New to home automation & SmartThings

I am brand new to home automation and looking at what to do to get started. Based on this video I started to research using a SmartThings Hub. I am confused as to the current state. On the SmartThings website they do not talk at all about hardware. The hub page is not able to be navigated to without a google search. The forums are talking about which vendor is going to manufacture anything. I am lost.

  1. Has SmartThings moved away from having any type of hardware?
  2. Should I wait for the next generation of hardware from vendors creating hubs based on SmartThings?
  3. Am I missing something on current state of affairs?

Where do I start?

Yes, Samsung has announced that they are existing the Smart Home Hardware business.

That’s one option… Or a used ST hub… Or an Alternative Hub altogether…

Nope, you’ve pretty stumbled into Smasung’s current, somewhat messy, state of affairs as they transition to being a cloud-only platform that works with anyone else’s hardware who are willing to integrate with their new API.


Well that’s incredibly disappointing. I was ready to buy. I hope the executives at SmartThings are paying attention.

Depending on what you want to do, a ST Hub is not always required. For example, if you want the best in class Smart Switches and Dimmers, take a look at a Lutron Caseta Lighting system. Just be sure to spend the extra money for their SmartBridge PRO, as it will work with both SmartThings and Hubitat (at the same time), as well as directly with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Ecobee, Logitech Harmony Hub, Sonos, Node-RED, Home Assistant, and more…

If you want smart light bulbs, invest in a Philips Hue lighting system. It also works with SmartThings, Hubitat, as well as directly with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Logitech Harmony Hub, Node-RED, Home Assistant, and more…

And, there are other options readily available…

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  1. ‘Moving’ would seem to be a fair assessment, but ‘moved’ may also be accurate. It is difficult to know exactly the state of play at the moment but hubs are certainly in very short supply. An Aeotec branded V3 hub is now being listed in Europe, but that is about all that has been seen.

  2. Currently there is absolutely no evidence of any such products being planned. All that has been seen is what appears to be a straight rebrand of a current product.

  3. No you aren’t. One could speculate that the current situation isn’t doing the supply chain any favours, and could also be delaying new partnerships, but really someone at ST needs to hit or bust and tell their customers what is going on before it becomes an omnishambles.


At this point, it’s likely that 90% or more of the people using the smartthings app don’t have a hub at all. It’s only necessary if you want to use zigbee or Z wave devices. (And not 100% necessary for those, but that requires a different server and a lot of technical expertise.)

As @ogiewon mentioned, there are lots of devices that you can use with the smartthings app that don’t require the smartthings hub, and many are excellent. In addition to Lutron Caseta Switches and bulbs that work with the Philips Hue bridge, there are LIFX bulbs, the August Wi-Fi lock, Meross smart plugs and garage door controller, Switchbot button pushers, and many more.

The only device category which is really missing is small battery operated contact sensors and even there, you have some choices, particularly if you use Amazon Alexa as an intermediary. (This isn’t about using it as a voice assistant: there are devices that can work with Alexa “routines” without having to speak to Alexa.)

Some of these will require having their own bridge device to connect to Wi-Fi, but once they are set up you can do daily management and create rules through the smartthings app if that’s what you prefer.

So while the hub does open up the possibility of using additional devices, it’s certainly not necessary to use smartthings, and there are alternatives for pretty much every device class, sometimes very good alternatives, if you want to go ahead and get started while you’re waiting for smartthings to figure out what they are doing with regard to hub hardware in the US. :sunglasses:

At my own house we’ve been in a “hub optional“ configuration for over a year because the ST system just wasn’t reliable enough for what we needed. We do all of our “mission critical“ use cases with apple’s Homekit now. But we still use smartthings for some WiFi devices, including Meross smart plugs and Switchbot button pushers.

So it just depends on what direction you want to go. If you want to jump in with Zwave, then, yes, it’s probably best to start looking at alternative hubs right now if you don’t want to wait.

But if you’re open to other possibilities, there are a lot of devices that work now with smartthings, no hub required.

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Not here. Samsung has effectively killed off SmartThings, at least for the moment. Potential new users can’t buy a hub and even existing users are screwed if they need a replacement. Best you’ll do today is to find something on Ebay.

How long are you willing to wait? Could be days, weeks, months… Maybe there will be rebranded V3 hardware, maybe a “V4” or maybe there will be all sorts of hardware with Samsung just licensing its firmware. Lots of speculation, but no concrete information.

Then there’s the cloud and app side of things, which is something of a train wreck at the moment. Time will tell what happens there.

Decide what you want to automate, what devices you will need, and then find a hub that supports them (if you need a hub at all as JDRoberts pointed out). If you stick to non-proprietary devices that use zwave or zigbee, you have a number of choices for hubs.

Samsung doesn’t want to be in the hub business, so that should probably tell you something. I’m not sure exactly what, but I’d rather buy a hub from someone who does want to be in the hub business.

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:arrow_up: This. :sunglasses:

If you have a Samsung smart refrigerator or appliance or television and you’re going to be using the smartthings app anyway, and you’re just starting out, at this point I would begin with a hub optional configuration.

Otherwise, there are lots of alternatives depending on whether you are looking for more of a consumer-friendly “set and forget“ system, or whether you are a hobbyist with a strong technical background who’s interested in doing your own programming.

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Maybe, but that depends on what your end goals are. If you start with a hub-optional (or purely cloud) system, and you buy devices that only work within that ecosystem, you may end up limiting yourself to what hubs you can eventually use.

It’s unlikely that any of Samsung’s products will work with any automation ecosystem other than ST, so you’re locking yourself into whatever the next ST hub turns out to be, if you end up needing a hub down the road. At least, if you want a single hub/app solution or you’re willing to use something like Hubconnect. But who knows if that will work on ST hubs, long term.

It’s easy to go down a rat hole and end up being locked into an ecosystem.

Partially true for the present (Project CHIP may eventually change that), but only for the relatively few Samsung branded devices, which right now includes the smart appliances, the smart televisions, and one plug-in pocket socket.

The devices that both @ogiewon and I listed are not locked into smartthings in any way. They are third-party partners. That includes Lutron Caseta, Philips Hue, Meross, Switchbot, LIFX, the August Lock, and many more. They have chosen to provide an integration with smartthings, but they also work with other platforms.

In my case I choose devices which work with HomeKit and Amazon echo as my minimum requirement. If they also work with smartthings that’s good. But I’m definitely not locked into any particular platform and certainly not to smartthings. :sunglasses:

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I also made the decision back in 2015 that I would budget for Home Automation with the assumption that I might want to replace anything, including any hub, in three years. Essentially a similar replacement cycle to how most people handle mobile phones. That way I don’t live in fear of the future, I control my expenses, but I feel free to switch to something else if it meets my needs better. If an individual device does last longer, obviously that’s good. But I get my money’s worth as long as it lasts for the expected cycle.

Obviously everybody has to make their own decisions on that, but that’s worked very well for me and removed a lot of stress.

But regardless of whether you have a planned replacement cycle or not, you can choose Home Automation Devices for a hub-optional configuration without getting locked in. Just look for something which already works with multiple platforms.

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It’s just not always obvious how you’re getting locked into something. I wish I would have thought through some of my earlier purchases.

Ring is one of them, and I have over $1k in Ring devices so replacing them in x number of years isn’t practical. They don’t natively work with Hubitat, but then again I’m not sure Hubitat even existed when I bought my first Ring device. I’m not sure I was even using ST at the time.

I guess I just wish I knew a few years ago what I know now with regards to home automation. But I suppose that’s the case with life in general :slightly_smiling_face:

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