Homey Pro (2023)

Homey Pro (2023)

The Homey Pro is a terrific smart home device that sets out to solve the biggest problem plaguing the category: fragmentation. While the device does an incredible job at bringing everything in your home under one roof, the insurmountable task of supporting thousands upon thousands of devices means that some of your smart home products won’t be supported, so your mileage may vary on just how useful this will be for you.

I first saw Homey Pro at CES 2023. I was blown away by what it offered — a smart home hub that can control everything you own — but a little skeptical of how it would perform in real life. This didn’t stop us from giving it a Best of CES 2023 award, but I was excited to give it a shot in my home to find out if it performed as advertised.

I’ve now had a Homey Pro in my house for a little over a month. The good news is that it does do what the company claimed: It really is the one hub to rule them all. However, the bad news is that getting to the point where this cute little RGB-lit puck controls everything in your house is not as straightforward as one might have hoped.

In this article (and the video above), I’m going to break down Homey Pro: what it is, how it works, what’s great, what’s not so great, and whether or not you, specifically, should buy it.

What is Homey Pro?

Homey at CES 2023 1

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Think of Homey Pro as a brain for your smart home. Most people will have many different smart home products from many different brands, all running on different protocols. You might have a smart hub for your lights, and other hubs for your locks, thermostats, blinds, and more. Plus, you need multiple apps to run everything. It can be a huge mess.

The Homey Pro solves this problem by bringing everything under one roof. Once you’ve set it up, everything in your house runs through Homey Pro. Because of this central hub for your gear, control of your home is now enclosed inside one app, bringing some order to the chaos.

Homey Pro is a central hub for your entire smart home that can bring some order to the chaos.

You’re probably wondering how the Homey Pro can do this. Inside the device, you’ll find a Linux-based computer. Think of it like a Raspberry Pi, but beefed up. Incorporated into this computer are connections for all the major smart home protocols: Zigbee, Z-Wave, Matter, Thread, Bluetooth, infrared — you name it, Homey Pro has got it. This allows Homey Pro to connect to (or, in some cases, completely replace) the smart home hubs you already use. It also lets it control pretty much any hub-less smart device, either through the cloud or even locally, if supported.

Physically, Homey Pro is a black puck that’s about the size of a water bowl for a small pet. It has an LED ring running around the base that lights up with a rainbow wave during regular operation. You can control this ring by changing colors or going dark when things happen. For example, I have it set to flash orange and then go dark when I open up Plex on my TV to match Plex’s branding. You can also shut it off entirely if you hate fun.

There’s one port on the back of the Homey Pro for USB-C power. You can also buy an Ethernet adapter from Homey that allows you to physically connect the device to your network without needing Wi-Fi. This is sold separately ($29 at Amazon), but you can also use third-party dongles if you already have one. Athom (the company that makes Homey) won’t guarantee those would work properly, though.

Software is where the Homey Pro really shines

Homey App for Android

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Having all your smart home devices funneled into one hub is cool and all, but it doesn’t mean anything if the software isn’t any good. Thankfully, this is where Homey really shines. I think the Homey software is so good that it might even be the best companion software I’ve ever used for any device.

The Homey app works on Android, iOS, and the web. The web version has more capabilities than the mobile apps, but they’re all designed exactly the same.

The main interface of the app reminds me of the Google Home app. By default, everything in your house is organized by room, but you can organize them in another way if you like. Each room has a little square button that allows you to control each device. You can create your own buttons here, too. For example, you could create a button that controls all the lights in that room, so you can turn them all on/off with one tap.

The Homey app is one of the best pieces of product software that I’ve ever used …if not the best.

The app also allows you to create and control Flows — i.e. automations in Homey lingo. Flows are effortless to put together and can be incredibly powerful. It’s based on a “When… And… Then…” system. As an example, one I use is “When the sun rises and I am home, then open the blinds in the living room.”

Homey App Flow Example

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Because Homey connects to literally everything in your house, you can get very specific with Flows. A real-world example I’ve set up is to clean the area near my cat’s litterbox. Every time he uses the box and gets out, he drags a little bit of litter with him. I want to clean this up automatically using the robot vacuum, but I don’t want it to happen when I’m watching TV (the litter box is nearby), nor when I’m asleep. I added a motion sensor to the litter box to track his movements, and my Flow looks like this: “When the litter box motion sensor is triggered and the TV is off and it is between 8:30 AM and 10:00 PM, then tell the vacuum to clean the litterbox area with a 10-minute delay.”

These Flows took me maybe five minutes to put together, thanks to the Homey app’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop card system. There’s no coding necessary, just taps and swipes.

It’s very easy to set up automations with Homey’s card system.

If you want to get even more thorough with your automations, there is an Advanced Flows tool that is locked to the web app. If you’re a smart home buff already, you’ll recognize it as looking a lot like Node-RED. There’s also an old-fashioned script editor if you want to get super specific with your Flows (also locked to the web app). However, I found regular Flows to be powerful enough for me. Even Stefan Witkamp, the founder and commercial director of Homey, told me he only uses standard Flows in his own home!

Finally, the app has a section called Insights. This allows you to see what’s going on regarding energy consumption for your devices in your home. For example, you can see the power usage of any device over the past few days. This would be especially useful if you have solar power or are in a place where energy consumption is super expensive.

Things aren’t as simple as you’d hope

Homey Pro USB C Port

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

So you’re convinced that Homey Pro is terrific, but what’s the catch? The catch is that it’s not easy being the one hub to rule them all. Although Homey Pro does a great job of incorporating thousands and thousands of devices into its system, not everything you own will be covered. There are ways around a device lacking official coverage, but it’s not going to be as plug-and-play as you’d hope it to be.

For example, my Nanoleaf light panels are officially supported by Homey, with Nanoleaf itself actually a partner in that integration. As such, all my Nanoleaf products worked flawlessly right out of the box. My TP-Link smart dimmers, though, have an official app, but for some reason, they disconnect constantly, which means that at least once each day, some of my Flows don’t work correctly. I reached out to Homey’s support about this, and the problem is currently being addressed. Meanwhile, my Roborock robot vacuum lacks official support entirely. For that, I needed to rely on community support, which involves hacking together an app to incorporate with Homey unofficially. It works, but it was a very complicated and confusing process to get it set up.

It’s not easy to support thousands upon thousands of smart home products, so Homey Pro has some significant compatibility issues.

These issues mean that Homey Pro is not the set-it-and-forget-it device you might hope for. You’ll need to do a ton of troubleshooting to get the devices you already own working properly, replace them with new smart devices that have official support, or wait patiently until official support lands for your existing products.

This is a big problem, but it hasn’t been a big enough issue for me to stop using the Homey Pro. I love the software, and I love that it works with almost all my devices — I’m just hoping that, over time, the other devices that I’m having problems with will get fixed.

Should you buy the Homey Pro?

Homey Pro Standing on Side

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

These problems I’ve mentioned with Homey Pro prevent me from recommending it to just any smart home user. You’ll need to be a very specific type of user for this to be appropriate.

The way I see it, there are two types of smart home owners. The first has a few devices: a light, some plugs, and maybe a lock. They don’t need Homey Pro. Their smart home is small enough that it can be managed in something like Google Home, and any Flows they create would be pretty simplistic. On the flip side, you have people with dozens of smart devices in their houses with dozens or even hundreds of automations to cover them all. Those users could use Homey Pro, but they’re probably already invested in the Home Assistant ecosystem, so Homey Pro would be kind of irrelevant.

Homey Pro is designed for the people in the middle of these two extremes. For example, people who have a lot of smart home devices and want to get into advanced automations but don’t want to get into Home Assistant. Or people who want to get into the power of Home Assistant but don’t want to build any hardware to run it. For this category of person (of which I was admittedly a member), Homey Pro is a perfect all-in-one system. You buy it, you set it up, you get going. It’s easy to use, the learning curve is low, and you can start making your smart home dreams come true. It’s going to take you some hours of effort, but you’ll get there.

The Homey Pro is perfect if you have many smart home devices and want to gain better control of them without getting into Home Assistant.

Of course, this is where the elephant in the room pops up: price. Here in the United States, the Homey Pro costs $399. That’s a lot of money for a device like this, especially when you know that if you went the Home Assistant route, you could build something yourself for less than half that.

Keep in mind, though, that the Homey Pro doesn’t involve any subscription services. You pay your $399, and that’s it — you’ll have access to everything it can do forever. There is a non-Pro version of Homey that requires a small monthly fee and has more limitations than the Homey Pro. You can also use the Homey app for free without any Homey hardware if you simply want to see how it works and decide which hardware solution is best for your needs.

Also, the Homey Pro is capable of running your smart home locally, assuming that you have the devices to support that. If you do, you could run your entire home without any internet connection, which would be a real boon for people out there who value their privacy.

Athom has been around for nearly ten years and has released many devices over that time, most of which are still supported today. In other words, investing in a Homey Pro seems to be a good idea in the long run because you should get the support you need as the years go by. The only thing you’ll need to accept is that you’ll need to do a lot of troubleshooting when you first take it out of the box, and you might need to replace some of your smart home devices — or wait until those devices get support. But, if you can look past these flaws, the Homey Pro will be a great addition to your smart home, just like it was for mine.

Homey Pro (2023)Homey Pro (2023)
AA Editors Choice

Homey Pro (2023)

Smart home consolidation • Automations • Local processing

A smart home hub to streamline everything in your house.

The Homey Pro (2023) is a standalone hub that aims to combine every single device in your smart home, allowing you to produce advanced automations that wouldn’t be possible with a fragmented setup. It supports seven technologies, including Matter and Thread, and already supports thousands of products, with more added every day.

FAQ:

Sort of. You can enable HomeKit support in the Homey app through the “Experiments” section. As the name suggests, you shouldn’t expect a fully baked experience with HomeKit.

There is no practical limit to the number of devices Homey Pro can control. The limit you do have is the number of apps installed. The Homey Pro only has so much data storage space in it, and there’s no way to expand it, so once it’s filled up, you’ll need to remove apps to fit more.

Once you buy the $399 hardware, there are no subscription costs. It is free to use forever after purchase, with no features locked behind a paywall.

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