Since Apple HomeKit is my primary platform, it is connected to five bridges.

My primary bridge is Aqara Hub M2, which connects most of my Aqara smart home accessories.

I also have the Aqara Hub M3 for newer Aqara accessories, such as the Aqara Door & Window Sensor P2 and Aqara Motion & Light Sensor P2, as the M2 doesn’t support those.

Aqara Hub M2, Aqara Hub M3, and Aqara Camera Hub G3
Aqara Hub M2, Aqara Hub M3, and Aqara Camera Hub G3

The second most crucial bridge is Homebridge. You can run Homebridge on a Raspberry Pi or your NAS. In my case, I am running Homebridge on my Synology D1621+ NAS.

I am using five plugins for Homebridge:

  • Homebridge UI – UI for Homebridge.
  • Homebridge Dummy – For me to create dummy switches for automation.
  • Homebridge Tuya Platform – My lights and ceiling fans are on Tuya.
  • Homebridge People Pro – This is much more accurate than Apple’s default Home/Away feature based on geofencing. Instead, this plugin checks whether your iPhone is connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
  • Homebridge Magic Occupancy – A more advanced way to determine whether a room is occupied.
Homebridge Plugins
Homebridge Plugins

You can ignore the Homebridge Http Switch in the screenshot, as I don’t know what to do with it yet.

My fourth bridge is Staring Home Hub. Staring Home Hub exposes Google Nest devices to Apple HomeKit. I have five Google Nest cameras of different models from my previous setup.

The fifth and last bridge is Homey, where I exposed some of my previous smart home accessories to Apple Home.

I only use it for only two types of accessories: Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Switch 6 and Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave MultiSensor 6. These are the only Z-Wave accessories in my smart home network. The rest are either Zigbee or Wi-Fi.

Hubs (Homey, Tuya, Starling)
Hubs (Homey, Tuya, Starling)

I am using the default Apple Home app for my automation. I don’t have much complex automation, so it is simple enough for my use case. If I need more complex automation, I will use Apple Shortcuts.

Apple Home App - Automation
Apple Home App – Automation

There are third-party Apple HomeKit apps on iOS that expose more functionality like Home+ 6 or Controller for HomeKit. These apps use workarounds to get past the Apple HomeKit limitation on the Apple Home app. So, if you use these apps, you must stick to them and not use back the Apple Home app. Otherwise, the scenes and automation list might get messy on the default Apple Home App.

Home+ App
Home+ App

I recommend using the Apple Home app first to see if your use cases can be done within the basic automation that the app provides.

Apple HomeKit Accessories
The majority of my Apple HomeKit Accessories are from Aqara. They are cheap, reliable, and work perfectly with Apple HomeKit.

Aqara Accessories typically has only two regions: China and the rest of the world. Aqara accessories in China are much cheaper, but when you set them up, you must select the region as China.

Since I want it to work and not worry about it, I got all my Aqara accessories in Singapore, which is classified as “the rest of the world,” so my Aqara region is set to Singapore.

Aqara iOS App - Region
Aqara iOS App – Region

My default go-to store for Aqara accessories is Souky Store on Shopee or Lazada.

Wall Switches
I recommend using neutral wiring because switches that use non-neutral wiring will not last long.

All my light switches in my house are using Aqara Smart Wall Switch H1 EU (With Neutral) of various gangs.

Aqara Smart Wall Switch H1
Aqara Smart Wall Switch H1

Last year, I only had a few choices and a single color. It is either a white Aqara Smart Wall Switch H1 or a white Aqara Smart Wall Switch D1. I chose H1 because the build is better (metal frame) and, hence, it is more expensive.

Now you have Aqara S1E Magic Switch, which is a smart display wall switch and Aqara Smart Wall Switch Z1 Pro which comes with a slider but the build is similar to D1 (plasticky).

20A Wall Switches
Most smart wall switches are only meant for ceiling fans and lights, so their maximum load is about 3A.

Switches used for ovens, cooker hoods, laundry racks with heating features, and water heaters need higher loads. Hence, there is a new category of wall switches for 20A.

I have four 20A switches in my house. One for the oven, one for the cooker hood, one for the laundry rack, and one for my water heater.

Sadly, during my renovation, Aqara has not released its Aqara 20A H1 Switches. So, out of the four switches, only my water heater switch is smart.

Using a 3A Aqara H1 Switch on a high-load electrical device is still possible. You need to have a contactor between them. I am using the Hager ESC225 Contactor. The contactor will take the load from the electrical device. Your Aqara H1 Switch will then toggle the contactor, which toggles the electrical device.

Hager ESC225 Contactor
Hager ESC225 Contactor

Because the wiring is cumbersome, and you need a box to store the contactor, I only chose to do it on a switch I used every day, my water heater switch.

Box To Hide Contactor
Box To Hide Contactor

In the future, I may change the remaining three switches to Aqara 20A H1 Switches.

Go with the Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 because you don’t have other choices in Singapore.

Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4
Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4

Door Locks
As far as I know, only Aqara sells Apple HomeKit door locks in Singapore. You can choose from four models, Aqara D100, Aqara A100, Aqara U100, and Aqara D200i.

Aqara Smart Door Lock D200i is Aqara latest door lock and is the only one that comes with facial unlocking.

I highly recommend the D200i. If you are tight on budget, cut it elsewhere, but don’t cut on this. Door Lock is the most common touch point in your house, so it is justifiable to invest in it.

Aqara Smart Door Lock D200i
Aqara Smart Door Lock D200i

Although D200i supports Apple HomeKey, tapping my Apple Watch or iPhone on the doorpad is still cumbersome, as you need to raise your arm to bring those devices close to the doorpad. Hence, in reality, I use facial unlocking all the time as it is contactless.

Aqara has three models when it comes to security cameras, Aqara Camera Hub G3, Aqara Camera E1, and Aqara G2H Pro.

I have the G3 and E1, and both work well. If I were to recommend, I would choose the E1 because it is the latest and the cheapest.

Aqara Camera E1
Aqara Camera E1

Besides Aqara cameras, I also have about five Google Nest cameras around my house, and I use Staring Home Hub to expose them to Apple HomeKit. It works very well.

Google Nest Cam IQ
Google Nest Cam IQ

I only know a few people using Google Nest cameras since they are unavailable in Singapore. However, getting the Staring Home Hub might only be worth it if you have more than two Google Nest cameras. It would be cheaper to replace them with the E1.

Motion Sensors
I have both the Aqara Motion Sensor P1 and Aqara Motion & Light Sensor P2. The latter is more expensive and uses Matter instead of Zigbee. Besides the underlying protocol, I don’t find any difference in performance.

So, in this case, I recommend the cheaper one, which is the P1.

I have motion sensors in the kitchen, rooms, and toilets. I created automation to turn on the light when motion is detected and turn off if no motion is detected after a certain amount of time.

Aqara Motion & Light Sensor P2
Aqara Motion & Light Sensor P2

If the room’s light is manually turned on (not triggered by the motion sensor), it will not turn off even though there is no motion. The automation is aided by the Homebridge Magic Occupancy plugin, which I run on my Homebridge.

The P1 and P2 go to my two toilets since they are battery-operated.

For the rest of my house, I am reusing the Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave MultiSensor 6 from my previous setup. They are connected via Z-Wave to Homey. Homey will then bridge them to Apple HomeKit.

Presence Sensors
Compared to Aqara Motion sensors, Aqara Presence Sensor FP2 costs four times more because of the technology behind it, mmWave vs Passive Infrared (PIR).

It can accurately detect humans within a space even though they are not moving, whereas motion sensors only detect when there is motion. If you are not moving, then it doesn’t see you.

My experience with FP2 is hit-and-miss. Sometimes, it works perfectly. Sometimes, it doesn’t detect that I am no longer within a space and still keep the lights on.

FP2 will suit you well if you have an open space and want to detect occupancies within various sections of the space to trigger some automation.

Aqara Presence Sensor FP2
Aqara Presence Sensor FP2

If you are going to use FP2 to detect whether there is any occupancy in a room, you are better off with a cheaper motion sensor. Unless detecting occupancy without movement is very important to you, you have no choice but to go with the FP2.

For most homes, a motion sensor is good enough for most use cases.

Temperature Sensors
Every room in my house has a temperature sensor. It is either the Aqara Temperature and Humidity Sensor, Aqara TVOC Air Quality Monitor or the Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave MultiSensor 6 mentioned above.

Please don’t get the Aqara TVOC Air Quality Monitor. It is expensive and unreliable. I have two of those. One came with unreliable readings like negative temperatures (in Singapore, really?), and I had to get it exchanged. And now, for one of them, the screen has spoiled.

Aqara TVOC Air Quality Monitor
Aqara TVOC Air Quality Monitor

Instead, I recommend the Aqara Temperature and Humidity Sensor. It is cheap and reliable enough to place in every room.

Aqara Temperature and Humidity Sensor
Aqara Temperature and Humidity Sensor

Water Leak Sensors
I have two Aqara Water Leak Sensor.

I placed it under the sink to detect when the soap lather overflows through the drainage cover, as my wife sometimes uses too much soap.

The other water leak sensor is placed below the bar fridge. Sometimes, I forget to close the bar fridge door tightly, and the ice around the freezer compartment melts, seeps through the door, and floods the floor.

Aqara Water Leak Sensor
Aqara Water Leak Sensor

Wireless Switches
Among my Apple HomeKit accessories type, I have the most wireless switches. I have more than one in some rooms.

There are two wireless switches from Aqara, Aqara Wireless Mini Switch and Aqara Wireless Remote Switch H1.

I would not recommend the Aqara Wireless Remote Switch H1 because it is expensive, clunky, and can only support one action for each button.

Aqara Wireless Remote Switch H1 and Aqara Wireless Mini Switch
Aqara Wireless Remote Switch H1 and Aqara Wireless Mini Switch

I have a gaming and working desk in my room, plugged into a smart switch. Since I don’t know what to do with the Aqara Wireless Remote Switch H1 and can only support two actions, I am using it to toggle the smart switches of my gaming and working desks.

My house is littered with Aqara Wireless Mini Switch because it is cheap, small, and supports three actions.

Aqara Wireless Mini Switch
Aqara Wireless Mini Switch

These wireless switches allow you to control your smart home accessories as fast as possible compared to talking to a voice assistant on smart speakers.

I have the actions standardized for most wireless switches so we can rely on our muscle memory regardless of our room.

Single Press will always turn on the primary light in the room.

Double Press will always turn on the fan in the room. It can be a ceiling fan, a standing fan, or an exhaust fan in the toilet.

KDK Ventilating Fan 15WUD
KDK Ventilating Fan 15WUD

Press And Hold will always turn on the air conditioner in the room. This third action will not be applicable when the wireless switch is in the kitchen or toilet.

Lights And Ceiling Fans
I have two magnetic track lights that are connected to Tuya via Zigbee. Since it connects via Zigbee, it needs a Tuya hub.

Magnetic Track Lights
Magnetic Track Lights

For rooms with ceiling fans, I am using Crestar Altis+ Smart Ceiling Fan. They connect to Tuya directly via Wi-Fi, so you don’t need a hub.

Crestar Altis+ Smart Ceiling Fan
Crestar Altis+ Smart Ceiling Fan

Once they are connected to Tuya, you can bridge them to Apple Homekit using the Homebridge Tuya Platform plugin on Homebridge.

Switches that control the magnetic track lights and ceiling fans are always on because the control is not with the wall switch but on the device itself.

I even have an Always On scene in the Apple Home app to see which switches are off when they are not supposed to.

Apple Home App - Always On Scene
Apple Home App – Always On Scene

Air Conditioner Remote Controls
I see a lot of people trying to use the M2 or even M3 Hub to act as an IR blaster and try to expose the air conditioner to Apple HomeKit. Results were mixed, and there was too much meddling for my liking.

There is no such thing as an Apple HomeKit IR Blaster because Apple doesn’t have the device type in its specifications.

What would I recommend? Get the Sensibo Air Pro as it works perfectly with Apple HomeKit.

Sensibo Air Pro
Sensibo Air Pro

It is not cheap. And you will need one in each room with an air conditioner. Even if the M3 Hub works, you will still need one in each room.

Hence, I recommend spreading the purchases over a few months, using the monthly double-digit sales day for discounts. I have four Sensibo Air Pros, which I purchased over a few months.

Smart Plugs
One of my mistakes is having a smart plug for every power outlet. And that is how I landed up with 20 smart plugs from my previous smart home setup. 10 TKB Z-Wave Wall Plug Switch and 10 Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Switch 6.

After living at my previous house for seven years, we realized that our lifestyle was to leave most of my power outlets permanently on. So you don’t need a smart plug for those. You only need a smart plug for devices that you wish to control or if you wish to measure the power output when you are using them.

So, for my new house, I only used half of those, which is all 10 of my Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Switch 6, connected via Z-Wave to Homey and bridged directly to Apple HomeKit.

Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Switch 6
Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Switch 6

If I don’t have the Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Switch 6, I will buy the Meross Wi-Fi Smart Plug. I recommend getting the one with Matter connectivity, which comes with energy monitoring.

Meross Wi-Fi Smart Plug
Meross Wi-Fi Smart Plug

Smart Curtains
If you are planning for a house renovation as you are moving to a new house, I would recommend getting the Aqara Curtain Controller since it requires a power source near the curtain. It will be neater without a long dangling power cable, and you do not need the hassle of charging the device. However, it is expensive, depending on the length of the curtain track.

If you are already living with a dumb curtain, you can get the Aqara Curtain Driver E1 (Track Version), Aqara Curtain Driver E1 (Rod Version) or the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 depending on your curtain type.

I did not plan for smart curtains when I renovated my new house, as we seldom draw the curtains. The curtains are permanently drawn, especially in the rooms.

After moving in, I thought of automating my dining and living room curtains as we draw them occasionally, depending on the day. So I got the Aqara Curtain Driver E1 (Track Version) since my curtain track is the U-shaped rails.

I mainly use smart home accessories from Aqara that I bought in Singapore as I don’t want to meddle with the region. For air conditioner remote control, I use Sensibo Air Pro.

Networking Cabinet
Networking Cabinet

I reuse my previous smart home accessories as much as possible to save some money. I reuse my Google Nest Cams, Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Switch 6, and Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave MultiSensor 6.

As much as possible, I will only buy smart home accessories that allow me to connect to Apple HomeKit directly unless there is a limitation where those accessories are unavailable in Apple HomeKit, such as ceiling fans. Those accessories are usually on Tuya, so I will bridge them to Apple HomeKit using the Homebridge Tuya Platform.

Networking Cabinet - Open
Networking Cabinet – Open

Below is a list of some of my smart home accessories and an affiliate link to Shopee or Lazada to buy them. So, if you purchase something on those links, I will get a small portion in return (1% – 3% of the value).

Category Item Buy Link
Hubs Aqara Hub M2 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Hub M3 Shopee | Lazada
Wall Switches Aqara Smart Wall Switch H1 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Smart Wall Switch D1 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Smart Wall Switch Z1 Pro Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Magic Switch S1E Shopee | Lazada
Aqara MagicPad S1 Plus Shopee | Lazada
20A Wall Switches Aqara Smart 20A Switch H1 Shopee | Lazada
Hager ESC225 Contactor Shopee
Doorbells Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 Shopee | Lazada
Door Locks Aqara Smart Door Lock A100 Zigbee Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Smart Door Lock D100 Zigbee Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Smart Lock U100 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Smart Lock D200i Shopee | Lazada
Cameras Aqara Camera Hub G2H Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Camera Hub G2H Pro Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Camera Hub G3 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Camera E1 Shopee | Lazada
Motion Sensors Aqara Motion Sensor P1 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Motion and Light Sensor P2 Shopee | Lazada
Presence Sensors Aqara Presence Sensor FP2 Shopee | Lazada
Temperature Sensors Aqara TVOC Air Quality Monitor Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Temperature and Humidity Sensor T1 Shopee | Lazada
Water Leak Sensors Aqara Water Leak Sensor T1 Shopee | Lazada
Wireless Switches Aqara Wireless Remote Switch H1 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Wireless Mini Switch T1 Shopee | Lazada
Lights And Ceiling Fans Crestar Altis+ Smart Ceiling Fan (46″) Shopee | Lazada
Air Conditioner Remote Controls Sensibo Air Pro Shopee | Lazada
Smart Plugs Meross Wi-Fi Smart Plug Shopee | Lazada
Smart Curtains Aqara Curtain Driver E1 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1 Shopee | Lazada
Aqara Curtain Controller Shopee | Lazada