What are the best smart locks, thermostats, lights and security systems that I can control from my iPhone? I want to set up a smart home.

The internet has been a part of our lives for a few decades now, but for the most part, not a lot of things have changed. Apart from the rise of apps and social media, the internet has mainly been a product made accessible by devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. But that's set to change.

If you're a keen techie, you'll no doubt have heard of the Internet of Things. While it sounds nothing more than a confusing tech term, it actually has big consequences for us all. Essentially, it refers to a whole manner of products being connected to the internet, from fridges to cars. And pundits believe that over the next few years, we'll see even more internet-connected objects come to fruition.

In fact, according to Cisco, there could be 50 billion things connected to the internet by 2020. And the IoT industry will also generate trillions in profit annually. Although the benefits of connected technology will be felt in many areas, the home will benefit from it hugely. It's where we spend most of our lives when we're not working, and it's generally the place where we feel the most comfortable.

What is HomeKit?

Our homes are growing ever smarter, and Apple is one of the tech giants betting on the potential IoT offers in our homes and personal lives. That's exactly why it launched HomeKit, a framework that developers can use to enable their smart products to be controlled via an iOS app, either from inside or outside of a user's home, in 2014.

HomeKit was first introduced during WWDC in June 2014, and during WWDC 2016 Apple unveiled its new Home app, which arrived in iOS 10. The Home app on your iPhone places the controls for any HomeKit products you own into one simple-to-use app.

HomeKit is Apple's own smart home IoT framework. Built for manufacturers and developers, it can turn the iPhone into a smart home remote. With HomeKit functionality, you're able to control smart home products through iOS apps and Siri voice commands.

What is the Home app on the iPhone?

Home is an Apple app, available for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, that lets you control all of your HomeKit products. With Home, you'll be able manage each of your smart products from one app, and even create Scenes and Room presets. Scenes can include "Leaving home", for example, which would turn off the lights, lock your doors and lower the temperature in the home. Home works with Siri, too, so you could say "Good night" to set the Bedtime scene, or "Lock the front door" if you're already in the car or in bed.

HomeKit has been around for a few years now, so as you can imagine, there are more products out there that can work with the platform. From smart thermostats to connected lightbulbs, this technology has matured and there's so much more you can do with it. We look at the best, most innovative HomeKit-enabled products available on the market today.

Not every smart gadget works with HomeKit and the Home app. It's important to look for HomeKit-compatible products with the little yellow house symbol. Here, to get your started, we've gathered some of the best Internet of Things devices for your smart home - those that are compatible with HomeKit, those that are likely to get HomeKit support in the future, and those that can be controlled via their own apps on iPhone or iPad. We specify how each device is controlled next to its write-up.

What are the best smart home devices for Apple Home?

We have a selection of some of the best accessories that work with HomeKit below, but you can also take a look on Apple's website to see some of the newest home automation products that are hitting the market with HomeKit support. See: HomeKit accessories.

The Apple web page links to the store so you can see which Apple Home Kit accessories are available in the UK - unfortunately there are a lot of accessories available in the US that aren't available here. You will also see that some accessories are 'announced' while others are 'Coming soon'.

There is also a 'Works with Apple HomeKit' logo that you should start to see in shops. This indicates that a product can be controlled with the Apple Home app.

Works with HomeKit badge

Search the Apple Store for HomeKit accessories you can buy in the UK here: Apple UK HomeKit devices.

Thermostats & heating

It's brilliantly convenient being able to monitor and control the temperature of your house while you're out - turning on the heating when you're 20 minutes from your front door on a freezing-cold evening, for instance, or just checking you remembered to turn it off when you're halfway to the airport. 

Apple includes a number of HomeKitc-compliant thermostats, such as the Honeywell Lyric T6R, the Netatmo Thermostat, and the Elgato Eve Wireless Room Sensor.

Security cameras

Want to keep an eye on your house from your desk? HomeKit cameras and related security products include the D-Link Omna 180 Cam and the Elgato Eve Motion Sensor.

Lighting

Perfect for adding the finishing atmospheric touch to a Scene: lower the lights for your chill-out preset, turn off the downstairs lights when you activate "Bedtime" and so on. HomeKit lights include the Philips Hue White Ambiance Lighting Starter Kit.

What smart home devices don't work with Apple Home? Does Nest work with Home Kit?

Unfortunately one of the most popular thermostatic devices don't work with Apple Home and may never do so.

Nest doesn't work with HomeKit. However, the myHome Plus app, available from the App Store, lets you control Apple HomeKit accessories, as well as the Nest Thermostat. Get the myHome Plus app here.

All of the devices we look at below can be controlled via an iOS device, but not all of them are compatible with HomeKit and the Home app. We indicate whether a product is HomeKit-certified in each entry. Some of the products their own dedicated app that you'll need to download to control the device; in every case these apps are free.

HomePod

HomePod

Apple's upcoming smart speaker, the HomePod, is a must-have for iPhone owners. As well as being a high-end speaker capable of providing high-quality audio playback via Apple Music, it also features built-in Siri support.

Siri can handle requests ranging from the likes of the weather to unit conversion to reminders and more, although it's not as expansive as what is offered by Siri on iPhone or iPad, or compared to what is offered by Amazon Echo and Google Home.

It's due out for release later this year and expect Apple to shed more light on its capabilities when it announces the iPhone 8, likely in September. You can find out more about the HomePod in our rumour hub: HomePod UK release date, pricing and features

August Smart Lock

August Smart Lock

The HomeKit-connected Smart Lock from August lets you use your smartphone as a key, even if you're away from home. You can create virtual keys for family and friends and limit their access to just one week, a specific date or an hour or two, for example. You can also delete guests at any time. You'll be able to see who has been in and out of your house at any time with the key tracker.

If you want it to, the Smart Lock can auto-lock behind you as you leave your home, and unlock when you approach to save you fumbling in your bag for your keys. It's easy to install, too.

Controlled via: August Home iOS app, Siri
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes (second-generation model)

Belkin WeMo Switch

Belkin WeMo Switch

Belkin's WeMo Switch device lets you control household electrical appliances with your iPhone.

Positioned as a central item in your home, the WeMo Switch uses your internet network to manage devices such as TVs, lamps, stereos, heaters and fans. The idea is that you have a way to control your electricals wherever you happen to be. So, for instance, you could turn your heating on before you get home from work.

Controlled via: WeMo iOS app, Amazon Alexa, Nest
Apple HomeKit Certified: No

ConnectSense Smart Outlet with Apple HomeKit Technology

ConnectSense Smart Outlet with Apple HomeKit Technology

Note: this product is designed for US plugs and power standards.

ConnectSense is another company working on some exciting internet-enabled gizmos, and the ConnectSense Smart Outlet is an excellent example. This device lets you control and monitor the power usage in your home through your iPhone.

Positioned as a central item in your home, the Smart Outlet is integrated with Apple HomeKit, and you can easily create different functionalities for your smart home. For instance, you can get the outlet to turn off lights automatically, lock your doors, adjust your thermostat and close the garage door.

Like the Netatmo Thermostat (elsewhere in this article), ConnectSense has developed a companion app for the Smart Outlet. Once downloaded on to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, it enables you to issue commands to the outlet. There's also integration with Siri, meaning you can turn on and off any plug-in accessory by using your voice.

Controlled via: Apple Home app, Siri, ConnectSense iOS app
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

Elgato Eve

Elgato Eve

The Elgato Eve home-monitoring system includes a wide range of electronic sensors for tracking air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy and water consumption and more.

The Eve range is wide ranging, and each is HomeKit-compatible. That means that, thanks to the Home app, your smart home is controllable through one central app with this lot. You can use iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and even control the Eve gadgets using Siri voice control.

Eve Room senses indoor air quality, temperature, and humidity. Eve Weather senses temperature, humidity, and air pressure. Eve Energy sees how much energy devices are using. Eve Door & Window knows whether your door or window is open or closed. Eve Motion notifies you via your iPhone or iPad whenever movement in the room is detected.

Eve Light Switch lets you switch your lights on and off using Siri, or with a tap on your iPhone. And Eve Thermo allows you to set your comfort temperature level, and create schedules to synchronise your heating with your routine. The Thermo costs £59.95 from Apple; read our Eve Thermo review

Controlled via: Apple Home app, Elgato Eve iOS app
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm

First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm

You can even get internet-connected smoke alarms. The First Alert OneLink, which retails at around £200 in the UK, aims to make your home safer. Just download the app on to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, and the smoke alarm will send you a push notification if it identifies smoke or a carbon dioxide leak.

Powered by Wi-Fi, the smoke alarm has close integration with Apple HomeKit. As well as looking out for dangers, the device also sports a night light, which can be dimmed through the iPhone app. It's easy to set up like any other smoke alarm, and you get 10 years of protection.

Controlled via: Apple Home app
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

Friday Lock

Friday Lock

Friday Labs has worked with architects at the Bjarke Ingels Group to create the Friday Smart Lock, a locking system that is designed to let you open your front door key-free via your smartphone.

You can let friends and family into your house remotely. There's also a tamper alert, so you will be notified immediately if someone is trying to break into your home.

The lock is available in a range of natural materials, including woods, metals and porcelain; the design team says it's a "stylish smart lock that homeowners can individually select to complement their décor."

The Friday Smart Lock is available to pre-order now for $199 from the Friday Lock website.

Controlled via: iOS and Android apps (to be released at launch)
Apple HomeKit Certified: No

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat

Honeywell's Lyric Thermostat offers HomeKit support for controlling your heating with ease, as well as control via the Apple Watch should you happen to have Apple's wearable, too.

Apple Watch users can see a snapshot of their home system in Glances, plus, thanks to the Apple Watch's geofencing feature, your thermostat will automatically engage Out of Town mode when you leave range of your home.

Other HomeKit-enabled thermostats include Netatmo (which we look at elsewhere in this article) and Ecobee.

Controlled via: Apple Home app, Lyric iOS app
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

iDevices Outdoor Switch

iDevices Outdoor Switch

Note: this product is designed for US plugs and power standards.

We've talked about how you can make your home's interior smart, but what about your garden? The iDevices Outdoor Switch works with HomeKit to enable you to control gadgets outside of your home. This can include lights, speakers, fans and more. Handy.

If you use electrical appliances outside - like a posh shed television - then you ought to have a look at the Outdoor Switch. The name of the device is pretty simple to digest. It's a plug device that allows you to control and monitor outdoor electronics straight from your iPhone or iPad.

Electricity and the great outdoors don't always go together, but luckily, the outlet features a design that's rugged and rain-tight. You'll find twin dual power outlets, letting you control two appliances at the same time. As far as functionalities go, the outlet is certainly a handy thing to have around.

You can schedule products to turn on when you need them the most, and you can access real-time energy consumption data to save money on bills. Switch responds to Siri voice commands directly, and you can control it through an iOS device wherever you happen to be.

Controlled via: Apple Home app, iDevices Connected iOS app
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone

Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone

The Netatmo Thermostat is one of the most popular connected gadgets you can get for your dream smart home. Compatible with both the iPhone and iPad, you're able to monitor your past energy consumption and record your boiler activity. This information is accessible through a free companion app.

That's not all the thermostat can do, though. You can also get monthly reports to help you manage your heating effectively and save money on bills. It can even make adjustments to your heating based on your living habits and the amount of insulation you have in your house. The device itself comes in five interchangeable colours.

Controlled via: Apple Home app, Netatmo iOS app, Amazon Alexa
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

Panasonic Smart Home Monitoring And Control Kit

Panasonic Smart Home Monitoring And Control Kit

If there's one area that a lot of smart home technologies cover, it's security. There are few experiences worse than a break-in, but you'll find a variety of IoT devices that can help you monitor your house.

The Panasonic Smart Home Monitoring and Control Kit does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides you with a plethora of sensors and gadgets to ensure your house is always safe, wherever you happen to be. And they can all be controlled via an iOS app.

In the kit, you'll find a full compact indoor camera sporting an infrared sensor and microphone for two-way communication, as well as a motion sensor that can detect movement. You also get a sensor that can tell if a window or door has been opened and a smart plug that can control your lights and everyday appliances.

While the kit is pretty expensive to buy up front, it's worth noting that you don't have to pay any monthly fees to use the technology and services. The idea here is that you have a solid foundation to build the smart home of your dreams, putting safety and security first. You can read more about the kit here.

Controlled via: Panasonic Home Network System iOS app
Apple HomeKit Certified: No

Philips Hue White Personal Wireless Lighting LED Starter Kit

Philips Hue White Personal Wireless Lighting LED Starter Kit

Smart light bulbs are popular option for modern homes, too. If lighting is what you're looking to control remotely, the Philips Hue range is a good option. They're WiFi-enabled and come with a smartphone app. Using it, you can turn them on/off and alter their brightness.

There are plenty of options including a White Ambiance Lighting Starter Kit (£99.95) or a White and Colour Ambiance Starter Kit (£149.95) if you're looking to add a splash of colour. There are also lightstrips and other options for adding more dramatic or mood-setting lighting your home too.

In terms of design and functionality, the Hue lightbulbs are on the simple side. Once you've got them up and running, they'll provide your home with a dimmable white light. That's handy if you don't want to make your house look tacky.

What's also great about the lightbulbs is that they last for around 25,000 hours and are compatible with ES light fittings. The bulbs don't just act as lights, however. You can get them to wake you up in the morning and tell you once your food has finished cooking.

If you're a smart bulb newbie, your best option is probably the cheapest kit of all: the White Personal Wireless Lighting LED Starter Kit (£59.99). This comes with two bulbs and the Hue Bridge.

Controlled via: Apple Home app, Philips Hue iOS app
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

Also see: Best smart lights and smart bulbs you can control from your phone

Schlage Connect Deadbolt

Schlage Connect Deadbolt

Internet-enabled locks may sound bizarre, but they do exist and could play an important role in the home of the future. The Schlage Connect is definitely worth considering if you'd like to add an extra layer of security to your home.

The lock sports an easy-to-use touchscreen keypad, and it can sense the smallest vibrations or movement of your door. When that happens, an audible alarm is set off, giving you a way to protect your home from break-ins. It's also a handy way to ensure you don't leave your door unlocked.

There's also the ability to set up alarms for when someone goes in and out of your home, and you can set up keypad passwords for family and friends. The lock offers memory for up to 30 users. You can use the lock with your iPhone and Apple TV.

Controlled via: Schlage Sense iOS app, Amazon Alexa
Apple HomeKit Certified: No (although Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is)

WiFi Plug Home

WiFi Plug Home

Although Belkin unveiled HomeKit-enabled WeMo models (discussed earlier in this article) at CES in January, it may be a while before they arrive on British shores. The Wifi Plug Home could be your best bet if you'd like to use Apple's smart home app straight away.

It's pretty similar to WeMo, giving you the ability to manage your household appliances from anywhere in the world. There are also timers, which let you schedule your devices to turn themselves on and off, and you can monitor your energy use to save money on bills. You get Siri voice control, too.

The company says the product is "due to be released in Q1 of 2017", but you can pre-order now.

Controlled via: Apple Home app, or WifiPlug Power app for Android
Apple HomeKit Certified: Yes

Withings Home

Withings Home

Should you want to make security a priority in your home, then you'll want to get a good security camera. The Withings Home HD is great model to go for. It sports a 5-megapixel CMOs sensor that's capable of recording full HD (1080p) at 30 frames per second.

That may sound pretty technical, but put it this way, it'll give you a great picture of your home while you're out and about. As well as a high-quality sensor, the camera also provides you with a 135-degree view of your home. And there's automatic night vision so you can keep tabs on things when it's dark.

You can get live updates within a companion app designed for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. While this is predominantly a security camera, there are other things you could do with it. For instance, you could use it to check what's happening in the kitchen or turn it into a smart baby monitor.

Read more about the Withings Home here.

Controlled via: Withings Home iOS app
Apple HomeKit Certified: No (although Withings Home Plus will be)