Alexa Apple TV August Caséta Chamberlain echo Ecobee Gadgets Google Home Home Automation HomeKit iOS iPhone Lutron MyQ Smart Home Smarthome Tech

My 5 Favorite Smart Home / HomeKit Gadgets

iPad Pro running Home App Smart Home

Apple House App operating on my iPad Professional.

I’m an enormous fan of automation generally particularly relating to sensible house stuff. My new residence was constructed two years in the past in Might 2016. I received the prospect to start out with a clear slate and put in all of the sensible residence tech that I needed just about from day one. Sadly the builder wasn’t actually into sensible houses (except for operating ethernet drops) but so I needed to do all of it after the home was accomplished. When individuals assume sensible houses one of many first issues that involves thoughts is lighting and that’s just about the place I began too, however it didn’t cease there. Since a lot of the issues in a sensible house are managed by way of your cellular units I additionally needed to be sure that most if not all issues I did labored with Apple’s HomeKit since I’m an iOS consumer.

1. My Lighting

Go massive or go house! I had beforehand experimented with sensible bulbs for present lighting fixtures they usually undoubtedly supply some cool options like with the ability to truly change the colour of the lights. Nevertheless, the factor I didn’t like about them is that they virtually solely should be managed by your cellular gadget. If somebody flips the change on the wall accidentally, then the sunshine is OFF till somebody flips the bodily change again on once more. I needed lights that could possibly be managed by the switches on the wall AND by way of cellular units and sensible audio system. My search lead me to the Lutron Caséta system. You purchase a starter pack that features the “hub” and both two wall switches or two lamp modules. The Caséta hub plugs into your router/community by way of ethernet and communicates with every of the wall switches or lamp modules wirelessly by way of RF. The hub is restricted to 50 units and consider it or not I maxed it out over a number of months time. My electrician was making common visits right here as I added increasingly swtiches. Virtually all of my wall switches are Caséta switches for lights and ceiling followers and I even have a number of lamp modules in rooms that even have (you guessed it ) lamps. Since there’s a restrict of 50 Caséta units there isn’t any have to put them in closets or different much less incessantly used locations.

Lutron Caséta works with it’s personal App, HomeKit, Amazon Echo and Google House sensible audio system. It really works from inside the house or remotely from anyplace on the planet.

Get a Lutron Caséta with two dimmer switches right here.

Get a Lutron Caséta with two lamp modules right here.

After shopping for both one of many above starter units you merely add as many mild switches, lamp modules or pico remotes (as much as 50) as you need/want.

See my unique Caséta evaluate right here.

2. My Storage Door Openers

When the home was constructed I used to be kinda shocked that they didn’t embrace storage door openers for the hooked up two automotive storage. Once I requested my agent she principally stated you’re higher off shopping for your personal as a result of they might simply promote me two at double the worth. She was proper they needed to cost me twice the worth of a normal opener. I’m truly glad that it labored out that method as a result of it gave me the prospect to exit and get higher, smarter ones. I knew that I needed ones that could possibly be related and managed by way of WiFi, however extra importantly I needed ones that had backup batteries built-in in order that they might nonetheless perform within the occasion of an influence outage. My search led me to Chamberlain. I purchased two of those openers and life was good. They’ve labored flawlessly from day one. Nevertheless, final yr they even acquired higher! Chamberlain launched a HomeKit suitable module that may management each my openers. Now I can open them by way of the button on the wall within the storage, the included wi-fi remotes, Homelink suitable automobiles, my iPhone by way of their app or the iOS House app, and even Siri on my iPhone or Apple Watch. I’ve a HomeKit automation setup to routinely shut the storage doorways after the final individual has left the home (geofence). I not need to marvel “did I shut the storage door?”

Chamberlain works with it’s personal App, HomeKit and Homelink (the openers built-in newer automobiles).

Right here’s the Chamberlain Opener that I acquired. Right here’s the HomeKit enabled MyQ Bridge.

See my unique Chamberlain evaluation right here.

three. My Cameras

Logicircle

In terms of safety I really like with the ability to truly see throughout my house whether or not I’m house or not. I even have safety cameras from three totally different distributors as a result of all of them supply totally different function units and I haven’t discovered one which does all of it simply but (though Logitech is fairly darn shut).

Ring Pro

I began with a Ring Professional doorbell (See my unique Ring Professional evaluation right here). Ring has been the gold normal in terms of doorbell cameras they usually supply a number of totally different fashions relying in your wants and finances. Right now I’d be tempted by the recent new Nest Doorbell. Nevertheless, as cool as it might sound it has nearly no probability of supporting HomeKit. Whereas that wouldn’t be the top of the world and I actually do just like the options o the Nest Doorbell, Ring has reiterated their pledge to HomeKit. To not point out the options of the Nest doorbell don’t make me need to substitute what I have already got working. Even should you don’t have a Ring you need to nonetheless obtain their App and verify the studies that folks publish in YOUR neighborhood. You’ll additionally get a $10 credit score in the direction of a Ring product. Get the app right here.

Nest Apple TV App

Talking of Nest I do nevertheless, have the Nest Outside Cams. I’ve a few these out again as a result of they provide nice video high quality and naturally they’re climate proof. What’s humorous is that Nest DOES have an Apple TV App. This enables me to watch all my Nest cams (indoor and outside) from one display on any of my TVs. Nice for maintaining a tally of the pet when she’s outdoors.

Again to Ring – Since I had energy retailers out again, including Nest Outside Cams was straightforward. Nevertheless, within the entrance of my home I don’t have energy retailers the place I’d like them. This meant discovering a digital camera that doesn’t must be plugged in. The primary one I went with was the Ring Stickup Cam. I added the Ring photo voltaic panel to it in order that I by no means need to take it down and cost it. This has labored out OK. The rationale I say OK, is that Ring Cams are sluggish to go to Stay View. In different phrases in the event you acquired a movement alert and introduced up the digital camera to see it in motion, it might take a number of seconds earlier than the digital camera exhibits you a picture. By then the motion could also be gone. Fortunately although it does nonetheless report these occasions so you possibly can return and replay it after the very fact. Final yr I added the newer Ring Highlight Cam with a Ring Photo voltaic Panel to see the entrance within the different path and whereas this one is greater decision and works a bit of quicker, neither digital camera is as quick because the Nest cams.

Logitech Logicircle 2 cams showing in the Apple Home App on iPhone X

Logitech Logicircle 2 cams displaying within the Apple House App on iPhone X

That brings me to the Logicircle – Logitech has cameras too. Their cameras don’t require a subscription (there’s one which’s non-compulsory) and better of all they work with HomeKit and seem within the House App. These cameras are climate proofed, however do require USB energy. They present a picture the quickest and proper within the Residence App. I’m about to put in a 3rd one on my patio. In the event that they provided a photo voltaic choice I’d haven’t any drawback changing the Ring Cams with these!

Digital camera Abstract – All the cameras above work as marketed. All of them supply cloud subscriptions. The cloud subscription is in order that the video is streamed and recorded to the cloud the place it may be seen days later. Since none of those units retailer the footage regionally you’d need a cloud subscription in the event you ever wanted to see one thing after the very fact. The Nest subscriptions are the costliest. The Ring and Logitech subscriptions are MUCH extra affordable. All cameras which are designed to work outdoors ought to have battery/photo voltaic choices because it’s not all the time straightforward to run energy to the identical place that you simply’d need to mount a digital camera. Ring retains saying that the Ring Professional will achieve HomeKit help. I hold ready. The Logicircle is definitely turning into my favourite general digital camera!

four. My Thermostats

On day one I swapped out the thermostats that the builder provided (don’t even keep in mind the model) with Ecobee three‘s. I had lengthy been eyeing the Google Nest, however it dawned on me that Nest will doubtless NEVER be HomeKit suitable as they’re rivals to iOS. Once I appeared round my search led me to Ecobee which truly labored out higher anyway. Ecobee isn’t solely HomeKit suitable out of the field, however it additionally had one thing on the time that Nest didn’t supply. They included a further room sensor. As you understand the temperature in your house is managed wherever the thermostat is situated. So if that room is scorching, the air conditioner kicks on and blasts chilly air within the rooms that will not want it. Similar goes for warmth. Ecobee took a special strategy by permitting you to place sensors in every room that you could be occupy and common the temperature between them. Additionally if the sensors don’t detect any movement/occupancy then it is aware of to not hassle calculating the typical for these rooms. At night time once I’m sleeping I solely care concerning the temperature of the main bedroom. Ecobee has me coated by letting arrange consolation settings based mostly on specific sensors for specific occasions of day. Every night time the bedrooms are on the good temperature regardless of what’s happening in the remainder of the home.

Ecobee three works with its personal App, HomeKit, Amazon Echo and Google House sensible audio system. The NEW Ecobee four truly consists of an Amazon Echo constructed proper in.

You’ll be able to add further sensors to the rooms that matter.

See my unique Ecobee three assessment right here.

5. My Door Locks

It took some time to persuade myself to get sensible door locks. I didn’t actually have safety considerations. In any case a bodily key lock is simpler to select/get into than a digital lock. No, my drawback was justifying the acquisition. I virtually by no means depart or enter by way of my entrance door. We use the storage 100% of the time. I don’t assume I’ve used my entrance door to enter since day one. With that stated we use the again door a number of occasions a day to exit on the patio, let the canine out, and so on. The place the sensible lock actually shines is locking the door mechanically, with a scene or once we depart the world.

HomeKit Scene

Yep, typically that door has been left unlocked for hours. My new August Sensible Lock Professional fastened that drawback. I went with the August Sensible Lock Professional just because I really like the design. As an alternative of getting to switch all the lock, re-key or set up a keypad, the August Sensible Lock Professional merely replaces the knob on that you simply flip to lock the door on the within of the home. Every part outdoors stays the identical. Similar key, similar look. Nothing modifications outdoors. Besides now you don’t actually need the important thing anymore. Your smartphone turns into a key. Your Apple Watch turns into a key. As with all my merchandise above the doorways may be locked or unlocked from inside the house, outdoors the house or anyplace on the planet. The newest third era features a door sensor to additionally let you realize if the door is definitely open and never closed. That is extra essential that it sounds. With out this sensor you possibly can be remotely locking a door that’s standing broad open. I solely purchased one to attempt it out. I used to be skeptical if it might actually work nicely. It labored so properly that I instantly ordered a second one for the entrance door. In that very same HomeKit scene that I setup to shut the storage doorways when the final individual leaves the house/space, it additionally locks each doorways. Though August lets you routinely unlock a door if you get close to it, I don’t have this function enabled as I simply don’t want it to work that approach.

Sure you possibly can ask Alexa to “Ask August to lock the again door.” She is going to reply with “the again door is closed and locked”. If you wish to ask Alexa to unlock a door, you are able to do it however for added safety you’ll have to recite a pin that you simply setup prematurely. This can cease a stranger from standing outdoors close to your window and yelling at Alexa to unlock the door.

The August Sensible Lock Professional has two AA batteries inside. They supposedly final for a few yr. You may be alerted once they begin to run low and the subsequent query that folks ask is what do you do in case of an emergency or whenever you don’t have your telephone useful? Simply flip the knob manually (the entire thing rotates by hand too). If all else fails your key nonetheless works and you may flip the knob from the within as you all the time did. That’s why I actually like this lock.

August Sensible Lock Professional works with its personal App, HomeKit and Amazon Echo sensible audio system.

An Apple TV helps!

Apple TV

Apple requires a tool to be on and related to your community to permit HomeKit units to be managed from outdoors the house. Your decisions are an Apple TV or an iOS gadget like an iPad. This was straightforward for me as I already had Apple TVs. There’s nothing actually to do right here. So long as you’ve at the least one Apple TV related to your community both by way of ethernet or WiFi it can act as a hub in your HomeKit units. In the event you do determine to make use of an iPad then you definitely’ll need to configure it as hub in your HomeKit settings. Some units have their very own methods of working remotely. For instance, the Lutron Caséta has its personal hub. That hub lets you management your lights remotely from outdoors the house. Similar goes for the August Sensible Lock Professional. It comes with a small WiFi module that connects to your WiFi community and bluetooth to the lock. This enables your locks to be managed from outdoors the house.

Get an Apple TV right here or Apple TV 4K right here.

In fact I even have sensible audio system

I’ve each Amazon Echos (DotEchoPresent and Spot). I even have a Google House. Each options are good. I discover myself utilizing Alexa much more. Though there are occasions the place Google can reply questions that Alexa can’t. I don’t personal an Apple HomePod. Whereas I’m positive the sound is AMAZING, the worth for what it does is simply an excessive amount of for me to purchase it. If Apple made a $99 model that didn’t have the superb speaker I’d contemplate it. I have already got an entire home music system that I really like.

The Backside Line – I really like my sensible residence

I get lots of pleasure out my sensible residence devices and I really like the automation options of scenes. Giving one command to regulate a bunch of issues is superior. I’m not accomplished! There are nonetheless extra sensible house issues I’d love so as to add. I feel the subsequent factor shall be an in-ground sprinkler system. Not floor breaking (pardon the pun) by any means, however a pleasant factor to have the ability to management as a part of my present setup. I’d additionally like to have some sensible shades that open when the solar comes up and shut at sundown. Extra to return…