What is the Best Home Automation App for You?
The purpose of home automation is to make life easier. Whether you're an advanced techie or new to the smart home world, there are various products and accompanying smartphone apps to help you do things like run entertainment systems, control lights and reduce home energy usage. Here, we compare the best home automation apps to help you decide what is best for you.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
The Belkin WeMo turns anything you plug in to it into a smart device! The accompanying home automation app is one of the best available. The device and the app, available for iPhone or Android, are a great introduction to the smart home world because they are truly easy to use. For example, you can use the app to put your coffeemaker (that’s plugged in to the WeMo smart plug) on a schedule so there’s always a fresh cup when you want one. Did you accidentally leave the iron on? Just check your smartphone and turn it off from wherever you are!
“The phone app is very good and easy to navigate, says a reviewer. “I like being able to give each of the devices a name.”
MyQ Garage and Access Control App
The MyQ Garage and Access Control app, available for iPhone or Android, controls Chamberlain garage door openers, as well as other WI-FI-enabled garage door openers. It gives you the ability to open your garage from anywhere, share access with your family and schedule your door to close. But, that’s not all. You can also link your MyQ to other smart home devices, including smart lights and smart thermostats from various manufacturers.
“The phone app: A basic, functional, app with a few frills,” says a reviewer. “When installing the smart hub your phone will need to be on your 2.4ghz wireless network to complete the setup. After that, it doesn’t matter what your phone is connected to – your home network or a cell connection. The system can be setup entirely from your phone. I set up an open alert, a close alert and a 10pm door not closed reminder. The alerts can be sent to you via text or email.” Here’s how to do your own garage door opener troubleshooting and repair.
Philips Hue App
Available for iPhone or Android, the Philips Hue home automation app offers an interactive experience. You can play with the tone, contrast and color of each light set up through the app. The app allows you to control every Philips Hue bulb in your home from your smartphone, so no more running around switching on and off lights and messing around with dimmers.
“Can turn on, turn off, or dim with voice (through Echo) or phone app from another room or even away from home,” says a reviewer. “Want your kids to come down for dinner? Flash their lights off and on to let them know.” Reviewers also describe the app as “simple and intuitive.” Here’s everything you need to know about smart lights for your home.
Control4 MyHome App
Control4’s smart home system is great for techies looking to automate their entire home. Remotely shut down video game consoles, control your home’s lighting, security, energy and more. Available for iPhone or Android, the Control4 MyHome app is ideal for those who already have a Control4 controller and automation system to their home. You’ll be able to enjoy the convenience of controlling and viewing the status of your entire smart home, including lights, thermostats, cameras, door locks and more, right from your phone.
“Great app. Love the customization I can do without having to bother the company that installed the system,” says a reviewer.
A process that works by “if, then” statements, IFTTT is the bridge between the different apps on your phone, including your smart home device apps. The app makes it possible for you to get all your apps and devices talking to each other. Available for iPhone or Android, you can do everything from Tweet your Instagram photos as native photos (instead of to a link), sync your Amazon Alexa to-dos with your reminders, and send texts, log notes into a spreadsheet and more, when you integrate your Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. Amazon Alexa vs Google Home: How do they compare?
If you love Nest products, the brand’s home automation app is a great way to control all your favorite smart devices. The app allows you to do everything from seeing who’s at your door (if you have Nest Hello), monitor your home through Nest security cameras, control your Nest thermostat (you can even check the temperature inside your home), receive alerts if your Nest Protect senses smoke or carbon monoxide and more. The app serves as a central hub for your Nest products, allowing you to control all of them right from a single application. It’s available for iPhone or Android.
Apple HomeKit App
Avid Apple users will go crazy for the Apple HomeKit app. Designed to work through the apps that control your individual smart home devices, it allows each of them to seamlessly interact, so you can control your whole home from one place. The app uses “scenes” to perform a variety of functions with one press of a button. Leaving the house? The app allows you to create a scene called “Leaving Home,” where you can quickly and efficiently ensure all your lights are turned off, doors are locked and your thermostat is adjusted for energy efficiency. Along with Apple devices, more than 100 brands support accessories compatible with HomeKit. Here are 10 things you should know about recycling electronics.
Samsung SmartThings App
Another option for those looking to seriously invest in home automaton, Samsung SmartThings is a single hub that allows you to control the automation of your home from one device. The app allows you to turn on/off or dim your lights when you leave home, control your thermostat, receive notifications when there is motion in your home or if a cabinet door is open, control your lock, entertainment systems and more. While it works with Samsung smart devices, it also supports various other smart devices from more than 30 brands, so you don’t have to switch everything over to Samsung if you’ve been collecting home automation devices elsewhere. It’s available for iPhone or Android. Check out these 17 bold predictions for how future houses will look.
Amazon Alexa App
Amazon is one of the leading home automation brands in the world, with its Echo devices offering an affordable alternative to traditional smart home hubs. We’d be remiss, then, not to mention the Amazon Alexa app as one of the best home automation apps. The Amazon Alexa app allows you to set up Alexa-enabled devices, listen to music, create to-do lists, get news updates, and control or check the status of your compatible smart lights, locks and thermostats at home or on the go.
“I’m really surprised by how much I like the Alexa app (and the Echo Dot), because I’m a little resistant to technology, but it’s pretty easy to figure out and feels like a new little buddy in the home,” says a reviewer. “I’m excited to get some SmartHome stuff now so I can turn on/off lights, heat, etc.” Next, check out some unexpected ways to use Alexa.