Looking to get a ST hub, not sure what my best bet is. I have some Arlo cameras and a ring doorbell, and will add some plugs etc. any advice as to what I need to start? Am I better off to get the WiFi hub or the normal hub?
Both hubs support the same devices, when it’s time to buy plugs, stick to devices on this list for success. If you already have WiFi and it’s solid then idk why you’ld want to pay for an extra WiFi hub.
There are now about eight different smartthings hub models being sold at retail, so it can definitely get confusing.
Also, although some models have USB ports and some models don’t, none of the ports are active at the current time.
Also, while the V2 offers battery backup many community members remove the batteries anyway because there was a problem with them overheating and leaking. That’s not a problem on the ADT model, though, which uses different engineering.
So here are some different use cases and my own opinions on which models match them best.
1. You also want a Wi-Fi mesh router
If you also want a Wi-Fi mesh router and you don’t already have one, you can consider the second generation smartthings Wi-Fi Hub, but most community members seem to prefer a different brand for the Wi-Fi mesh router anyway. You can search the forum for discussions on “ubiquity” and that should turn up most of the threads.
Note, however, that you must buy the model specific to your region or it will not work. For example, if you live in Australia and you buy the US model from Amazon, you won’t be able to set it up.
Don’t get the first generation ST Wi-Fi mesh router, the second one is much better as it includes plume technology. Just look for “Plume” in the description.
Note that as @sidjohn1 said all of the home automation features are exactly the same whether you get a hub with a Wi-Fi mesh router as well or not. You don’t get any additional range or anything for your non WiFi automation devices. It’s just a regular Wi-Fi mesh router combined with a regular smartthings automation hub.
2. You want to use smartthings as your primary security system
If you want to use smartthings for security aspects, definitely consider the SmartThings/ADT model instead of any of the other hub models. It has features that the others do not. In particular, it is the only model line that has cellular communications rather than relying on the Internet for all notifications. If you follow any of the links at smartthings.com for “security” they now take you to this model line. It’s a decent competitor to the other low-cost security systems that are out there. That is not true of the other hub models.
You can talk to people using the ADT model in the following thread (this is a clickable link)
ADT partnership: ST-ADT touchscreen hub and devices (discussion thread)
And here’s the official link:
3. you want to be able to connect the hub to your Internet via Wi-Fi, not with an ethernet cable
In this case, As long as you don’t need it for security, choose the 2018 Samsung smartthings hub, also called V3. Again though, like the other newer smartthings hubs, this one is region locked, so you have to buy one which matches your region or the app won’t let you set it up.
Note that even the other hub models can control some Wi-Fi Home automation devices, but they do so over your local LAN or via a cloud to cloud integration. But they can control the same Wi-Fi devices that the Wi-Fi hub can.
The only difference is in how the hub itself connects to your Internet. The older hubs do not have their own Wi-Fi radio. So they have to be set up by being cabled to an ethernet connection.
4. You want support for Zigbee 3.0 or Z wave S2 devices
None of the hubs support these yet, but the first support for these will come to the 2018 or newer models, and First of all to the 2018 hub, also called the V3. They said they would like to eventually add support for this to The V2, But no guarantees and no promised timelines.
5. You live in an unsupported region like Columbia or the Philipines
First, check your local laws, as it may be illegal to operate or import the devices where you live. And make sure you understand the difference between the zwave frequency sold for the UK and the frequency sold for the US.
If it is legal to operate the hub where you live, then the only model you can really consider is the Samsung smartthings V2 hub with the appropriate zwave frequency for your country. And you will have to set it up with the classic app. The newer hubs will require the “SmartThings (Samsung Connect)” app, and that one is region locked.
Note however that they have said that eventually everyone will have to use the newer app. So you are running a risk if you set up a smartthings hub in an unsupported region that eventually it may stop working.
They have announced plans to eventually bring the newest models of the hub to another dozen or so countries, but in most of those countries it is being sold on a subscription basis through a local security system or telecommunications company. So you don’t buy your own hub from other sources in those cases.
Summary for the majority of people: You live in the US, Canada, or the UK, you don’t want to use smartthings as your primary security system, you don’t want to use smartthings as your Wi-Fi mesh router, And you’re fine if you have to connect it with an ethernet cable
In this case, your decision is between the Samsung smartthings V2 hub and the V3 hub, of course selecting the appropriate model for your region.
Each has pluses and minuses. The V3 is definitely newer technology, and will be the first to get both zigbee 3.0 support and zwave S2 support. But they also tried to bring the cost down, so they dropped some features from it. It doesn’t have a local video core, and it has less memory ( but without a local video core it probably doesn’t need as much memory). The V3 has some technical advantages, including the ability to add more zigbee children to the hub itself, but most people won’t notice those issues.
The following is a good thread comparing these two models
But I would say the short answer is that the V3 is going to be a little more futureproof With regard to zwave and zigbee, And some people will appreciate not having to use an ethernet cord with it. If you have the V2 and are happy with it, there’s no reason to upgrade at this time. If you don’t have any hub at all yet and live in a supported region, I would probably get the V3 unless you need the security system features of the ADT model.
If you don’t live in a supported region, you will have to get the V2, and then you run the risk that eventually they drop the classic app and your system won’t work anymore. So that particular case is a much harder decision than it used to be – – I would probably go with vera or Hubitat or Homeseer or HomeKit or Echo Plus instead if you live in an unsupported SmartThings region and you are starting fresh now.
A few points worth noting when buying wifi plugs;
Wifi plugs do not like loosing there connection to a wif hub, usually if they do loose there wifi connection OR you change wifi settings wifi plugs will need to be re paired back to there respective apps, sounds easy until they get installed in difficult to reach places OR the app you initially used to install them with has been deleted
Zwave sockets do not need that sort of maintenance, you deal only with one connection, the ST hub, 99% of the time zwave items reconnect themselves
Wifi plugs are generally cheaper to buy making them what initially seems to be a good alternative to zwave sockets, experience now tells me wifi plugs are a pain the backside, on balance zwave in my experience is a better more reliable way of connection and requires less user interaction once installed