Smart home systems are rapidly changing the way we live at home. It allows you to breathe new life into your typical home setup and make it something more efficient, smarter and more exciting.
Once you are ready to set up a smart home system, one of the biggest questions you will face is which smart home ecosystem to use. Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit are among the most well-known names in the smart home space. But which of these systems is best for you?
Amazon Alexa vs. Apple HomeKit: Compatibility
One of the preconditions for adopting an ecosystem must be how many devices it is compatible with. On this stat, Apple’s HomeKit follows Amazon’s Alexa. The thing is, HomeKit isn’t as popular as Alexa. Obviously, this affects product manufacturers’ interest in building products for the HomeKit ecosystem, especially considering that cross-compatibility is still a big deal in the smart home industry.
While the number of products compatible with HomeKit continues to grow, it is lagging behind Alexa. As Apple’s HomeKit struggles with compatibility with several hundred brands, according to statisticthe Alexa ecosystem is compatible with as many as 100,000 smart home devices.
Work in any store and a lot of smart home products you’ll find are likely to be Alexa compatible. Better off, you also get a lot of options from different brands. A single smart product category, such as security cameras, for example, can have dozens or even hundreds of different brands and models that are compatible with Alexa. With the HomeKit, you can usually get compatible products in essential product categories, but you’ll likely be limited by options.
While Apple’s numbers are likely to improve, countertop supremacy hasn’t been Apple’s forte, regardless of the product lines you’re considering. For widespread adoption and supremacy on the counter, we give it to Amazon’s Alexa.
Amazon Alexa vs. Apple HomeKit: Adoption Fee
All smart home ecosystems are not created equal. Some are more expensive to set up and maintain than others. Before investing in a smart home ecosystem, it’s important to get an idea of what it would cost you.
In terms of installation costs, you will find more comfort with the Alexa ecosystem. The official retail price of the HomePod mini is $99. With that budget, you can get up to two Amazon Echo Dots. While newer models of the Echo Dot are more expensive than the earliest version of the product, you’ll still find them at lower rates than a HomePod mini. The price difference may not be significant if you’re only planning to purchase one speaker, in which case the HomePod is more bang for your buck.
However, your smart home gets more exciting with more smart speakers placed in different locations in your home. If you get four or more speakers, you’ll start to feel the price difference between the Alexa and HomeKit ecosystems.
Of course you need more than smart speakers to get your smart home going. You also need some smart home appliances. HomeKit-compatible devices are often on the high side in terms of cost. One of the reasons for this is the high demands on a product to be HomeKit compatible.
For example, a product manufacturer that wants to make a HomeKit-compatible security camera would have to use a special Apple security chip on it. This security chip is costly and the cost is ultimately pushed onto the consumers.
You could find high-quality, yet inexpensive (about $8 to $15) Alexa-compatible light bulbs on Amazon and other stores.
However, HomeKit may require you to plan twice as much for some brands. Of course, there are also expensive Alexa-enabled devices. However, you’ll find a wide variety of brands and price options, giving you the flexibility to pick something good that’s budget-friendly too.
Perhaps the icing on the cake is that Amazon does a lot of promos for its Alexa-enabled products. You could find the Echo Dot and other Amazon-made smart products for half the price during one of Amazon’s many promo sales. When it comes to cost, HomeKit has a lot to catch up on. Again, on this stat we give it to Alexa.
Amazon Alexa vs. Apple HomeKit: Security and Privacy
Security and privacy are some of the major concerns for people planning to adopt smart home ecosystems. Many things can go wrong if your smart home ecosystem has loopholes that can be exploited. This can be bad if your home security system is connected to your smart home ecosystem.
Currently, there are no alarming differences between the two ecosystems in terms of security and privacy, but Apple’s HomeKit is the ecosystem to use if you’re concerned about security and privacy. Apple is typically very strict with its data security strategies.
Apple has a reputation for being a tight ship, and HomeKit’s security and privacy feature is no different. With the HomeKit, Apple focuses a lot on data encryption and data processing on the device. This reduces the need to send data to remote servers where it can be compromised by malicious actors.
Apple is also big on end-to-end encryption, which ensures that user data is not compromised in transit. In terms of security and data privacy, Apple HomeKit is the better option.
Amazon Alexa vs. Apple HomeKit: Ease of Use
Ideally, setting up and managing your smart home systems should be as hassle-free as possible. While both Amazon and Apple try to add ease of use to the design of their ecosystems, installation and management are generally not without problems. Nevertheless, Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem seems like the better option in this regard.
Despite being compatible with hundreds of thousands of devices, connecting your smart device to the Alexa ecosystem isn’t that complicated. Amazon has the Frustration-Free Setup (FFS) program that can help reduce the hassle of connecting your Alexa-enabled device to your home network.
With FFS, you get access to two ways to ease your use of the Alexa ecosystem; easy installation and easy reconnection. Easy setup will help with some work required to set up your smart device for the first time, while simple reconnection will help you stay connected to your home network effortlessly. However, FFS does not work with all Alexa-enabled home devices.
The Apple HomeKit ecosystem, on the other hand, isn’t too complicated to navigate either, although its ease of use is a subjective topic. One of the issues you would have with HomeKit is that compatible products can sometimes be a little tricky to put into your home network.
When you buy an Amazon-made smart device for your Alexa ecosystem, there is a certain amount of trust. It’s like buying ingredients for a familiar meal, you know that if you stick to the plan, you’ll make it a great meal. It also helps that Amazon makes a lot of smart home hardware, so compatibility issues are well thought out.
For HomeKit, things are a little different. It’s hard to walk into a store and pick a product for the first time and trust that it will just work when you get home. The fact that Apple doesn’t make its own smart home appliances complicates matters further. However, this doesn’t mean HomeKit is sloppy. You’d be better off saying HomeKit isn’t here yet. For ease of use, we give it to Alexa.
Which Smart Home Ecosystem Is Best For You?
While Apple’s HomeKit isn’t a pushover in smart home automation, Amazon’s Alexa outperforms HomeKit in several metrics. This isn’t entirely proof that the Alexa ecosystem is flawless, far from it.
Unlike Apple, however, Amazon has put a lot of effort into innovation and fixing existing flaws within the Alexa ecosystem. Apple, on the other hand, has largely been borne by its brand name and a few positives that aren’t entirely unique to the HomeKit. While we have no doubt that Apple has what it takes to push HomeKit to the top, HomeKit hasn’t struck the right chord right now.