I've dabbled in smart home and HomeKit devices over the years. But the cheapest, easiest one I've found is the SwitchBot HomeKit Smart Plug Mini. It's easy to set up and then it can be controlled entirely with HomeKit and Siri. You'll find it at Amazon for $10.49 today for Prime Day.
No more excuses. HomeKit is too cheap and easy.
Use Siri or HomeKit to control your lamp, fan, coffee machine, humidifier, TV, or just about any other device you can plug in.
I have this old smart lamp next to my bed that became a dumb lamp. Why? It's from the days before HomeKit. In order to use its smart features, I had to use the proprietary app. The app worked so infrequently and so poorly that I actually deleted it and just used the button on my lamp instead, rendering it back to just an ordinary lamp. Well, now it's a smart lamp once again. I just plugged that sucker into a SwitchBot HomeKit Smart Plug Mini, and now I can control the lamp in SmartKit. I can say, "Hey Siri, turn on my bedroom lamp." Or I can turn it on and off when I'm away from home. I can set up HomeKit scenes and HomeKit automations with it too.
I also plugged a couple of regular old lamps into SwitchBot HomeKit Smart Plug Minis throughout my home, so I can make my home look rather well-lit to varying degrees even when I'm not at home. My needs are pretty simple; certainly, you can do a lot more with this plug than I have. You could set up your coffee machine with coffee and water the night before, and set up the SwitchBot HomeKit Smart Plug Mini to turn on five minutes before your alarm will wake you. Imagine waking up to the smell of fresh coffee brewing. Or you could set it to turn on a fan or A/C unit right before you get home from work, so you'll come home to the perfect environment. Use geofencing to have your devices come on whenever you pull into your driveway.
You don't need to buy a special hub, but you will need a HomePod, HomePod mini, Apple TV, or dedicated iPad in order to control the plug when you're away from home. Incidentally, the SwitchBot Plug Mini works with other digital assistants as well like Alexa and Google Assistant, in case you're buying for a non-Apple user. It also acts as an energy monitor.
Of course, we're on top of all the latest Apple deals. Be sure to look at our Apple Prime Day deals hub if you're looking for a bargain — we're updating it live as the deals roll on in.
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Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.