HomeKit Weekly: The essential HomeKit gift guide for Apple fans
Bradley Chambers @bradleychambers
– Dec. 3rd 2021 9:00 am PT
If you’re looking for gift ideas for Apple fans in your life, HomeKit accessories make one of the best options because of how it natively works with your products, low cost, and multiple use options. So as you go shopping for the Apple fans in your life, here’s my round-up of the best HomeKit accessories for Christmas.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
Table of contents
- August Lock
- Aqara Starter Kit and related accessories
- Eve outlet adaptor with Thread
- HomePod mini
- abode HomeKit alarm
- Onvis motion sensor
- Homam High-end HomeKit camera with local storage
- HOOBS Homebridge in a box
- Starling Home Hub
The single HomeKit accessory that I use more than any other is my August Lock with Wi-Fi. I have automations set to unlock as we walk up as it connects over Bluetooth. It’s handy to use when you’re out of town if you need to let someone in the house remotely as well. One of the aspects I appreciate is that it doesn’t require you to change the outer part of your deadbolt – it only replaces the indoor aspect.
For someone starting out with HomeKit, a smart home-enabled door lock is a great place to start.
Aqara Starter Kit and related accessories
The Aqara Starter Kit is a great item to grab for someone in your life for who you can’t find quite the right gift. It includes the hub, door sensor, and motion sensor. It’s also incredibly inexpensive to add on a water leak sensor – which I highly recommend. I have one of them under each of our sinks and in front of our major appliances that use water. The devices aren’t native to HomeKit but communicate over Zigbee to the Aqara hub, which can bridge to HomeKit.
Eve outlet adaptor with Thread
A simple stocking stuffer for an Apple fan is the Eve outlet adaptor with Thread support. The outlet adaptor lets you convert a traditional powered lamp or other appliance into a smart one. Eve is a top-tier HomeKit vendor, and its introduction of Thread support makes it even better. I firmly believe Thread is a critical part of a stable, smart home over the next decade.
The HomePod mini is a great item to add to HomeKit for two reasons.
- It acts as a Homehub to allow for remote access to HomeKit and automations
- It adds a Thread network point to increase the strength of your Thread network.
abode HomeKit alarm
The abode alarm has been in my home for almost two years now, and it’s been a fantastic addition. All the devices are exposed in HomeKit to be used with automations. We have motion sensors, door sensors, glass break sensors, and smoke sensors.
If you’re looking to install a DYI security system, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that’s easier to use than abode. The monthly monitoring includes internet-based and LTE-based communication for the base station.
Onvis motion sensor
A HomeKit motion sensor is a handy stocking stuffer for someone with all the known Apple accessories on the market. For example, we use them to trigger lamps around our house early in the morning when people start waking up. Because HomeKit unifies devices from different manufacturers, you can use an Onvis motion sensor to turn on a Hue LED bulb, for example.
Homam High-end HomeKit camera with local storage
There are several great HomeKit cameras. On the low end, I love the Aqara options, Eve, Onvis, etc. – but for the high-end HomeKit camera, check out the Homam camera. It’s my newest HomeKit product, and I have a full review coming in a few weeks, but it’s the best premium HomeKit camera on the market.
Cameras that use HomeKit Secure Video use end-to-end encryption; you can be sure that no one but you can access the footage or the stream. HomeKit also allows you to adjust streaming and recording based on if people are home are not, so if you want to turn off the camera when you’re home, you can do that automatically.
The Homam camera also includes local recording if you want to avoid all cloud storage on your cameras. Along with recording, HomeKit cameras can be used as motion sensors to automatically turn lights on and off.
HOOBS Homebridge in a box
If you have someone in your life who likes to tinker, the HOOBS hub would be a great product to get them. It’s a Homebridge server in a box, so you can start adding devices to HomeKit that aren’t usually compatible. For example, you can connect a Ring camera, a eufy Door Bell, or even a Neato vacuum cleaner to HomeKit even though they don’t natively support it.
A recent software update to version 4 added some new features that make it an even better purchase. I’ve had one for over a year, and it’s been a lot of fun to tinker with for devices in my home that don’t natively support HomeKit – my favorite is my eufy doorbell.
Starling Home Hub
For the techie person in your life that lives in both the Apple and Google home lifestyle, the Starling Home Hub is a great addition. For only $89, you can connect all Nest devices (thermostat, doorbell, cameras, and doorbells) and Google Home speakers to HomeKit. The Nest display is a fun device to have as a desk accessory, and since I have my photos backed up to Google Photos, I love seeing them scrolling throughout my day. When Starling added AirPlay support to this device, it became even more helpful. If you have the Google Home mini speakers, you can pair them as stereo pairs and use them as AirPlay targets.
This list includes some of my favorite HomeKit accessories. HomeKit is the best smart home platform for Apple fans, given its tight integration and focus on security. You can start small with a single outlet adaptor and work up to an entire ecosystem of products making it a great gift idea for Apple fans.
HomeKitHomeKit is Apple’s home automation framework that lets you control connected accessories from your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod, and Siri.HomeKit WeeklyHomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.