Apple Homekit Compatible Thermostats: Which is The Best?
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We’ve set out to find the best Apple HomeKit thermostat available today, and these are our results. There are quite a few great Smart Thermostats on the market currently, but many of them don’t integrate with HomeKit unfortunately.
Apple HomeKit is a pretty powerful smart home platform but hasn’t exactly been Apple’s main focus. Apple also doesn’t see to play well with other big tech companies. As a result, the number of third-party integrations with HomeKit is fairly limited compared to other popular smart home platforms, although it’s growing steadily in recent years.
Back in 2014, there was actually a very limited number of smart thermostats that can natively integrate with HomeKit. The popular Nest thermostats, for example, is not currently compatible with HomeKit, and no sign of it happening in the near future.
So, what are our best bet for smart thermostats that can integrate with Apple Homekit? Below, we review and rank some of the best options available in the market today that can work with different HVAC systems. At the end of this guide, we also provide our recommendation for the best of the best choice.
Best HomeKit Thermostats Reviewed and Tested
Honeywell Lyric T5 and Honeywell Lyric T6 Pro
Check Amazon’s current price for the Honeywell Lyric T6 Pro: B01MUKUMEX
Here is Amazon’s pricing on the Honeywell Lyric T5: B01LTHM8LG
Here, we included two smart thermostat products by Honeywell: both can directly integrate with HomeKit, both are relatively affordable (think Ecobee3 Lite’s price range—or even cheaper— rather than Ecobee SmartThermostat’s.), and both are very similar to each other, so we’ve decided that discussing them separately will be counterproductive.
Affordable With Decent Functionalities
At less than $150 for both Lyric T5 and T6 Pro, both are among the relatively affordable Wi-Fi smart thermostats available in the market today. Both offer integrations with HomeKit—our focus of discussion here—, and the popular Amazon Alexa.
On top of that, both offer quite useful geofencing functionality—that is, the smart thermostat can detect your smartphone’s GPS location to manage your house’s temperatures. When you leave the house (based on your phone’s GPS), the thermostat will set itself in the “Away” mode to conserve energy and vice versa.
Design, Installation, HomeKit Setup
Probably the biggest downside to Honeywell Lyric (both T5 and T6 Pro), is the rather outdated, cheap-looking design. They are definitely not the option to look for if you’re into the sleek new designs of the other smart thermostats.
However, they are relatively easy to install, and you can simply follow the step-by-step instructions manual to physically install the Lyric thermostat. Depending on your house’s current setup, the whole process shouldn’t take you more than half an hour to an hour.
Pairing the thermostat with the Honeywell app is also fairly simple—although the Lyric app’s interface is a little clunky compared to Ecobee’s—.
Integrating the device(s) with HomeKit will also require the installation of the Lyric App. Simply go to the “Global Drawer” menu on the app, tap “Add a New Device”, and follow the process to connect the thermostat to your home network.
At the end of the process, you will be given a pairing number on the thermostat’s display, which you can use to pair with the Apple HomeKit. The process is quite similar to the ecobee thermostats we’ll discuss below.
What’s The Difference Between The Lyric T5 and Lyric T6 Pro?
While both the Lyric T5 and Lyric T6 Pro are very similar to each other, there are some key differences that might affect your purchasing decision.
- Color: The Honeywell Lyric T5 is available in black, while the T6 Pro is only available in white.
- Wired additional sensor support: The T6 Pro can connect with various indoor/outdoor wired sensors with its additional universal inputs. We can add, for example, a wired heat pump sensor with the T6 Pro. This ability is unavailable with the Lyric T5
- Ventilator support: The Lyric T6 Pro supports universal relay terminal for a ventilator (ERV, HRV, etc.)
- Dual Fuel System support: The T6 Pro can control dual-fuel HVAC system (i.e. a system using both gas and heat pump configurations)
- Installation: While the basic installation for both Lyric T5 and Lyric T6 Pro is—as discussed above—, fairly simple, with all the extra wiring for additional sensors and HVAC systems, the overall installation process for the T6 Pro might be more complex and you might need the help of a professional technician.
So, choosing between the Honeywell Lyric T5 and Lyric T6 Pro should be mainly determined by your existing HVAC system, your needs for additional sensors and whether you can afford the additional cost of a professional installation. Both of these thermostats will work equally as well with your Apple HomeKit.
- Affordable, yet with decent core features
- Geofencing feature, useful for its price range and quite reliable
- Easy to set-up HomeKit and Alexa integrations
- Outdated, cheap-looking physical design
- The T-6 Pro needs professional installation
ecobee SmartThermostat (5th Gen Thermostat)
Check it out on Amazon – ecobee SmartThermostat ASIN: B07NQT85FC
The All-New ecobee SmartThermostat is technically the 5th generation of Ecobee’s flagship line of smart thermostats, a direct successor of the widely popular ecobee4 (check out my ecobee4 vs nest review here). Ecobee dropped the numbering scheme and used the name SmartThermostat instead, and is at the surface a faster, more powerful thermostat than the Ecobee4, complete with better audio, (slightly) better design, and much more.
Ecobee has always been one of the better options for thermostats that offer native integration with HomeKit. The All-New Thermostat retained the basic design of ecobee (a rounded square with almost the whole body as a display), however, the front panel is now glass rather than plastic, so it’s smoother and more durable than Ecobee4.
Installing the Ecobee SmartThermostat is very simple. Depending on your home’s setup, it will only take around half an hour to physically install the Ecobee, which then the device will walk you through the basic configuration process like setting up your schedule, preferred temperatures, and so on. (Here are your installation guides for ecobee to get a better idea.)
The ecobee SmartThermostat package includes one redesigned SmartSensor in the box, and you can purchase more separately (found here). You can put SmartSensors in several different rooms to monitor each room’s temperatures—and occupancy—, and the ecobee Smart Thermostat can connect to them over WiFi.
The new SmartSensor is now lighter and more compact than before, with a metal magnetic base. It runs with a 3V (standard CR2477) battery, and as a side note, if you already have older Ecobee SmartSensors, they can work with this SmartThermoSstat.
A unique feature from the Ecobee SmartThermostat (which is also included with the ecobee4), is the built-in Alexa assistant. It’s not a full-fledged Alexa integration (as with Amazon Echo or Echo Dot), but it’s still a fairly useful feature where you can execute various voice commands (check here for the full list).
Probably the best thing about this Alexa inclusion is that it’s one of the very few devices at the moment where we can use both Alexa and HomeKit. Which brings us here!
Setting up HomeKit with the Ecobee SmartThermostat is quite simple—although it might be odd for those familiar with HomeKit—, you need to add the Ecobee SmartThermostat as an accessory in your iPhone’s Home app and tap on the section that you have a pairing code below the interface. The ThermoStat will show a pairing code, enter it, and voila!
ecobee—similar to Nest thermostats, uses the included sensors to detect whether you are home (with the occupancy/motion sensor) and then adjust the temperature accordingly. It can adjust connected HVAC devices to achieve the desired temperature based on real-time data picked by the sensor.
The speaker is vastly improved from its predecessor, and the SmartSensor also has an improved range. So, although design-wise, the Ecobee SmartThermostat isn’t all that different from the Ecobee 4, it is improved nicely in two major functions.
Overall, a reliable, easy-to-use Smart Thermostat with HomeKit and Alexa integration. Not the cheapest, but is definitely a contender for the best HomeKit thermostat.
- Very easy and simple installation
- Rich set of features
- Reliable performance across many different situations
- Loud, great quality speaker
- A wide variety of voice command and control features
- Easy to set-up, but in-depth configurations to suit your day to day needs
- Built-in Alexa support
- Large with big-bezel
- Not the most affordable
- Doesn’t support AirPlay 2 (at the moment, might be added on future updates)
Check out the ecobee3 Lite B06W56TBLN on Amazon.
ecobee currently offers 2 products in its main lineup with the Ecobee4 being recently discontinued, the flagship, premium ecobee SmartThermostat—which we have discussed above—, and the ecobee3 Lite as the “budget” alternative Apple HomeKit compatible smart thermostat.
It’s around $80 more affordable than the premium ecobee SmartThermostat, and while it isn’t exactly the cheapest smart thermostat available on the market, it offers an interesting price tag considering its set of features—featuring many of the same core functions offered by the SmartThermostat.
In fact, it’s the most affordable smart thermostat today that supports five popular smart home platforms: HomeKit, Alexa, IFTTT, Wink, and Samsung SmartThings.
Main Difference(s) With Ecobee SmartThermostat
Since the ecobee3 and SmartThermostat are coming from the same brand with the Ecobee3 intended as the more affordable product, it’s quite obvious that we’ll get less from the ecobee3.
The right question, then, is what’s missing?
For instance, we can say that ecobee3 is only semi-intelligent rather than being a full-fledged smart thermostat by today’s standard. It doesn’t come with a room sensor with the package and it doesn’t really offer any advanced automation and scheduling features. You can, however, buy ecoBee SmartSensor(s) and pair them with the ecobee3 Lite.
You can’t, however, control a humidifier, dehumidifier or ventilators with the Ecobee3 Lite (ecobee4 and Ecobee SmartThermostat do have those capabilities). It’s worth noting, however, that most residential HVAC systems don’t include dehumidifiers, humidifiers, and/or ventilators.
The next notable thing missing is the built-in Alexa Support. Yes, you can still pair the Ecobee3 with—for example—an Amazon Echo if you want Alexa integration, but unlike the SmartThermostat (or even the Ecobee4), it doesn’t come with the initial package.
Last but not least, is hardware quality. ecobee3 Lite, as the number 3 might suggest, belongs to the older generation of ecobee smart thermostat, and was first released in October 2016. Thus, we can expect older technologies included with the ecobee3, most notably the “quieter”, lower-quality speaker, and the front panel is made of plastic instead of glass.
The ecobee3 Lite is very identical to the more premium ecobee 4 or ecobee SmartTerhmostat, and installing it will be fairly simple. Integrating it with HomeKit is also very similar to the steps required in ecobee SmartThermostat.
Design-wise, the Ecobee3 Lite looks almost identical to the SmartThermostat (with different details and less overall build quality), and they both operate on the same ecobee App with a similar interface (if you don’t use HomeKit to control them).
The affordability and functionality win it one of our best Apple HomeKit thermostats.
- Great ecobee interface and physical design
- Can work with remote sensors (ecobee SmartSensor), unlike other budget smart thermostats
- Integration with Alexa, HomeKit, Wink, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT
- If you decide to purchase a SmartSensor, you’ll end up spending roughly the same as buying the Ecobee SmartThermostat
- Lower build quality overall
- Can’t control dehumidifier, humidifier, and ventilator
Emerson Sensi Touch
Here is the current Amazon pricing on the Emerson Sensi Touch B01N3CEUDH
While Emerson is a fairly unknown brand compared to Ecobee, Nest or even Honeywell, the Emerson Sensi Touch is a fairly affordable and solid-performing smart thermostat that is worth considering as a HomeKit-enabled smart thermostat.
It is closely priced to the Ecobee3 Lite reviewed above, and feature-wise, also quite similar.
Ease of Installation
The Emerson Sensi touch is among the easier to install among fellow smart thermostats, especially when you already have an existing thermostat (Here is their installation guide).
Simply remove the old thermostat, install the Sensi Touch with the included base plate and screws, attach the wires, secure the faceplate, and you are good to go. All in all, this should only take half an hour.
Keep in mind, however, that the Sensi Touch will require a common wire—or C-wire— for its installation.
The Emerson Sensi Touch looks rather outdated by today’s standards but does offer a large, functional, and responsive touch screen. It is well lit—better than ecobee3 Lite and others in this price range— and can dim itself after about 15 seconds or so.
A similar feature to what’s offered by the Honeywell lyric and can be a useful function to replace scheduling from time to time. If you are within 3 miles of your home—based on your phone’s GPS data—, the Sensi Touch will automatically set your “Home” temperature. This practice can conserve more energy in the long run.
Easy HomeKit Thermostat Automation
Sensi Touch offered the most seamless HomeKit integration among other thermostats we’ve tested.
Straight from the HomeKit app, tap “Add Accessory” and then tap on the Sensi Touch after it appears. Allow “Add Accessory to Network”. Then use your phone’s camera to scan the eight-digit HomeKit pairing code that appears on the Sensi Touch screen. Alternatively, you can enter it manually.
After a simple set-up (i.e., naming the Sensi Touch), you are basically good to go.
- Relatively affordable with a decent set of features
- Can integrate with Apple HomeKit (and Siri for automation), Alexa, and Google Assistant
- Large touchscreen interface
- Very easy installation, including easy integration with HomeKit
- The physical design is rather outdated
- No support for remote sensor
Editor’s Choice: Best Thermostat For Apple HomeKit
All ten of the smart thermostats we have discussed above offered their own value propositions. Some might offer affordability, while some others might offer unique features or functionalities not available anywhere else.
With that being said, choosing just one product here as the absolute best is very difficult.
However, for the sake of this guide, and after carefully weighing all the possible factors, our pick goes to:
Best Overall Homekit Thermostat: Ecobee SmartThermostat
Slightly more expensive than the others in this list, but the Ecobee SmartThermostat also offers the most value: including a SmartSensor in the package, built-in Alexa function (doesn’t need an Amazon Echo or third-party device), very intuitive smart scheduling, and a great overall set of features.
Best Affordable Homekit Thermostat: Emerson Sensi Touch
A close competition between the Sensi Touch, Honeywell Lyric and Emerson Sensi Touch, but we decided that the Emerson Sensi Touch is a better overall product.
It looks quite outdated compared to the Ecobee3 Lite—but better than the Lyric T5/T6 Pro—, but has a large and responsive backlit touchscreen. Very easy to use overall, offers GeoFencing, and better HomeKit integration than the other alternatives.
It’s worth noting, however, that Ecobee3 Lite supports remote sensors (Ecobee SmartSensor) and the Sensi Touch does not. If you want to install more sensors, the Ecobee3 Lite (or the Ecobee SmartThermostat, even), is a better pick.
Controlling your HVAC system with HomeKit, especially via Siri voice commands, is a very useful feature not only for an added convenience for your smart home, but to save more money on your utility bills over the long run.
The five smart thermostats we have discussed above are certainly some of the best HomeKit thermostat options available in the market today. We certainly hope more products—like Nest thermostats— will adopt HomeKit integration in the very near future, and by then we will update this list to consider the new contenders.