Homey Community Forum

Advantages over Home Assistant

#1

Hi,

I am about to choose a new Domotic box and was undecided about Home Assistant and Homey. I know Homey has more modules included apart from Zwave.

But what are the usability advantages of the extra cost of Homey against a RasberryPI HA?

#2

Personal preference comes into play here, but from my own experience:

Advantages of Homey:

  • “all in one” solution: you get a nice-looking device that has WiFi, Zigbee, Z-Wave and RF on board
  • the flow automation interface is really easy to use, especially now that a browser interface exists
  • supports most popular brands on the market
  • app development in Javascript (HA is based on Python, but I like JS better)

Disadvantages of Homey:

  • pricey
  • Zigbee and Z-Wave are a bit of a hit-or-miss: for some people it works great, for others it’s an ongoing source of frustration (some people experience an considerable improvement after adding external antenna’s for Zigbee/Z-Wave, but this requires opening up the device and soldering pigtails to the PCB, voiding your warranty);
  • (see previous point) Zigbee/Z-Wave implementations are “home grown” which may cause issues with newer devices not being (properly) supported. A Zigbee rewrite has been promised for months now, but see next point:
  • unclear release path: Athom has decided not to communicate about when new features will become available (the reason being that they don’t want to raise false hope)
  • Homey’s core is closed source, so only a very limited number of developers can work on it
  • new firmware releases can cause problems because not all changes seem to get well tested (or features get removed)
  • mobile app interface is “set in stone”: if you don’t like how Athom thinks the app should look, you’re out of luck.
  • unstable: after a few days, Homey becomes unstable for a considerable number of people, so much so that one of the most requested features after firmware v2 was published was the ability to reboot Homey from a flow
  • I don’t trust firmware updates anymore: the update from firmware v1 to v2 bricked my Homey, and because there’s no way to back up an existing Homey, I lost my entire setup because I had to send my Homey back to Athom to get reflashed. This was, for me, the point that I moved my home automation to HA.
  • a lot of apps developed by Athom themselves (mostly for well-known brands) have gone from open source to closed source, which means that nobody in the community can help adding features or fixing bugs.

Advantages of HA:

  • open source
  • cheap
  • big community
  • lots of device support
  • ability to create your own interface for browser and mobile app
  • ability to run on the hardware of your choosing (I run HA inside a Docker container on my Synology NAS, which makes updates a breeze)
  • much more (debugging) information available if you run into problems

Disadvantages of HA:

  • (advanced) setup/configuration requires editing YAML files and restarting after each change
  • automations are more complicated (no nice web interface)
  • not an all-in-one solution: HA supports Z-Wave and Zigbee just fine, but it requires additional configuration that might be too complicated for the casual user
  • device integrations are built in: this is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that you don’t need to install separate “apps” to get device support working (this is especially great for devices that support auto-discovery, because those devices are available immediately after installing HA), but the disadvantage is that a lot of device support gets loaded into memory even if your setup doesn’t need it.

(I’m sure I will think of more points to add to each list :wink: )

3 Likes
#3

I wont disagree with roberts opinions… however.

I don’t feel that they perhaps give proper weight to each of the issues, and some of his issues will certainly not be the average users. ie Do you care what language homey is written it?

A better way perhaps would be a direct comparison ie.

Category Winner Details
Price HA
Hardware Homey
More Homey wins as it offers an integrated solution which would be very difficult to replicate on a RPi.
Setup Homey
More Hands down
Licence HA etc.

However that is not the question you asked, you asked what are the usability advantages vs a RasberryPi (HA).

  • Homey is one piece of hardware
  • Flows for Home Automation
  • The hardware is aesthetically pleasing
  • The hardware has mentioned has many frequencies supported … try and build a Pi with Zwave, Zigbee, bluetooth, IR and RF etc.
  • The hardware has a additional features, a LED ring, speaker, etc.
  • Hardware works ‘out of the box’.
  • No YAML configurations are required
  • App store to easily find/check and add new devices
  • Apps are ‘checked’ by athom for piece of mind
  • It is so much easier to add home automation, a child could do it - but still powerful.
  • Consistent UI and UX through out the app.
  • Ill add more when I get a chance.

TLDNR?

There are four items that really separate Homey from a HA solution and they are big ones :

Integrated Hardware
Home Automation via Flows
Ease of setup
Ease of use

In return for the above four you will sacrifice fine grain customisation and cheap hardware.

1 Like
#4

Given that a fair amount of people seem to expect that “With over 50,000 devices supported” means that those are supported out of the box, I don’t necessarily see having separate apps for device support is that much of an advantage.

Also, the fact that apps are “checked” by Athom doesn’t mean that they will actually work (as a few devs, including myself, have found out). The process of getting integrations merged into HA is much more elaborate IMO, with automated testing, code reviews, and the entire process being public on Github.

#5

In my experience going to the App Store - installing an app the. Then clicking on an icon to add said device Is a lot more useable and an advantage over HA where (a lot of the time) you need to hunt down the documentation, then open up the config and write YAML in order to add it.

I believe that the App Store approach is more useable …

Maybe you disagree, perhaps an example on how I would go about adding my 20 odd xiaomi devices to HA will prove me wrong?

But seriously, have a look at what is required to add my heater - vs installing an app and entering my username/password.

#6

I agree, the device-adding part of Homey is typically a lot easier than HA (unless the device can be auto-discovered, in which case it’s “there” in HA without ever having to have added it at all), provided that you can find the right app (with several “IKEA”, “Hue” and “Xiaomi” apps, that can be confusing).

Perhaps on HA it will work longer than 30 minutes, though :wink:

As for adding Xiaomi devices, I use deCONZ for Zigbee on HA. Adding devices is easy enough (web interface), not limited to just Xiaomi devices (I have Xiaomi, IKEA, INNR and Zigbee2Mqtt devices), and they just appear on HA with more supported capabilities than on Homey.

1 Like
#7

I have both running, but never really got the hang of HA to be honest. It just took me way too long to search through all the documentation to get the Deconz-stick running properly and connecting devices. Never got to the point to actually learning YAML properly enough to understand how to use the events of Xiaomi-buttons to trigger stuff. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not even that hard. But Homey’s flows are just so much easier and more intuitive.

My advice
If you don’t mind a bit of coding and a bit of research, go for HA as it offers much better support for devices and is a lot cheaper. It will gave you a lot more possibilities for custom automation as well. If you prefer out-of-the-box support with easy automation and don’t mind to select devices based on support: go for Homey as it supports a lot of common devices anyway.

TL;DR
If the supported devices and you don’t need overly complex flows or logging: go for Homey. If you need granular custom automations combined with almost limitless support: go for Home Assistant.

#8

To be honest for HA you need more then “a bit of coding”.
I have tried it multiple times to get all my devices working but after a while I just gave up.
This could say someyhing about me but I have experience in YAML from my salstack experience so that’s not it.
The documention for HA isn’t always complete and you really need it to be if it doesn’t work ouf ot the box.
However, the documentation is better for HA then homey for sure.
I have had my homey(pro) for only 2 months now but I had my first flow created within 10 minutes(sun down > lights on).
Would love to see Athom giving the homey a more open nature for better community support.

1 Like
#10

It looks the disavantages of homey are the same of zipato which i used for 5 years and want now to ditch…

#11

Best to spend a little time with HA then, and if you dont enjoy that, A lot of places offer a 14 days money back trial of homey.

Good Luck!

#12

Disclaimer: I haven’t actually tried HA practically.

I think it basically boils down to if you want a kind of finished product then Homey is great. You don’t need any programming, everything is configured using a GUI and is very simple to do. The automation is very easy to get into and at the same time very powerful (maybe not coding powerful but still).

If you like to use code and have the time to hunt for documentation, spend the time learning and code your solutions then HA is probably a better choice. Cheaper ofcourse.

Some more subjective points:
In my personal experience, if there’s too much work every time I want to make some automation then I’ll probably stop doing it because life gets in the way. That’s a big reason for me to Homey being preferable to the open source solutions that exist.

You can go deeper though with Homey if you want to, like integrate Homey to NodeRED or even HA or openHAB through MQTT but yeah, then you kinda use both solutions.

Another point is that I never experienced some of the things @robertklep talks about. But I aknowledge that some people have. But for example I don’t restart Homey on a regular basis and I haven’t had problems with either z-wave or firmware updates. This is between two Homeys also (2018 and pro).

Homey do have its share of bugs though and one should be aware of that.

Edit: The omitted pretty obvious advantage is what others have talked about also with different protocols supported.

#13

I used HA, then moved to Homey. Reason is the same as mentioned above - HA requires hours of reading documentation and writing YAMLs just to do basic things. It’s very powerful, but time consuming to run. Homey is WYSIWYG - you can setup everything within minutes, without any documentation (well… almost).

However, Homey is not perfect:

  • it’s cloud based without 2 factor authentication - wtf?! In device like that it should be standard!
  • no backup and restore - second wtf?! In device like this it should be standard!
  • GUI is powerful, but not customizable at all.