Alternatives to SmartThings ecosystem? (2021)

From this article, sounds like it’s time to start looking for an alternative to SmartThings. Seems the new app and the killing of the “classic” app was a sign of things to come, and that SmartThings is going to become so crippled as to become useless.

So where to go from here? Any other hubs/ecosystems have the level of customizability of the “classic” SmartThings?

I think that article is a fair apprasel of ST useage over the last 3 or so years, every single user would have left long ago if a viable alternative was available

I really don’t have major gripes with what ST has had to offer to date, yes we have all had items not working or becoming un supported, very very annoying and costly but as things stand until now… just about manageable and tenable

My biggest gripe and surprise is the front end, the app, since we lost classic development has been to be frank… disastrous.

It appears that no matter what feedback is given nothing is implemented, the app development appears to be a mis mash of bad ideas with no logical approach, the basics of UI design are ignored inc the inclusion of voice navigation

Prime example of new app to previous app, no room separation for devices on the home page, I could list multiple items that make for poor useage

Whoever is responsible for UI design must have there hands tied because I cannot believe anyone with UI design skills would ever release this version and the previous version happily

They are bad examples of how a smart app should look and work


I only know of two that fit that particular description:

  1. Homeseer (they released a version in 2020 which adds zigbee support). They’ve been around a long time, and it’s a powerful and highly customizable system, but it does require significant technical expertise and it is more expensive than smartthings. Also, no consumer friendly app.

  2. Hubitat. Created by smartthings power users a few years ago, many aspects are highly similar to smartthings as of 2019, with the exception that everything runs locally except for integrations to third-party cloud-based systems like voice assistants. Again, this requires significant technical expertise and the most obvious area where things are very different is that there’s no user-friendly app like smartthings has. You can use sharptools with it, though, and that’s a good solution for many people, particularly if you were already using SharpTools with smartthings.

So both of those are highly customizable, have active developer communities, happened to both run primarily locally, and now both support both zwave and zigbee. But both require a lot of technical expertise and are not off-the-shelf consumer friendly.

And there are also some “roll your own“ options like home assistant which are popular with some groups, particularly if you have strong technical skills. But for those you don’t buy a hub, you have to select your own hardware and put everything together From a software perspective. It’s just a whole different kind of project.


If you’re looking for something with a nice app, and that doesn’t require the same kind of technical expertise, then either apple’s HomeKit or abode are possible candidates. But neither matches the customizability of the previous group.

  1. Apple is particularly attractive if you already have an iPhone, since there are no subscription requirements, everything runs locally except the voice assistant (and they are adding more local options for that), and they are all in on matter support for the future. And the app is very nice.

On the other hand, zigbee support is limited for right now to what you can add through bridges like an Aqara Base station, although that may change in the future because of Matter.

And there’s no zwave support in HomeKit itself unless you get into technical options like homebridge.

So going to Apple HomeKit might mean replacing a lot of existing devices. But you do get a nice easy to use highly reliable plug and play system with a consumer friendly app.

  1. Abode is particularly good for security systems, but does have a required monthly fee and they haven’t said anything about matter one way or the other yet. They support both Z wave and zigbee, but with a limited selection of devices. Nice app, though.


So every system has pluses and minuses. I would note, however, that it really is possible that Matter Will change a lot of things in the home automation space by December 2022. Including for smartthings, who have said they are going to support matter, although they have said a lot of things in the past that didn’t quite happen the way people expected them to. (Bluetooth and local processing are just two examples. Oh, and lighting groups.)

More discussion on matter in the following thread (the topic title is a clickable link)


If I were looking at a new system right now, my top candidates would probably be hubitat and HomeKit, Hubitat Because it’s the most similar to smartthings and Homekit because it’s very consumer friendly right now and the commitment to matter is pretty exciting.

But I’m not looking for a deep dive technical system or to do my own programming, so again, different things work for different people. (If I got Hubitat, I would have to pay someone else to do a lot of work on it, which of course adds to the cost.)

Check the other threads in the “other hubs“ section of the forum and you should find lots of discussion. :sunglasses:


To speak specifically to this, I think it very much depends on Matter. If matter succeeds (and although that’s a big if, it’s got some big names behind it and a lot of momentum right now), and if Samsung really does commit to building full matter support into their platform and their app, then by the end of 2022 I think it’s very likely that most mass market DIY home automation will use either HomeKit for iOS users or SmartThings for android users.

There will still be hobbyists and power users who want more customizability and will be using niche systems like hubitat and homeseer and home assistant. But Best Buy and Target and Home Depot Will be selling mostly Matter-compliant Devices in their smart home sections, and all of the “generic” picture examples will be using HomeKit or SmartThings.

That could definitely save SmartThings as a platform, with or without a hub. Indeed, it could end up much stronger than ever, with a much larger user base.

I suppose the main competitor for the android side will be Smart Life, but if Samsung can refocus its design philosophy to emphasize protecting the time investment its customers already have in their existing system, I personally think they could win that head-to-head race.

And with matter compatibility they don’t have to compete head to head with HomeKit: Having chosen their phone, customers would have already chosen which home automation UI they would be using.

On the other hand… If SmartThings fails to deliver a robust consumer friendly matter implementation, and again assuming matter does succeed, then they are going to be very far behind the competition on both android and overall.

I think so far Samsung has handled the issue of Matter compatibility quite poorly, with only a blog post mention of support.

But it’s early days yet. I do think we may see a very different market space for home automation by the end of 2022, and I definitely see the possibility of smartthings still being a big player if they get their act together. :thinking:

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That is, I bought a Hubitat last year.

It’s code compatible with SmartThings Groovy SmartApps and DTHs. It was simple to move over. I’ve used it to make reliable automations (things happen on based upon time, motion or open/close events). Some people complain that the app isn’t “pretty”, but that doesn’t matter since I never use it on a day-to-day basis (only for occasionally settings things up).

And even if Hubitat goes under, my installation will remain functioning as all the automation is local. They can’t decide to brick my hub.

My whole kitchen automation after this project is based upon it:

This sort of just happened for fun:


It’s like a sick joke Samsung is playing on us.

Except the app update, for me, is even worse than that; I can’t open or control any device at all.

The sick joke is we still don’t have official word on what will happen to our custom devices and smartapps.

I’m probably switching everything over to Hubitat. Samsung doesn’t care about the SmartThings community.

If they did, they wouldn’t disable code, that people have spent thousands of hours writing, without any backwards compatibility plan or solution and just say ‘lol just rewrite it for our new API that no one asked for, easy right?’

bUt GrOoVy IsNt ScAlAbLe

Why not just let the hubs run our old code? I don’t get it. There’s no technical reason it can’t be done because hubitat already did it.

Samsung is a top down company, they do not care about user or employee feedback. If management sees a cost that can be cut, they will do it.

Examples include removing the headphone jack, removing headphones and chargers from the box after making fun of apple for doing it, axing the Galaxy Note, putting ads into one UI despite universal scorn from reviewers, axing MST, etc.

try uninstalling/reinstalling the app… that seems to resolve the issue for some users

Well said
What ever happened to the room separation as was in the previous version?

Hmmm, that seems to have done the trick.

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