While you’re shopping around for the best smart light, you may be trying to find the ones that play the nicest with your Apple devices. HomeKit compatibility helps you manage your smart lights alongside all other devices in the home from a common interface. This way, you can have seamless automation and control of everything in the house. Smart lights, in particular, have great control options through the Home apps for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, including full Siri support for hands-free commands.
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Nanoleaf Shapes Smarter Kit
Best overall smart lights for Apple HomeKit
- Thread support
- Modular system that’s good for experimentation
- Music sync and many other options for customization
- Challenging mounting
Nanoleaf tops our list as one of the few smart lights that support Thread through HomeKit. Thread is a new wireless protocol that promises to improve response times and provide redundancy as devices get added and removed from the mesh network. Apple is all over this standard, and the HomePod Mini already supports it.
As for the quality of the lights themselves, Nanoleaf has made a great name for itself as a modular wall-mounted lighting system. You can find all the fancier features you’d expect, like screen mirroring, automations, and music sync, alongside the basics like scheduling and color recipes. If you’re looking for added variety, Nanoleaf’sand series also support Thread border routing via HomeKit.
Philips Hue 4-Pack with Hue Hub
Most mature smart light ecosystem
- One of the best smart bulbs for traditional sockets
- Supports everything from TV sync to color changes
- Easy-to-use app
- Requires a separate hub
Philips Hue continues to be one of the leading brands in smart lighting. The color bulbs support the full gamut of functions like music and TV sync, scheduling, automations, and more. The Hue Bridge that orchestrates all Hue lights in the home will get Matter support eventually, so it will benefit from the latest changes. This should help them play nice with other Apple-friendly smart home accessories for the foreseeable future.
LIFX (A19) Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb
Best hub-less smart light for Apple HomeKit
- Supports up to 1100 lumens
- Compatible with Google Home, Alexa, and Apple HomeKit
- Doesn’t need a hub
- Some challenges with app setup
LIFX connects directly to your Wi-Fi, meaning you won’t need a hub like the Hue bulbs, or even a pseudo-hub like a Thread router, to get the most out of Nanoleaf. Even without that bit of supporting tech, LIFX bulbs support Siri and HomeKit integration. These bulbs go up to 1100 lumens in brightness and enjoy a color range of 1500K to 9000K. With a few of these peppered around the home, you can get quite creative with the mood.
Best budget smart light for Apple HomeKit
- Great price
- Color temperature control
- Easy options for brightness and color customization
- Relatively low brightness
Vocolinc makes a highly affordable HomeKit smart bulb that checks all the boxes. With 850 lumens of brightness, a color temperature range between 2200K and 7000K, and full compatibility across all the main smart home ecosystems, you’d be surprised you only paid $14 for one. They have their own app too, which also includes the usual scene management, scheduling, and preset effects.
HomeKit smart light shopping tips
How to connect smart lights to Apple Home
The way smart lights connect to Apple Home will vary based on the manufacturer. Generally, you’ll need to either tap your iPhone against the device or manually punch the pairing code into the light’s native app once the bulb has power. After the native app is fully set up, you’ll need to open the Home app and tap the “Plus” button in the top-right. Whenever you end up taking the plunge on your smart lights, be sure to take a look at our installation guide on how to set them up.
How to control lights with Apple Home
The easiest way to control lights with Apple Home is by using Siri. You can say things like “turn down the living room lights to 50%” or “turn off all the lights” and have it taken care of without having to dig around within the Home app proper.
That said, the Apple Home app allows you to organize your lights into rooms. You can add smart lights to rooms and zones by long-pressing them from Apple Home and tapping the Gear icon. This menu provides brightness and color control, not to mention grouping with other lights so they all act together. You can find out more about how smart lights work here.
Just remember that to make the most out of your HomeKit lights, you need to set up a Hub, which can be your iPad or one of Apple’s dedicated accessories. We’ve got plenty of other tips on how to make the most out of HomeKit, too.
How Matter will change things
Matter is a smart home protocol that’s nearly ready to roll out to major smart apps like Apple’s Home app. Matter was created as a joint effort from Apple, Google, Amazon, and others to create a communication method that was more secure and worked equally well with all their smart platforms, solving many compatibility issues. Many brands have already announced compatibility with Matter, with more devices to follow. That means instead of looking for “works with HomeKit” when buying a device, you can simply look for the Matter logo or “works with Matter” instead and know that it’s Apple-ready.
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