The Raspberry Pi is a utilitarian single-board computer (SBC) designed for a bevy of applications. With its small footprint and low power draw combined with beefy processing capabilities for its size, the Raspberry Pi is well-suited as an always-on device. Notably, it’s simple to create a do-it-yourself (DIY) Raspberry Pi media server for 24/7 cloud storage. With the rise of smart home devices, the Raspberry Pi saw several Raspberry Pi projects in the smart home space. There are tons of Raspberry Pi smart home projects which are possible, including an automatic smart watering system, security system array, and texting doorbell. Among the easiest DIY Raspberry Pi projects is a Raspberry Pi smart home hub. Check out the best Raspberry Pi smart home software options available, and get started using home automation with the Raspberry Pi!
Raspberry Pi Smart Home Software Options: Getting Started
What specific hardware you’ll need to automate your home with a Raspberry Pi might vary somewhat based on optional peripherals. However, for a basic Raspberry Pi smart home hub, you’ll need:
- Raspberry Pi board
- microSD card
- Raspberry Pi smart home OS
- Power supply
- Case (optional, recommended)
While many Raspberry Pi smart home projects might be better suited to a Raspberry Pi 4 board, several Raspberry Pi Zero smart home ideas exist. If you need more processing power, the Raspberry Pi 4 is the best bet. Other Raspberry Pi smart home automation software that requires low computing power runs like a champ on Pi Zero and Zero W boards. Aside from these basics, you might need additional components such as a microphone or sensor attachments. With a Raspberry Pi smart home hub, you can get started with smart home control and smart home automation.
The appropriately named Home Assistant is a top choice as an open-source Raspberry Pi smart home automation software option. Hass.io is a Raspberry Pi smart home OS that handles everything from the installation of Home Assistant to managing the Home Assistant user interface (UI). There are loads of add-ons for Hass.io from Let’s Encrypt to Alexa and Google Assistant. Therefore, Home Assistant for the Raspberry Pi delivers loads of functionality. The open-source home automation platform boasts a bevy of integrations including Plex, IFTTT, Sonos, Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Samsung SmartThings. It’s easy to install, features tons of add-ons, and provides ample opportunity for automation.
A superb Raspberry Pi smart home automation option, MisterHouse uses Perl scripts for monitoring items that can be queried or remote-controlled. There’s voice command capability and may perform functions such as turning on and off the lights, recording television shows, and even announcing phone calls. In addition to Linux OSes, MisterHouse runs on Windows PCs and macOS devices. With its excellent documentation and wide range of platforms it can run on, MisterHouse is a top choice for home automation with the Raspberry Pi.
There’s a solid write up about running OpenHAB on a Raspberry Pi. As the OpenHAB official website allows, the Pi is a great hardware choice because of its energy efficiency and tiny footprint. This well-known smart home automation tool is open-source and carries a dedicated community. You’ll find companion apps for mobile devices like iOS and Android, over 200 integrations for systems, devices, and technologies, plus simple startup. I've used OpenHAB to automate my home with a Raspberry Pi, and love its ease of use yet robust feature set.
A comprehensive smart home automation OS, Calaos offers a staggering amount of support. There’s touchscreen interface compatibility, native Android and iOS apps, a Linux OS foundation, web app, and even server functionality. Installers include a Raspberry Pi image, Cubieboard releases, images for Intel chipsets, and more. Note that many sections of the Wiki and forums are in French. For non-French speakers, this may be a slight downside, but translation tools can help. Additionally, Calaos is fairly simple and intuitive, so you shouldn’t need much instruction. I highly recommend Calaos for a Raspberry Pi project in home automation.
Whereas the likes of OpenHAB and Home Assistant are smart home platforms for automation and control, Mycroft is a bit different. This virtual assistant is similar to Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Google Assistant smart speakers. With Mycroft running on a Raspberry Pi, you can make your own Raspberry Pi-based smart voice assistant. All you’ll need is a Raspberry Pi, Mycroft image or Mycroft running in Raspbian, a speaker, microSD card, and USB microphone. You’ll find tons of skills, from NPR news to media control, web searches, and more. While you can make your own Mycroft smart assistant with a Raspberry Pi, you can also purchase a ready-made unit. Mycroft ultimately is a fantastic Alexa alternative.
The Domoticz smart home automation platform features compatibility with lots of devices including the Raspberry Pi. You can connect many gadgets such as remote controls. Considering its vast integrations including MQTT and Apple’s HomeKit, Domoticz is a great pick for running on a Raspberry Pi. With its lightweight nature, Domoticz is ideal for running on an SBC. With Domoticz, there’s fabulous documentation including a beefy Wiki page dedicated to the Raspberry Pi.
An open-source home automation tool, Jeedom can control many smart devices like lights, mocks, and even media devices. It’s available on Linux operating systems and runs like a champ on the Raspberry Pi. For control on the go, there are mobile apps for Android and iOS. Notably, Jeedom does offer a pre-fab solution for a device that’s ready to use out-of-the-box.
Among the best Raspberry Pi project ideas, there’s a retro gaming console and low-powered home theater PC (HTPC). LinuxMCE or Linux Media Center Edition acts as a bridge between media and smart home tech. Onboard, LinuxMCE features integrations for gaming, media, climate control devices, smart home security, lighting, and more. With this convergence, LinuxMCE boasts much Raspberry Pi home automation potential. It’s truly a utilitarian Linux distribution (distro), and a top pick for running on the Raspberry Pi.
A unique choice for the Raspberry Pi, OpenNetHome is intuitive to install and use. With this open-source smart home platform, you can monitor and control many devices including dimmers, fire alarms, thermometers, moisture sensors, and more. Based on Apache and Java, it’s also available on Linux Pcs, Windows, and macOS computers.
For a Raspberry Pi-based smart home hub, check out the appropriately-named MyPi server. It's easy to use and includes iOS and Android apps for smart home control and smart home automation. Documentation isn't as robust as on other platforms, but it's a nifty DIY smart home system. Basically, MyPi lets you remotely control your Raspberry Pi GPIO headers for specific smart home control projects. You can sync up to four Raspberry Pi boards.
As the name suggests, PiDome is a Raspberry Pi open-source smart home automation platform. You'll find a lovely user interface with a customizable dashboard where you can monitor various statistics such as Raspberry Pi temperature, lights, smart home gadgets, plus more. PiDome is a great smart home controller.
Engineered to run on a TV or monitor for a Linux-based home theatre PC (HTPC) and smart home hub, Plasma Bigscreen OS includes Mycroft Pi baked in. As such, it's a nifty option that lets you easily transform the Pi into media centre and home automation device. Its interface mimics that of Android TV, so you could use Plasma Bigscreen OS as a HTPC, or even make a wall-mounted hub with a Raspberry Pi and touchscreen.
12 Best Raspberry Pi Smart Home Hub Projects: Final Thoughts
Overall, there are loads of Raspberry Pi smart home project ideas for Raspberry Pi smart home automation, control, and more. Home Assistant is easily one of the best options with its extensive documentation and pre-made image for the Raspberry Pi. LinuxMCE has been around a while and remains a worthy contender, particularly for combining home theatre PC applications with smart home control.
Plus, you may be able to cobble together a comprehensive Raspberry Pi smart home kit using multiple of these software options. Since Home Assistant and Mycroft may be installed on a Linux distro such as Raspbian, you can install both for a combo Raspberry Pi smart home hub and voice assistant. Ultimately, the Raspberry Pi features tons of smart home software options.
Which Raspberry Pi smart home software and Raspberry projects do you recommend?