Smart home accessories are priced at a premium over basic appliances which makes HomeKit an expensive hobby. Homebuilders are offering HomeKit accessory packages for new home buyers with a $4,000 starting price so that’s one ballpark estimate, but how much would it cost to retrofit your existing home with HomeKit hardware?
The exact dollar amount will vary on your needs and preferences, but I can get to a pretty good price idea based on my house (3 bedroom 2 bath) and personal recommendations. HomeKit supports a lot of accessory types. You may not need each and might need more of others. The idea here is to go totally HomeKit based on what’s on the market.
Philips Hue as a ceiling solution will require you to leave wall switches turned on and add new dimmer switches to bring back wall control which isn’t as elegant as pre-HomeKit. Lutron Caseta replaces the wall switches and works with standard dimmer LED bulbs although you may need to replace your bulbs anyway to avoid humming. You can read my full review for the major differences.
The cost to replace each ceiling bulb with Philips Hue white bulbs and the HomeKit bridge is roughly $430 for me (before adding colored bulbs or lamps) and roughly $605 when adding wall dimmer switches.
The same setup with Lutron Caseta‘s starter kit and additional wall switches would cost roughly $670 if each bulb was already compatible and didn’t need replacing. When testing, I needed to replace my spiral CFL bulbs with dimmable LED bulbs to avoid humming and guarantee compatibility, however, which would add roughly $260 to the cost at about $10 per bulb for whole home HomeKit lighting. This brings the total to roughly $930.
Since it’s a step back to gain HomeKit control but lose wall switch control, I don’t consider the base cost solution as practical. Total lighting cost could start anywhere from $600 to over $900 so we’ll call it $750 for the sake of this estimation.
Once you’ve figured out lighting, everything else is a bit more straightforward.
HomeKit thermostats range from around $130 to $250 depending on the model. For example, Honeywell Lyric T5 is a standalone HomeKit thermostat that can handle the basics like temperature control and changing between heating and cooling or off. At the high-end is Ecobee3 which works with HomeKit room sensors to detect presence and temperature which would cost about $400 to cover six rooms with sensors. We’ll call it $200, though, since additional sensors aren’t mandatory.
You’ll likely need at least a couple HomeKit wall plugs to connect appliances that don’t have connected features. I use one on an old fan as well as a floor lamp that uses small bulbs. I’ve tested a lot of HomeKit wall plugs and iHome Smart Plug is my favorite. Expect to pay around $90 for two.
HomeKit locks will cost between $200 and $230 depending on the model. If you’re going totally HomeKit, you may have two or three which could bring the cost to $600 or $700. I use a single August Smart Lock (one is great and three would be better but cost is prohibitive) so we’ll mark this at $230.
You can also buy HomeKit ceiling fans like the Hunter Signal. Prices range from $300 to $350 depending on the build. My home has two ceiling fans (living room and master bedroom) so we’ll estimate this cost at $600.
HomeKit now supports video cameras for live feeds and motion detection alerts, and the first supported model became available this morning with a $200 price tag.
HomeKit also supports door bells for alerts and video communication. August Doorbell Cam is regularly priced at $200 and is promised to support HomeKit through an upcoming firmware update.
Chamberlain is set to be the first HomeKit-compatible garage door opener later this year and will have a solution for existing garage door openers as well. Chamberlain’s GDO is regularly priced at $250 and their non-HomeKit standalone garage door controller for existing GDOs is priced at $100 so we’ll split the difference and call it $175.
Honeywell’s Lyric alarm system will be the first to support HomeKit later this year. The price for the Honeywell Lyric Controller on its own is $300.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure at least one of your smoke detectors supports HomeKit. OneLink Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm retails for about $110 depending on the model. My house has four smoke detectors, but one HomeKit model communicates to the three basic models.
Window shades that you can control with HomeKit are especially pricey. Serena remote-controlled shades that work with Lutron’s HomeKit bridge can cost around $600 for the least amount of fabric and the least expensive options when building a single shade.
My house has eight windows that would need HomeKit shades to be fully automated which on its own could cost around $5000. If we just chose two HomeKit window shades in our estimation, we can add $1200 to the cost.
You’ll also need a fourth-gen Apple TV to run automation (an always-on iOS 10 iPad can also work) and provide remote access (third-gen Apple TV also works) which costs $150.
There are other HomeKit accessory types not factored here including humidifiers, air purifiers, and air conditioners that will increase the final estimate when they hit the market, but for now we’re looking at $4,425 based on everything specifically mentioned above.
That number can easily increase by hundreds or even thousands of dollars when adding additional lights, plugs, thermostats, and sensor types. Changing the estimate to include HomeKit window shades throughout my home in our equation, for example, brings the estimate to over $8,000.
The benefits range from energy efficiency to convenience to peace-of-mind with remote access.
If you’re building a house from scratch or already remodeling and expecting to spend a lot of money up front, the additional expense can be less shocking. If you’re approaching HomeKit from a hobbyist perspective like me, adding one accessory at a time over several months (and years) may be the easier way to go.
For more on HomeKit, check out these recent articles:
- HomeKit in iOS 10: Tim Cook’s routines, helpful resources, and more
- Best HomeKit security cameras, lights, outlets & more coming in 2017
- iOS 10: How to use the new Home app to control HomeKit devices [Video]
- Hands-on: iOS 10 + watchOS 3 Home app for HomeKit on iPhone, iPad, & Apple Watch