I’m a noobie, looking at setting up a smart home. I’ve been doing a fair amount of research around hubs and devices etc, and the more I looked at smart homes, the more that the SmartThings hub seemed to be the way to go.
So I’ve done a ton more research, and been leaning towards the following components:
Aeotech for light control
Aeotech sensors for open / close windows, doors etc
Yale locks for front and back door
built in sound system (haven’t decided what yet, may be standalone)
Other Samsung or Aeotech sensors for motion / leaks / smoke / fire / etc
I’ve just bought a SmartThings starter kit - a 2018 ST hub, motion sensor and multipurpose sensor just to see how I liked the UX and so on. So far it’s been relatively simple.
Now, all of a sudden I’ve come across Hubitat. I get the impression that it’s been built to take advantage of ST hub’s drawbacks. It seems like a lot of people are moving from ST to Hubitat and getting on well with it, and there’s the advantage that Hubitat processes most things locally. However it looks like it’s still quite new…
So what’s the general recommendation? Can Hubitat do EVERYTHING that the ST 2018 hub can do? Are the any drawbacks or caveats that I should be aware of? I’m keen to have a setup with as little custom integration as possible, and with as few apps as possible. (purely for simplicity, although quite happy to code if needed - would rather buy native integrations then build my own).
I don’t want to go and get into SmartThings hub if Hubitat is better, but also don’t want to move into a new untried system without feedback from people that know what they’re both like. I still have time to return the ST hub under 30 day guarantee
Oh boy… you re-opened a hot topic fillled with opinions and perspectives. Brace yourself!!
Start with reading the existing threads here and in community.hubitat.com on comparisons. I am an early Hubitat adopter with Hub #3 so I have watched this small yet impressive company grow into a truly viable alternative to ST. With that said it simply can’t match the scale and diversity of device support and app support that ST offers. ST has its growing pains and they chased some people away with how they handled the “new app” and Samsung account transition, but they still have a pretty good thing going here in my opinion.
I won’t rehash the detailed pros and cons that you can find elsewhere on the two forums (fora?) but I will give you my bottom line opinion. Bottom line is get both. They are about $100 bucks and you will fart out that much money thinking about end point smart devices for your home. Play with both and decide which you like best. Keep both of you like. They play fine together and there are even good tools available to enable them to share messages and stay in sync.
I wrote a dashboard that can control devices of both too (HousePanel) that is described on this forum too.
Have fun and don’t believe everything you read. Try them both for yourself.
I agree with above. It is important to note HE is still “in development”. Ie things don’t always work (stability), and they have longevity issues (hubs hanging) when run for a long time without reboot (likely memory/thread/garbage collection issues).
That said, it holds a lot of promise if/as the above issues are addressed.
For some the platform is very stable, and for others more challenging - it is a bit hit or miss if you run into the longevity issues. I do hope they address this as it is a similar issue that ST has on platform stability / longevity.
Quite a few power users are using both, so hopefully you’ll also hear from some of them.
That said, the following would concern me:
If you’re looking for something plug-and-play, neither system is it. Also, that’s a somewhat unusual selection of devices that you’ve listed unless you are in the UK or Mexico. Most people in the US are not using Aeotec for lighting control.
Both ring and echo will be cloud integrations, which removes a lot of the advantages that Hubitat offers over smartthings. The smartthings integration with echo is much better, just as an example.
Also, Samsung devices are zigbee while Aeotec are Zwave. The iris keypad is also zigbee. I don’t see any zigbee repeaters on your list, which is going to be a problem.
Read post 11 in the following thread, then go up to the top and read the whole thread and you’ll get a better sense of why network protocol helps shape individual device selection. ( The topic title is a clickable link)
Putting everything in Context
Reading both the Hubitat and the smartthings forums is certainly a good idea, but I think we would need to know more about your goals for the project in order to give good advice. To step up a level from device selection first.
What country are you in, how big is the home, is it just you or are there other people as well?
how much time are you willing to Invest in both the initial set up and weekly maintenance?
How tolerant is your household of unexpected downtime or glitches? (While you might think that smartthings would have the advantage here as an older more established system, its cloud dependency and the fact that you can neither delay nor refuse updates adds significant instability.)
you haven’t said anything about security, which is fine, but that’s a whole additional set of use cases so if you were expecting to use this system for security, we would need to know that also. But there are many people, including myself, who use a completely separate system for security.
The devices you’ve listed will not work well for you regardless of whether you chose smartthings or Hubitat because of the specific protocols involved.
The fact that you have to know that means that both of these two systems require a fairly significant amount of technical knowledge and neither company is particularly good at explaining that upfront. Hubitat was intended for a professional installers and power users. Samsung just isn’t very good at this kind of pre-purchase counseling for any of their products.
When researching Any smart home device candidates, unless you are an expert user, it’s best to start with the use cases: how you want to use the devices and what you want to accomplish.
Once you have a clear picture of those factors, then you can start selecting individual devices.
And, by the way, I’m not saying that you can’t use all of the devices on your list. I’m just saying that you would need additional devices that you haven’t listed to make everything work.
Devices vs Projects
Because of all of these issues, I’ve moved this thread to projects so we can give you answers customized to your own needs and preferences rather than just a head to head review of the engineering specs on the two hubs.
If you would prefer just a straight specification and performance comparison of the two hubs, we can go back to the devices category and do that, I’m just concerned that limited to that discussion you’ll end up with a system you don’t like no matter which hub you pick.
@JDRoberts thanks for the extensive answer and help.
Just to clarify, I am in the UK which was partly why I Aoetech switches / devices etc seemed to make sense to me. Unless there’s a better electric switch you can recommend? Fibaro looks like it does a similar thing? Looks like you’ve given me some more midnight reading to do
I thought Zigbee devices could connect direct to samsung hub? RE your comment about repeaters.
Thanks everyone else’s for your comment so far… I can’t reply to them all, but appreciate them.
The devices do connect directly to the hub, but both Z wave and zigbee have a quite limited range. Physically it’s about 13 m. So they are designed to operate in a “mesh” topology where each device which is capable of “repeating” can receive a message intended for the hub and then pass it along.
In addition, the materials of which the houses are made can also limit the distance that the signal can cover. For example, signal passes more easily through wood than through brick.
So we use repeaters about every 13 m in order to get the signal all the way around the house.
The trick is that battery operated devices do not repeat for others, because it would use too much battery life.
In addition, as mentioned in the wireless range FAQ linked to previously, zigbee repeats only for zigbee And zwave repeats only for Z wave.
The devices which do repeat are your typical mains powered devices such as in wall micros, plug in pocket sockets, some lightbulbs, etc.
Your list has a number of Z wave repeaters, but also a number of zigbee battery powered devices. And no zigbee repeaters. So that combination will not get the zigbee signal to/from the more distant zigbee devices.
See The following article in the community-created wiki:
Fibaro is also a good choice. How large is your home? @RobinWinbourne lives in the UK and has now done two entire houses with Fibaro kit. The first was a retrofit and the second was in a new build. He may have more to add.
Yep I kinda got the mesh network idea and that zigbee and zwave and wifi are all their own separate protocols… But I sure didn’t know that battery devices didn’t repeat? That’s a bind Because I thought I’d stick with a single brand - doesn’t have to be Aeotec - but Aeotec have sensors for door / window / water leak / smoke / fire etc etc etc and available in UK, I thought it would be simple to use them all, BUT they are all battery powered, so my mesh network idea goes down like a fat kid on a seesaw. I suppose I really need Zwave repeaters too?
FYI, seeing as you kindly moved it to the projects section I might as well give some more info about what I’m trying to do:
I provide IT support as part of my job, so I’ve got a grasp of IT / network infrastructure, plus have taught myself some basic coding in several languages - Java, HTML, PHP, CSS, VB and so on, so up for a challenge where coding is involved, just would prefer not too much coding.
Plan for my home is as follows (open to suggestions and still researching stuff):
Plan to get a Netgear Nighthawk as my main router and put it smack in the centre of the house
2x Ring doorbells - one outside the main gate, one at the front door.
retro fit Aeotec switches behind light switches to control current lighting inside and out.
Yale smart locks on front door (possibly back door as well?)
Separate standalone CCTV system
would like to have fire / leak / smoke / motion sensors, still not sure whether to have this on ST or separate system.
Want to have a built in audio system but haven’t found anything i like yet. Maybe standalone.
I’m not bothered about automating electric sockets but I would like to hard wire all the lighting into smart switches so they can be controlled over app (I’m not keen on smart light bulbs, they look too expensive and I have some custom lighting where they wouldn’t work such as already installed LED strips and downlighters etc). Would prefer to put a smart switch behind the original switch like the Aeotec ones, they looked simple to install.
I guess the Hubitat sounded good because of the local processing - I don’t want to be left without control over lighting if the internet goes down!
I can’t think of any reason to stick with a single brand. I can understand using the same open/close sensors so your doors all look the same, but other stuff can be different.
Why would you do a CCTV system? That’s old tech that won’t play nice with smart home tech.
Motion sensor should be part of your ST ecosystem to make smart lighting and other automations work
Instead of built-in audio, have you considered Sonos? The audio quality is awesome (especially if you get the 5 and sound bar) and they make great TTS devices. If you do go with built in audio, at least get a Sonos connect so you can use TTS and play Spotify (or whatever service you use) from your phone or automations. My house came with a built in audio system that is configured this way. Works great but the amp sometimes just shuts off. It’s a bit annoying. If I had to do it over again I would have bought the Sonos Amp instead of recycling an old Amp with a Sonos connect.
@kewashi RE sticking with a single brand, I’m already rethinking that. I guess my reasoning was to pick a brand that I knew worked with ST and worked well, and use it throughout. More for simplicity but I don’t think it’s going to happen anyway.
CCTV system. Can’t find any decent system that works with ST. Most require a monthly subscriptions which I hate. Also a lot of them require internet connection - so if internet goes down then no CCTV, if internet is up, then it’s overloading with several cameras streaming video all the time. I’d rather have a closed circuit system (that still has an app) but all standalone, have an on-site NVR with a good hard drive, and everything stays on site, no subscription, no bandwidth hogging etc. I’ve found some like this with an app as well so I’m happy with that.
Got it - sounds like you have a strategy that works for you. For what it’s worth I also hate monthly plans too so I use Arlo which gives me free video for 7 days. I have a Python script that can scrape videos on a schedule from a Cron night and stores them in an archive so I have a digital equivalent of a recorder. The streaming bandwidth doesn’t seem to be a problem since they record only on motion and the compression is good. I haven’t done any network stress analysis but with a 20+ Gb pipe I can’t imagine it making much of an impact on other traffic.
Both Sonos and Heos have been recommended to me and I’ve looked into them a little. I’m not keen on having speakers sat around getting in the way, when I could install them in the ceiling and have the place looking a lot neater, plus I won’t have the risk of them getting knocked about, stuff being spilt on them etc.
However you’ve just pointed me to what I was looking for - the Sonos amp looks perfect for what I need! From this I presume I could power 8x 50W ceiling mounted amps, and also have some Sonos speakers in the bedroom all synced together, or working separately as I need? (Just been looking at this more, I think I’ll get in touch with them cos I’ve got more questions!)