At Home Depot stores will feature so-called end caps—displays at the edge of aisles—for its Wink line of dozens of connected products beginning Monday. The star of the show, the Wink hub (made by a spin-off from Quirky, an “invention company”) will cost $49. Buy a connected device with it, and the hub price drops to $25; buy two, and the hub costs 99 cents. The app is free.
Depending on what you’d like to automate you might not even need the hub. Every product compatible with the Wink app will display one of two logos on its packaging—one indicating products that need the hub to connect using Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Lutron’s ClearConnect, and another for products that connect to your home network’s existing wireless router.
A product that’s compatible with one retailer’s hub isn’t necessarily limited to that company’s suite. Schlage and Kwikset, whose connected locks we recently tested, will work with either company’s hub. So will lighting devices from Philips and other products from companies such as GE, Honeywell, and Lutron.
Even if you don’t care about automating your lighting, heating and cooling, door locks, or smoke/CO alarms, many other types of products will work with one or both of the newly announced product suites. Chamberlain, for instance, sells the MyQ Garage Universal Garage Door Controller, which works with most existing garage-door openers. And the Rheem EcoNet Wi-Fi module, will let you set water temperatures remotely and notify you if your Rheem water heater is near the end of its life. Both products are part of Home Depot’s line.
To see how some connected products have performed in Consumer Reports tests, read our special report, Run your home from your phone. Also check our Ratings of CO/smoke alarms, door locks, lighbulbs, and thermostats.
—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)