- Home automation allows you to control and automate various home functions like lighting, temperature, security, etc.
- The top 10 home automation systems in 2023 are SmartThings, Home Assistant, Hubitat, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Wink, Vera, OpenHAB, and Control4.
- Key factors to consider when choosing a system are compatibility, cost, DIY vs professionally installed, smart home ecosystem, etc.
- Top recommendations are Home Assistant for DIY enthusiasts, Apple HomeKit for deep iOS integration, and Control4 for whole home professional installation.
Let's explore the key capabilities of each system in-depth so you can gain a comprehensive understanding of these powerful home automation platforms and choose the optimal one to suit your smart home needs.
Home automation gives you the power to monitor and control various functions in your home automatically or remotely. From managing lighting, climate control, entertainment, security, and more, home automation makes life more convenient and efficient. With the right home automation system, you can customize automation features to suit your lifestyle.
In 2023, home automation systems are more advanced and affordable than ever before. There are a wide variety of solutions to meet any budget or skill level. The best home automation systems balance factors like broad device compatibility, intuitive controls, DIY-friendly setup, and professional integration options.
This article will highlight the top 10 home automation systems you should consider for whole home or starter setups this year. We'll go over key features, pros and cons, and ideal user scenarios to help you determine the right fit. Let's dive in!
1. Samsung SmartThings
Samsung SmartThings is one of the most popular mainstream home automation platforms. It supports over 10,000 compatible smart devices from leading brands. The system revolves around the SmartThings Hub which communicates with connected devices via wireless protocols like Zigbee, Z-Wave, and WIFI.
- Broad smart device compatibility
- Automation through "routines"
- Remote monitoring and control through a mobile app
- Integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- DIY-friendly setup
- Professional monitoring available through ADT
SmartThings strikes a balance of being beginner-friendly while still offering advanced functionality for tech enthusiasts. It's a great option for those who want a mainstream system with wide device support.
2. Home Assistant
Home Assistant is an open-source home automation software that can turn a spare computer or single-board device like a Raspberry Pi into a powerful automation hub. It has integrations for over 1500 different smart devices and systems.
- Completely local control - does not rely on the cloud
- Highly customizable through automations and scripts
- Runs on various hardware including Raspberry Pi
- Self-hosted option appeals to DIY enthusiasts
- The steeper learning curve for setup and configuration
Home Assistant is the top choice for tech-savvy users who want maximum flexibility. It does require comfort with managing servers and code, so beginners may prefer a system with an easier learning curve. We have tons of project ideas with Home Assistant, send us a message we love to share these with you!
3. Hubitat Elevation
Hubitat Elevation is an all-in-one automation controller that focuses on keeping data local for optimal privacy and reliability. It supports both Zigbee and Z-Wave devices.
- Local processing and storage of automation routines
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Robust third party integrations through apps and drivers
- Built-in dashboard interface for controlling devices and creating automation
- Groovy-based coding for advanced customization
Hubitat hits a nice balance between DIY flexibility and mainstream usability. It's a good choice for those who want a system they fully own and control without relying on the cloud.
4. Apple HomeKit
Apple HomeKit is the native smart home platform for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV users. It seamlessly integrates with other Apple devices and software.
- Tight integration with Apple devices and ecosystem
- Siri voice control
- Automation and scenes through the Apple Home app
- Select smart accessories have built-in HomeKit support
- HomeKit Secure Router protects against external attacks
- HomeKit code framework makes adding devices easy
Apple HomeKit is ideal if you want a unified smart home experience across Apple devices. It offers intuitive control and automation powered by Siri and the Home app.
5. Amazon Alexa
The Amazon Alexa smart assistant powers Echo devices and Alexa-enabled third-party products. It allows extensive voice control and automation for compatible smart home devices. We recommend reading our blog post about the Amazon Echo Show 5 which blends the hands-free Alexa voice assistant.
- Voice control through Alexa
- Automate through Alexa routines
- Skills add additional capabilities
- Works with many Zigbee, WIFI, and cloud-based devices
- Easy to set up
- Integrates with Fire TV, Eero WIFI, Amazon Cloud Cam, Ring, and more
Amazon Alexa is a top choice for hands-free voice control and automation using Alexa routines. It natively integrates well with Amazon's own smart home products.
6. Google Home
Like Amazon Alexa, Google Home is both a smart speaker line and automation ecosystem. It lets you control compatible devices by voice or through the Google Home app.
- Voice control via the Google Assistant
- Automate with routines in the Google Home app
- Works with Nest, Chromecast, and many third-party devices
- Integrates well with other Google services like Calendar, Maps, YouTube etc.
- More limited native device support than Alexa or SmartThings
Google Home makes a solid voice-first automation option if you are invested in other Google services. But it has fewer directly compatible devices than some competitors.
7. Wink Hub
Wink Hub functions as the central receiver for many different wireless protocols. It works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, WIFI, and LTE devices.
- Broad smart home device compatibility
- Custom automation through Robots
- Remote access through mobile apps
- Voice control integration with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Subscription plan unlocks full functionality
- Local processing recently added after reliance on cloud
Wink Hub offers versatility through its support for many wireless standards. But functionality is now limited without paying for a subscription.
8. Vera Control
Vera Control focuses on the seamless integration of Z-Wave and other wireless devices. Their controllers function as automation hubs.
- Built-in Z-Wave antenna for stable connections
- Automation through scenes and rules
- Customizable dashboards and controls
- Remote access through apps and web portal
- Third party plugins expand capabilities
- Local processing for reliability
Vera is a reasonably priced choice if you want local control and customization focused on Z-Wave devices. It may require more technical aptitude than some plug-and-play systems.
OpenHAB is an free, open source automation software that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and single board computers. It integrates with an extensive array of smart products.
- Highly customizable and extensible automation
- Mobile app for remote access and notifications
- Built-in interface for rules, sitemaps, dashboards etc.
- Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri Shortcuts
- Steep learning curve compared to commercial platforms
OpenHAB appeals to DIY tech enthusiasts who want an extremely flexible system without license fees. But expect a significant investment of time for setup and configuration.
10. Control4 Home Automation
Control4 focuses on premium professionally installed and supported whole home automation. They offer various controller options to accommodate small to extremely large projects.
- Professional installation and ongoing support
- Customized automation with easy personalized control
- Advanced integrated A/V and lighting scenarios
- Luxury smart home appeal with high performance
- Works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, IP, Wi-Fi devices
- Expensive compared to DIY systems
Control4 is the go-to solution for luxury, professionally installed smart homes. The high price tag guarantees an incredible customized experience.
With many great home automation options available in 2023, which system is right for you? Here are some top recommendations based on key criteria:
- For DIY enthusiasts on a budget, Home Assistant running on a Raspberry Pi provides extremely robust local automation without license fees. You need some technical skills, but the possibilities are endless.
- Users invested in the Apple ecosystem will love the seamless integration and intuitive automation of Apple HomeKit. Siri makes voice control a breeze. Support for HomeKit-enabled accessories is improving.
- Custom professional installation with best-in-class performance makes Control4 the premier choice for luxury whole home automation. The high cost brings an unparalleled integrated experience that adds value and sophistication.
- Straightforward app control and broad third-party device support make SmartThings a popular, hassle-free choice. Routines handle common automation easily. Integration with Alexa and Google Assistant allows voice control flexibility.
What are the main advantages of home automation?
The main benefits of home automation include increased convenience, time savings, energy efficiency, security, and peace of mind knowing your home environment is monitored. Automation helps smoothly integrate technology into various home functions.
Is home automation expensive?
Home automation can range dramatically in cost from DIY systems under $100 to professionally installed whole home automation costing tens of thousands. In general, DIY options are more budget-friendly whereas professionally installed systems come with added costs for consultation, installation, integration, and support.
Can I install a home automation system myself?
Many home automation platforms are designed to be set up and managed by the homeowner without professional installation. Systems like SmartThings, Home Assistant, Hubitat and more can be self-installed and offer DIY-friendly controls. However, larger whole home setups may benefit from a professional integrator.
Which wireless protocols are most widely supported?
Z-Wave and Zigbee are the most widely supported wireless protocols, followed by WiFi. Make sure any system you choose works with your existing or desired devices. Home automation hubs often support multiple protocols.
Is cloud connectivity or local control better?
Cloud-based systems offer remote access and management, but local control keeps data in your home only. Locally controlled systems have added privacy and can operate independently. Many systems now incorporate both local processing and optional cloud connectivity.
If you want to dip your toes into the smart home world, I’d recommend reading our article “How to Set Up a Smart Home System in 2023” which can help guide you through the process of setting up a smart home with various gadgets that can talk and understand each other!
To learn more about some clever ways to automate your smart lights, refer to our article:
Disclaimer: “This post contains affiliate link(s). An affiliate link means we may earn advertising or referral fees (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase through this link. We only recommend products we genuinely trust and believe are helpful to the reader.”