I'm fed up with SmartThings and looking for advice on alternatives

I’ve been a user of ST since 2015 and it has definitely been a love/hate relationship (mostly hate) but with the latest botched migration from Classic and lots of recent instability and unreliability I’ve had it.

I used to do more HA programming but my needs have been greatly simplified these days, my number 1 requirement is platform reliability. I’m tired of removing/adding devices from/to my network and spending time debugging why a simple light bulb suddenly doesn’t work any longer after months of w/o issues.

My HA devices needs are simple; smart light bulbs, smart wall plugs for appliances, lamp modules for lighting that can’t have smart bulbs, smart outdoor plugs for simple outdoor lights.

Nowadays, I don’t need much programming/customizability; mostly need time-based automations, scenes.

I’m thinking of moving over to a WIFI-based system instead of Zigbee or Z-Wave. I have good WIFI coverage and I’d like to not have to worry about Z-wave repeaters and Z-wave network reachability.

I need to have scheduled automations work when I’m not home so I assume I need either a hub or cloud-based option for that.

I want to be able to manually run my automations remotely when I’m not home.

Don’t need or want voice control (Alexa, Google Home, Siri)

Don’t want a solution that uses Amazon or Google (too much snooping)

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Brad

  1. In terms of reliability, if you already have an iOS device, I have been very pleased with Homekit over the last few years. (I myself am quadriparetic, so reliability is now at the top of my requirements list.) everything runs locally and there are no outside records of what happens. If you choose to use voice control with Siri, your voice recordings are anonymized before they are sent to the cloud for processing, so there’s no record there either. But you do have the option of out of home control. i’m not sure it’s worth getting if you don’t already have and iOS device, though. It doesn’t technically require a hub, but you do need either the $99 HomePod mini, or an always plugged in iPad or an Apple TV box in order to create Automations. Also, the cost of individual devices has come down significantly just in the last year. I personally like the Meross models, but there are other inexpensive choices as well for both indoor and outdoor devices.

  2. with the increased complexity and power of Alexa routines, some people find it that’s all they need, but that is a cloud-based Operation so it sounds like it’s not what you’re looking for.

  3. The Phillips hue ecosystem has been growing significantly over the last two years and now includes both indoor and outdoor motion sensors, bulbs, lights, and even some pocketsockets although I don’t know if there’s an outdoor one. This can be used with Homekit, but it can also be used locally on its own. And you can mix in some of the less expensive brands like Innr or Tradfri, although those won’t work with Homekit. So I’m not sure that meets your requirements or not, but it is another possibility.

  4. I can’t think of any other Wi-Fi-based system that doesn’t require a cloud. That’s just the way most manufacturers are delivering Rules these days.

  5. Lutron is highly reliable, doesn’t require a cloud except for voice control, but doesn’t offer outdoor rated devices. Again, it also works with HomeKit.

So there are a number of plug-and-play WiFi options (Plus Lutron which has its own proprietary frequency) these days depending on exactly what you’re looking for. But with the exception of Phillips hue and HomeKit and Lutron, I think they are all using mandatory clouds for their rules support.

If you’re willing to consider zwave and zigbee there are additional candidates, and the ones that run locally will almost all have better reliability than smartthings. Those tend to be less plug and play, though.

Anyway, check the other threads in this section of the forum and you’ll see additional discussion about other alternatives.

1 Like

BTW, Reddit has a pretty good subforum on home automation that is brand agnostic, so you might also want to ask there:

1 Like

Predictable response:

/ predictable response

=p

1 Like

well, you are better off staying with ST as word on the street is that others are “half baked”. some of those that leave even very quietly sneak back to ST.

2 Likes

If I ever wanted to (which I won’t), that’d be difficult for a number of reasons.

  1. Physically threw the hub away. Didn’t want to give it to my parents or in laws (as per the original plan) as I couldn’t be arsed with the tech support for when things kept breaking.

  2. Apparently they’re quite difficult to find in stock now.

  3. Hubitat continues to provide a rock solid solution for me.

  4. The wife knows enough to ensure that if I mentioned smartthings again, she’d force me to abandon home automation entirely. I’d probably get away with some dumb motion sensing lights at a push. But allowing this failed ecosystem back into our daily lives? Not a chance in hell. If this hub cost £4 on amazon, I’d still enthusiastically attempt to dissuade anyone from dipping their toes. I only wish I could have read ahead a little further than I did, and jumped ship months before I finally did.

1 Like

£4, eh. that explains a lot right there.

Care to explain? I feel perhaps there’s some kind of misguided insult, but if there is, it makes no sense.

Well, some of us still like the platform. Yeah it has it’s issues but usually works kinda well. Anyone who hates ST so bad really should leave the forum as they did the platform…

Hate is a strong word. Disappointed suits my situation better. Not yet sure if greener pastures are on the Hubitat side of the fence, but I was rather annoyed with one or more automations failing daily. Maybe my use case is an outlier and it is better that I find a better fit. No bitterness on my part. Things just aren’t working out and I want to start seeing other hubs.

1 Like

I enjoy learning and sharing information.

I discovered this support forum after purchasing a smartthings hub a few years ago and quickly becoming amazed by it.

I put a hell of a lot of time and effort into setting up various smart projects, accepting that the ‘quirks’ of a cloud based platform needed a little ingenuity (perhaps too strong?) to work around - Eg unpredictable / non-replicatable partial failure of routines, etc.

Midway through this year it became apparent that it was impossible to retain confidence that any of these systems would just… Work. Updates killed off functionality of a dimmer switch that had been in use (untouched) for the best part of a year. A 50 quid relay similar lost its use, again, due to an unwanted firmware push. One morning I woke up to find my zwave heating switch had turned on as planned, but an overnight update had (again) broken the implementation - switch was able to turn on, but now, overnight, could no longer be turned off! Heating had been on for hours whilst we slept in the middle of summer!

Leave the forum? No. That’s my choice. I still read up on various bits by members here despite (thankfully) swapping over to hubitat soon after the heating screw ups.

And because I still browse here and take an active interest in a few forums, I won’t remain silent if someone asks for advice. On any topic I’m familiar with.

Up to and including poor choices of hubs.

4 Likes

You know, “usually works kinda well” isn’t that glowing an endorsement.

Every system has pluses and minuses and different things work for different people. It depends on your own priorities and preferences.

For some people, reliability is the most important. For others it’s price. For many people it’s a combination of versatility and price, and smartthings does very well in those two categories.

Then there are also issues like what the app is like, support of local processing, integration with voice assistants, etc. which will be high priority for some people and not at all important for others.

And one of the most personal issues: are you OK with using multiple systems, multiple apps, multiple hubs…For myself, I’m fine with having a number of different systems in my home as long as they all do what I want at a price I can afford. Right now I am mostly using SmartThings to support complex rules for Switchbot and some other non-HomeKit devices. But I use HomeKit for any use case that needs critical reliability. I’m not mad at either platform, and I’m OK with using both. But I know there are other people who would be driven crazy by setups like mine, they want to do everything from one app. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

3 Likes

The one and only issue I have with ST is failed automations. When I control a device or see its status through the app it works every time (except for Honeywell and those issues stem from Honeywell servers…not ST) so “kinda well” in my case is an endorsement especially when these automation issues get eventually ironed out. At the moment, it’s not enough to force me to move to another platform and loose some of the c2c integrations as well as Samsung connected appliances and TVs which ST offers that others do not. I am perfectly happy with ST atm

2 Likes

Thanks for the responses. I’ll check into HomeKit again, last time I did it was pretty limited and I didn’t want the binding to Apple but the latter is less of an issue for me these days.

Just got my latest round of ST issues fixed and don’t want to keep wasting my time doing so. Deleting z-wave devices and adding them back then fixing their scenes, automations etc. ST also bricked my z-wave remote in the process of platform upgrades.

1 Like

HomeKit has continue to advance significantly, both in the devices available and in the complexity of rules supported.

And if you’re technical, you can also set up a separate server to run homebridge and bring in all kinds of additional devices, including smartthings:

[RELEASE] Homebridge SmartThings v2.0

But even without that it’s just become a very solid, reliable, local platform. :sunglasses:

I hadn’t considered shortcuts also, that may be interesting. For now I’m going with a Philips Hue Hub and HomeKit for a small rollout and if it goes well I’ll migrate the rest. I have several Cree Smart bulbs and I’ve read they can be connected to the Hue hub, so that would save me some money too. I’ve always liked the Cree bulbs.

Thanks again

1 Like

You can add the Cree bulbs to a hue bridge, but they won’t be exposed to Homekit. Only Hue Brand devices are certified to work with HomeKit through the hue bridge.

1 Like

Funny, every platform has limitations, I guess I’ll just have to evaluate the pros/cons. For now, hoping for better reliability.

1 Like

I have just found an app called home remote, no automations but the basic UI knocks massive socks off the ST app, sorry ST, but the app UI stinks, perhaps it is a forced UI by the Samsung main company but as it appears they refuse to change or better the UI something has to give, I was happy with the original app, NOT the new app, I might try and move as much automation as I can too Alexa and use Home remote for control when needed, Home remote is basic but shows what I need …clearly !!!

Lack of information

Just to note, some of the above switches not showing as on are virtual switches, I have lost control of what switch does what due to the lack of device specific automation links, I just give up trying to chase down things when they stop.

2 Likes