May 10, 2020 13 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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September 11, 2023
Some of us are excited about Matter, some of us are dismissive, some of us are anxious. What does it mean for my Z-Wave gear? Will my smart home system become obsolete or incompatible with devices from my favorite brands? There’s a lot of uncertainty behind Matter’s promises and not many details about how Z-Wave will play into the new landscape. In this blog post, we take a closer look at how Z-Wave and Matter can coexist and interact in the future.
March 22, 2023 3 Comments
Let’s take a closer look at the first Z-Wave focused hub for US and Canada. We will uncover its primary benefits, UI features, how to use the Z-Box mobile app, and what sets the system apart from other hubs available today.
As we often tell our customers, there isn’t one perfect smart home platform to solve it all. The Z-Box Hub is no exception. What makes it unique is its focus on easy access to advanced automation functionality while keeping the key data and processes off-cloud.
May 05, 2022 3 Comments
Insteon just became another smart home company to shut down their services. Overnight, the platform’s servers were disconnected, leaving their customers without a functional smart home. SmartLabs, Insteon’s mother company, claims to have sold over 5 million connected devices; that’s a lot of sensors, switches, and controllers that became orphaned. Does it mean that all of this hardware is now completely useless?
It turns out that there are ways to salvage your Insteon products and continue using them, at least to some extent, on other platforms who stepped up and provided integration for this protocol. However, these workarounds are less than user-friendly and will require more time and possible frustration around a system that’s no longer backed by any official support. What’s the alternative and is it even worth it to have a connected house these days?