Smartthings, the right choice?

So I moved from a condo to a new home in the last 2 months. As with any new construction builld I’ve been upgrading the home. Home automation is of big interest but I’m struggling with what hub.

As of right now (or in the next month) I have the following:

  • About 7 lutron swithces/dimmer
  • Amazon Echo/dot
  • Sonos system
  • Nest

In the near future I would like the following:

  • Garage door control (very important)
  • Harmony Hub Control (very important)
  • Home Security - No preference on any but I want my wife to feel safe when I travel for work
  • Electronic Door locks

So here is the thing. I absolutely love my lutron switches/hub. It works flawlessly and frankly they are some of the best in the business when it comes to lighting. With that being the case I’ve been debating alternative hubs… primarily Wink and SmartThings. I have no preference to either other than the lighting will continue to be lutron.

With that being said my phase 2 of home automation - security and garage doors/locks will come in the spring of 2017. Do I buy a Smartthings now? A Wink 2 now? Or wait until spring to see where the next new hub is"? Frankly I’m just trying to plan for the future. I

ST hub is 50 bucks grab one . Lately they work great :sunglasses:

As someone who is in very similar shoes as you i.e. new house, want automation/security, etc and have basically all the same devices as you I can give my opinions anyway. Everything you want is basically doable with ST. I have garage door control, I have the Harmony integration, I have the echo controlling most things. It all works fairly well and can be done with ST although some integrations require more effort than others.

The two areas you may have issues are security and the Lutron stuff. Regarding Lutron, what switches do you have? RA2, clear connect, caseta? None work natively with ST. I built a way to get Lutron Caseta devices to work if you have the smart bridge but it requires a separate server. Others have done similar things with the other types I believe. Honestly it depends on what you want too. The caseta integration with echo is really good and easy so if you just want to voice control them that works great.

Regarding security, I’m sure most here will reaffirm that ST does not make a reliable security system. It can do some basic things but simply isn’t reliable enough nor robust enough (smart home monitor stinks) to be used for real security. I went the route of self installing a Vista 20p Honeywell system and integrated it with ST. It gives me a great security system but also full control with ST. To me it’s the best of both worlds. There are other similar options out there as well. Again it depends on what you’re looking for.

The bottom line is ST could work for you, but it all depends on what you’re hoping to achieve and how much time you want to invest in it. ST has a great community that does a wonderful job helping people out and building great new things. It can be frustrating but it’s still fun and rewarding. Good luck!!

Thanks all for such quick responses.

So based off what I’m reading and my own thoughts it seems like for $50 it’s fine for now but likely will not be my last home security hub. As expected I can keep my lutron bridge seperate from my HA bridge - and in the meantime maybe ST works for me. Overall there is not a “final solution” for me.

No idea what is goign on in HA, does it make sense to wait until June for the next latest and greatest?

I would say no to waiting. Like @3one4data stated it’s 50 bucks and there is just no way to know when or what the next latest and greatest is or will be. You’ll have to pull the trigger eventually may as well be now! :wink:

Every system has pluses and minuses, it just comes down to your own priorities and needs.

SmartThings is very versatile and flexible, but it has some reliability issues. The company is very aware of that and have said that they are making that their top priority, but they said that six months ago and they aren’t there yet. So right now it’s a pretty high maintenance system, requiring a lot of tinkering to keep it going.

Wink integrates directly with Lutron; SmartThings does not. If you know what a raspberry pi is and you’re comfortable programming one, you can build your own bridge, as was mentioned. But if you’re looking for a “set and forget” system, smartthings isn’t it. Even if you are comfortable programming, it’s still a cloud-based system. Your programs don’t run on the hub that you buy, they run in the SmartThings cloud.

As far as security, many of us, myself included, use a different system for security. SmartThings lacks both reliability at present and some basic features that most purposebuilt security systems have. For example, if the Internet is down, SmartThings can’t send any notifications, not even to your own phone. And there’s no way to arm or disarm it under those conditions. There’s no exit/entrance delay. Yes, you can work around all of that, but you should be aware going in that you would have to work around all of that.

But if you like to tinker, you have a technical background, and you’re OK with a system that requires some fiddly maintenance every week or two, SmartThings can be a great choice. Certainly you can have a lot of fun with all the different devices you can work with even if what you had working great on Monday suddenly stops working on Tuesday when you didn’t make any changes.

If you travel a lot, and your wife Is expecting not to have to do maintenance on the system, then SmartThings probably isn’t for you, at least for anything mission-critical . Lots of threads in the forum from people traveling who got a call from the spouse because the lights were going on and off randomly or a siren was blaring and there was no way to turn it off. I’m not saying it happens to everyone, or that it happens every week, but it happens. It’s definitely a very different experience from Lutron. :wink:


I may be biased, but I think the SmartThings Hub is pretty great. :sunglasses:


Can I repeat myself?..You still did not give us the active BlueTooth. Please make it our New Years Gift!


Will have to say, for the money, it’s cool and works most of the time.

I chose to go with devices that have been proven to work with ST but also got some things working that wasn’t designed for ST such as DSC Alarm Panel (28 additional things for $100)!

I have been into tinkering for a long time so I am use to stuff not working as it should but ST works for the most part.

I would suggest having things that work with or without the HUB like hard wired switches and plugs vs smart bulbs. That way, even if the cloud goes down, you can still turn on/off lights or other devices.


With all the community developed integrations, ST seems to be able to connect to almost anything. And the ability to write custom device handlers and apps is great. (Though Groovy’s loose typing makes for scary code with too little compile time checking, the ST API is not always clear, and I have no idea how to write even a simple unit test. . . .) In any case, if the hub is only $50 right now, it’s definitely worth buying just to see. A single light switch costs almost this much. . . .

I’m curious, what is your integration like? . . . What door contact sensors are you using? Can you get the Vista to use z-wave sensors?

No the vista cannot use z-wave sensors. Basically it’s a standard vista alarm. I’m using the wireless Honeywell contact sensors. They use rf so are basically 100% reliable. All these sensors show up in ST and I can perform actions based on them. I haven’t, but you could theoretically use z-wave sensors to trigger the vista alarm with a little work. Overall though it works well. I’m quite happy.

Why would you want to waste your time and money on a open and community supported system when there are outstanding options out there like Lowes Iris! After all with Iris, you get to chose from about 20 supported devices, a limited selection of rules, unhelpful support, and frequent crashes and disconnected devices. Best of all it only costs $9.99 a month!

The choice is clear!


Different people have different priorities. There are a lot of systems out there, they all have pluses and minuses. Selecting one may be obvious for one specific person, but there’s no one-size-fits-all winner in this category.

Just curious how you have the ST hub and Vista talking to each other VAM, Tuxedo or something else? I have v20p and a tuxedo and am interested on having arming or zones to trigger actions or scenes. I can handle any programing needed because I own an alarm company.

In my experience ST is 100% reliable. I has always worked and only went offline this once for maintenance. I do not have any 3rd party apps. I have just a few dots and an Echo, all my homes lighting, door sensors, Arlo and a deadbolt. Only had it for 2 month tho.

And I use it for my alarm multiple times a day including at night. Just use SMH with my door sensors and Sonos as a siren.

Scott, search the community as there are several options to integrate the vista alarm panel. I use an Arduino, SmartThings Shield, and an Alarm Decoder AD2Pi. This project is documented here:

I’m doing exactly what @ritchierich posted AD2SmartThings. It’s easy to set up and works great. Like I said before i think it gives the best of both worlds with security and reliability and flexibility with ST. It’ll cost about $100 for the hardware but that’s cheap when you consider all you vista sensors now act like ST sensors. Check it out!

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Use the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki. Look in the project report section and check the list for “security” and you’ll see a number of project reports on integration with third-party security systems. :sunglasses:

( There may also be some listed in the smart app section of the quick browse lists, again under security.)

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Thanks all. A lot of helpful ideas. I’m leaning towards picking one up for $50 on the flip side I don’t think I’ll be adding anything to it until 2017 at the earliest in which case I wonder if we are looking at a new version of the hub.

I have no idea how long V2 has been out - is there expected to see a v3 release in first quarter of 2017 ?

Honestly if the damn thing would work with Lutron Caseta I’d pick it up in a heart beat.

No timeline expected for V3.

V2 came out in the fall of 2015.

they then announced that in 2016 that there would be a television – based version of the platform that would work with all Samsung high-end television models for 2016.

However, they continue to have ongoing issues with the reliability, and whether it was for that reason or something else, the television project has now been pushed back into 2017.

So no timeline hints about a V3 for the hub in anyway.

Because these devices, including the hub, have to be certified by a third-party normally you would see the Z wave certification occur anywhere from two months to a year before the product came to market and there hasn’t been any activity there except for certification of the TV dongle back in April.

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