The best Apple HomeKit devices of 2020 – CNET

<pre><pre>The best Apple HomeKit devices of 2020 - CNET

HomeKit is Apple's platform for smart home productsand it comes baked into every iPhone and iPad that the company sells. Download the free Apple home app and combine it with your HomeKit-compatible smart home devices of your choice and Presto: an Apple smart home that you can use with just a few taps on your iOS device or with a Siri – Can control voice command.

What kind of things can you connect to HomeKit? You have many options – lighting. door locks. a stopper. cameras. a thermostat. motion sensors. shadow, You name it – and the home app can process everything in one place. Apple's assistant Siri will be happy to dim the lights, start a smart home scene, adjust the air conditioning, lock the door, or whatever you want from your fancy, voice-activated home.

The real question is which of these devices are worth the money because many of them are not cheap. There's a growing list of options, but we're here to help you find the best HomeKit devices for your smart home. Here are our top tips for HomeKit households, all based on years of testing in the CNET Smart Home.

You can pair Apple HomeKit devices with your iPhone once you've set them up. However, if you want to control products when you are away from home, you need a HomeKit hub. The hub works like a bouncer for your home's Wi-Fi network. For example, if you try to control a Smart Lock from Apple's home app while you are working, the hub's job is to verify your ID before you are approved.

Continue reading: Everything you need to know about Apple HomeKit

Apple doesn't offer a standalone HomeKit hub, but instead forces you to choose between three high-priced Apple devices that do the job: the HomePod smart speaker, a third-generation Apple TV or better, or a dedicated, always – on iPad.

While you can find it for sale, the $ 300 HomePod is still too expensive for what it is. In the meantime, the iPad route is a bit cumbersome, especially since it always has to be switched on and connected. That's why I would choose Apple TV – preferably Apple TV 4K, which David Katzmaier of CNET calls best streamer available today. At $ 169, it's not cheap, but none of these HomeKit hubs. In addition to your function as an excellent streamer, you can access the video feed from compatible HomeKit cameras on your TV with a quick voice command into the remote control.

Read the Apple TV 4K review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

If you are in the market for a smart thermostat, you have many interesting options, including some thermostats that support Siri control through Apple HomeKit. Of these, we like Ecobee's thermostats best. At $ 250, the Ecobee4 thermostat is the latest, but it only adds a built-in Alexa speaker to the experience. This isn't the biggest attraction if you anchor your smart home in Apple HomeKit and focus on Siri for voice control.

Continue reading: The best intelligent thermostats of 2020

For this reason, I think it's wiser to stick with one of the cheaper thermostats from the previous generation from Ecobee. They all work just as well with Apple HomeKit and also support the sophisticated temperature sensors from Ecobee. The Ecobee3 thermostat is listed as sold out on the Ecobee website, but the Ecobee3 Lite thermostat is still available for $ 169 to $ 190. This is the right price for a HomeKit-compatible climate control.

Read the Ecobee3 Lite test.

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For $ 169, when you buy your August Smart Lock Pro, you get the lock itself, the plug-in WiFi hub you need to sync with HomeKit, and an open / closed sensor for your door. It offers countless useful integrations that go beyond HomeKit compatibility, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, IFTTT and optional Z-Wave support.

Continue reading: The best intelligent locks of 2020

It's certainly not a cheap smart lock, but it's the best for HomeKit households we've tested so far. I say, wait for a sale and then plunge.

Read the August Smart Lock Pro test.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Logitech Circle 2 can be used indoors or outdoors for $ 180. When we tested it with Apple HomeKit, it turned out to be reliable and responsive. The wired design means you need to keep it near an electrical outlet, but I prefer this over something with batteries that can run flat at bad times. A battery powered version is available for an additional $ 20 if you prefer.

Continue reading: The best smart home surveillance cameras of 2020

As soon as you have found and set up a place for it, you can view the feed directly via the home app (or, if you have an Apple TV, directly on your TV). The Circle 2 offers motion sensors, night vision and two-way audio. You'll also get a free, event-based 24-hour backlog of clips and the option to extend that clip history to 14 or 31 days for a monthly fee of $ 4 or $ 10 (subscribers also get access to a motion alarm zone feature ). My favorite part could be the variety of accessories that Logitech sells to help you assemble in smart places. All of this results in a great little camera that costs less than popular rivals like the Arlo and D-Link Omna.

Read the Logitech Circle 2 test.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Smart switches are another great option if you want to automate lighting in your home – especially in places where a single switch controls multiple lamps at the same time. You have several options that work with HomeKit, but our favorite by far is the Lutron Caseta in-wall dimmer.

Continue reading: Intelligent plugs, light bulbs and switches: which one is right for you?

Why Lutron For starters, Lutron has been in the dimmer switch business for decades, and it's also a rugged smart home. The well-equipped switches work with everything, they support three-way setups, and they look reasonably distinctive without being gaudy. In addition to a variety of light switches, the Caseta platform also offers special switches for ceiling fans and Sonos speakers as well as luxurious Serena Smart Shades. All of this communicates with the Lutron Bridge via Lutron's proprietary Clear Connect radio standard, which is one of the fastest and most reliable standards we've tested in the CNET Smart Home.

It's a lengthy way to say that these are really, really good, intelligent light switches. At the moment, you can purchase one from Amazon with the Lutron Bridge and a bonus pico remote control, which you can dock on the wall as a second switch or take with you for a total price of $ 89.

Read the test of the Lutron Caseta In-Wall Smart Dimmer Switch.

It may be counterintuitive, but Philips Hue is best if you skip the colors and focus on the Hue White lamps, which emit intelligent, dimmable light at 2,700K yellow. This is because the best thing about Hue lamps is not the colors at all, but rather the strength of their first-class platform that works with everything fits perfectly with Apple HomeKit and offers numerous useful functions.

Continue reading: The complete guide to Philips Hue lights

To take advantage of these benefits, you need a Philips Hue starter kit that comes with the essential Hue Bridge. The Hue White starter kit with two lightbulbs, currently available from Amazon for $ 70, is an affordable entry. And yes, you can add color-changing lamps to your setup at any time later (preferably on sale).

Read the test of the Philips Hue White LED Starter Kit.

Chris Monroe / CNET

If you want to look the best of your smart lights, choose Lifx, an Australian startup that has become a major player in smart lights in recent years. Like Philips Hue, the lamps work with almost anything, including Apple HomeKit, but they also produce brighter, better-looking colors. In addition, Lifx lamps use a Wi-Fi connection for communication, so they don't need a hub.

Continue reading: The best color changing smart lights (which cost less than Philips Hue)

Lifx produces many different light bulbs, floodlights, light strips and even tiles for your wall, which you can program, control and plan to your heart's content with the excellent Lifx app. I like the Lifx Mini, which costs less than the comparable Hue lamp. Bonus shoutout for the Lifx Z light strip, which can output several colors at the same time. Hue's streak of light still can't.

Do you want something that costs even less? Check out the color-changing Sylvania Smart Plus LED that you can currently get on Amazon for less than $ 30.

Read the Lifx Mini LED test.

Chris Monroe / CNET

They're not for everyone, but if you're putting together a striking-looking playroom or decorating a kid's room, you should consider Nanoleaf's color-changing LED wall panels. The nine-field starter kit is available either as a triangle or a second-generation square – both cost around $ 200, but I prefer the square Nanoleaf canvas panels because of the extra touch sensitivity and the fact that you have more room to expand If you have your setup, you should choose to go crazy with things.

Continue reading: The best intelligent lights to cover your walls in color

The panels use Wi-Fi to connect to your router (and HomeKit) so they don't need a hub. Once set up, you can switch between hundreds of custom animated presets, including those that use the built-in microphone to sync color changes with the music you're listening to or the game you're playing. play again. They not only support Siri voice control, they also work with Alexa, Google and IFTTT.

Bonus points for the optional Nanoleaf remote control, a 12-sided, motion-sensitive dodecahedron, which you can use to trigger Nanoleaf scenes or HomeKit automations by turning different pages upwards. The cost of this gizmo: $ 50.

Read the Nanoleaf Canvas Test.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Do you just want a connector that you can turn on and off with Siri commands? Choose the WeMo Mini, which you can get for less than $ 30 each. It was actually the first device that was synchronized with HomeKit via a software protocol, in contrast to an integrated MFi chipset (no WeMo bridge required). So it is clear that WeMo appreciates a smooth, up-to-date connection to the Apple Cloud. WeMo is a subsidiary of Belkin and has long been able to react quickly to platform problems and potential vulnerabilities through regular firmware updates.

Continue reading: The best intelligent plugs and switches of 2020

The downside of WeMo is that the app is a bit buggy than I would like it to be, with occasional lag and pairing issues. Having used WeMo products fairly regularly for the past five years, I haven't noticed any of the same delays in automations, voice controls, or integrations with third-party services like IFTTT. Once you've synced it with HomeKit, use the Home app and not the WeMo app. Conclusion: If you have a lamp, a coffee machine, a table fan or something else that you want to automate and that needs to be connected, the WeMo Mini is a great choice.

Read the test report for the WeMo Mini Smart Plug.

Originally released last year. Will be updated regularly when we check new products.