Alexa vs. HomeKit: which smart home platform is best?

Alexa vs. HomeKit: which smart home platform is best?

When it comes to building a smart home, few steps are as important as choosing your smart home platform. Pick the wrong one, and you could end up using dozens of separate smartphone apps to control all your devices.

Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa are two of the best options available today – but which one is better for you? Here’s a comparison of the two platforms to help you decide.

What is a smart home platform?

Smart home platforms provide a centralized place to control all your smart home products. After uploading the software (whether it’s on your phone or a hub device), you’ll be able to see a list of everything in your smart home and have easy access to all their controls.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to use a smart home platform, as most smart home products come with their own standalone apps. But when you have tons of gadgets in your home, each with their own app, it can be cumbersome to scroll through them all to perform basic tasks. With a smart home platform like Alexa or HomeKit, everything in your home can be accessed in one unified place.

Hub devices Zeke Jones/Digital Trends

Hub devices are the centerpiece of most smart homes, with both smart speakers and smart displays giving you ways to control the rest of your setup. However, Apple doesn’t have the most robust selection of HomeKit hubs, as you’ll largely be limited to the HomePod, HomePod mini, Apple TV 4K or a standard iPad Pro.

Amazon Alexa, meanwhile, works with the entire Echo line (which includes a variety of smart displays and smart speakers), as well as third-party products like the Sonos One or Bose Home Speaker 500. Amazon also seems to be getting smarter. home hubs are to Alexa what Apple is to HomeKit, as evidenced by the recent unveiling of the Echo Pop. Meanwhile, Apple doesn’t even have a dedicated smart display for HomeKit — though that could change in the future.

Winner: Alexa

Compatible devices

Without a doubt, Amazon Alexa is supported by more products than HomeKit. From video doorbells and smart thermostats to smart speakers and robot vacuums, it’s hard to find a product that doesn’t work with Amazon’s smart home platform. Amazon itself puts out some of the best products for Alexa, including the Amazon Smart Thermostat, Blink Video Doorbell, and more.

Apple is far behind Amazon in terms of the sheer number of compatible products, but its smaller pool is likely of similar quality. So while you don’t have dozens of smart speakers to choose from, having HomePod and HomePod mini support with HomeKit is a huge win. There are also many third-party products that work with HomeKit, including popular items from Nanoleaf, Schlage, and Ecobee. Expect to see this number balloon further as Matter continues to roll out to more products.

For now, though, it’s hard to go wrong with Amazon Alexa, as you’re almost guaranteed to find something that fits your needs. HomeKit isn’t sloppy, but its catalog is a bit smaller and usually a bit more expensive than the competition.

Winner: Alexa

Ease of use

With intuitive smartphone apps and responsive voice assistants, both HomeKit and Alexa are remarkably easy to use. Alexa works across both Android and iOS smartphones, while HomeKit is limited to iOS devices, but aside from that quirk, controlling your smart home is as simple as opening an app.

Winner: Tie

Verdict Amazon

If you’re glued to the iOS ecosystem and don’t mind a smaller pool of products to choose from, there’s nothing inherently 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 a problem finding something that fits your needs and budget. Alexa is also a great voice assistant, capable of tackling any task you throw at it.

All told, Alexa is probably a better choice for your smart home than HomeKit. With a wider range of products and support for both Android and iOS devices, it’s hard to go wrong with Amazon’s comprehensive platform. HomeKit is a good second, but with fewer options and some major omissions, there’s not much reason to choose it over the competition.

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