Siri remote is excellent — it isn’t enough to justify the high price. If you’re shopping for a streamer that can deliver Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu to your TV, then you might want to consider the more affordable $40 Roku Express 4K Plus or $50 Chromecast with Google TV, or just upgrade the remote for $59 if you already own the first-generation Apple TV 4K.

But if you’re an Apple loyalist or you already have an Apple TV HD and like Apple’s interface, then the new Apple TV 4K might be a great option for you. 

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You’ve got lots of interesting options if you’re in the market for a smart thermostat, including a couple of thermostats that support Siri control via Apple’s HomeKit. Of these, we like Ecobee’s thermostats the best. At $250, the Ecobee4 thermostat is the newest, but it really only adds in a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker to the experience. That’s not the biggest draw if you’re anchoring your smart home to Apple HomeKit and centering it on Siri for voice control.

Read more: The best smart thermostats of 2021

That’s why I think it’s a smarter move to stick with one of Ecobee’s previous-generation, less expensive thermostats. They all work just as well with Apple HomeKit and they support Ecobee’s nifty temperature sensors, too. The Ecobee3 thermostat is listed as sold out on the Ecobee website, but the Ecobee3 Lite thermostat is still available for between $150 and $170. That’s the right price for HomeKit-compatible climate control.

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Watch this: Ecobee slashes the price of its latest smart thermostat

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The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock includes a retrofit August lock and a DoorSense open-close sensor. Wi-Fi is built into this model, so you won’t need to purchase an August Connect module to enable remote access. 

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is 45% smaller than previous August models, too. It works with Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa for voice commands and smart home integration. You’ll get unlimited user access and codes, as well as a log of every action that happens at your front door. 

Wi-Fi enables remote access to lock and unlock your doors from your Android or iOS devices when you’re not home. The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a capable, easy-to-install smart lock and the winner of our CNET Editors’ Choice Award. 

It’s certainly not an inexpensive smart lock, but it’s the best one for HomeKit households that we’ve tested to date.

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The Eufy Indoor Cam 2K is a solid competitor to other low-priced indoor models like the Wyze Cam Indoor and the Blink Mini. Its 2K video recording in particular separates it from those competing models.

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Smart switches are another good option if you’re looking to automate the lights in your home — particularly for spots where a single switch controls several bulbs at once. You’ve got several options that work with HomeKit, but our favorite by far is the Lutron Caseta In-Wall Dimmer Switch.

Why Lutron? For starters, Lutron’s been in the business of dimmer switches for decades, and it’s a smart home stalwart, too. Its switches have a good set of features and work with everything, they support three-way setups and they look appropriately distinctive without being gaudy. Along with a wide variety of light switches, the Caseta platform also offers specialty switches for things like ceiling fans and Sonos speakers, as well as luxurious Serena smart shades. All of it communicates with the Lutron Bridge using Lutron’s proprietary Clear Connect wireless standard, which is one of the speediest and most reliable standards we’ve tested at the CNET Smart Home.

That’s a long-winded way of saying these are really, really good smart light switches. Right now, you can get one on Amazon with the Lutron Bridge and a bonus Pico remote that you can dock in the wall as a second switch, or carry around with you for a total cost of $92.

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It’s counterintuitive, maybe, but Philips Hue is best when you skip the colors and focus on the Hue White bulbs, which put out smart, dimmable light at a yellowy 2,700 K. That’s because the best thing about Hue bulbs isn’t the colors at all, but rather, the strength of their best-in-class platform, which works with everything, pairs extremely well with Apple HomeKit and comes packed with useful features.

Read more: The complete guide to Philips Hue lights 

To take advantage, you’ll need to get a Philips Hue starter kit that comes with the essential Hue Bridge — and the two-bulb Hue White starter kit, currently available on Amazon for $68, is an affordable way in. And yes, you can always add color-changing bulbs to your HomeKit setup later (preferably when they go on sale).

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First, there was the triangular Nanoleaf Aurora (2016) and then there was the square-shaped, touch-enabled Nanoleaf Canvas panels. But in late 2020, Nanoleaf launched the latest set of novelty wall panels: “Nanoleaf Shapes – Hexagons.” These six-sided LED light panels are sold in a seven-panel starter kit for $199.  

With vivid colors, easier mounting, a great design, and the same impressive list of features and integrations as its predecessors — including the excellent, music-syncing rhythm mode, touch sensitivity, and voice control via Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant — the latest Hexagons are the best Nanoleaf has to offer. 

Read more: The best smart lights for covering your walls in color

If you’re putting together a high-tech game room, dorm room or decorating a kids room, then Nanoleaf’s color-changing wall panels will be right for you. But outside of that, the flashy lights are perhaps a bit too futuresque for most households.

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At $25, the WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug is affordable and comes with native Google Assistant, Alexa and yes, HomeKit compatibility. It fits inside the frame of most wall outlets and has a physical button and LED indicator light.

The WeMo app isn’t our favorite app, and you won’t get energy monitoring with the WeMo Wi-Fi Smart Plug. Those shortfalls aside, this smart plug’s space-saving design and solid HomeKit compatibility make it easy to recommend to users in Apple’s ecosystem.

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