|Wink Hub 2
|Insteon Central Controller Hub
|Winner: Cleanest User Interface
||Runner-Up: Best Security Features
||Third: Limited Expansion Options
|Buy Wink Hub 2 on Amazon||Buy SmartThings Hub on Amazon||Buy Insteon Hub on Amazon|
Call it first world problems if you want, but one big issue facing the smart home market is the fact that you have fifteen different places to control your devices for fifteen different products. There is a real challenge to get your smart devices to connect with one another. There are platforms like IFTTT that can link certain services and platforms together, but the real answer to bringing the vast majority of your smart devices together and managing them from one place is getting a smarthome hub. The three best smarthome hubs are Wink, Smartthings and Insteon.
What are Smarthome hubs?
Think about smarthome hubs like they’re the brain to your smarthome network of devices. The hub will connect to your router and just about all of your smarthome devices will link directly to it. Smarthome devices use wireless protocols to act as “translators” between your wifi and the device itself. Having the right smarthome hub is important because you want to make sure it will communicate to your existing smarthome devices and have an extensive list of compatible devices for your future smarthome buys.
Wink Hub 2 Review
Wink is the only smarthome hub that works with third party censors (Smartthings and Insteon work only with their own brand of censors). They also have a very easy set up process in connecting the hub to your home’s wifi, and connecting all your smart devices to your Wink network. The user interface is probably the cleanest and easiest to use that we reviewed.
SmartThings Hub (2nd Generation) Review
Most of your most popular smarthome branded products work with Smartthings, like Philips Hue smartbulbs, Ring Doorbell, and Kwikset home locks. Smartthings works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and also works with Apple watches and some Garmin watches. Smartthings might have one of the easiest setups and has the best security features between the three hubs as well.
Price: Check on Amazon
Insteon Central Controller Hub Review
Insteon’s biggest advantage is that they make many of the smarthome products you would want to install in your home. While they don’t work with many third party products or IFTTT, if you are beginning your smarthome journey, you can buy everything you want for your home in one place. Insteon also has plenty of options that are cheaper than their third party competitors. The hub itself cost less than $60, and it is compatible with Amazon Alexa.
Wink falls short of Smartthings hubs when it comes to security. Because they use only third party devices, you won’t have a “whole-home” security detail all in once place. Instead, you’ll have to check each device on it’s own for a comprehensive view of your home’s security. Also, Wink’s reliability is somewhat spotty when you aren’t connected to wifi.
As we mentioned before, Smartthings only works with it’s own censors, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. If you are starting to put your smarthome together, it’s not a bad thing to pick and choose from the Smartthings lineup of censors, but it’s a definite minus when you have existing sensors in your home.
Like Smartthings, Insteon has it’s own censors and won’t work with third party products. Unlike Smartthings & Wink, Insteon is not compatible with IFTTT, which makes it nearly impossible to use with any products that are not made by Insteon. While they have a solid list of products, there isn’t much room to grow and your smarthome is limited by a single manufacturer.
Wink vs SmartThings vs Insteon: The Verdict
This really comes down to two hubs: Wink & Smartthings. Insteon is great within it’s own network of devices, but that is somewhat limiting when it comes to wanting to really trick out your smarthome with everything you want. Between Wink and Smartthings, Wink is a more streamlined and user-friendly system, but Smartthings has the added advantage of having the best security features that might be important to you and your family. There isn’t much between these two hubs that separate them in terms of available third party devices you can connect to each hub. When it truly comes down to it, both Wink vs Smartthings are fantastic products that allow you to control all aspects of your smarthome from a single app. Both are key if you want to keep your smarthome at the forefront of this ever changing market.
Learn more about the Wink Hub 2 in this video: