Alexa vs HomeKit: Which smart home platform is better?
When it comes to building a smart home, a few steps are as important as choosing your smart home platform. Pick the wrong one and you could find yourself using dozens of separate smartphone apps to control all your gadgets.
Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa are two of the best options available today, but which one is best for you? Here is 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 of your smart home products. After loading the software (whether 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 of 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 if you have tons of gadgets around your house, each with its own app, it can be cumbersome to sift through them all to perform basic tasks. With a smart home platform like Alexa or HomeKit, everything in your home is accessible from a unified location.
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends hub devices
Hub devices are at the center of most smart homes, with smart speakers and smart displays giving you control over the rest of your setup. However, Apple doesn’t have the most robust selection of HomeKit hubs, as you’ll be largely limited to 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 seems also produce smarter home hubs for Alexa than Apple is for HomeKit, as evidenced by the recent reveal of the Echo Pop. Apple, meanwhile, doesn’t even have a dedicated smart display for HomeKit – though that may change in the future.
Undoubtedly, 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 has 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 number of compatible products, but its smaller pool is arguably of similar quality. So while you won’t have dozens of smart speakers to choose from, HomePod and HomePod mini support with HomeKit is a big win. There are also many third-party products that work with HomeKit, including popular items from Nanoleaf, Schlage, and Ecobee. Expect to see that number skyrocket 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 to suit your needs. HomeKit is no slouch, but its catalog is a bit smaller and generally a bit more expensive than the competition.
Ease of use
With intuitive smartphone apps and responsive voice assistants, HomeKit and Alexa are remarkably easy to use. Alexa works on Android and iOS smartphones, while HomeKit is limited to iOS devices, but that quirk aside, controlling your smart home is as easy as opening an app.
If you’re glued to the iOS ecosystem and don’t mind having a smaller choice of products, 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.
Alexa, however, is an easy recommendation for everyone. With a catalog that’s 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 variety of products and support for Android and iOS devices, it’s hard to go wrong with Amazon’s comprehensive platform. HomeKit is a close second, but with fewer options and a few big omissions, there’s really little reason to choose it over the competition.