Chris Xiao

Aspiring Software Engineer

Chris Xiao

Aspiring Software Engineer

My Preferred Smart Home Vendors

A non-exhaustive list of smart home devices that work well with Home Assistant

Last updated on Jul 4, 2022

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Introduction

As I’m building my smart home with Home Assistant, I found it challenging to find devices that work well with Home Assistant, so I started this list of good smart home vendors that offer quality products and play well with Home Assistant.

This list is a work-in-progress, and I will update it as needed.

To learn more about why I chose Home Assistant, check out my previous article.

Disclaimer

I am not sponsored by anyone, including any smart home vendors listed below, and there are no affiliate links on this page.

Criteria

  • Must be controllable locally, and cloud dependency must be optional. In other words, I can use the device without any internet connection.
  • Works well with Home Assistant (high-quality official integration or custom component).
  • No recurring subscription.
  • No need to flash custom firmware, i.e., it must meet the criteria above out-of-the-box.

Approved vendors

Switches and Lights

  • IKEA
    • Some IKEA smart devices use Wi-Fi, while others use Zigbee.
    • IKEA Zigbee devices are usually very affordable.
    • They are very popular in the Home Assistant community, because they integrate well with Home Assistant using ZHA or Zigbee2MQTT via a Zigbee dongle, without the TRÅDFRI Gateway.
  • Shelly
    • Shelly devices connect via Wi-Fi.
    • Shelly relays are especially popular in the DIY smart home community.
    • Many of their devices don’t have any cloud requirements, and they have an amazing Home Assistant integration.
  • Sonoff (Zigbee only)
    • I only have experience with a few of their Zigbee devices, and they seem to implement the Zigbee 3.0 standard well and work seamlessly with ZHA.
  • SwitchBot
    • SwitchBot devices connect via Bluetooth. Make sure your Home Assistant instance has a working Bluetooth adapter.
    • Home Assistant integration
  • TP-Link Kasa
    • Kasa devices connect via Wi-Fi.
    • Caveat 1: Only devices listed here support local-only control.
    • Caveat 2: The Home Assistant integration uses Local Polling, which means device state updates will be delayed. For example, if you turn off a Kasa Smart Plug by pressing the button on it, it may take several seconds for Home Assistant to know it’s turned off.
  • Anything that uses the Magic Home Pro app
    • Many cheap lighting products, such as LED strips and RGB bulbs, uses the Magic Home Pro app, which means they can connect to Home Assistant using the Magic Home integration.
    • You can usually find if a device uses the Magic Home Pro app by looking at the product description or images.

Sensors

  • Aqara
    • You do not need any Aqara hubs. Most of their devices can connect directly to ZHA or Zigbee2MQTT via a Zigbee dongle.
    • Aqara makes some of the best Zigbee-based sensors on the market. However, many of their devices (especially older ones) don’t follow the Zigbee standard properly, which means they may behave unpredictably.
  • Sonoff (Zigbee only)
    • I only have experience with a few of their Zigbee devices, and they seem to implement the Zigbee 3.0 standard well and work seamlessly with ZHA.
  • Things supported by the Passive BLE Monitor integration
    • It supports many BLE sensors.
    • While the integration is a custom component, which is NOT part of Home Assistant, it appears to be very stable and well maintained.

Media

  • Apple HomePod Mini
    • The HomePod Mini is probably my favorite smart speaker to pair with Home Assistant. Although Siri is not great, it can interface with Home Assistant over the local network (without any cloud connection), thanks to Apple HomeKit.
    • The HomeKit integration exposes Home Assistant entities to Apple HomeKit, making them controllable by Siri.
    • Unfortunately, you need an iPhone to use the HomePod Mini :(
  • Apple TV
    • Home Assistant can control Apple TV devices (any generation) using the Apple TV integration. It can also send media to Apple TV using AirPlay.
  • Google Cast (formerly Chromecast) devices
    • Home Assistant can send media, including camera feeds, music, TTS, or even the Home Assistant dashboard, to Google Cast displays.

Cameras

  • Reolink
    • Reolink cameras offer decent features without relying on cloud services. Most of their cameras (except the E1) can stream live video over RTSP, which allows them to be integrated with Home Assistant and most NVR software.
    • The E1 Pro is an indoor PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) camera with 2K resolution and decent performance.
  • Any ONVIF-compatible camera
    • ONVIF is an industry standard for security cameras, which allows them to be integrated with most NVR systems.
    • You can usually find if a device is ONVIF-compatible by looking at the product description.

Zigbee Dongle


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