I’m very, very impressed by openHAB. With the Covid-19 Lock down I’ve had time to re-look at HA solutions over the last few weeks. In that time, I’ve had a play with the following and here are my impressions (from bottom to top):
SmartThings: 2.5/5 : A cloud Controller in a pre-rolled Appliance. I’m not a big fan of having stuff “in the cloud” but for modest price, you do get some hardware, nice looking GUI, and it is all reasonably good… but…not great. They don’t seem to know what they are doing between the new IF and “Classic”. I’m note sure the know where they are going. Also not much you can do locally for config which just quickly becomes a PITA. Verdict: On the Shelf (not worth returning).
Home Assistant: 2.5/5 : A local Controller in a roll your own environment. I wanted to really love this one. It was pretty, easy to use + there are bindings for everything I’d ever want (and more)… but the Z-Wave experience is appalling and for for me it just was not that stable. It seems it is all flash and no depth. Verdict: Uninstalled.
Domoticz: 3/5 : A local Controller in a roll your own environment. I’ve actually been using Domoticz for the last couple of years on a basic version for monitoring sensors are sending alerts. It has been solid and reliable but is pretty limited in the bindings available and it’s Z-Wave support is only fair. Verdict: Retired.
Fibaro Home Center 2: 3.5/5 : A local Controller in a pre-rolled Appliance. I almost kept this one. It is very expensive but comes packaged with what looks like an Intel CPU/Mobo with a custom Z-WAVE daughter board. The reception and range on their Z-WAVE hardware is spectacular and flogs what the likes of the Aeotec Gen 5 USB Controller Stick can do. It is also easy to run, setup and configure. The results are nice and pretty and what it does, functions well and is reliable. The downside is it does not support that many bindings, but the killer for me was their lack of timely Z-Wave Template support. On an unkown Z-Wave devices you are prompted to send in the automatically generated info, but seems that is the end of the engagement. Verdict: Returned
openHAB 2: 4/5 : A local Controller that is fully transferable between OS and HW. I’ve already had it on my main WinPC, then just copied the files to a Pi4, then to an Intel ComputeStick and it just runs. I normally bag Java but wow… this is a great benefit of the architecture! It has all the bindings I need (and then some) and it’s Z-Wave implementation and support for the templates (thanks to Chris Jackson) is just #1. Seriously the top of the heap. Did I mention, I’m very impressed? Now all I need is the Z-Wave HW & Antenna from the Fibaro . It’s not all milk and honey. openHAB2 has the highest learning curve of all HA soln. Started with PaperUI in simple mode that found everything, but my frustration trying to work out the syntax to create my own basic UI resulted in some stern spousal rebuking! What got me over the learning curve (or wall) was not so much the Into Info on the website but looking at the demo site code at https://github.com/openhab/openhab-distro/tree/master/features/distro-resources/src/main/resources Verdict: Keeper
I really look forward to openHAB 3 and the promise of the unified UI. You already have all the depth, now a pretty top cover to make it easy for us newbies (if that is ever possible) and it will be a 5 / 5 product.