I’ll give some generic “can’t lose” ideas:
All of the hubs support z-wave. Most support zigbee, but to different degrees, and it’s kind of hit or miss with some of the zigbee devices. So, I’d concentrate on z-wave devices.
Most people (not all) agree that switches are better than bulbs. If you buy/install a smart bulb, you have to leave the light fixture on in order to use the “smart” ability of the bulb. Turn off the fixture, and that “smart” bulb is useless. With a smart “switch”, you have a physical control in addition to any mobile app control. I don’t know the arrangement of bulbs you want to use and if there’s a switch controlling them…
For z-wave switches on a budget, the GE switches that Lowe’s sells with their “Iris” system are z-wave compatible (and work great with ST and pretty much every other z-wave compatible hub.) The only issue is that the older GE dimmer switches do NOT work properly with LED’s. (The reason is that they don’t use hot/neutral to load the z-wave radio… instead they use the hot/load to load… which causes LED bulbs that require very little power to flicker and do odd things.)
- If you find the GE “smart” dimmers in a green/gray box, they DO work with LED’s (and do require neutral’s)
- However, if they are in a clear plastic container (the kind that sucks to open), they are the older ones that don’t work properly with LEDs. On those, you can see the back of the switch through the plastic and see that they don’t have a neutral connection.
- If you can’t find the right GE dimmer’s, Linear z-wave dimmers work fine and can often be had for cheaper via amazon.
For the garage door opener, you have two choices (at the current moment): A “kit” from Linear (GD00Z-4) that contains everything needed. It’s UL listed, and at least ST, Staples, and Iris support it. (The same kit is rebranded by Lowes as GD00Z-1. It’s the exact same thing as the GD00Z-4 with a different logo.) The second choice is to put together a couple of different pieces (contact or tilt sensor + z-wave relay) to control the garage door. ST support combining these two things in the mobile app. I don’t think the other hubs do.
I can’t speak to the security camera’s, as I don’t have any yet that integrate with any of the hubs.
For the thermostat, I’m using a first generation Nest, so I’m unsure what hubs support what there. (My nest can work with ST, but it’s easier for me to just use the nest app.)
If you want to try the staples hub for “free”, there’s a coupon code floating around the internet that can be used to get a free hub with the purchase of two “staples connect compatible devices” over $30 (or something similar.) That’s how I got one (I purchased two ecolink door/window z-wave sensors, and took the free hub. It’s still in the box.) (http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/1400342/)
Trying “wink” can also be inexpensive. They usually have something in store that lets you purchase the hub for $20 if you buy a couple of GE Link light bulbs. (The light bulbs are zigbee devices, but work with both wink and smartthings. That’s $50 for 2 smart dimmable lightbulbs and a hub.)
After you’ve become annoyed with the limitations of Wink and the poor device support from Staples, we’ll all love to help you get going with ST.