The third contender for a top spot on our comparison of the best home automation systems is PowerHome. This powerful and easy-to-use home automation software earns our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award thanks to its wide set of features and clean, intuitive interface. The system is a little weaker when it comes to compatibility, and the customer support behind the product is the lowest-rated in our reviews. Despite these few setbacks, the PowerHome home automation systems are one of the top performers in this lineup.
PowerHome’s feature set is essentially identical to the number one and number two home automation systems in our comparison. It fell behind both mControl and HomeSeer under the compatibility criteria because it offers limited support for external modules, and it doesn't have mobile applications. It offers a comparable user experience to HomeSeer, providing a clean and easily understandable interface. However, neither product is quite as easy to use as mControl’s home automation software. PowerHome also performed comparably to HomeSeer in the Help & Support category, offering only an email address and limited live chat function for direct questions and a slim volume of documentation. Overall, however, we were pleased with the experience this product provides.
Every feature that we looked for in high-quality home automation systems was present in the setup furnished by PowerHome. Their system is accessible remotely via the internet. The software also supports voice recognition functions. They also offer programmable macros with several preset triggers. The ability to activate a script at random is also present, allowing you to keep your home secure when you’re away. We were impressed by the wide set of features that this home automation software provided, given the newness of its manufacturer in this industry.
The basic triggers are ready for use in any macro you can dream of. Sunset/sunrise triggers, interval timers and random interval triggers can all be used without much of a problem. More complex macros, made by combining several of these conditions or by adding multiple actions to a single trigger, can be created with PowerHome’s home automation software. The user forums are full of interested and savvy hobbyists that can help you delve deeper into the functionality of this system.
The PowerHome home automation systems are not quite as compatible with common home automation module technologies as our top two products. You will not be able to use this software to operate modules using the Z-Wave technology, nor can you control HVAC systems or thermostats. If you want to automate these systems, you will need to look for another package with higher program compatibility. Devices using the X10 transmission technology as well as devices using the INSTEON communication protocol are supported.
However, several of the popular media management applications are supported by these home automation systems, including Windows Media Center and iTunes. With these integrated compatibilities, you will be able to control everything necessary for a completely automated home theater system. Despite its shortcomings in module and device compatibility, this home automation software will function respectably for the needs of most consumers.
PowerHome’s interface is not the most attractive of the software we reviewed, but it is functional. It can be a bit overwhelming and cluttered at times, but finding the desired function was never difficult. It’s compatibility with major applications makes it very easy to get up and running, and the remote access function makes maintaining and controlling your home very easy. If you can get past the often gaudy appearance of the interface, PowerHome’s home automation software is quite functional and convenient.
PowerHome’s home automation systems are remarkably well-supported, even though the manufacturer is relatively small. An email address is provided for direct inquiries and a live chat option is available if you have a question that needs to be answered quickly. Online documentation is extensive here; they offer a FAQs section, a user manual and a forum full of specialized information. Basic and generic inquiries are covered in the FAQs section, but more specific questions are answered by members of the PowerHome community on the forum. We were quite impressed by the enthusiasm of this system’s users and the thorough development of their customer service.
In the world of home automation systems, PowerHome is not far behind the leaders. This system offers an extensive set of features with an intuitive – if cluttered and unattractive – interface. However, it falls short of the mark with poor program compatibility and an interface that looks like a bad business presentation. With all of its drawbacks, however, it still ranks as one of the best home automation software packages currently available. If you are looking to control certain things, like an HVAC system or a thermostat, you will need to look at our two higher-rated products.
This system has all of the features that we looked for in this review.
PowerHome lacks slightly in its compatibility.
Overall, this is a good home automation system despite a few drawbacks.