“HomeKit” – the smart home hub from Apple, is one of the most popular home automation hubs in USA. The “Big 3” tech giants – Apple, Google and Amazon compete each other in the “smart home” space. Amazon has “Alexa and Echo”, Google has “Google Home” and Apple has “HomeKit”. All of them are equally popular among the households in USA. In this article, we write about homekit thermostat models – thermostats which can be controlled using Apple homekit.
Apple HomeKit is – #1 in popularity among all the 3 models, as it goes well with people owning the “Apple Ecosystem” – with iPhone, iPad, Mac, iTunes and the Apple watch. If you use more than one Apple product, “HomeKit” should be your obvious smart home hub choice. In this article, we write about HomeKit thermostat models – where we list out different thermostats compatible with the Apple HomeKit. Let’s see the best homekit thermostats for your smart home.
If you read our article – “Types of Thermostats” – you will understand there are different types of thermostats, say low voltage thermostats (like Ecobee, Nest, Emerson Sensi ST75, Honeywell RTH9585WF) and line voltage thermostats (like MySa, Honeywell and more). Thermostats are also classified based on features, say – Smart thermostats, WiFi thermostats, Programmable thermostats and more. Let’s see which of these thermostat models goes well with Apple HomeKit.
Smart Thermostats for HomeKit
In our opinion, there are only two companies that make truly smart thermostats – Ecobee and Nest. Both companies have two variants each; for Nest – Nest 3rd Generation and Nest E, and for Ecobee – Ecobee 4 and Ecobee 3 Lite. Nest and Ecobee models are basically low voltage thermostats suitable for low voltage heating/cooling systems like central furnace, heat pumps and central boilers. They are not suitable for line voltage heating systems like baseboard heaters, forced-fan heaters etc. Currently there is only one company, named MySa – that makes smart thermostat for line voltage systems. All these smart thermostat models works well as “Homekit thermostats” – which means they syncs well with Apple Homekit. Let’s quickly brief through the highlight features of each smart thermostat models for Homekit.
#1 Ecobee 4 & Ecobee 3 Lite
We consider both Nest and Ecobee thermostats equally good by all standards. We’ve reviewed both of them in detail, and you can read them here – Ecobee smart thermostat review and Nest smart thermostat review! We chose Ecobee as #1 because its full featured model (Ecobee 4) comes packed with an extra room sensor (you’ve to buy this room sensor separately for Nest) and Ecobee models don’t require a C-wire (as they have PEN – power extender kit – which can be used if you don’t have C-wire in your home).
As a smart thermostat, Ecobee thermostats has all necessary features like self learning, high energy savings (Ecobee claims 23% annual energy savings), geo-fencing, WiFi and internet based control, voice control and integration with smart hubs like Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and more. Ecobee 4 – is the full featured model with built in Amazon Alexa and comes packed with an extra room sensor to manage any hot/cold spots in your home. Ecobee 3 Lite – is the budget model (which is basically a features trimmed version of Ecobee 4) which has all essential features of a smart thermostat but not as good as Ecobee 4.
The prime difference between Ecobee 4 & Ecobee 3 Lite is compatibility, room sensor and Alexa. Ecobee 4 is compatible with most of the commonly used HVAC systems and supports accessories like humidifiers, ventilators etc. Ecobee 3 Lite does not support accessories and has lesser compatibility compared to Ecobee 4. There is no built in Amazon Alexa for Ecobee 3 Lite and room sensors have to be purchased separately.
#2 Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E
When you write about smart thermostats, an article would be incomplete without mentioning the pioneers – Nest Thermostats. Unfortunately Nest thermostats (Nest E and Nest 3rd Gen) are not compatible with Apple homekit. If you’re serious about your thermostats having homekit compatibility, you should not consider Nest thermostats.
With Nest thermostats ruled out, the best smart homekit thermostat choice is Ecobee 4 or Ecobee 3 Lite.
#3 MySa – Smart Line Voltage Thermostat
MySa – is a smart line voltage thermostat with essential features like energy savings, remote location control via WiFi & internet, mobile app based programming/scheduling , energy reports, geo-fencing and a lot more features. Line voltage systems are basically heating/cooling systems that operate on direct electricity, say 110 volts or 220 volts. They convert electricity directly to heat energy; hence they are usually used in states where electricity costs are comparatively low.
WiFi Enabled Homekit Thermostat Models
If you don’t have the budget for a high end “smart thermostat” but prefer a model that has WiFi based control and voice control through smart home hubs like Homekit or Amazon Alexa, go for a WiFi enabled thermostat with smart hub compatibility. We’ve found Honeywell RTH9585WF and Emerson Sensi ST75 two great choices as a Homekit compatible WiFi thermostat.
#1 Honeywell RTH9585WF
Honeywell RTH9585WF – is one of the best selling WiFi thermostat out there currently. This model is an upgraded version of Honeywell RTH9580WF – which was #1 best seller for a long period of time. This model is compatible with a lot of HVAC system types and you can check the compatibility in our guide. Read our review of Honeywell RTH9585WF – if you’re interested in this model.
#2 Emerson Sensi ST75
Emerson Sensi ST75 – is the next best choice in Homekit compatible WiFi thermostats. We’ve covered the model very detailed in our review of Emerson Sensi ST75 – which you should read if you’re considering this thermostat.
Nest 3rd Gen and Nest E
As we wrote above, Nest thermostats are equally good as Ecobee when counted as a smart thermostat. However, the full featured Nest thermostat – “Nest 3rd Generation” – is compatible with higher number of HVAC system types than Ecobee 4 (the full featured model of Ecobee). Nest 3rd Gen – is compatible even with 4H/2C (4 stages of heating and 2 stages of cooling) type multi stage HVAC systems. You may read our thermostat compatibility guide – where we comprehensively cover compatibility of different popular thermostat models. Both Nest & Ecobee models are compatible with the most commonly used HVAC system types in America – which is either single stage (furnace/boiler) or heat pump based systems. If you’ve a multi stage system, you will have to check compatibility before deciding on your thermostat model.
Note: As we’ve figured out, Nest thermostats are not compatible with homekit. You can not sync/pair a Nest thermostat (be it Nest E or Nest 3rd Gen) with Apple homekit. According to latest news reports, Nest Labs is considering this feature (homekit compatibility) seriously as the homekit ecosystem has a significant user base. We see lots of requests in the official Nest forum demanding homekit compatibility for Nest thermostats. However, Nest Labs has not made an official declaration whether they will add this feature or not.
If you’ve already invested in the Apple Homekit ecosystem, and you want an excellent smart thermostat compatible with Apple homekit, your #1 choice should be “Ecobee Smart Thermostats“.
Nest is owned by Google and they have better tuned their product for Google Home (their own smart home hub). Nest thermostats are also compatible with Amazon Alexa (only for 1 skill – changing temperature), Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT and they work well with them.