The Christmas shopping season has officially begun, and since it’s time for HomeKit Weekly, I thought I’d take the time to provide an update on my top HomeKit devices that would be the perfect gift under the Christmas tree for a smart home enthusiast. I’ve been doing these articles for a few years now, and in that time I’ve seen so many great HomeKit products from a variety of manufacturers. With the rollout of Matter and Thread, it’s never been a better time to start building your perfect smart home on the foundation of HomeKit!
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
Water leak detector
If you only have HomeKit for one device category, it should be water leak detectors. As much as we wish this wasn’t the case, water leaks are a common cause of home damage. It’s a massive financial burden for homeowners who have to pay for repairs and damages from water damage. A good smart water leak detector can help prevent these issues by alerting you when a leak starts so that you can get it taken care of before it becomes too serious.
For HomeKit, the leak sensors I recommend are:
All of these products would be a great addition to your smart home.
Outlet adaptors are a simple way to begin your HomeKit journey. Instead of rewiring your power outlets for ones that natively support HomeKit, outlet adaptors plug into traditional outlets and add HomeKit support. It’s the perfect way to add a lamp, coffee maker, or any other traditional item to HomeKit. You can use them to make any device compatible with your smart home hub. The best part is that they’re easy to install and work seamlessly with other HomeKit accessories to create automation and scenes.
Here are the HomeKit outlet adaptors I recommend:
Indoor HomeKit cameras
HomeKit cameras that use HomeKit Secure Video are the only cameras I’d recommend using on the inside of your house since the footage is encrypted. They can work well in a baby’s nursery, facing an exterior door, on in a playroom.
Here are some of my favorite options for indoor HomeKit cameras:
Outdoor HomeKit cameras
Similar to indoor cameras, all footage from outdoor cameras that support HomeKit Secure Video is encrypted. For outdoor, I generally recommend wireless cameras unless you’re deploying it as a flood light as it’ll be a much easier installation. For many people looking for the best HomeKit and smart home gifts, outdoor cameras are some of the most popular items because of the security they bring.
In my new home, I am using the Google Nest Cam with Floodlight because I wanted 24/7 recording, and that is a current limitation with HomeKit Secure Video. I am bridging the Nest camera to HomeKit using the Starling Home Hub.
HomeKit garage door openers
A HomeKit garage door adaptor is a fantastic gift for the holiday season. As long as you have a compatible garage door opener, they’re a great gift idea. While you can completely replace your opener, there are plenty of options that are add-ons to your existing system. If you want to learn more about the overall experience, check out my review of the iSmartGate option. If you have a car that has CarPlay, you’ll have the option to open your garage door from your car’s dash as well. Here are my favorite options:
HomeKit starter kits
Many people might be looking for a “starter kit” for HomeKit, and for that, I recommend picking up a few Aqara accessories as they all work great together and are controllable from the Home app/Siri as well. Here’s what you’ll need:
If you’re just getting started with HomeKit, those products will get you started on the right foot.
HomeKit security system
I’ve been a customer of abode’s for a couple of years now, and it’s even in the house I just finished building. When I made my initial abode investment, I chose the abode iota starter kit, and added a dedicated keypad, two smoke monitors, three slim door sensors, and an extra motion detector. The iota starter kit includes a base station, a regular door sensor, and one keyfob. The base station consists of a built-in 1080p camera (which works with HomeKit) and a built-in motion sensor. The base station works on Wi-Fi (requires ethernet for initial setup), has a cellular backup option, and includes a built-in battery if the power goes out. The standalone motion sensor is in my living room, the iota base station with the camera and secondary motion sensor covers another area, and the keypad is near the entrance.
abode is fully HomeKit compatible as well. For a security system, HomeKit compatibility means you can turn the system on and off within the Home app, create automations based on the state of the alarm (turn on lights if it goes off, etc), and leverage the accessories to create other automations. An example here is if a door is opened to the outside, outside lights could be turned on.
Check out my entire review to learn more about abode.
Adding Google Nest products to HomeKit
If you’re buying gifts for someone who loves Nest products and Homekit at the same time, consider picking up the Starling Home Hub. It allows you to connect all Google Nest products to HomeKit. I’ve been using the hub for over two years now, and it’s the best way to get the best of both worlds when it comes to Google Nest Thermostats, Cameras, and Doorbells with the added benefits of HomeKit functionality.
Wrap-up on best HomeKit and smart home gifts
These products are all ones I’ve used and can recommend if you’re looking for the best HomeKit and smart home gifts for Christmas. There are so many great options for HomeKit accessories, but sometimes you might have a product that you want to use in the Home app, but it doesn’t support it. In that situation, check out HOOBS. It’s a self-contained Homebridge box that allows you to easily bridge products to HomeKit from Ring, UniFi, and other manufacturers that don’t natively support Apple’s smart home protocol. HOOBS also recently announced HOOBS Pro coming in 2023.
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