HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
Upgrading your Christmas tree and holiday lights to work with HomeKit, Siri, and Apple’s Home app is easier than ever this year. There’s no need to go out and buy new lights or special decorations either, and there are solutions for under $50 that work both indoors and outdoors.
Controlling your holiday lights and decorations with HomeKit is both a great demo that will impress your family and neighbors and a great convenience for yourself. You can tell Siri to turn on specific lights, remotely check if lights and inflatables are left on remotely, and even automate lights and decorations to turn on and off based on time of day and sunset or sunrise.
You don’t need special Christmas lights or decorations either. Simply put a HomeKit smart plug in-between the power outlet and the lights or inflatables. There are affordable options that work inside, outside, support single or multiple connections, and more based on what you need.
After the holidays are over and your Christmas lights are packed away, you can repurpose your new indoor and outdoor smart plugs for other uses too!
If you just need a single indoor smart plug, there are lots of options for HomeKit smart plugs on the market. Simply connect your Christmas lights together, then plug the end into the smart plug where you would normally connect it to the wall outlet.
Wemo Mini Smart Plug ($29.99, reg. $34.99) recently gained HomeKit support through a software update, iDevices Switch ($29.95) also includes a built-in nightlight that you can control separately with HomeKit, SYLVANIA SMART+ ($32.66, reg. $34.99) offers a four-pack bundle ($95.06, reg. $149.99), and iHome ISP6X ($33.25) is my long-time favorite for its reliability and slim form factor.
Koogeek Smart Plug ($29.99) and Eve Energy ($44.95, reg. $49.95) which includes a power meter feature also work with HomeKit. VOCOlinc which specializes in affordable yet reliable HomeKit accessories has single PM1 plugs ($21.99), two-packs ($37.99), and four-packs ($74.99) which also have nightlights and energy monitoring.
VOCOlinc PM2 power strip combines three accessories in one plug
If you prefer a single HomeKit plug that includes multiple outlets, a single HomeKit power strip can be more convenient or even more affordable. VOCOlinc PM2 ($44.99) includes three individually controlled HomeKit plugs which is a huge perk as some multi-plug strips only show up as one plug in HomeKit. Koogeek similarly has a three-plug power strip that works with HomeKit with Koogeek Smart Surge Protector ($59.99).
For outdoor lights and decorations like inflatables, there are HomeKit smart plugs designed specifically for outdoor use. iHome iSP100 Smart Plug ($33.98, reg. $39.99) offers a single plug in a water-resistant, rugged enclosure.
iDevices Outdoor Switch ($50.86, reg. $79.99) costs a little more but includes two plugs in a single enclosure designed to withstand outdoor conditions. Siri and the Home app will only see iDevices Outdoor Switch as a single plug, however, so keep that in mind when planning. iDevices offers a two-pack indoor plug plus outdoor plug bundle ($89.95) if you need plugs for inside and outside.
Scenes & Automation
We took a deep dive look earlier this year at how you can automate smart lights on and off based on time of day and sunset or sunrise. The same automation approach works with smart plugs too, and you can even identify smart plugs as smart lights in the Home app.
You can even use custom names with your smart plugs like ‘Christmas Tree’ or ‘Snow Man’ depending on what you want to control. My ideal automation is to turn on inflatables at sunrise, turn on lights at sunset, and turn off everything around 10:30 pm.
If you want to control groups of decorations both indoors and outdoors, you can create a Scene with a unique name like ‘Let It Snow’ that turns on smart plugs across different rooms. Read our original HomeKit Weekly entry for more on creating Scenes in Apple’s Home app.
Catch up on earlier HomeKit Weekly entries below:
- Getting started with Apple’s Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
- Automating outdoor lights on and off based on sunset/sunrise and time
- Using hardware buttons to make smart lights familiar for guests and family
- Replacing your keys with Siri, Control Center, and automation
- Controlling smart shades with Siri, automation, and the Home app
- Comparing security camera options, features, and apps
- If it doesn’t work with Siri, it’s just not a smart home
- Essential and advanced smart home accessory recommendations