What Are the Best Alternatives to the Wink Smart Hub?
Wink pulled a fast one on its customers in May of this year.
If you’re a Wink customer, then you got an email in your inbox informing you all your carefully designed home automations would be inaccessible on May 20th unless you signed on for a $4.99-per-month subscription plan.
We can’t blame you if you’re thinking about ditching Wink rather than opt into the new deal. If you think your time with Wink is up, here are some alternate smart hubs you could switch to (no subscription plans required).
Smart hub options other than Wink
Wink’s not the only hub out there that can link all your smart stuff together. Check out some of these alternatives.
|Model||Price||Protocols||Security equipment available||Learn more|
|Samsung SmartThings||$69.99||Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, Cloud-to-Cloud, LAN||Yes||View on Amazon|
|Amazon Echo Plus||$149.99||Wi-Fi, Zigbee||No||View on Amazon|
|Google Nest Hub Max||$229||Wi-Fi||Yes||View at Lowe's|
|Apple TV 4K||$179||Wi-Fi||No||View on Amazon|
|Abode Iota||$299*||Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee||Yes||View Plans|
- Supports multiple smart home protocols
- Offers security sensors and equipment
- Does not replace all other apps
Samsung SmartThings is the golden child of smart home hubs. It’s a well-known brand, it supports a lot of different smart home protocols (including both Z-Wave and Zigbee), and it’s pretty affordable to get started. You don’t have to pay a subscription fee to use the SmartThings app or set up custom home automation rules.
For the most part, SmartThings replaces other apps you’d use to control your smart stuff. But there are a few functions you can’t do in the SmartThings app, such as check your camera’s live feed. You’ll still need the native app for that.
Amazon Echo Plus
Source: Amazon Press Center
- Gives you full Alexa functionality
- Works with a wide range of smart stuff
- Does not support Z-Wave
Let’s be real: smart speakers are the future of smart home hubs. If you don’t already have an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, they’re the easiest way to link all your smart stuff together through voice control.
But if you still want the traditional smart hub functionality, then the Amazon Echo Plus gives you both. This little hub combines an Amazon Echo with a Zigbee integration. Keep in mind that it doesn’t work with Z-Wave, but if you’re a Zigbee devotee, then this one’s for you.
Don’t need the Zigbee integration?
Google Nest Hub Max
Source: Google Nest
- Supports cameras and video calls
- Works with Nest devices
The Google Nest Hub Max doesn’t quite have full smart hub status. It doesn’t offer Z-Wave or Zigbee integrations, but it does work with Wi-Fi and gives you Google Assistant control in whatever room you put it in.
Voice control is good, but the real charm of the Google Nest Hub Max is that it’s a smart display. It has a built-in camera for video calls, it can show you live-feeds of your security cameras, or just display the latest family pictures. Plus, this hub works with Nest devices, which are some of our favorites cameras, thermostats, and home security sensors.
Apple TV 4K
Source: Apple Newsroom
- Seamless HomeKit support
- Offers control from your TV screen
- No support for other protocols
If you’re an Apple HomeKit fan, then an Apple product is your best bet for full HomeKit support. Your Apple TV 4K will automatically set itself up as a smart home hub if you log in to your iCloud account on your TV. From there, you can use the Apple Home app to create rules and control your smart devices.
Apple TV isn’t the only device that can make you a HomeKit master. You can also use an Apple HomePod or your iPad as a smart home hub for HomeKit devices. Just remember, you can control only HomeKit-enabled devices through the Home app. No Z-Wave or Zigbee support here.
We like the Apple TV over the HomePod or an iPad because it also lets you connect to streaming services and live TV. But, of course, there’s nothing stopping you (besides, you know, money) from having the Apple TV, a HomePod, and an iPad in your house. Gotta catch ‘em all.
Best security system smart hub options
Did you know that home security systems often come with smart home hubs these days? Most security systems offer some type of smart home support, including Z-Wave and Zigbee integrations.
Security systems have higher up-front costs than a smart hub alone, and sometimes you have to sign on to a monitoring contract. But if you want to secure your home and still keep all your smart stuff working, a security system is a good way to go.
Z-Wave home security systems:
Zigbee home security systems:
Check out our Best Home Security Systems review to find a smart security system that can replace your Wink hub.
Recap: You don’t have to pay for Wink
If you’re not loyal enough to Wink that you’re willing to shell out five bucks every month, that’s ok. There are plenty of smart home hubs in the sea. Check out one of your other options and say goodbye to the forced subscription model.
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