Each represents a different pricing tier
Apple HomeKit is one of the major smart home platforms, but it’s 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 that like the Apple ecosystem really like it, which has led to the slow but steady growth of HomeKit-compatible devices. While they can still be somewhat hard to come by, there’s hope.
Smart thermostats are some of the hardest smart devices to find for HomeKit, however. There are basically 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 thermostat is compatible with HomeKit, 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 as much as 23% annually on heating and cooling costs and pay for itself in just under two years.
The ecobee4 operates through a series of sensors you place in different rooms. You place the sensors in the most commonly used rooms: the living room, dining room, bedroom, etc. These sensors track the temperature of the room and its occupancy and adjusts the heating/cooling to keep the entire home balanced.
When you initially purchase the ecobee4, it includes one room sensor, but additional 2-packs of sensors can be purchased separately.
Another benefit is that the ecobee4 can be installed in homes without a C-wire, a factor that has prevented smart thermostat installation in the past. The built-in Alexa functionality means you can perform tasks that HomeKit may not be able to do, provided you are within audible range of the thermostat. The ecobee app is available on both Android and iOS, but if you’re a die-hard HomeKit user, it’s safe to assume you have an iPhone too.
At $199, the ecobee4 isn’t going to break the bank, either. It’s the best all-around choice in a landscape of limited options. There is an upgraded version of the ecobee4 available for purchase that is dubbed the ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control. It is an upgraded version of the ecobee4 and currently less expensive and offered with a smart switch.
As you might guess from the name, the ecobee3 Lite is a previous iteration of the more modern ecobee4. It operates in much the same way as the newer versions minus a few key features.
The ecobee3 does not have Alexa built-in, nor does it include a room sensor with purchase. However, it is still compatible with Apple HomeKit, Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and even less-used assistants like Microsoft Cortana.
The ecobee3 also works in homes without a C-wire. 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 might wonder why you would willingly purchase an older model. The answer is simple: it’s more affordable. At roughly $140, the ecobee3 is $60 less than the newer version. If you live in a small home or apartment, there is no need for additional room sensors.
The thermostat doesn’t have to have them, after all—they just help it operate more efficiently in larger homes.
At an even lower price than the ecobee3 is the Honeywell Lyric T5. At $120, it’s definitely more affordable than either of the other two options on this list.
You can control the Honeywell Lyric through WiFi and set 7-day schedules to ensure your home is exactly the temperature you want, when you want. You can also control the Honeywell Lyric through Siri due to its HomeKit compatibility.
There are a few interesting features worth mentioning about this thermostat. First is the “adaptive recovery” setting. It learns how long it takes to reach a specified temperature and automatically begins to adjust so that it achieves that temperature by a set time. It will also send you push notifications when your filter needs changing, or if the sensors detect extreme temperature changes.
The Honeywell Lyric also makes use of geofencing to adjust the temperature. If you have a preferred temperature for when you’re at home and your phone comes within a specified range, the Lyric will automatically start adjusting so that it reaches that temperature when you arrive.
While affordable, there is something to note. Honeywell spun their smart home offerings into a company called Resideo about a year and a half ago, so the Honeywell Lyric T5 may not be available for an extended period.
There are a few other brands that work with HomeKit, but none have the features of these three devices. Some reports state that Nest might add HomeKit compatibility in the future due to the number of requests from the user-base, but that is not confirmed—and not something to hold your breath for.
Instead, take a look at one of these three choices of the best smart thermostats for Apple HomeKit. They represent three different pricing tiers, but any one of the three is a solid smart thermostat.