I have at home some ready-made sensors I bought and more custom ones will come, therefore I would like to collect all their data and to set rules/actions based on them.

I looked into the various alternatives but, after discovering Node RED, it's not clear to me anymore which overlap there is between OpenHAB, Home assistant and Node RED in regard to data acquisition, storage, display and processing (rules).

Initially I checked Home assistant and I saw that it can

  1. collect data with plugins/addons
  2. store it in its own database (round-robin, time-limited)
  3. store it ("persistence") on external databases
  4. process data (YAML rules/automations), from what I understand using data in its own database when knowledge of the previous values is required
  5. display data (web GUI)

From what I understood, OpenHAB 2 does 1, 3, 4bis, 5: it uses the external database ("persistence") also for rules. It appears therefore it is conceptually more efficient, one database is skipped.

I thought that Node RED was just a "graphical rule editor/processor" compatible with both previous alternatives, but now I discovered that it can do at least 1, 3, 4bis: collect data via a (quite limited) number of input plugins, store the values into an external database, perform rules querying said external database.

At this point, is there any remaining difference between Node RED and the other two? What are the conceptual differences and similarities between OpenHAB, Home Assistant and Node RED?

  • 1
    Node RED is a graphical programming environment
    – jsotola
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 1:34
  • 1
    Asking to compare these 3 services is not a good fit, assuming you're right that they are mostly similar. I have exactly the same scenario, and would like a quick and easy front end without any programming - but that won't necessarily be the 'best' long term choice. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 9:21
  • Flagging it because "there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”" Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


As comments point out, the three tools are quite similar in some ways. One point that I can add is that they are also very adaptable ! So the choice also rely on your ability/ease of use with any of these tools.

To answer specifically, from my own experience:

  • both Open HAB and Home Assistant rely on the core concept of a home, with devices laying around and various communication protocols. This concept really drives the whole software, and gather a community on this very point. They are building with open-source and maker communities to add plugins/adds-on for functionnality, and new product integrations, also working with product makers.
  • Node RED is a data-processing tool, based on the data flow concept and using a graphic programming environment. There is no "home" or "user" concept per se, you build flows to take data from point A to point B with some modifiers on the way (whether it's IoT or finance or traffic data doesn't matter). It also relies on the open-source community, around the nodeJS environment, which is way more popular than just home automation : existing modules cover a very large array of use-cases, and only a small repackaging is needed to use them in NodeRED
  • Code-wise, Open HAB is java, Home Automation is python, and Node-RED is javascript : you can also reflect on your infrastructure to make a choice.

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