insteonline

Insteon is one of the most popular–and arguably most powerful–lines of smarthome products out there. If you’re just getting started with Insteon, here’s how to set up your hub and your first device.

What Is Insteon?

RELATED: What Are “ZigBee” and “Z-Wave” Smarthome Products?

Insteon, at its simplest, is a line of smarthome products. Insteon makes smart outlets, smart light bulbs and switches, a smart thermostat, motion sensors, security cameras, and other products designed to be a sort of “one stop shop” for all your smarthome needs. You just need an Insteon Hub  or Hub Pro to control it all.

Unlike many other smarthome hubs, which use Wi-Fi, ZigBee, or Z-Wave to communicate with different products, Insteon uses its own proprietary protocol. It does have limited support for a few non-Insteon products–like the Nest Thermostat and Amazon Echo–but doesn’t offer any integration with IFTTT.

Instead, Insteon’s real power comes through when combined with an X10 system. In fact, this is really its biggest draw. Insteon can be very simple with basic functionality, or it can be very complicated and very powerful (not to mention expensive). If you’re looking for something more in the middle (moderately powerful and user-friendly), however, Insteon may not be right for you.

How to Set Up Your Hub

So you’ve got an Insteon Hub and one or two products you want to control with it. Setting them up is fairly simple: first, grab your Hub and plug it into the wall and your router via Ethernet. Make sure it’s easily reachable, since you’ll need to access it again in a moment.

Download and install Insteon for Hub app, available for iOS and Android. Choose “Create New Insteon Account” on the first page. Accept the license terms and create your account.

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Plug in your hub (if it isn’t already), and tap next in the app.

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Next, you’ll be asked for a username and password. You’ll find this on a sticker on the bottom of your hub. Alternatively. you can tap the “Scan QR Code” button and scan the QR code on the bottom of your hub.

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Once your hub is identified, Insteon will prompt you to start adding devices.

How to Add a New Device

Grab the device you want to add–we’ll be using an outdoor smart outlet for our example–and snap a picture of the QR code and device code on its sticker. This is especially handy if you’re putting it in a hard-to-reach place.

Then hook up the device and continue with the process. If this is your first device, Insteon will take you directly to the “Add Device” screen. If not, you’ll need to get there from the home screen of the app by going to Rooms > All Devices, then clicking the “+” sign in the upper right-hand corner.

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On the Add Device screen, Insteon will present you with a list of possible devices. Tap the one that matches the device you’re adding. In our case, we’re adding a plug-in module, so we’ll tap that.

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(If your device isn’t listed, scroll to the bottom and choose “Other INSTEON Device”).

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Next, press and hold the “Set” button on your device until it beeps or begins blinking, Alternatively, tap the “Add By ID” button at the bottom of your screen, and type in the device’s ID number. Insteon will search for and set up your device.

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Once it finds your device, you can give it a name, choose an icon, assign it to a room, and customize a number of other settings.

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When you’re finished, tap “Done”.

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The device will show up on your main Insteon screen, and you can turn it on and off from there.

RELATED: How to Control Your Insteon Smarthome with the Amazon Echo

Some Insteon devices also support the Amazon Echo, while others are more half-supported. But if you put those devices into scenes, you can control them with your voice that way. If you have an Echo, be sure to read our guide on setting it up with Insteon for more info.