Apple HomeKit is one of the leading smart home platforms, but it is by far the least popular due to the relatively narrow range of compatible devices and the complicated setup required to control it remotely. But Apple fans, and consequently HomeKit fans, are a stubborn bunch.
Those who like the Apple ecosystem truly like, which has led to the slow but steady growth of HomeKit compatible devices. While they may still be a little hard to find, there is hope.
However, smart thermostats are some of the hardest to find smart devices for HomeKit. There are only two companies that make the best smart thermostats the average person will have heard of: ecobee and Nest.
Here’s the bad news: No Nest thermostats are HomeKit compatible, and not all Ecobee thermostats are. The good news? There are other options.
The ecobee4 smart thermostat is the best HomeKit compatible smart thermostat on the market today. This device claims to save homeowners up to 23% annually on heating and cooling costs and pays for itself in just under two years.
Not only does it work with HomeKit, it also connects to Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and has Alexa built in.
The ecobee4 works through a series of sensors placed in different rooms. Place the sensors in the most used environments: living room, dining room, bedroom, etc. These sensors track the room temperature and occupancy and regulate the heating / cooling to keep the whole house in balance.
When you initially purchase the ecobee4, it includes an environmental sensor, but 2 additional packs of sensors can be purchased separately.
Another advantage is that the ecobee4 can be installed in homes without a C-cable, a factor that has prevented the installation of a smart thermostat in the past. Alexa’s built-in functionality means you can perform tasks that HomeKit may not be able to perform, as long as you’re within audible range of the thermostat. The ecobee app is available on both Android and iOS, but if you’re a diehard HomeKit user, it’s safe to assume that you also have an iPhone.
At $ 249, the ecobee4 is also not going to break the bank. It’s the best all-round choice in a landscape of limited options. An updated version of ecobee4 called ecobee Smart Thermostat with voice control is available for purchase. It is an upgraded version of ecobee4 and is currently less expensive and offered with a smart switch.
As you can guess from the name, ecobee3 Lite is an earlier iteration of the more modern ecobee4. It works in much the same way as the newer versions minus some key features.
The ecobee3 does not have Alexa built in, nor does it include an environmental sensor with the purchase. However, it’s still compatible with Apple HomeKit, Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and even lesser-used assistants like Microsoft Cortana.
The ecobee3 also works in homes without a C cable. Installation takes an average of half an hour and does not require professional help. All in all, it’s a decent investment, especially if you don’t care about Alexa.
On the other hand, you may be wondering why you should gladly buy an older model. The answer is simple: it’s cheaper. At around $ 140, the ecobee3 costs $ 60 less than the newer version. If you live in a small house or apartment, no additional environmental sensors are needed.
After all, the thermostat doesn’t necessarily have to have them – they only help it work more efficiently in larger homes.
At an even lower price point than the ecobee3 is the Honeywell Lyric T5. At $ 120, it’s cheaper than either of the other two options on this list.
You can control Honeywell Lyric over Wi-Fi and set 7-day schedules to make sure your home has exactly the temperature you want when you want it. You can also control Honeywell Lyric via Siri thanks to its compatibility with HomeKit.
There are some cool features worth mentioning about this thermostat. The first is the “adaptive recovery” setting. Learn how long it takes to reach a specified temperature and automatically start adjusting to reach that temperature within a set time. It will also send you push notifications when you need to change the filter or if the sensors detect extreme changes in temperature.
The Honeywell Lyric also uses geofencing to regulate the temperature. If you have a preferred temperature for when you are home and your phone is within a specified range, Lyric will automatically start adjusting to reach that temperature when you arrive.
While affordable, there is something to note. Honeywell turned its smart home offerings into a company called Resideo about a year and a half ago, so Honeywell Lyric T5 may not be available for a long time.
There are a few other brands that work with HomeKit, but none have the features of these three devices. Some reports say Nest may add HomeKit compatibility in the future due to the number of requests from the user base, but that’s unconfirmed and not something to hold your breath for.
Instead, check out one of these three picks of the best smart thermostats for Apple HomeKit. They represent three different price levels, but any one of the three is a solid smart thermostat.