A warning to anyone considering Smartthings

This platform is freaking hopeless. My rules are working maybe 60% of the time at this point. Things fire when they shouldn’t, or more commonly fail to fire when they should. Its nearly impossible to debug because you can’t tell if you’re programming is wrong or if ST is just dropping events again, or some combination of the two. I have a space heater plugged into a smart outlet and I’m terrified to leave on a trip next week without unplugging it lest it turn on automagically and burn the house down.

I CAN NOT BELIEVE a major international company is selling a “solution” this bad. They should be paying us to beta test it for them. Ridiculous.

You have my pity.
With the exception of the ( expected ) occasional drop of an Osram light or the ( anticipated ) problem with sunrise/sunset timers with the DLS time change even with 150+ devices I haven’t experienced any issues in months.


I would definitely unplug the space heater when you’re not in the room with it. Those are not made for unattended operation ever.


i think when anyone has that many problems that there must be a configuration problem on your end. you cant just say it sucks without taking some fault. could be. poor zwave network, poor zigbee mesh, poor wifi. but one will never know without an expert seeing for themself. a friend and myself run a smart home company that specializes in the smartthings platform. we have visited homes that bought smartthings and had many issues but were resolved when we visited in person. support can only do so much. be cool to have support where you are. i am in the dallas fort worth area


I would have to respectfully disagree that it is always a local problem. There have been many problems confirmed by SmartThings support that were caused solely on the cloud side. Most of them don’t affect every customer every time, but as one charitable healthcare foundation says “it’s only rare until it happens to you.”

Although for whatever reason many problems never make it to the official status page, enough do that you can see that there are stability issues.


And if you take a look at the first bug report page in the community – created wiki, none of the problems there were on the customer side.


If the system is working to your satisfaction, that’s great and I’m happy for you. But I would not dismiss the concerns of other people.

I personally have a strong technical background (I previously worked for IBM as a network engineer and had worked with both Zigbee and zwave before ever buying SmartThings) but I am now quadriparetic, and have to pay someone else to do any maintenance on the system, even reset a battery. So I’m very aware of the amount of maintenance that SmartThings requires.

Often times the glitches are temporary, or there are workarounds, but that doesn’t change the fact that at present this is a fairly high maintenance system.

It’s an Extremely versatile and flexible system, but there are still a lot of instability issues.

The company is very aware of it and since April has made improved reliability their top priority, and I do believe that they mean that. But they just aren’t quite there yet.

Just in the last month there have been at least four platform changes that have broken things for customers. They were often able to get a fix the same day, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t broken.

About a month ago they changed something in the stock Z wave switch handler so that some light switches changed so that on was off and off was on. Without the customer making any changes at all. That had nothing to do with the local network.

Again, if it’s working well for you, I’m very glad to hear it, and I hope eventually will all be able to say that.

For right now, someone who wants a “set and forget” system may find that other alternatives are a better match. Someone who has the technical ability to do the occasional tinkering required will probably find SmartThings is a much more exciting and versatile system than the competition at the same price point. So there’s no one Best system, it just depends on your own needs and preferences.

Submitted with respect.


I can from the Iris v1 users, and was really happy with the system until when they “upgraded to v2” and it was a real disaster.
I switched to Smartthings hoping everything would just work but I also experienced many issues in the past… but to be fair had a period where everything was working fine until several days.

But there I am today with a messed up Z-Wave network… so not happy camper to have to troubleshoot and potentially have to remove everything and pair back… still working on it… What a pain…

How Smartthings plan to make money selling one off hardware, having a such open (and great) platform where basically any developper can create their own program and having to support the product which has so many flaws…

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Why not share with us what kind of programming you have and the details of the issue, I’m sure many can’t wait to help you :wink:


Sadly, I have to agree with the OP. I was an early adopter of SmartThings (Kickstarter supporter way back in 2012) and have somewhere over 100 devices in two different homes. However, I have decided to reclaim my valuable time that has been wasted over the years trying to get SmartThings to work as advertised. The dropped devices, the new devices that won’t pair, the events that won’t trigger, the poor execution on hub v2, etc. SmartThings was a good idea but has been plagued by poor execution. I have reached my limit and will be replacing both my SmartThings systems with something else. I cannot recommend SmartThings to anyone. No more for me.

Hey Guys-

Thanks to everyone for chiming in. I didn’t share the details of my programming primarily because I can’t even fully characterize the bugs I’m seeing. It just seems to be that whenever I look at the state of my hub and my connected devices, I can’t figure out how, given the rules that I’ve programmed, it ended up in that state. That and just… sh*t happens randomly. Things will turn on when I’m not expecting them and turn off when I’m not expecting it.

So, my first issue is that nearly all of my programming is in SmartRules. I did this because the omission of a rules engine in favor of “smartapps” and “routines” is baffling to me.

At a basic pseudo code level I have 2 rules per room, one for the “default” state, usually a scene with one dimmed light, and one for the “occupied state”, which turns all lights up. When motion is detected the occupied rule fires, and when no motion is detected for a period of time the default rule resets the room. I’m using smartrules “stays that way” for the timeout to reset to default, so basically “if motion ends and stays that way for 10m…” then.

I control the entire house using modes and a series of rules based on sensor data and presence to turn the house to one of 4 modes: on, off, away, vacation.

This all used to work reasonably well, not perfectly but in a way that I could live with it. ST would miss a trigger occasionally (I could see the motion detect light flash for example but my light would never come on), but generally everything worked well enough. It still does… sometimes, but in the last 4 days, especially in the evenings my rules seem to not be firing as expected. I’m starting to think most of my trouble is with the “stays that way” programming. I’ve seen instances where these rules seem never to have run, and I’ve also seen instances where they seem to have run before their scheduled time. I haven’t spent enough time debugging to say for sure, though I guess that’s my next move. If I stick with ST that is. I’m not sure its worth it.

Perhaps its unfair to blame ST for what turns out to be a smartrules issue, but at this point I don’t care who’s fault it is. If I have to throw both out and move to a platform with a better rules engine and a reliable local event processor, I’d rather do that than live with the chaos of a system that only sometimes works.

And that brings me back to my original post about the hopelessness of this platform. I’ve spent the last 20 some years in startup software shops, and the sense I get about ST is that their core event processing model is shaky at best. They’ve layered a lot of bells, whistles, promises, marketing, and truly nice, helpful support people onto that, but none of that is going to fix the fact that the core of the product doesn’t quite work.

Hmm… seems I have to go shut my kitchen lights off by hand.

Including me and the good looking staff on support. Always feel free to email support@smartthings.com describing the automation that failed and we can help you identify what’s going on.

We’re a bit backed up right after the holiday, but should be caught up soon. If you feel like you are not getting a timely response, DM me your ticket number and I can look into what’s going on.


It’s probably not a SmartRules issue if it’s in the last few days. There was a known scheduler problem that was only affecting accounts on the oldest database shard, so it sounds like you were in that group. :disappointed_relieved:

They pushed out one platform fix that was supposed to fix it, but it didn’t fix it for everyone. And it may have broken something additional for some people.

It was listed in the first bug reports in the community created wiki a couple of days ago.


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I only have about 20 devices but have had no issues for a while now. I guess the experience is different for everyone. I recommend SmartThings any chance I get.


I have had to turn many of my rules off because they were not firing on schedule. Smartthings is definitely a good toy, but nothing that should be used in a serious application. I am not going to buy any more devices until I find a good replacement solution. I have been fairly disappointed. I thought Samsung was really behind the system but I am now realizing that it was nonsense to begin with – otherwise it would be inexcusable that more resources has not been allocated to the system to make it functional.

If you have the money, control4 is reliable and full-featured, but costs from $20,000 and up for whole home automation.

At the very low end for cost, which is where SmartThings falls, there are some reliable systems, but they typically offer many fewer features than SmartThings, and perhaps only a few compatible devices.

Every system has pluses and minuses, so it depends on what your own priorities are.

Thanks for the tip. It’s something to bring up with support.

Another thing that seems to have cropped up in the last few days is I’ve now had 2 zigbee bulbs that fail to shut off. I’ll have to remove and re-add in the morning.

I have a friend who’s a control 4 dealer. I’m pretty sure they support zigbee but I’ll have to see z-wave. This is Bllsht.

Funny thing is everything worked well enough for the last few months. I don’t know if they did something to my account or what but I’m not really willing to go on like this. Trying to go to bed but have to get out a ladder to unscrew the bulb. Thanks smartthings!

What kind of light bulbs are these? There are a couple known issues with a few known issues with some models light bulbs where they will periodically become unresponsive (or suck as repeaters). Powering them off for a few minutes usually helps in the short term; we are working with the third party manufacturers on a longer term fix (via OTA firmware updates).

I’ve had ST since V1 (now own V2) and it has been very frustrating at times. One thing is for sure that unless you want to spend a lot of money on a complete proprietary system - HA is not a set and forget experience.

Having said that certain functions like closet lights activating on closet door opening (aeotec sensor in the door) have seemed to work very reliably. My keypad lock in the basement with RBoys custom app seems to work consistently as well. Also Amazon Echo integration has been great.

Issues I’ve encountered:

  • The routines not firing periodically. Really a pain but I’ve started to “code” defensively having catchall routines that fire after the original event just in case which has helped a bit.
  • Device failures - had 2 old ST motion sensors just stop working, motion always detected. Also had several cree lightbulbs completely fail to respond (lighting part worked but the remote control did not) after about a year or so in service.
  • Low battery levels in devices like motion & door sensors cause issues as well.
  • On my network Zigbee devices seem to be a lot more troublesome than Z-Wave devices.
  • For me SONOS integration is awful and causes system instability. ST does not seem to be focused on this likely because there are larger issues that need to be resolved first, SONOS’s API changes and Samsungs own offerings wireless audio.
  • Lack of local control for certain things (which things? hard to tell) is annoying especially when the internet drops. Not thrilled about things being managed in the cloud.
  • Smart Monitoring issues - sometimes smart monitoring is the way to go other times it seems better to use a smartapp or a routine. Really never sure when or why.
  • App errors (red bar of death). Happens a lot less these days and the system seems a lot more responsive in general.

I’ve come to accept that HA is a more active process than passive. Also have tried to keep things as simple as possible. I do have a fair amount of devices and understand the complexity and potential for failure goes up with each new device added.

As far as alternatives I have not found any that make sense for me yet. ST still has the edge functionality and flexibility. I’ve looked at a few like CastelOS etc.

Well, my zigbee bulb that wouldn’t shut off last night seems to be working this morning. I have noticed that I have more problems in the evening that in the daytime lately.

The issues I’m seeing are:

Zigbee bulbs that become un-responsive.
Routines that fail to fire
Routines that fire incompletely
Routines/triggers that fail to execute from 3rd party apps unless triggered two or more times (from alexa and simple control)
Time based events that execute at the wrong time
Modes that seem to switch randomly, or perhaps because of mis-firing time based events
z-wave motion events that fail to fire their events (zigbee seems more reliable for triggering)

I think the idea of defensively coding is a good one and I’ve been starting to do some of that as well. I’d also like to move more rules out of SmartRules and into Smart Lighting so they execute locally, but Smart Lighting generally doesn’t give me enough logical control. Specifically, if Smart Lighting allowed conditional execution when a mode is not active it would be much more useful to me. Also, the ability to do an “all” or “any” conditional.

Do you live in a neighborhood where the houses are fairly close? Do you have a neighbor whose kids get home in the evening and crank up the Wi-Fi?

You could be running into interference. Try changing the channel.

What should I change the channel of, wifi?

I’m using ubiquiti wifi APs which are auto-selecting their channel. I don’t know how good it is, but the ubiquiti interface has a built in rf analyzer. I suppose one thing I could check on is I can see if the frequency jumped on the wifi APs at night due to other crowding that comes online. Another thing I could do is turn of the 2.4 GHz radios all together.

On the other hand, RF is contraindicated by the fact that I’m not especially having problems with zigbee devices. In fact I’d say that aside from dropping from the network occasionally, they’re generally working better than zwave.

What one of my main issues looks like to me is that many routines need to be issued twice to be go off at all in some cases, in other cases to complete on all devices successfully, so I’m trying that in each of my rules- trigger the same routine twice.