May 10, 2020
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!
July 31, 2020
Thanks Bob, great suggestion. I did fill out a complaint, what a crock of crap from Wink. Two days ago everything worked fine, last night they updated our hub and deleted all but one of our devices, and we can’t even control that one. And we can’t add anything because, of course, you can’t add anything if you don’t get a subscription. ARGH.
After my initial Complaint to the Connecticut Department of Consumer affairs, in June 2020, I immediately received an email from Wink, alleging an exemption for my subscription… that lasted a month… Now they are sending “Subscribe or else” emails on a daily basis.
I hope people who receive these Emails understand that, regardless of the State they live in, Wink is engaging in “Unfair trade practices for post consumer products”. A clear violation of unfair and deceptive laws of your State.
Wink actually admits, I their Email, that they have over four million products already in the marketplace!
Based on an average consumer having three Wink controlled devices, (many, like myself, only have one…) Wink Smart Home, is running a scam that amounts to $1.5 million… PER MONTH! That works out to more than $18,000,000 a year, if they can get away with it!
Every State has an “unfair and deceptive” law on the books. If you have a Wink controlled device, send a complaint to your State’s Consumer Affairs office. (BTW: there is currently no class action lawsuit against Wink, but that could change.) If you are wondering what a class action suit would look like, this is it.
You own a Wink Controlled device… (It’s your property.) Wink refuses you full access to the functionality of your property without a subscription (rendering a portion of your property useless…) Wink requires you to pay a fee in order to restore full functionality of your property, (a fee that was not part of your original user agreement, when you purchased your property…) The Court will determine that A.) You were sold fully operational property under a false pretense… B.) When you bought your property, there was no user agreement that required a subscription in order to continue full functionality, and C.) By Wink asking for a user (or service fee) after the purchase of your property amounts to Unfair trade practices for post consumer products!
July 27, 2020
I suspected that the smart home problems I had (lights being slow to turn on/off, etc.) were due to Wink. I tried other solutions like Hubitat, but their system is to shy of the internet, and the UI is terrible. So I stuck with Wink, even though it’s not very good. And now they want to charge me. No way. Motivated me to switch to an Echo Plus. It took me hours to make the switch, as I have a lot of devices. And some of the devices (e.g., Cree Connected bulbs) are very difficult to reset. But I finally did it. My conclusion…
Echo Plus is ***much*** better than Wink. Now my lights turn on/off promptly, peering with Zigbee devices don’t get forgotten, and I replaced several devices with one device. I highly recommend Echo Plus to replace Wink. Don’t subscribe to Wink!
Note that Echo Plus doesn’t support ZWave, so I did have to replace one wall switch.
July 08, 2020
I can’t edit my comment but just discovered this:
Maybe some good will eventually come out of this for all us who acquired the product in good faith assuming they would never charge a subscription.
The complaint filed:
I purchased Wink based upon their representation of “Free”, I have many screen shots detailing this FACT. I will never pay Wink a cent, hopefully someone will start a Go Fund Me page to address their initial representation of offering a free service and product.. let our legal system decide if the impact to the consumers is warranted. Working with HUBITAT.
June 13, 2020
In addition to these devices that replace Wink, I would recommend a few more. You can see them here: https://devicebase.net/en/smart-home/control-systems
May 29, 2020
I would rather pay the $5/mo. None of the services you listed support half of what Wink does. Name one of them that supports Lutron switches without a hub? Name one that has IFTTT integrated and as easy to use as Wink. Name one above that has the simplistic setup and video of every 3rd party device on how to set it up.
I have tried almost everything you have up there when Wink looked like it was going out of business, but NONE of them came close. It was going to take a ton of DIY, mix-match, hundreds of dollars, to get me even remotely close to where I am now.
So, I will gladly pay them $4.99/mo, heck, to me it’s a steal.
May 23, 2020
Great article! Like many others, I made the switch to a new platform. I chose Hubitat as my central hub. But I mainly use it to get all of my devices connected to HomeKit through HomeBridge and also Alexa. I wasn’t a huge fun of Hubitat’s UI.
May 19, 2020
I switched from Wink to Hubitat about a month ago after Wink was down for a day. Even without the subscription I will not go back to Wink. Hubitat takes a little more work to set up your dashboard, but it’s more customizable. It was more difficult to exclude devices from Wink than it was to include them with Hubitat. Hubitat works localy, quickly and has not gone offline on me. It helps to get an Aeotec USB Zwave device to exclude devices at the push of a button.
May 18, 2020
I made the switch from Wink to SmartThings 6 months ago as I saw Wink in financial trouble back then.
One of my locations (a rental unit) is extremely remote to me and I did not want to get caught with a dead unit. While SmartThings has some drawbacks (no local control) most of my issues have been PBKAC (Problem Between Keyboard And Chair). There is a learning curve to change platforms, but it is not insurmountable. My biggest issue now is how to separate control via Amazon Echo so my tenants can only control the rental unit while I still have visibility to everything.
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
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.