On our most recent IoT Podcast episode, we heard from Kevin in California, who left a message for us on the IoT Podcast Hotline. Like me, Kevin has been a big fan of the Wink hub, which he currently uses. However, he is planning to migrate away from Wink, which is something I already have done.
Given that Wink’s future has been in flux and the company has flip-flopped on an ill-communicated subscription plan, I suspect others are also looking for different smart home hub options.
Since Kevin has some Lutron lighting, he plans to buy a Lutron bridge, something that he didn’t need with the Wink Hub as Wink natively integrates with Lutron’s ClearConnect wireless protocol.
He also has some Zwave switches and sensors that he thinks he could live without. But if he does want to use them in the future, he’ll need a new hub so he asked for our advice.
Losing the native Lutron support is probably the biggest downside here when migrating away from Wink, so we do recommend Kevin buy that bridge.
The Lutron Caseta SmartBridge Pro is typically around $ 80 on sale and it works with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home. Note that to connect this bridge to your home network, you will need a wired ethernet connection, so you’ll want to consider placement and ports near an existing router.
While that solves the Lutron challenge, a multi-radio smart home hub will be needed for any Zwave (or Zigbee) devices.
The simplest solution we’d recommend is a Samsung SmartThings Hub due to its broad range of device and protocol support, large developer community, and continued maturity.
Plus, it’s not a big up-front investment: You can typically find this hub on sale for $ 60. If you’re also in need of a mesh Wi-Fi network, you could go with the $ 279 SmartThings Wi-Fi product, which is a 3-pack of mesh routers that include the SmartThings hub functionality.
Another option would be the newest $ 129.99 Hubitat Elevation hub, although it can be hard to find in stock.
I reviewed the first generation of this hub when it didn’t have Zigbee or ZWave radios inside. I had to use the included USB dongle to add that functionality. The second-generation Hubitat has all four radios inside, which is preferred.
You will pay more for the Hubitat Elevation than the Samsung, but there is one big difference: The Hubitat hub keeps your smart home data local, which you may prefer from a data privacy standpoint. You can still use that Lutron bridge with the Hubitat, so you’re covered there as well.
To hear Kevin’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: