I am moving from a 1250 sq ft townhome to a 2500 sq ft 6-bedroom home. The townhome is put together with a combination of Samsung SmartThings (v2 hub), Lutron Caséta Wireless, and LIFX bulbs/LIFX-Z strips. The exterior has Sengled multicolor bulbs controlled via SmartThings. Pretty much all other sensors, plugs, etc. run through SmartThings. Nearly all lights are now “smart” in some way, with significant RGBWW action in the main living spaces. All in all, it’s over 100 items and over 50 custom automations.
I have decided for my new home to avoid LIFX partially due to Wi-Fi connectivity issues, but mainly because I want to ditch the old E26 lightbulb socket in favor of integrated RGBWW LEDs (mostly embedded architectural extrusion strips) for primary lighting in the home. Having looked at these videos from Hi-Line Lighting:
I am fairly confident that what I want can be done with Zigbee LED RGBWW controllers connected to high-CRI RGBWW strips, plus compatible Zigbee smart switches and dimmers/color control devices. I did not go with Philips Hue in 2016 because they did not make bright 90+ CRI bulbs; LIFX was brighter and higher CRI. However, if I ditch bulbs entirely and use third-party RGBWW strips, that is no longer a factor.
This brings me to my question: what advantages and disadvantages are there with connecting lights to Hue, with the Hue Bridge connected to SmartThings, versus connecting everything to the SmartThings Hub (v3), versus a fancy and expensive control system like Control4/Crestron/RTI/etc.?
“Fancy and expensive” control systems are just that: fancy and expensive. They can do everything I want and more, for an equally limitless budget. But the main thing is to control RGBWW lights with a slick app and with (relatively reasonably priced) switches, dimmers, and color wheels mounted to walls, not $2000 touch panels in every room.
Having used the SmartThings apps for many years, SmartThings is great for home automation in general but light control is extremely cumbersome. I do not attempt to manipulate my exterior lights (Sengled Zigbee bulbs) beyond setting dusk/dawn automations and mostly forgetting about them.
The LIFX app does a much better job. I have seen the Hue app and it seems just as good as the LIFX app, if not better. Moreover, Hue seems to have the most well-developed ecosystem of third-party apps and integrations, not to mention a bunch of self-powered switches (and more than a few dimmers) for on-wall control.
The main downside that I can see is that the Hue Bridge has a 50-device soft limit, and performance suffers beyond that. If I do multiple light strip controllers per room and also have two control devices, we will definitely get up to the limit. I am confident that we will be within the SmartThings hub limit of 200 devices per location, though.
Can Hue+SmartThings do what I want? How should I approach this design?