Hubitat vs alternative? List of best items for Hubitat?


#1

Mostly been lurking and watching YouTube and reading Reddit. Saw this site pinned and came to check it out.

There are many things I'm excited about with Hubitat. On Reddit, it seems most people recommend doing HomeAssistant over anything else because it is very customizable and open source. My concern with HA is that I'm not a coder and don't want to spend my life fiddling with this. I'm interested in having a smarter home but I just want it to run smoothly without too much tinkering. Few questions...

  1. what are the main issues that spouses or other non-techy house mates have with Hubitat? (This is a big concern for me, reason I'm in the Lutron Caseta fan club - switches don't break the routines of others)
  2. if you weren't using Hubitat, what hub would you recommend and why?
  3. how soon is the "app" coming (specifically to iOS)? How much of the lack of an app is an issue given the dashboard?
  4. what are your biggest issues with Hubitat?
  5. I'm not that deep in the smart home world (yet), so far I have several Lutron Caseta switches, some TP Link outlets (ready to switch to zwave), Alexa, nest cams (not in love with but were gifted to me), and a recent Ring doorbell pro (wasn't my preferred doorbell but I got a great deal during a flash sale). I currently don't have a hub and use the individual apps. I know Lutron works well and I know there are many items out there that CAN work with Hubitat, but can you give me a list of some of the BEST COMMONLY USED items that work PERFECTLY with Hubitat? Planning on doing some work in the house and if I start with Hubitat I'd like to buy the most reliable items, not ones that I can cuddle with to make work.

Thanks in advance!


#2
  1. My wife, and kids for that matter, just want things to work. They don't really care that things can be automated, so my goal is to make sure they can still turn on/off lights via a switch or dimmer. It's more of an issue with me wanting to use Hubitat and home automation to change the way they do things.

  2. If I didn't find Hubitat, I'd still be using SmartThings, mainly because it worked for my needs. Hubitat simply does things better for me with local control.

  3. The app is in the works. There was a rumor that it was supposed to be completed in April 2019. I'm not sure if that will happen given that today is the 29th. Dashboards work perfectly and I find little need for an actual app at this point in time.

  4. I can't think of any issues that I've had. There is a bit of a learning curve with Rule Machine, but that's about it.

  5. Here's the official list of supported devices. There are other devices that can be used with various built in integrations (SONOS, Rachio, Amazon Echo), as well as developer created integrations. This community contains a wealth of information on all of them.


#3
  1. My wife doesn't have any issues, but some of our guests do. Some of the people that come over to my house also have home automation and are comfortable with issuing commands to Alexa. However, to combat that, I have wall mounted remotes in place of light switches and nearly everything in my house is motion or contact controlled. Move in a room, the lights come on. Open a door, and a light comes on sort of thing. If it isn't motion or contact controlled, it's voice controlled.

  2. SmartThings with either HomeAssistant or OpenHAB.

  3. For me, the lack of an app isn't that big of a deal at all. In fact, from a security perspective, I love it.

  4. None really. I do have an issue with the Admin UI slowing down from time to time or my Hue bridge not updating HE fast enough. But, I can live with all of those.

  5. As @jkudave pointed out, the supported devices list should be your first stop. In my house, I've found that Sengleds for bulbs, and SmartThings motion and contact sensors work really well. Great on battery life and reports events quickly.


#4

Thanks.

All things in the list work without issue? Is there a hierarchy of things that work better than others?


#5

Why is the lack of an app better for security?


#6

If it's on the list, yes it works without issue. Z-Wave plus devices are better than standard Z-Wave, but all work without issue. I've found that Zigbee door locks work better than Z-Wave, but that's just my experience.


#7

No remote access to things in your home. If you have the know how, you can setup a VPN and access your Hubitat dashboard through it. This keeps all control and access local.


#8

One less attack vector for malicious apps on either iOS or Android to use.

Currently, with cloud dashboards, there is an open attack vector into your hub (which is required to have a cloud connection). Because many people want or need to control their devices from outside of their home network, there's a Hubitat Cloud to local path into your home network. An app expands that attack vector because unlike a web page, it is possible for malicious apps to hijack activities exposed by an app.

I have a VPN connection setup should I ever need to do anything with my home automation stuff from outside of the house.


#9
  1. Same as any other automation system - knowing that you can't think of 100% of scenarios or USER PREFERENCES. Example, my mother likes to read, and will for long periods of time. Motion based lights will always time out on her as she sits motionless - extremely frustrating to her. Need to think through those kinds of scenarios. Having a natural/easy way to override the automations is crucial if you care about acceptance by "low tech" people. If you have older people visit/come over then VOICE is a very poor choice for fallback with low adoption rates.

  2. SmartThings + OpenHAB/Home Assistant

  3. No app is a zero issue. I just put the "main menu' cloud dashboard link on my wife's homepage, and as far as she knows it "is an app".

  4. Lack of troubleshooting capability when hub slows down/crashed. Very manual/tedious process to try and figure out what's going on.

  5. I would just steer you to the supported devices wiki/list. Don't ever buy anything zwave that isn't zwave plus. Never assume any wifi connected devices will work / can be made to work - look at the list or ask in the forum.


#10

In my humble opinion, the outstanding feature of Hubitat (besides the local, extendable design, which is great), has to be the Rule Machine. The designers of Hubitat have spent a lot of time and effort in making this feature extremely powerful yet user friendly. (They are still enhancing it!).
Other feature are good (even very good), but this one feature has to be called "the outstanding feature".


#11

I thought there was a way to control Hubitat remotely?


#12

I agree RM is really good... Not better/easier to use/more capable than WebCore was FOR ME, but still really good. RM 3.0 looks like it will be even better when it comes out.


#13

There is via the cloud dashboard(s) which is what the "app" is going to expose (according to the HE
team).


#14

And the key word on the future app is CONTROL.

CONFIGURE will still have to be done locally (or remotely through a VPN).


#15

Good point I always face with. Are there general stategies to solve the "old man reading" test?


#16

Hubitat > Home Assistant (unless you are a programmer). Trust me on this.


#17

I'll answer your #2.

If I wasn't using Hubitat I would be using Homeseer.


#18

My thoughts:

  1. I more or less live alone so don't have to worry too much about others, but the biggest thing I try to do with my automations is not let them get in anyone's way. If anything about them is confusing or annoying, I try to fix that. For example, most of my lights turn on with motion (and I choose motion sensors and platforms--like Hubitat--that support fast and local execution), so most people don't bother looking for light switches to turn them on. With smart bulbs, it can take a bit of convincing for them not to turn them off, but I see you have Caseta, so with smart switches that shouldn't be a problem. :slight_smile:
  2. If I wasn't on Hubitat, I'd probably still be on some combination of SmartThings (where I came from originally) and Home Assistant (where I mostly moved to after SmartThings, but kept ST because not all my devices worked). Home Assistant is great but was a lot of work to set up and maintain. The Hass.io variant would take care of a lot of this for you, but I needed some things that at the time didn't work with that (like running the SmartThings MQTT bridge and a few other small services on the same "server"). I tried Vera Plus and was not impressed, neither with the UI itself nor with device compatibility (I went with Plus because I had a lot of Zigbee; turns out Vera has a very small whitelist, no custom device support, and apparently haven't put any effort into expanding that whitelist since I tried a year and half ago).
  3. Nobody, except maybe staff, knows when the mobile app is going to be released, but if you just want remote viewing and control of devices, the existing Hubitat Dashboard app (or a comparable third-party solution) can, as you note, work for that. Pin an icon on your homescreen and most people would think it was an app in the first place. :slight_smile: (Presence/location and notifications are two things the app is reported to provide but also currently have third-party-app solutions with native Hubitat integrations, as well as community workarounds.)
  4. I haven't had any major problems since I removed webCoRE, a massive rule-engine-type software originally written for SmartThings and ported to Hubitat. It stopped working well after one hub firmware update, causing slowdowns and complete hub freezes for many users. Any custom code technically can, and I wish there was a good way for us to see what apps/drivers those are (e.g., history of resource consumption by app), but staff is generally insistent that this is not necessary. You can disable individual apps/drivers without uninstalling them now (see the "X" icon in the upper right of list view), which can help narrow things down, but I sometimes wish there was a better way to tell. I have had very few problems with this and I have multiple hubs to segregate "questionable" code onto one I care less about, but the thought is one on many people's minds. I don't want to overstate the "importance" of this, and if you run all native code, you'll either likely not run into problems or have Support be quite interested in fixing them.
  5. Caseta works with Hubitat via the Smart Bridge Pro (the non-Pro variety only allows cloud connections and won't work). I'd strongly recommend Z-Wave over Wi-Fi for outlets, but I think there might be an unofficial TPLink integration should you want to try (don't quote me on that, and don't expect it to be as easy to set up). There is an Alexa skill that allows some device control and monitoring, though I do wish it was fleshed out a bit more (e.g., exposing motion sensors and whanot). There is no Ring integration, but you can bring a "virtual" device from Hubitat and a third-party service Ring supports into the mix (like IFTTT or Alexa) to integrate the two. As others have mentioned, the official device compatibility list is the best place to start, but in general, most Zigbee and Z-Wave devices will work with Hubitat (as well as select LAN devices). The only thing I'd add is that I'd avoid pairing most Zigbee smart bulbs (Hue, Tradfri, Cree, etc.) directly to Hubitat unless the only Zigbee devices you have are bulbs. This is because, to summarize, they tend to be bad "repeaters" and will drop messages from non-bulb devices (they're meant to work on a bulb-only Zigbee profile called Light Link, but joining them to a hub like Hubitat makes them use Zigbee Home Automation, a more complex profile that seems to overwhelm them). The exception here is Sengled, which doesn't repeat, so is fine to pair directly to Hubitat. Otherwise, many people use a separate network like a Hue network and integrate it to Hubitat via the native Hue Bridge integration, for example. There are also Z-Wave bulbs, but not very many, and I don't know how well they work, but they would avoid this problem. There are also Wi-Fi bulbs, but most don't work with Hubitat (Yeelight and I think Nanoleaf being the exceptions).

#19
  1. None. Everything I implement has a manual switch so it can still be controlled like normal. All lights turn on and off with the wall switch, TV still can turn on/off. The security system is armed/disarmed automatically based on presence so she has no reason to even play with a dashboard. My scene's kick in automatically so the Wife actually likes the fact that the house is awake when she gets up and goes to sleep when we go to bed. Voice control, I introduce slowly. I find when they see you say something like "alexa turn on the tv" they will pick it up quickly and start using it, but when I tell her about it she never remembers.
  2. Depends on the target audience. For most I would just send them to SmartThings.
  3. No issue at all. There are ways to do everything you need to do now. Dashboard, presence and notifications are some of the rumored items. The thing I like about not being dependent on an app is that you can find a solution that works for you. For example, with presence you can try live365, locative, homekit, alexa, lan presence and more. One may work better than the other for you.
  4. My biggest issue is that a poorly created app/driver has the ability to take down the hub. In the ST world this was hidden by the fact the that cloud did all the processing, but in the HE world you have to be more aware of it because there are a lot of apps that are resource intensive. I wish there was a way to prevent this but I don't think we can speak on this as we don't know the underlying system or how its integrated.
  5. The one thing i like about HE is that you can get pretty much anything to work with HE. It just depends on how technical you are with coding/hacking etc. Some people set up node servers to capture the data and open up an API that HE can work with to communicate with devices. Once you learn groovy there are so many things you can do. But most just want a plug and play system which this is good at as well. Check their supported device list for the plug and play devices. There are a lot and more being added all the time.

#20

@jscotch i'd like to weigh in on this from my (little) experience. (I consider myself very geeky/techy - but not a coder)

Reddit/Discord has a huge following for HA - The problem I found with HA is that there is the disparity between the software and the guides...as in quite often the guides are out of date and it's the case of hitting the forums/Discord chat to find a solution.

I wanted to like HA because it was free, I have a R Pi and Reddit raved about it, but just trying to figure out the simplest things became complex. I must have spent days trying to get Unifi AP setup to be able to do presence detection...I went to the developer who didn't really want to help and I got snarky remarks from...When I finally got it installed I (yes days to just install it) I couldn't get it to work anyway.

That was the case with everything that I tried to set up with HA, so after about a month of just trying to get what gear I had working I shut it down.

There are many reviews from people moving away from HA to other platforms because automation should simply work and not spend hours getting it working, then another few hours to troubleshoot when it breaks and so on.

My experience of Hubitat is that the community it welcoming (maybe because it's small and close-knit) and I've had some great support so far...I'm not able to say if Hubitat is the answer to HA, but I am going to give it a go. The problem with this is that it's a larger outlay than HA to see if it is for me, but I feel that if I get stuck or encounter issues there will be people here to support me.

Your other option is Smart Things, which seems really good and well supported.