When it comes to building a smart home, few steps are as important as choosing your smart home platform. If you pick the wrong one, you might end up using dozens of separate smartphone apps to control all your gadgets.
Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa are two of the best options available — but which one is better for you? To help you decide, here is a comparison of the two platforms.
What is a smart home platform?
Smart home platforms provide a central place to control all your smart home products. After loading the software (be it on your phone or a hub device) you can see a list of everything in your smart home and have easy access to all the controls.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to use a smart home platform, as most smart home products have their own standalone applications. But when your house has tons of stuff lying around, each with its own app, it can be tedious to scroll through them all to perform basic tasks. With a smart home platform like Alexa or HomeKit, you can access everything in your home in one place.
Hub Devices Zeke Jones/Digital Trends
Hub devices are at the heart of most smart homes. Both smart speakers and smart displays give you the power to control the rest of your setup. However, Apple doesn’t have the most robust selection of HomeKit hubs, as you’re mostly limited to the HomePod, HomePod mini, Apple TV 4K, or a standard iPad Pro.
Amazon Alexa now works with the entire Echo range (which includes a variety of smart displays and smart speakers), as well as third-party products like the Sonos One or the Bose Home Speaker 500. Amazon also appears to be producing more smart home hubs for Alexa than Apple for HomeKit, as evidenced by the Echo Pop’s recent unveiling. Apple, meanwhile, doesn’t even have a dedicated smart display for HomeKit — although that could change in the future.
Undoubtedly, more products support Amazon Alexa than HomeKit. From video doorbells and smart thermostats to smart speakers and robotic vacuums, it’s hard to find a product that doesn’t work with Amazon’s smart home platform. Amazon itself makes some of the best products for Alexa, including the Amazon Smart Thermostat, Blink Video Doorbell, and more.
Apple lags far behind Amazon in sheer number of compatible products, but its smaller pool is arguably of similar quality. Even if you don’t have dozens of smart speakers to choose from, HomePod and HomePod mini support with HomeKit is a huge win. There are also numerous third-party products that work with HomeKit, including popular items from Nanoleaf, Schlage, and Ecobee. Expect that number to increase further as Matter introduces more products.
For now, though, you can hardly go wrong with Amazon Alexa, as you’re almost guaranteed to find something that suits your needs. HomeKit isn’t a problem, but its catalog is a bit smaller and usually a little more expensive than the competition.
With intuitive smartphone apps and responsive voice assistants, both HomeKit and Alexa are remarkably easy to use. Alexa works on both Android and iOS smartphones, while HomeKit is limited to iOS devices. Apart from this peculiarity, controlling your smart home is as easy as opening an app.
Basically, if you’re locked into the iOS ecosystem and don’t mind a smaller selection of products, there’s nothing wrong with HomeKit. It’s functional, easy to use, and supports more than enough products to build a robust smart home.
However, Alexa is an easy recommendation for everyone. With a catalog full of top-notch products, you’ll never have trouble finding something that suits your needs and budget. Alexa is also a great voice assistant that can handle any task you set it.
All in all, Alexa is probably a better choice for your smart home than HomeKit. With a wider variety of products and support for both Android and iOS devices, it’s hard to go wrong with Amazon’s comprehensive platform. HomeKit is just behind, but with fewer options and some big omissions, there’s little reason to choose it over the competition.