There are two different approaches to adding RGBW LED strips to a Samsung SmartThings ™ setup. Since there are now a number of different brands offering choices for both approaches, I thought it was time for a new thread. if you have personal experience with any particular brand/model, specifically with how well they integrate the new V3 smartthings app, please add it to this thread or link to an existing thread.
Since this is 2020, please limit conversations to the 2018 or newer app, although custom code required is fine as long as it works with the V3 app.
- Smart LED Strips. Often the easiest way to do this is just to buy smart LED strips. These may look like an RGBW Bulb to smartthings, but will work just fine.
Check product descriptions carefully as these usually come in a starter set which includes the plug-in power module and then offer optional “extension” pieces to make the strips longer. These also typically work off of regular 120V Outlets in the US.
Different brands do have different features. For example, the Wi-Fi LIFX strips require their own gateway and make a cloud To cloud connection, but let you set different parts of a single strip to different colors.
Meross are a less expensive Wi-Fi brand which don’t require a gateway, have an official smartthings integration, and also work with Homekit. But the white is not adjustable, it’s always a warm white.
Hue strips Work best with their own bridge but that bridge can form a local connection with smartthings if you have a smartthings hub, or can be used in a cloud to cloud integration if you have SmartThings set up in a “hub optional“ configuration.
Sylvania Smart+ strips can be joined directly to a smart things hub, you don’t need an additional bridge device.
Also note that the brightness, measured in “lumens“ does vary quite a bit from one model to another. That may not make much of a difference from mood lighting, but if you intend to use these for task lighting or in a closet, you might care a lot.
800 lm is about the equivalent of a 60 W bulb.
1100 lm is about the equivalent of a 75 white bulb.
1600 lm is about the equivalent of a 100 watt bulb.
2600 is about the equivalent of a 150 W bulb.
Of course if you add a second light strip, it’s just like adding a second lightbulb: there will be more light in the room.
Meross are the dimmest of the smart strips listed in this post, at about 800 lm. The second generation of the hue strips is noticeably brighter than the first generation, at around 1650 lm.
So if the brightness matters to you, make sure you check the specs on the model you are considering before purchase.
The biggest drawback to this group is their cost.
- Dumb strips, smart controller. Sometimes a less expensive option is to use regular dumb LED strips but add a smart controller that can talk to smartthings. (Note that some of these will need to be spliced into the existing wiring and some will need a transformer.)
Maximum Brightness here will depend on the dumb strips that you get, it’s not a feature of the controller.
One of the first of these was the Fibaro RGBW zwave controller. It works very well and has a lot of advanced features, like also being able to accept input from analog sensors. It also allows you to control individual channels separately. It will work directly with smartthings, no additional bridge device required. However, it’s still pretty expensive.
In the last two years we have seen more options that are less expensive, particularly Zigbee 3.0 controllers from Gledopto and Wi-Fi controllers from Sonoff.
The gledopto controllers can be used either with the Hue Bridge or directly with smartthings. They are very popular. they will look like an RGBW bulb to smartthings. Color control is sometimes a little better if you use them with the hue bridge.
Setup for the Sonoff devices Can be technically pretty complicated as many people will “flash the firmware” on these devices in order to let them work directly with smartthings. But if you’re OK with a technical setup process and you want to save some money, these are a very popular choice.
If you are in the US, the Zooz zen31 is a good Z wave option, but it is not available for Europe.
There are many additional brands in this category, but quite a few are inexpensive Chinese knockoff‘s of Sonoff or gledopto and don’t typically have the same safety certifications. Hopefully some of the people who are using well engineered alternatives from other brands will add reviews to this thread.
Zemismart and RGBGenie are good examples of lesser known brands in this category that seem to have decent engineering. However, community reports have been that color control is not always accurate with these.
(I will update this section as reviews are added below.)
Note that most light strips can be cut shorter if desired, but you won’t be able to do anything with the pieces you’ve cut off.
- Smart Strips
A.Philips Hue Strips. Require the Hue bridge. Work well. Also works with HomeKit. Expensive.
B. Sylvania Smart+ zigbee strips. Work directly with the smartthings hub, no bridge required. Work well.
C. LIFX . WiFi, even though the model name is “zstrip.” Requires their own gateway. Lets you set different sections of one strip to different colors.
D. Meross. WiFi. Does not require a bridge. Has an official smartthings integration and also works with HomeKit. This is a good quality budget brand, about half the price of LIFX. Two 16’ strips. The main drawback compared to other brands is that the white is not adjustable, it is always a warm white.
E. Eria. Zigbee 3.0. A newer brand. Can work with the Hue bridge. Says it can also work with the smartthings hub without a bridge, but I haven’t seen anyone confirm that.
F. Aeotec makes a zwave Smart light strip, but it was very expensive and did not sell well in the US. So has become hard to find. Included here for completeness, but not a popular item at this time.
- Smart Controllers for use with Dumb Strips
A. Zooz zen31. US Zwave. A fairly new item, but the smartest house has always been committed to providing smartthings support for their devices. Works directly with a smartthings hub, no additional bridge required. Value priced, especially for a Z wave device.
B. Gledopto zigbee 3.0 controller. Popular budget choice. Works directly with SmartThings, no additional bridge device required. Or if you prefer it can be connected via a Hue bridge if you want additional effects available from the hue app or if you don’t want to have to use any custom code. If it is connected to a Hue bridge, it will show up as an RGBW lightbulb in the smartthings app.
If you need an F type plug for the Gledopto controller, see the following thread:
C. Sonoff WiFi controller. Requires significant technical skill for set up. No additional bridge device required. Note that product descriptions for the base kit often say it is a “smart LED strip.“ It is not. It is a smart controller with a dumb strip.
D. RGBGenie. Zigbee. Seems to work best with hue bridge, but can be connected directly to smartthings. Some complaints about color accuracy.
E. RGBGenie. Zwave. This is a different model than the zigbee version. Requires custom code. No bridge device required.
E. Zemismart. Zigbee. Connect directly to SmartThings.
(Note that they also have a Wi-Fi model that does not integrate with SmartThings.)
Devices that worked with Classic, but now appear to fail with the new V3 app
A. Fibaro RGBW Controller. Zwave. Many advanced features. This Worked well with the Classic app but required custom code. However, as of September 2020, many people are reporting that it is not working with the new V3 app. Fibaro does not seem to be interested in providing smartthings-specific code. So although it has been very popular, I am removing it from the candidate list for now.