OpenHab is a Home Automation Hub based on open source. It was developed in Java and the OpenHab community is considered to be well established and helpful by the masses.
Home Automation Systems like OpenHab perform different functions in terms of your smart devices like monitoring and controlling their activities to get the desired result. It provides the users with add-ons that give OpenHab various capabilities and the ability to interact. The add-ons are made available from the OpenHab1/OpenHab2 distribution.
Benefits and Drawbacks of OpenHab
- Extensions can be used for additional features and simultaneously increase its capabilities.
- Supports thousands of devices, numerous systems, and technologies.
- Runs on platforms like Linux, Mac OSx, Windows, PINE64, Raspberry Pi, Docker, Synology, and other numerous platforms.
- Has additional Lovelace panels, software components, and much more.
- Works with Zigbee and Z-Wave.
- Has interactive communities built around itself.
- Good installation and overall guides.
- More options mean more time required.
- Some sort of prior knowledge is required for hassle-free usage.
- Updates require a command line.
- Older versions like raspberry Pie or RPi 3 may cause issues due to low RAM capacity.
- Fewer topics were published per week as compared to Home Assistant.
The configuration process will take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes of your time. The entire process is listed on the OpenHab website where one can follow the installation guide and configure the hub properly. A stable internet connection is always recommended for a smooth configuration experience.
The paper and the Web UI from the latest version of the OpenHab allow the users to perform several configuration processes without needing to edit the files but the paper UI seldom supports all the other features in the OpenHab. Hence, users are expected to edit files to achieve the configuration.
OpenHab updates are complex and time-consuming as compared to the Home Assistant as the updates require a command line to get the updates as Add ON.
3. Supported Devices
OpenHab with a smart hub can integrate all devices. Currently, it claims to support 792 devices from 111 different manufacturers. IoT protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Bluetooth can work together with this system easily.
4. Automation Rules
For OpenHub the most basic way to deploy and create automation is using Xtend which is a flexible language of Java that can merge into readable Java 8 compatible source code.
5. User Interface
- Basic UI is the updated modern web
- Paper UI is an administrative system interface
- HABmin is a portable user interface that is more modern and professional.
6. Mobile Apps
OpenHab has a dedicated app for both IOS and Android which is well-developed and comes with innovative options. The app is easy to use and user-friendly. Users can get notified of the important alerts and notifications from time to time.
Home Assistant is a similar open-sourced home automation hub developed using Python 3 as the backend language and Polymer has been used for the front-end components. From the development process standpoint, Home Assistant is licensed under Apache 2.0.
Home assistant is a more lightweight option as compared to the Home Assistant yet delivers a huge array of latest features. The configuration hugely is done through the web interface and the plugins can be used to extend the functionalities.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Home Assistant
- Attractive user interface.
- Supports both Google Assistant and Alexa.
- Useful ‘Discovery’ option.
- All codes and fixes are available on GitHub.
- Innovative and flexible.
- Flexible automation rules for users to customize as they desire.
- Web-UI controlled ‘integration’ feature that saves time initially.
- Step-by-step instructions on the website for new users.
- More stable notifications and alerts.
- Active community that publishes around 500 topics in 10 different categories per week.
- There are some upper- and lower-case errors that can cause issues.
- YAML usage can be difficult for some users as the indentation part seems to be complex.
- New users may find it overwhelming at first.
The installation process of Home Assistant is similar to that of the OpenHab but the user needs to download the image of HassBian and burn it. There is an installation guide also available on the Home Assistant website to which the new users can refer and start the process. A stable internet connection here too is recommended to carry out the configuration process with ease.
The Home Assistant can automatically discover all the devices present in your household and add them to the UI during the first time it runs, this is in other words Home Assistant making decisions on behalf of the user and making things easier initially. It has a one-click easy installation process and add-on feature in it too makes it impressive. Unlike OpenHab no command lines are required and hence the entire process is a lot easier.
The Home Assistant users can manage the updates through the web interface for Hass.io and the updates can be carried out with the ease of a single click.
3. Supported Devices
Home Assistant comes with a built-in system that supports the Z-Wave control panel however it is not quite convenient from the standpoint of Zigbee. With its smart hub, Home Assistant can also compile all of the user’s devices together and it also has about 1400 components.
4. Automation Rules
The most basic way to manage the automation rules is to use YAML and Node-RED is also another one. Node-RED is a visual programming tool developed by IBM for wiring the hardware devices together.
Xtrend is considered to be one of the scripting languages with many complex functions and structures present. It faces complaints about lack of clear documentation, odd syntax, no real tooling feature, and lack of support for functions. These reasons have led to a rise in the unhappy customer count.
YAML can be confused as a programming language but it happens to be a user-friendly data serializing standard for the programming language.
7. User Interface
The user interface is the most intriguing feature of the Home Assistant as it is user-friendly for even beginners and fairly less complex than the OpenHab UI.
8. Mobile Apps
Like OpenHab itself, Home Assistant also comes with its respective IOS and Android applications; however, they seem to be slightly less developed than those of OpenHab. The Home Assistant (HA) app includes location tracking, a timely push notification service, and a feature to monitor the Home Assistant units. HA uses the notification services in a better way than the OpenHab.
OpenHab vs Home Assistant add-ons:
Home Assistant add-ons
- CEC Scanner
- DHCP Server
- Git pull
- Action: Telegram, Twitter, MQTT, XMPP
- Binding: hue, ZigBee, Astro, IKEA
- Data persistence: Jdbc, MySQL, InfluxDB, MongoDB
- System integration: HomeKit, Google, OpenHab cloud connector
- Voice: macOS, Google Cloud Text-to-speech, Pico, Voice
OpenHab is one of the most noteworthy systems out in the market with its amazing flexibility and customization options OpenHab is surely one of the big giants. However, as compared to Home Assistant the development pace feels slow. On the other hand, its paper UI still feels a bit unpolished but it’s headed in the right direction of progress. Bottom line is that if you are the person that likes the flexibility and the customization options and are willing to take a steeper learning curve for good then OpenHab is for you!
Home Assistant is in the air right now as it supports the latest gadgets though it risks that stability but people love the latest stuff and if you won’t mind the stability for the newer gadgets that much over the extreme non-compatibility then Home Assistant is for you. It also has excellent support media devices like Chromecast and Roku. UI too is very intimidating to the user’s eye and shines more if compared to the Openhab’s. The lighting factor is enough for the approval of the rest of your family members.
Recommendation: Home Assistant vs OpenHab What Is Best
No doubt that both of the platforms come with numerous benefits but it all boils down to the user interface for the absolute beginners and the customization options for the ones that want to go the extra mile even if the learning curve seems steeper for them.
At the end of the day, it’s an individual choice, you can either choose the no-fuss and easy to integrate UI that comes with Home Assistant or lean towards the more flexible style of coding backed by more advanced goals in the case of OpenHab. Both the platform communities are well developed and hence we recommend that you take into consideration your requirements both current and future.