Hub or ZStick?

OK, I have followed some of the other beginners threads, and it would certainly be nice to have a section where folks who are just getting into it can visit.
Specifically, I’m wondering if anyone has experience with the Z-Stick Gen 5+ vs Aeotec Smart Home Hub. I do know the hub will do much more, but I’m not sure I’ll need it. To be honest, my only experience with anything like a smart home, albeit it wasn’t very smart, is with X-10. It left such a bad taste, I am fearful of spending a bunch of money just to be disappointed again. My immediate needs are merely remote control, but I purchased Z-Wave switches because I didn’t realize I could have gotten away with simple WI-Fi. Bottom line is, I’m pretty sure I will be adding smart devices down the road. Has it been anyone’s experience that starting with a stick and down the road move to a hub is better, or, based on experience, would it be more advantageous to bite the bullet and spend the bucks up front?

I would recommend a hub as a beginner.

A z-stick will need an always-on computer to plug into. You can use a z-stick as a secondary controller with ST (I use one to troubleshoot my network) but not as a primary. There are other systems that use a z-stick plugged into a hub, or that involve software running on whatever the z-stick is plugged into, but that’s not the case with ST.

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As we’ve mentioned in your previous threads, this forum is for people who are using the Samsung SmartThings ™ Home Automation platform. So all of the questions and answers are assumed to be in that context. It is a very busy community, so it often comes up near the top on general home automation searches, but it is not a general forum. It’s for people who have already selected SmartThings as their home automation platform, or who have SmartThings-specific questions to help them evaluate SmartThings as a candidate for them.

The USB stick doesn’t work with SmartThings, so I’m afraid you won’t get much help here. :disappointed_relieved:. To use Z wave devices with smartthings, you have to have either a smartthings or Aeotec “works as a smartthings hub “ (WASH) hub. Other Aeotec controllers will not work with SmartThings on their own.

You will get better answers if you ask your question in the Reddit Home Automation subforum. They cover all platforms.

Good luck with your project!


Hi, thanks for the response. Actually I do have an older PC, running win 7 that I leave on all the time anyway. I also leave my main PC on all the time, but I’d rather use the older PC. I have Samsung Smart Things on my cell, and I found their app for a PC that I downloaded. It functions almost the same as the cell app, (not great) but might get me by. I know I’m sounding cheap, but I simply don’t want to invest a ton of money into something if it’s, 1 not going to function well (like X-10), 2 gonna be a boatload of work, or 3 gonna be a whole bunch of trying to find things that will work. I’m not even sure if I’m asking the right question. It may be that what I really want to know is if it’s worth it to learn on, and see how well it all works with a stick, or do I trust the internet, spend the bucks, and go from there.
Anyway, thanks again

I understand, but the point is that the only way to bring zwave devices into the SmartThings app is by using a SmartThings hub or the specific Aeotec hub model identified as WASH (“ works as a smartthings hub“).

If you only have the Z stick five, ZStick seven, or popp autopilot hub, all of which are zwave controllers from Aeotec, your zwave devices won’t show up in the smartthings app.

So as always, the first rule of home automation applies: “the model number matters.“

For the purposes of this forum, there isn’t a choice. If you want Zwave, you have to get one of the hubs that work with smartthings.

So it’s not about budget. It’s about what works with the smartthings platform.

With smartthings, your choices are to

  1. run without a hub, which currently limits you to cloud integrations, Wi-Fi devices, anything that works with a hue bridge (which will still be a cloud integration in this configuration), and the Samsung smart appliances and televisions.

Or to

  1. get a Smartthings or Aeotec WASH hub, which will allow you to add zigbee or Z wave devices that work with that hub.

  2. In the future, assuming everything happens as planned, smartthings is going to offer Matter integration, in which case you will be able to add some matter devices as long as you have a Samsung smart refrigerator to act as the best station. But no scheduled release date for that option yet.

If you want to use one of the Z wave sticks you have to go to a different home automation platform. They aren’t compatible with the smartthings platform whether you access it through the app or the laptop interface.

So your questions are good questions, they just don’t belong in this forum. Once you’re here, you’re in the context of the smartthings architecture.

First I apologize for bothering the pros here, and for the questions I have posted. There doesn’t seem to be any good sites for ‘beginners’ or those just showing interest and gathering information. I tried Reddit, and OMG, what a disaster. Terrible site. From what few responses I gotten so far, it doesn’t look like I’m gonna get any useful answers to my limited knowledge questions from this site either. This site is, however, helping me to decide which platform (good heavens I hope that’s the correct term) to use. I think I’m leaning toward Hubitat, their site is a little more tolerant of noobies.
Again, I apologize for bothering the fine members here.

And if you want something cheap but expandable for the future based on your laptop plus a usb stick, you might try home assistant. It’s free open source software. It’s not 100% stable, but then neither is smartthings. It’s very powerful, it has a very active developer community, and it’s very popular. ( there’s a subscription option that gives you some additional features, but you can read about that in their forums.)
sometimes abbreviated HASS, you can find a ton of stuff about it on the Internet. It’s not plug and play, but since you have a strong technical background, you’ll probably find it interesting.

thanx a bunch

This community has always been, and I hope always will be, very welcoming to new folk who are using SmartThings, regardless of their level of technical expertise. :sunglasses: We’re just not a site for Conversations about a lot of other platforms, just because it does get very confusing to our members here who don’t have a strong a technical background and don’t understand what would apply to smartthings and what wouldn’t.

Hubitat might very well be a good option for you, since the usual issue there is for people who don’t have a technical background and aren’t interested in technical conversations.

Every platform, and every community, has its own pluses and minuses. The trick is to find the one that works best for you. Choice is good. :woman_juggling:t2:

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