HomeKit Automation and Security - Cost Not a Factor

For someone moving into a new home with a blank slate for home automation, security cameras including doorbell, thermostat, blinds, etc.

What is the best brand/product when it comes to quality and compatibility with HomeKit.

When these topics come up on the show, cost is often a factor in the products being discussed or suggested. Is there a clear cut answer if cost is not part of the equation?

If cost is not a factor, you might want to take a look at Savant. I learned about them several years ago because they used Macs to control their systems.

I’ve never used their products because I live in an apartment. And I’d rather spend the money on a new car. :grinning:

My set up right now is as follows:

  1. Security: Abode - but it’s got some bugs but will have all the accessories you need.

  2. Outdoor Cameras: Logitech Circle View - the night vision is not the greatest but everything else is great.

  3. Thermostat: Ecobee 3 - non issues and I like have the motion/temp sensors in every room.

  4. WiFi: Linksys Velop - no issues so far.

  5. Door Lock: Yale Hkmekit lock - no issues so far.

  6. Doorbell: Logitech Circle View Doorbell- the field of view seems small and there is an always on light for “colored night vision”. Great otherwise.

  7. TV: LG w/HomeKit integration - no issues so far.

  8. Garage door opener: MyQ Hub - no issues so far. Easy set up with my MyQ enabled garage doors.

In use an Apple TV as my home hub.

Sounds interesting. My home automation consists of 6 EufyHome WiFi bulbs controlled by a couple of $30 Google Home minis. I used Ubiquiti routers at my company, and have their AmpliFi system at home. Very little I can change about my place.

I found Savant’s systems interesting when I first read about them, but my post was primarily a joke. Which, in hindsight, was probably not the best way to welcome @thepaul to the forum.

If I offended you @thepaul, it was unintended and I apologize.

When everything says “Login for pricing” that is not a good sign.

Any idea how outrageous the prices are?

The article I read that led me to the site may have mentioned some prices but I don’t recall. It’s probably like a restaurant that doesn’t put prices on the menu.

Here’s my 2 cents:

  • Lights: Lutron Caseta. I switched all of my light switches over to Lutron. I also have Pico remotes in a few locations and 5 or 6 of the plug-in dimmer switches. 48 devices in total. They’re rock-solid - hub is Ethernet, they have a proprietary communication protocol and frequency. Pricy, but if I had to do it over again I’d still go the Lutron route. Some people dislike their appearance, but the light glow of the switches is nice at night, and I’ve learned to love the raised bumps so I can easily feel for the ‘up’ switch.
    If money is no object, I’d go with Lutron for their smart shades, too. I don’t personally have them but I’ve read good things about them, too.
  • Security: I run HomeBridge with the homebridge-securitysystem plugin and it’s worked really well. We don’t need a control panel mounted on the wall.
  • Wifi: Eero has served me well so far. Their forced updates is a blessing and a curse–sometimes I feel like there was an update or two that caused some ‘not responding’ issues in HomeKit, but it’s so hard to tell definitely because other variables changed, too. Stick with Ethernet back-haul.
    I like the HomeKit router functionality where I can restrict the various devices’ network connectivity (looking at you, Aqara). Note that their recently-released Eero 6 isn’t certified by Apple yet for HomeKit yet.
  • Thermostat: Ecobee has worked really well for my needs with my heat pump. I have three temperature sensors throughout the house as well, and like how I can say "when we’re sleeping, only worry about keeping the bedrooms at the desired temperature). I also nerd-out on the Beestat.io data
  • TV: I had my TCL TV in HomeKit for a bit, but I noticed it was very chatty on my network, and unlike other devices you cannot restrict the traffic in HomeKit routing (for good reason I suppose–the content comes from all over). I reverted back to just using my Apple TV + CEC so the TV still turns on/off via HomeKit.
  • Garage doors: MyQ hub has been fine for me. It’s annoying when the battery on the sensor for whether the door is up/down gets low and it doesn’t warn you, but proactively replacing the battery every year has solved that problem.

If money is no limit, buy some of the original HomePods for rooms where sound quality matters, then sprinkle HomePod minis in other locations. Make sure every floor of the house has at least one (including your basement), and also put one in your garage. It’s nice to have music that you can hear no matter where you go, and the new intercom feature comes in handy.

Also, where possible try to avoid bluetooth devices–even if connectivity isn’t a problem, they tend to be slower in responding to instructions. The exception is a device that also supports Thread, because Thread is definitely the future.

If cost is truly not the limiting factor, definitely go with Lutron RA2 Select instead of Caseta.

Same software interface, same compatibility with HomeKit, Apple, Google, etc.

But RA2 Select includes a wider choice of supported hardware modules, the dimmers and switches look like normal Decor paddle switches instead of the unique Caseta “gadget” look, they can be ordered in a wide range of custom colors and finishes. (My clients prefer subdued colors like “Biscuit” instead of generic contractor almond, and the “satin” finish is a higher-end look than standard “glossy” plastic.

Equally important, RA2 Select allows adding up to three additional repeaters for coverage in large homes (multi-floor, or very large L or other shaped layouts).

Lastly, RA2 Select includes “remote dimmers/remote switches” for true 3-way, 4-way, switch controls without forcing you to use PICO’s. The RD/RS modules have LED indicator lights just like regular switches/dimmers, but are less expensive.

(The total maximum number of devices was a lot higher with RA2 Select, but I think Lutron recently increased the Caseta limit so that might not be as big a difference anymore.)

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For security cameras, and I know I will get negative pushback, don’t use HomeKit, go with dedicated network video recorder and power-over-Ethernet cameras.

I can elaborate, but basically what you get is 24x7x size of storage drives continuous recording that is totally secure and private by being local.

Nothing beats a recording when it comes to actual security. Motion detection, people recognition, object detection are cute to play with (and many NVR systems have that too now), but no fancy algorithm that only records clips can answer the question “show me what was going on 3 hours (or 3 days) before that clip that cuts-off too soon.”

Nothing beats the performance of viewing, downloading, or skipping through video footage than a local system. HomeKit is sluggish and buffers a lot when trying to view clips and scrubbing (moving at high speed) is painful and annoying for anything more than a quick look with HomeKit video cameras.

Battery cameras are convenient, but a ongoing nuisance to keep charging/changing the power. Powered cameras require nearby electrical outlets, so PoE (powered over Ethernet) is the most practical for serious camera installations. At this time, there are ZERO power-over-Ethernet HomeKit certified cameras available.

Lastly, HomeKit is limited to 5 HSV cameras. Put a camera at each corner of your house, and you are already at or over the limit.

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