May 10, 2020 12 Comments
Starting May 13, 2020, Wink will be charging its users a $4.99 monthly subscription fee. If you don’t pay, you’ll lose your automations, smart rules, and access to voice control. [Update 5/30/20: Wink has since backed out of the decision, at least for now. Update 7/27/20: The subscription service for Wink is finally in effect.]
So is it worth paying $5 a month for Wink’s service? The platform hasn’t been adding new features or expanding its list of supported devices for a while now. The announcement introducing the subscription model didn’t include any details on when and how the system would start updating again. They also failed to give users at least 30 days notice to consider how to move forward. If you’re thinking about switching to another platform, we can’t blame you.
Here are a few alternatives for reliable smart home solutions that are most popular among our customers and the team here at The Smartest House. They’re all one-time investments without monthly fees. You’ll find a list of benefits and limitations with each platform, but if you have any questions about specific features we didn’t cover here, get in touch or post in the comment section below.
The most popular DIY consumer smart home hub. Supports ZigBee, Z-Wave, and WiFi. If you use your Wink app a lot to monitor your smart home and prefer calling support to exchanging emails, this is the hub for you.
The fastest growing DIY hub. Supports ZigBee, Z-Wave, and WiFi. If your smart home is full of Lutron products and fast, reliable automations are key, this system is for you.
Take a look at this informative video from DIY Smart Home Guy, who talks about his transition from Wink to Hubitat here:
A true veteran in DIY consumer hubs and a perfect middle ground between SmartThings and Hubitat. Supports Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth, and WiFi. If you want a nice looking app but also a powerful online interface with easy access to advanced settings, then you’ll be happy with Vera.
This is a Z-Wave powerhouse. Hands down the best Z-Wave implementation so if you’re all about Z-Wave, this hub is worth considering and worth the price. It’s our in-house favorite for firmware and product testing.
This is the ultimate DIY set-up, not for the faint of heart. We’ve seen Wink users transitioning to Home Assistant simply to break free of any dependency on the cloud or possible subscription fees. Home Assistant is open source though, and it requires additional hardware (like a Z-Wave stick and a computer or Raspberry Pi). If you’d like to add ZigBee support, you’ll need a separate dongle for that too. Home Assistant is just one of many open source home automation software options. There are more platforms to explore in this space, like openHAB or Domoticz.
Have you already transferred from Wink to a new smart home system? Share your experience in the comments below, it could help other users make a decision!
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August 06, 2020
If you already have Amazon Echo set up, you know how convenient it can be. There’s nothing like walking out the front door with full hands and telling Alexa to turn off your lights last minute. But these smart lights and plugs can be slow to react as you keep adding more smart home devices and clogging your network.
Alexa only “speaks” WiFi (and ZigBee if you have the EchoPlus). It currently doesn’t support Z-Wave, the protocol of choice for home automation thanks to its high speed and low interference with other connected devices in your home. That means you can’t have a Z-Wave switch or plug speak directly to your Echo. BUT you can use a smart home hub as a bridge between your Z-Wave devices and Amazon Alexa. Now that’s a whole other level of functionality to unlock!
And if you already have a Z-Wave hub but no smart speaker, you might be thinking how cool it would be to have voice control for your automations and smart home devices. It’s a step towards a more integrated, easy-to-use smart home with improved security, comfort, and convenience.
November 05, 2018
Winterizing your home used to mean lots of physical labor - caulking windows, installing heavier drapes, maybe even changing out older windows and doors that were too efficient at releasing insulated air. Winter prep can still mean all of the above, but new Z-Wave technology has made certain aspects of winterization easier while adding another level of protection as those temperatures drop.
Here’s what we’re using to stay cozy and make sure our energy bills don’t make us freeze in our tracks:
This is one of our winter must-haves. It’s the first Z-Wave line voltage thermostat in North America (but be careful, it won’t work with forced air systems!). Use it to control electric baseboards and convector heaters all from your Z-Wave hub’s app interface. Reduce your energy consumption by 30% with custom heating schedules, or just switch to the thermostat’s built-in Economy mode to keep things efficient.
December 08, 2017 6 Comments
Choosing the ultimate smart home system for your needs and lifestyle can be daunting if you don’t know what to look for. Each hub comes with its own advantages and limitations; a certain feature might be a godsend for someone else but a deal breaker for you. That’s why we’ve listed our top 3 Z-Wave hub recommendations below, including what we love about these hubs but also some things to consider when choosing the right one for you. And good news! They all support Alexa, so you can count on a voice-activated smart home this holiday season.