Wink Hub 2 review

Like duct tape for smart homes, the Wink Hub 2 connects anything to anything

The Wink Hub 2's ability to talk to so many devices makes it an attractive option for outfitting a full smart home.
The Wink Hub 2's ability to talk to so many devices makes it an attractive option for outfitting a full smart home.
The Wink Hub 2's ability to talk to so many devices makes it an attractive option for outfitting a full smart home.


  • Compatible with lots of devices
  • Future-proofed with Thread
  • Lots of memory
  • Easy to set up


  • No battery backup
  • Pairing can be a pain

Many smart-home hubs are squat and puck-like, designed to live near your router. The Wink Hub 2 is tall and thin and meant to sit upright. With some new features and a more expensive price tag than Wink’s original hub, it’s definitely an upgrade, but how does it stand up to the competition?

Highly compatible

At 7.25 inches long and high, and 1.25 inches wide, the Hub 2 is a bit slimmer than its predecessor. It flares out a bit toward the middle, so it’s not perfectly rectangular. All white with an LED light at the front that changes color to alert you to issues, it’s unimposing and unremarkable. In the back, you’ll find a power jack and Ethernet port.

It’s lacking a couple things the SmartThings hub has, namely USB ports and a battery backup. But the Wink hub has a lot packed into it: 512MB of memory and support for 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Lutron Clear Connect, and Kidde wireless protocols. It’s also prepped for the Google-backed protocol, thanks to its Thread radio. That’s a pretty comprehensive list, which is why the hub is compatible with so many devices off the bat.


When Digital Trends spoke to Wink CEO Nathan Smith about the new hub, he said the company wanted to make setup easy enough that the average customer at Walmart who isn’t familiar with home automation could pick it up and get it working right away. Setup is pretty easy: You download the app (iOS | Android), create an account, tap on the add products button, select hubs, choose Wink Hub 2, and the app leads you through the steps. First, I plugged in the hub and connected it to my router. (I also had the option of connecting via Wi-Fi.) Within a minute of hitting the Next button, the hub was connected. The hub ran through some updates, then I was ready to add my Amazon Dot.

The Wink hub has 22 categories of devices it works with, including lights, locks, sensors, thermostats, and garage doors.

To do that, I actually had to go to my Alexa app and enable the Wink skill, then let the Dot discover my devices. Most devices, however, can be connected through the Wink app. My Lutron wall dimmers, for example: I clicked the add products button, chose lights, picked Caseta in-wall dimmer, and the app told me what to do. Annoyingly, I had to reset my dimmers by holding down the button for several seconds to get them to pair with the hub. It worked fine for the office dimmer and my Lutron plug, but the hallway dimmer didn’t work until the hub randomly updated.

Resetting the dimmers and plug means they don’t show up in the Lutron app anymore. That’s okay, though — the point of the hub is that you don’t have to open a zillion separate apps anymore. Of course, my husband was a little annoyed that I hadn’t mentioned this, and he tried to shut off the office light from bed.

Each device will have it’s own little routine for you to go through; adding GoControl door/window sensors meant unscrewing the device, putting the hub in pairing mode, and putting the battery in the sensor. Each took a few minutes to pair, and hopefully you only have to do it once. I had to reset and move a door sensor, and that required removing the battery and hitting the sensor’s reset button, then setting it up all over again.

The Wink hub has 22 categories of devices it works with — including lights, locks, sensors, fans, cameras, doorbells, fans, and garage door openers. Several of those have multiple brands and types within those subsets; you can connect locks from Kwikset or Schlage, for example. There are 14 types of sensors listed.

Do the robot

Earlier, I said the point of the hub is that you don’t have to open a million apps, but the Wink wants to make it so you basically never have to open its app, either, with its If This Then That-style robots. I set one up so that when my sliding door opens, my Lutron dimmers in the hallway and office turn on the lights, and my Hue lights in the living room turn on. Opening my front door automatically turns on the hallway light, via the Lutron dimmer, between 5:30 p.m. and sunrise.

That’s all well and good, but if you really want to ditch the app, pairing it with Amazon’s Alexa is really the way to go. In some ways, a Dot or Echo makes the Wink hub redundant, as it can pair with many of the same devices without the Wink. However, there are still some things that you want a visual for, like your Dropcam or Ring video doorbell. Wink’s app also has an activity tab, so you can see if your door opened at 3:30 when your dog walker was supposed to arrive.

Our Take

The $99 Wink Hub 2 is more expensive than the original, but it’s also safer, faster, and more versatile. It’s dead simple to set up, and while pairing can be a pain compared to, say, Alexa, it’s not a deal-breaker. The robots are easy to figure out and pretty powerful, and the hub works with a lot of devices. It’s not totally universal — it doesn’t work with August locks, for example — so you’ll still want to be on the lookout for the Wink-compatible sticker when shopping for new products.

How long will it last?

The Wink hub updated at least three times during the couple weeks I used it, and that’s the beauty of smart products: They can always be improved with software updates. The thing that really shows Wink is looking to the future, though, is the Thread radio. The company admits it doesn’t have a lot of information about how the protocol will work or when it’s coming, but when it does, the hub will be ready to play.

Should you buy it?

If you want to be able to turn on your lights with your voice, maybe you should stick with HomeKit or Alexa, but if you’re really looking to make your whole home smarter, you’re going to need a router, and the Wink Hub 2 has the most going for it right now, as well as some future-proofing, like the Thread radio. The original hub had some issues with reliability, but so has virtually every other smart-home hub. Right now, the Wink Hub 2 is one of the most inclusive devices you can buy when it comes to controlling your smart home.

Smart Home

With a simple command, Alexa can arm all your security devices

Alexa customers can query status plus arm or disarm home security systems several companies. New Alexa Guard skills set your home to away mode, send alerts when alarms or sensors go off, and contact home security monitoring services.

Best deals for smart home plugs that control your lights and appliances

Smart hubs and speakers play central communication and management roles in your home, but smart plugs let you add lights and appliances to your system. Any smart plug you buy must support one feature or anything you plug in stays dumb.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Smart Home

Google Store sale is on now through December 24!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 may be history, but fans of Google hardware including the popular Google Home Hub, Pixel 3 and 3XL mobile phones still have lots of deals in store -- the Google Store, that is.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.
Smart Home

These wireless security cameras are a wire-free way to protect your home

Home security cameras can give you piece of mind, but if they have wires, are limited in where you can put them. We've rounded up the best battery-operated home security cameras to give you flexibility along with your security.
Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Smart Home

Voice assistant-enabled Deebot N79S robot vacuum now deeply discounted

The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is more powerful and quieter than its predecessor and adds Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. Ready to make cleaning easier than ever, this voice-enabled bot will vacuum your home on spoken command.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.
Smart Home

Find good gift ideas with these small kitchen appliance deals on Amazon

Small kitchen appliances are favorite holiday gifts to give and to receive and that doesn't only mean an Instant Pot. We found excellent deals on Amazon for blenders and espresso makers plus a highly rated sous vide machine.
Smart Home

The Echo Wall Clock can help you keep track of multiple Alexa timers

Amazon just released the Echo Wall Clock that was announced at its September new hardware device event in Seattle. The Echo Wall Clock is an analog clock that also indicates the minutes remaining on one or more Alexa timers.