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There are numerous ready-made solutions from smarthome providers that combine many advantages and ease of use. However, many of them have a common disadvantage and that is that they only work within their own system (e.g. lamps from different providers cannot all be controlled with one switch from Shelly).
In order to solve this problem, a separate smarthome platform is needed that networks all devices with each other and thus makes them operable. There are several systems on the market that offer these functionalities. In this article, however, we will compare what I consider to be the two best systems: openHAB vs. Home Assistant
Installation and updates
The installation of both systems is very simple. You just need to download the base image for your hardware, copy it to an SD card and plug it into the Raspberry Pi. Both openHAB and Home Assistant can also be installed via Docker.
Updates are managed via the Home Assistant’s web interface and can be easily installed via mouse swipe. With openHAB, things are a bit more complicated as these are done via a command line.
Supported devices and linking
One of the great advantages of an intelligent smarthome system to link all your devices together. All major providers are represented in both systems, as well as the common smarthome protocols (e.g. Bluetooth, Z-Wave or Zigbee). The number of available components is over 1,000 for both systems, which is an impressive total.
I would like to mention here that the process is similar for both systems. However, it feels better and more user-friendly with Home Assistant.
After the installation and connection of all devices, the most important part of a good smarthome system begins. This is the simple creation and implementation of automation rules to achieve a truly intelligent smarthome. Both systems offer users many options for creation and management via a flexible and friendly user interface.
From my point of view, openHAB offers more flexibility here, but the user-friendliness is lower.
Home Assistant has a good approach to the user interface, as it does not necessarily have to be configured (very practical, especially for beginners). However, advanced users can fully customise the user interface with their own visualisations.
openHAB offers many options for the user interface, which can also confuse some users. In addition, the overall design is not one of the most modern applications.
There are corresponding iOS and Android apps for both systems. All apps offer a good overview and extensive range of functions, so there is nothing more to say on this point.
In order to find one’s way around the complicated and extensive solutions, good documentation is essential. Both systems have extensive documentation and a blog. This already contains many possible solutions, and new questions can be asked at any time.
To control your system remotely (e.g. switching the lighting), you need remote access. With both systems, access via a VPN tunnel can be set up using a paid variant. Of course, you can also set up this function yourself, which is a little more complicated (but you save the monthly fee).
From my point of view, both systems are future-proof because they each have a large community. However, Home Assistant has a slight lead here due to its widespread use.
In my view, all systems have both good and bad features. Therefore, everyone must decide for themselves which system should be used in their own four walls. In the past, I have built a lot with openHAB, as I am very fond of the customisation options. However, the system was not always 100% stable for me, which is why I switched to Home Assistant. From my point of view, the ease of use is a big advantage here.
In the coming posts I will tell you more about Home Assistant, as this system is now in operation in my home.
I hope you continue to enjoy reading!