Fibaro Home Center 3 vs Lite comparison
- By: Ashley Saunders
- May 2022
You’ve spent hours researching smart homes and finally decided to install a Fibaro home automation system. But there’s a slight problem. What hub should you use? Two of the options you have are Fibaro Home Center 3 vs Lite. So, comparing them is a must.
Each unit offers a distinct set of specifications, appealing to different homeowners. The Fibaro Home Center 3 Lite is ideal for smaller houses and apartments or creating a basic smart home.
On the other hand, the Fibaro Home Center 3 allows you to create a complex home automation system in a larger property. As Fibaro’s flagship Z-Wave gateway, the Home Center 3 is powerful, robust, and easy to use.
While some differences may be subtle, buying the wrong Fibaro Home Center version could impact the flexibility of your system. So, if you’re struggling to decide between Fibaro Home Center 3 vs Lite, we’ll guide you and ensure you reach your home automation goals.
Fibaro Home Center 3
As Fibaro’s flagship gateway, the Home Center 3 (HC3) brings a greater level of control to your fingertips. It can handle up to 240 devices, making it ideal for larger homes or more complex installations.
If you’re already using a Fibaro hub, you can painlessly move your settings over to the HC3, allowing you to upgrade in minutes without loss or stress. Under the hood is a powerful Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 1,2GHz with 2 GB of Ram and 8 GB of memory.
Control your smart home system using your phone, online portal, controller or voice command. You can create unlimited scenes and use unlimited Quick Apps and plug-ins. All of which makes the process of automating your home even easier.
If you’re security conscious, you can add unlimited IP cameras, and the Satel alarm system seamlessly integrates with it.
Fibaro Home Center 3 Lite
Ideal for smaller buildings or automating only the essentials, the Fibaro Home Center 3 Lite is perfect for starting your smart home journey. Don’t be fooled by the name as the Home Center 3 Lite still packs a punch.
Built around Z-Wave 700 technology, it’s easy and quick to set up, and yet offers the highest possible data security. Adding devices is also painless. There are over 2000 smart devices ready to work within your home automation system.
Automate your lights, power, blinds, heating and AV equipment. Use a mobile app, online portal, or voice control to easily control your system. You can easily create automations, ensuring devices always work on cue.
|Features||Home Center 3||Home Center 3 Lite|
|Life real use||Houses, Apartments||Smaller houses (up to 100 m2) and apartments|
|Fibaro App Widgets||Yes||Yes|
|Android Wear Support||Yes||Yes|
|Alexa Voice Assistant||Yes||Yes|
|Siri (via iOS App Shortcuts)||Yes||Yes|
|VOIP – Voice Over IP||Yes||Yes|
|Master Gateway||MASTER and SLAVE mode||SLAVE mode|
|Number of Plug-Ins||Unlimited||5 plugins and 10 quick apps|
|Migration Mode||Yes, to HCL, HC2||None|
|Recovery / Backup||Fibaro Cloud, Local Internal||Fibaro Cloud, Local Internal|
|Graphical Block Scene Editor||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum Number of Scenes||Unlimited||Up to 20|
|LUA-based||Unlimited||Up to 10|
|Home Automation Support|
|Z-Wave Plus (868.4MHz)||Yes||Yes|
|Z-Wave Protected Mode||Yes||Yes|
|Recommended No. of Z-Wave Devices||Up to 230||Up to 40|
|Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)||Ready||No|
|433MHz (OOK, FSK, GFSK)||Yes||No|
|868MHz (OOK, FSK, GFSK)||Yes||No|
|IP Camera Support||Unlimited||1 x MJPG IP camera|
|Satel Alarm Integration||Yes||Yes|
|Processor (CPU)||Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 1.2GHz||Single-Core ARM Cortex A7 900 MHz|
|Memory (RAM)||2GB||512 MB|
|WiFi||2.4GHz / 5GHz (802.11 b/g/n)||2.4GHz (802.11 b/g/n)|
|Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)||Yes||No|
|Case||Soft-Touch Plastic||Soft-Touch Plastic|
|Dimensions ((LxWxH)||220 x 140 x 35mm||110 x 178 x 31mm|
Table source: Fibaro
Decoding all the technical specifications
You might wonder what the table shows. And, more importantly, why it matters! We’ll explain all of this as it will help you compare the Fibaro Home Center 3 vs Lite.
Remote and mobile access
Use your smartphone, tablet or computer to control your smart home, no matter whether you are! Use the Fibaro Widgets to create shortcut buttons on Android and iOS devices to allow you quick access to often-used scenes. You can even control scenes using Android Wear to sync the system to your Android smartwatch.
If you’re already using Voice Control, then you’ll enjoy controlling your Fibaro system using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Siri voice control is also supported, but only via Siri “shortcuts” at this time.
VOIP (Voice Over IP)
Both Fibaro Home Center 3 and Fibaro Home Center 3 Lite support VOIP, enabling you to talk over an IP network (Internet or home network). You can use this feature to create an intercom system or access control (door or gate).
If you plan to use more than 230 devices in your home automation system, you can link multiple Home Center hubs. The HC3 can act as both Master and Slave, while the HC3 Lite can only function as a Slave, meaning you’d have to invest in either an HC2 or HC3.
Using the location-based service on your smartphone, the Geolocation feature can trigger scenes to run when you’re close to your home. For example, when you’re 3 miles from home, the system knows to switch on the outside light.
A vast array of Plug-ins are available from Fibaro and third-party developers including Philips Hue, Sonos, IFTTT and Yamaha. Plug-ins allow you to do more advanced things without needing to learn to code.
The Fibaro Home Center 3 Lite is limited to 5 plug-ins. You can run unlimited plug-ins with the Home Center 3. However, running too many can hurt the system’s performance.
Recovery and back-up
Issues do happen and so all Fibaro hubs regularly create back-ups of previously saved versions of software and configuration that are easy to restore. Both hubs back-ups locally and to the Fibaro cloud.
Imagine, you always get home at 5:30 pm and so you want your Fibaro system to warm your home, turn on the hallway light and put the kettle on. To get your system to complete these tasks, you need to set up a Scene.
Fibaro Home Center Controllers offer three ways to create Scenes: Graphical Block Editor Scenes, Magic Scenes and LUA Scenes. With the Home Center 3 Lite, you’re limited to 20 scenes. The number is unlimited with the Home Center 3.
Graphical Block Editor Scenes
This enables you to create relatively sophisticated scenes using customisable blocks. You can set up multiple triggers and many actions.
As the simplest way to action tasks, Magic Scenes are restricted to only one trigger and one action.
As the most advanced scenes available, LUA Scenes are based on the LUA programming (scripting) language. You will need some basic programming skills but these types of scenes allow you to do almost anything! LUA Scenes are the next level up from the Graphical Block Editor.
Download other’s Scenes
All Fibaro users can upload their Scenes to the Fibaro Marketplace, which can then be easily downloaded, allowing you to save time and experiment with your system.
Fibaro Quick Apps
These devices in the Fibaro Home Center Controller are not physical. You can use Fibaro Quick Apps for controlling products using other networks. The Lite is limited to 10 Quick Apps, while the HC3 allows for unlimited.
For example, You can use Quick Apps to control your AV equipment using your Wi-Fi / Ethernet network (IP Strings). Also, they can control several scenes at once.
Again, the Fibaro Marketplace is a superb way to start as you can experiment with other users’ Quick Apps.
Scene and device control/complex logic (LUA)
As explained above, LUA is a powerful programming language that can handle complex tasks and can be incorporated into Quick Apps. These allow you to control scenes or other devices using your Fibaro Home Center.
Remote control of other brand’s products (IP Strings)
Fibaro Quick Apps can also be set up to control products using your existing IP network (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) as they use IP and HTTP requests.
Home automation support
You can use Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus devices with all Fibaro Home Center Hubs. That said, there are two versions of Z-Wave chips, so it’s worth exploring these in detail as there can be some limitations.
The Fibaro Home Center 3 Controller uses a Z-Wave Series 500 chip, making it a full Z-Wave Plus device. So it offers all of the improvements of the updated protocol.
These include increased range (up to 150m), greater battery life, higher bandwidth communications, standardised methods for Over-The-Air (OTA) firmware upgrades and improved self-healing, fault tolerance and diagnostics on the Z -Wave network.
As a more recent addition to the Fibaro line, the HC3 Lite uses the improved Z-Wave Series 700 chip, which is also a Z-Wave Plus device. The newer chip provides significant improvements such as faster wireless speed, extended battery life, and a wireless range of up to one mile.
The Fibaro Home Center 3 Hub is packed full of hardware including ZigBee, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), 433MHz and 868MHz radios. It’s a little different from the Home Center 3 Lite, which only supports the Z-Wave protocol.
IP CCTV cameras
All Fibaro Home Center Controllers support IP CCTV cameras. The HC3 Lite only works with a single IP CCTV camera, whereas the HC3 supports unlimited. Hundreds of IP cameras are available that work with the Fibaro system.
Satel Alarm Integration
Both offer support for Satel alarm systems, allowing for easy integration.
Comparing Fibaro Home Center 3 vs Lite
When considering whether to buy either the Fibaro Home Center 3 vs Lite, the choice comes down to your requirements and expectations. And while the HC3 Lite is a great piece of kit, the Home Center 3 offer much more.
The Lite is fantastic if you’re just starting out and don’t have a big budget or only want to automate a few devices. The 40 device limit might sound a lot on paper, but it’s a tiny amount in reality. So it’s worth doing some basic maths before you rush out and buy one.
If you’re serious about home automation, your best option is the Home Center 3. It uses the latest Z-Wave 500 series chip and has a ton of onboard hardware, including Wi-Fi, 2GB of RAM and Cloud backups. It is an investment but well worth it.
Regardless of which Home Center model you buy, Fibaro is a fantastic brand that develops exciting products and software. Plus, they have an active support forum and user base. You won’t regret investing in Fibaro.