Home Automation

Zipabox Review – The Zipato Zipabox Home Controller

(Last Updated On: October 23, 2017)

The Zipabox Home Controller is a home automation and security system designed to give you peace of mind. You can think of it as a middle man between your home control devices (such as a smartphone) and the internet.

For this reason, it’s no surprise that one of the Zipabox’s main features is its generous technology support. Communications are completely encrypted, for example, and there is built-in support for Z-Wave devices.

Customers also appreciate the DIY aspect of the unit. It’s easy to stay in control of your home’s security by accessing an online Zipato programming tool that facilitates changing settings and adding devices at your convenience.

Whether you are concerned about safety around the house or you just want a bit of extra security, especially when no one is home, this Zipato home controller could be the ideal solution.

In the following Zipabox review, I’ll break down the key features, pros, cons, and my overall recommendation.

Overview of the Zipabox

The Zipabox smart home controller is a powerful gateway controller for Z-Wave devices. Zipato, an innovative home security system, is easy to control and customize to your specific needs as it’s based on cloud technology.

For example, you can customize and control your home’s security via the connected devices in your home. This could mean anything from viewing live video feed, even if you’re not home, to receiving instant alerts should a security issue arise.

With the Zipato system, you’ll have access to continuous interactive monitoring for potential issues, from fire and burglary to a flood or gas leak. If you have children, you can receive notifications when your child arrives home.

Other benefits include greater energy management, as the system makes it easier to control all of your energy devices.  Want to control the lighting, irrigation, or heating and cooling around the house? You can also do that with the Zipabox.

This handy home automation feature enables more comfortable living along with increased energy savings.  You can even closely monitor elderly people and have alerts ready for your caregiver network if necessary.

Key Features of the Zipabox

The Zipabox Home Controller boasts a number of different features. Here are some that stand out the most.

  • Technology support – Zipabox supports a number of different technologies. This includes simple connection to a web portal through Ethernet, easy drag and drop options for rule creation, and built-in support for Z-Wave devices. There’s also a free app for both Android and Apple phones. Initially, you’ll need a secure internet connection to communicate with any home control devices since Zipabox gets its programming information from the Zipato web portal. Zipabox can then work wirelessly with any desired home control devices. Once you begin using Zipabox, your settings are stored locally so that you won’t need an internet connection for connected devices in the future.
  • Home monitoring – Zipabox makes watching over your home and its daily functions much less stressful. For starters, you can keep on top of your home’s security, even if you’re not there, via a network of extensive monitoring and alert services. The system will let you know right away if there’s a fire, burglary, flood, or gas leak. Home automation is another highlight. Predefined scenes and full remote and in-home control keeps you in charge of the blinds and curtains, cooling and heating, irrigation, and home appliances. As an added bonus, you can also control your energy devices and see just where your electricity goes, ensuring more efficient energy consumption management.
  • Zipato web portal – You don’t need to download or install any software to access the Zipato portal. All you need to do is create a user profile then sign into the portal. Once you’re there, it’s easy to keep track of your home’s security, configure devices, and take a peek at energy consumption in metered devices. You can set up various users with different access rights with this portal. Through the web portal you can monitor security in and around the house, review your home’s event history, and customize the system as needed.

Pros of the Zipabox

There’s a lot to like about the Zipabox. Easy installation and DIY options are some of the highlights. If you’re considering purchasing the Zipabox, here are some pros to keep in mind.

  • Customization – It’s easy to make the Zipabox your own thanks to its many customization options. For example, you can have it send certain alerts, such as emails and text messages, to your devices of choice. Additionally, you can choose the action(s) it takes when an event occurs. It’s even possible to customize, mix, and match the control sequences using the Zipato Rule Creator’s library. Deciding how many people have access to the account, and which devices are included in the Zipabox network, is also up to the owner. For example, you can opt to be the sole user or you can set up multiple accounts so that each family member has access.
  • Installation – Some home security systems are hampered by specific installation concerns. Fortunately, the Zipabox isn’t one of them. If you’ve previously considered purchasing a home security system, only to be dissuaded by supposedly difficult or tricky repairs, Zipabox could change your mind. To get started, simply plug the Zipabox into any regular power outlet with the included power adapter. Zipabox also connects directly to your internet router with the Ethernet cable (also included). You can choose to put the unit on top of a table or desk within easy reach or mount it to a wall with screws. It’s also possible to attach it to a DIN rail.
  • Connectivity – The Zipabox app works with both Android and Apple phones. This is great news for families and households with different phones. To get started, simply download the free smartphone app. Once it’s installed, you’ll have convenient remote control monitoring and access through your phone. You also won’t have to worry about a lapse in security if your power goes out or the system is interrupted for some other reason. That’s because this cloud-based system stores information and syncs directly to your controller.

Cons of the Zipabox

As with most products, the Zipabox doesn’t come without a few faults. Here are some of the cons.

Too much DIY – Less tech-savvy users may find themselves struggling a bit to get started with this system. If you love DIY and figuring out programs on your own, this is a great setup. However, some individuals may find it too frustrating and confusing. One example is setting up the designated rules. There aren’t any pre-designed rules to choose from. While you can set your own rules and customize them as needed, this can take some time (and could be tricky) for those without prior experience.

Price and appearance – With a price tag over $250, this home controller isn’t exactly cheap. For a significant discount, check out this listing. In a sea of flashy competitors and ones that come with all the bells and whistles, this one falls a bit flat. While this might not be an issue if you mount it on an inconspicuous space within a wall, it may stand out more in heavily trafficked areas, especially on a table or desk top.

Connectivity – Overall, connectivity for the Zipabox is quite good. While it syncs with most Apple and Android devices, it lags behind in some areas. For example, it won’t work with some more popular brand names in the home security sector, such as Nest and Phillips.

Features – Quick Look Table

Here are some of the Zipabox’s most prominent features.

Setup/Operation Security/Performance Style/Design Additional Features
Can be plugged into a standard power outlet Doesn’t require the internet for operation after initial setup Small size Includes a free app
Connects directly to the internet via the included Ethernet cable Can still work even when the power goes out Agreeable white exterior color Compatible with Apple and Android devices
Can be mounted on a wall or a tabletop Able to provide real-time monitoring and updates Simple, low-key design Easy to customize with DIY rules

 

Should I Buy It Now or Wait?

With a MSRP of just over $250 (it’s significantly cheaper here), the Zipabox isn’t exactly a small investment. If you’re paying this much for home security, you’ll want to end up with a reliable and dependable product that matches your needs.

The Zipabox may be a bit basic, especially compared to some of its competitors, but it’s a pretty solid product overall. Potential consumers may hesitate to purchase this product as the brand isn’t as well-known as some others, such as Nest or SmartThings.

However, it does offer a number of mainstream features. For example, it stores information via cloud technology. You can also count on real-time monitoring even if the power goes out.

If you’re searching for a less expensive alternative to some of the more popular Z-Wave controller devices, the Zipabox is a solid choice.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

5 Comments

  • Good article, I’m wondering what’s your opinion on substituting this in for my wired Honeywell alarm system with the added security module for wired systems? Or if you could recommend something that can replace my Honeywell alarm system with something that will connect to the wired sensors and do Home Automation as well.

    • Jon – you certainly could substitute however it’s going to take some elbow grease. If you have the aptitude for it, I’d go for it. If you want to take advantage of some of the more user friendly and emerging tech, you will probably want to eventually move to a protocol like Zwave, Zigbee, or Insteon. Zwave has the most compatibility with secondary devices.

  • I use Zipabox and it works nicely. I have Philips Hub and it works great with my box, maybe when you wrote the article it wasn’t available for Zipabox, but now it is. I like the rule creator, it’s my favorite thing, because I can make really complex rules and they all run it without any problems. Can you do it for Zipatile, I’m thinking of buying it?

  • First of all I’d like to say that the article is well written. I like my Zipabox especially since It’s working with all the devices I’m using it with (wall plugs, smoke/door/window sensor, alarm + push notifications etc.). I wouldn’t even consider the price as an issue, since others on the market are often more expensive, and as far as I’ve read, got worse support etc.
    All in all I’m very satisfied.

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