Ever since its invention in 2005, Insteon has grown from a small smart home startup into a powerful brand in the industry. In this next part of our article series for smart hub reviews, we will cover the Insteon Central Controller Hub.
Keep in mind that there are two different hub products from Insteon: the standard Hub with model number 2245, which we will be discussing, and the HomeKit enabled Hub Pro, which is slightly more expensive. So if you are reading any Insteon Central Controller Hub review, take a closer look whether it’s the standard version or the Pro, HomeKit-enabled version, as there are significant differences both in features and price.
Why are we reviewing the standard version instead of the Pro one, especially with the emerging popularity of the Apple HomeKit? Because, currently the Hub Pro is still bug-ridden, and won’t support as many products as the standard Hub. The standard 2245 hub can integrate with Nest products, Logitech, Amazon Echo, MiLocks, Sonos products, and First Alert products, while the Pro Hub can only integrate with HomeKit. Although there are quite a lot of HomeKit-enabled products right now, it is still lacking compared to the third-party integration of the standard Hub, but we will see how things fare in the future.
So, back to our focus with the Insteon Hub. As we have mentioned, the third party integration is pretty decent, here is the full list. With the price tag, it is comparable to the Wink Hub 2 and Lutron Smart Bridge, with the major difference being the product supports.
We have mentioned in our review for Lutron Smart Bridge that it’s not supporting any smart security cameras currently. Yet, there is quite a lot of smart cameras supported by Insteon Hub. The integration to Logitech Harmony is also nice so that you can also have seamless integration and control of your entertainment systems.
The integration to Amazon Alexa is also very good, and if you don’t want to invest in Amazon Echo, you can use your Windows Cortana voice assistant for voice command purposes.
As you can see, so far it’s looking pretty good, so how will it fare against other competing products? Let’s start our Insteon Hub review by discussing the key features.
Wide Range of Third-Party Integration
Although it’s not as versatile as say, the Samsung SmartThings or Wink Hub, the third-party products supported are quite diverse. You can control and automate almost everything ranging from smart lighting to thermostat to home entertainment systems. The lack of IFTTT support can be burdensome, but the list of products supported is pretty great on its own.
It’s rare for a product with this price tag to have a fully customized and automated scene system to control multiple devices at once. Only comparable products for this feature are Wink Hub 2 and Lutron Smart Bridge, but they have different supported products.
The Insteon app for your smartphone or tablet will give you the ability to integrate and monitor multiple security cameras and smart doorbells. A nice feature to have, so you don’t have to switch between apps for all of your smart home needs. Also, the app can notify you with push notifications when the smart camera detected something amiss.
Installing the Insteon Hub will follow a relatively simple process. As usual, you download the SmartPhone app, connect the Hub with the app, follow simple instructions, and you are basically good to go.
Then, it’s time to add your devices. If you own newer Insteon products, released after 2012 or so, they can follow Insteon’s remote linking commands, so you don’t have to pair each device one by one, which is nice, as setting up a new hub can really be a headache sometimes.
However, that’s not the case with older Insteon products and third-party products, which we have also tested, as you will need to pair each device by manually enter addresses. This can really be a hassle and will consume a lot of time, especially if you have a lot of smart devices to pair. In short, the Insteon Hub might not be beginner-friendly, as will require a bit of tech-savviness for the setup process.
After you have finished adding all your devices, however, the Insteon Hub is quite reliable. The smartphone app can do better with few upgrades to catch up with other apps from different manufacturers, however, it is fairly decent.
The Alexa skill for Echo is quite reliable, as the integration seems seamless enough. The Skill will also need a little tweaking here and there at first, to group devices and scenes, but then it will run as intended.
In short, the setup process for the Insteon Hub is relatively complicated, quite similar to the Samsung SmartThings and 1st generation of Wink Hub. However, after you have finished setting up and adding devices, it performs reliably.
- Diverse support of third party products, Amazon Alexa and Logitech Harmony
- Great value for its price, very affordable
- Native support for a wide range of Insteon products
- Complicated installation process, especially for older Insteon devices and some third-party products
- Smartphone app a bit obsolete, although it might be upgraded in the future
You Should Buy This If
The Insteon Hub is one of the cheapest smart hubs out there with full control of security cameras and smart doorbells. If you are planning to add smart security cameras to your household, the Insteon Hub is a great choice.
Also, if you already owned Insteon products before, especially those produced after 2012, the Insteon Hub will provide a seamless integration.
Let’s end our Insteon 2245 Hub review with a verdict:
The complicated installation process to add devices might be a hassle for some. However, if you have a bit of technical prowess, and is willing to spend a bit of your time, it will be worth it in the end.
For its price tag, the Insteon Hub provides one of the best third-party support, and can automate a diverse range of products from smart cameras to home entertainment systems to smart lighting systems. A great overall value.