Smart-Home-Plattform - ioBroker vs. Home-Assistant


For home automation, there are numerous different standards and a large number of different platforms. Open source platforms often offer the possibility to connect different automation standards with each other. As an example, a small mini-computer, a Raspberry Pi or a NAS equipped with multiple receivers could control different automation solutions via one platform.

Aim of this article

Overview of smart home platforms and suggestions for building your own smart home


Reading time: approx. 5 Minutes

Proprietary -> better not?

Smart home systems from specific manufacturers are usually limited to their devices. The proprietary solutions are mainly connected and controlled via the cloud. Certain manufacturers offer a possibility to access their cloud API, but then you need at least your own smart home center or gateway: a device that can only control their actuators. If you want to expand your SmartHome later with other products, you will need at least an additional control center. Manufacturer-specific smart home solutions should not be part of this article, rather I want to give an overview of platforms that make it possible to connect different systems with each other.

Open source -> that would be something?

The market for open-source home automation solutions is very much divided. There is no clear winner here, so choosing a suitable system is correspondingly difficult. Besides Home-Assistant, openHAB (Java based), FHEM and numerous other platforms, ioBroker offers a possibility to connect several systems.


After commissioning, the Home-Assistant offers a ready-to-use interface and thus out of the box a dashboard for controlling lights, switches, scenes and sensors. The status of each entity (switches, sensors, ...) is historically recorded and can be reviewed in the corresponding charts as they progress. Due to the integrated auto-discovery, existing systems are found very quickly and integrated automatically. Advanced configuration takes place in the text file “configuration.yaml”.

What are the advantages of Home Assistant?

  • Easy to get started: Home Assistant is ready to use immediately after installation: sensors and devices are automatically displayed in the dashboard and can be controlled from there
  • Clear and responsive interface. All visualizations and operating elements have a uniform layout and are suitable for both desktops and mobile devices. For example, automations can also be conveniently adjusted via a mobile device.
  • Existing smartphone app and notifications to the cell phone.
  • Existing devices in the network are suggested for configuration. (Discovery of new devices)
  • International community
  • Numerous plugins.

What are the disadvantages of Home-Assistant?

  • Settings or configurations cannot always be implemented in the Webgui, so certain settings must be text-based or in .yaml config files.
  • The automation in Home-Assistant consists of a sequence of actions and does not offer any visual programming or visual code blocks for graphically linking processes.


IoBroker is a central server for smart homes and is very modular thanks to the numerous available adapters. An adapter can be seen as a driver for different smart-home devices, as a service or as a service for providing data. The individual adapters then run as their own instance and access the same data objects. The ioBroker makes it possible, as an example, to use a ZigBee switch to control a WLAN device or to control certain processes based on certain sensor values or to make the data available for other services in a uniform manner. It is also interesting that there are adapters for the ioBroker to connect FHEM and openHAB, as well as adapters to operate the HABpanel dashboard from OpenHab and the Lovelace UI visualization from Home Assistant with ioBroker: The ioBroker combines all worlds here.

What are the advantages of ioBroker?

  • Modular structure: Adapter instances run in their own processes.
  • Visual code blocks can be linked with Blockly for automation.

What are the disadvantages of ioBroker?

  • After installation, there is no ready-to-use interface for visualization and control; this is only possible by installing additional adapters and configuring them. On the ioBroker side, "VIS" can be used as an interface, which requires a valid license key. Although the license is free for private use, this was reason enough for me to look for another solution.

In practice

I didn't use a Raspberry Pi as hardware for my setup, but my NAS at the beginning, see: DIY NAS, and currently a mini server. I run the Smart Home and other web services exclusively in Docker containers, see: Docker quick start: Why? What are containers for? Hardware?. The platform is suitable for both ioBroker and Home Assistant, theoretically also for both and other systems at the same time.

I started my smart home setup with certain Zigbee devices, which I initially controlled via a ConBee stick and corresponding Docker containers for Phoscon and later ioBroker. I added an InfluxDB and Grafana to the setup for better graphical processing of the data and the ability to send notifications via a messenger. Still looking for a suitable dashboard in ioBroker, I became aware of Home Assistant through the possibility of using the Home Assistant Dashboard Lovelance in ioBroker. After a short parallel test of Home Assistant, I turned my back on ioBroker relatively quickly, moved all connected devices and later also replaced my existing Grafana visualizations with corresponding dashboards in Home Assistant.


My recommendation, if I had to choose between ioBroker and Home Assistant, would fall in favor of Home Assistant. With Home Assistant it is much easier to get started and thanks to the numerous plugins Home Assistant can be adapted to all needs, see Home Assistant.

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