ST Strenghts and Weaknesses

I am currently building a new home. I’ve purchased about 35 GE Z-Wave siwtches and dimmers. A Garage Door opener, and of course, 2 door locks.

I read a lot about things not working, and things that work fine. I just want to make sure I know this system will do what I want it too BEFORE I commit too much time to it:

I want to be able to turn tlights off and on, and dim lights, unlock doors using smart tiles.
Will the system do this well?

I want to be able to tell smart things to turn on certain lights open garage door, and unlock door when it detects my sensor in the area. I would like the oppisite when I leave.
Will the system do this well?

That’s pretty much it. Of course I’m sure I’ll think up more stuff, but if it can do these two things, I’m good to go.

Please advise.


In my experience and as long as your devices (garage locks etc) are compatible with SmartThings, then yes it will activate as you request based on your smartphone acting as a presence when arriving and leaving an area although reliability is another issue…

I for one have never had any issues controlling a device from either mobile app and/or Smartiles. Yes, the app (iOs or Android) has problems with errors and such both do work for simple operation of turning things on/off. As for detecting doors opening, unlocking and such, again no real issues. In this case maybe lag can become annoying although I find it most of the time to be minor.

One other possible problem you may encounter is using presence sensors indicating you have left/arrived. Lots of people have problems with this feature. Personally, I use Life360 on Android and it work very well except at times the lag is annoying.

Most of the major problems within ST are related to time based events scheduling. You didnt mention that as a requirements and if its not you should be in pretty good shape :smile:

There is a lot of talk on here about reliability, but on a positive note, I’m doing all the things you mentioned (other than the garage door, still on my todo list) and it all works very well. I use iOS devices as presence sensors and that works really well for me and my wife. Door lock works great, lights (GE Link and LIFX), and switches (GE Z-Wave), and Amazon Echo. All work as expected about 95% of the time. The other 5% can be a bit of a pain, but not to the point where I feel it degrades that much from the overall experience.

You guys have been a spendid help and I am far more comfortable moving forward now.

Thank you so very much


Jay, ST can do all you want it to do and much more. But the flexibility comes with a price. There are glitches in the cloud that sometimes can give you a lot of grief. There have been numerous incidents when garage doors opened in the middle of the night, even though they were not even part of any automations. Also there were reports of locks unlocking when they shouldn’t. ST is going through changes and hopefully these kind of incidents will happen less often. If you are just starting your home automation adventure, I suggest staying with devices that are widely available and don’t get into propitiatory devices that work with specific platforms. The devices you mentioned are a good start, because you can move them around to other hubs, if ST becomes too much of a pain. Good luck!


I don’t want to take any part in making any potential new SmartThings Customer feel comfortable “moving forward now”.

For the sake of my own reputation and retaining friendships, I firmly recommend waiting for more stability before taking the dive, unless you are fully prepared to be very uncomfortable and frustrated. You might do just fine and have either great luck and success, or have a high level of tolerance for the glitches, or enjoy the challenge of stabilizing your own setup with workarounds…, but “comfortable” … definitely not yet.


If by “doing it well” you mean doing it reliably, then no. ST is an unreliable system. I would like to say “maybe it will iron itself out”, but the reality is that there is no evidence that reliability is increasing over time.

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