Why is SmartThings always broken?

It’s safe to say we are all fortunate to even face this problem, as it is very much a first-world problem to have.

I have smart everything in my home.

I thought “wow I can’t wait to have a smart home- so many possibilities!”

I also thought “when SmartThings breaks, it’ll break my house”.

But then I also thought “that won’t happen too often though, there’s no way”.

And I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Even worse, I can’t even help fix it.

So, why is it always broken?

I have ZigBee and Z-Wave everything and can’t remember the last time most things worked. It’s been almost the entirety of 2020.

On any given day a handful of my buttons and/or switches, automations, open/close sensors, motion sensors, outlets, etc. have issues.

I’m sick of hearing from my Google homes “It looks like 6 lights aren’t available”
I’m sick of pressing my button to turn on the backyard lights…and they don’t.
I’m sick of my fiancee pressing her button to turn off her reading light…and then hearing the “ughhh”.
I’m sick of my christmas tree not turning on or off when it’s scheduled to do so.
I’m sick of when I go to bed and the lights randomly turn on because some service delays.
I’m sick of the door sensor not kicking off the home security automation.
I’m sick of one of my my smart locks not locking after a set delay for no reason.
I’m sick of my basement lights automatically turning off, even though the door sensor is closed and being open is a pre-condition.
I’m sick of leak sensors detecting leaks, but not notifying me.

I have so many devices that switching to another platform is going to cost me DAYS of work easily.

For now you’re just wreaking havoc in my smarthome and causing frustration.

I want to love SmartThings, but if you don’t want me on your platform, just tell me and I’ll leave.


I feel your pain, but that was long ago for me. ST has been quite stable for me and I’m at roughly 275 devices.

What’s your environment like in terms of manufacturers and devices? Also, what are your Automations like, or are you a heavy webcore user?


Leviton dimmers and switches, SmartThings outlets and buttons, EcoLink door and motion sensors, Dome leak sensors, Schlage door locks, GoControl garage door controller, and that’s pretty much it.

Hardwire ethernet in.

A handful of automations to tackle “mode” setting based on various controls (Day, away, night, night break) and subsequent automations that reference mode to adjust light brightness and switches etc…

Hmm, my gut tells me you’ve got mostly zwave devices? If so, more than 30 or 40?

Reliability has been an issue with smartthings going back at least to 2015. They always say they’re working on it, but it just continues to be an issue. :disappointed_relieved:

There are a number of competing systems with much better reliability, although they may have different feature sets and support different devices. For a long time SmartThings has tried to offer maximum flexibility to its users, and while that’s a very attractive concept, it may be part of the instability.

I have mentioned a number of times that my own minimum requirement for MFOP (maintenance free operating period) for critical use cases is six months, although I prefer a year. I have been able to get that without any difficulty from Philips hue, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Echo, Ring, Wyze, Aqara (with its own hub, not as part of a SmartThings setup), Logitech Harmony, and a couple of other systems. But with SmartThings, I’m lucky to go two weeks. So I still use it for some interesting convenience use cases, but not for anything critical.

Different people Will have different experiences and different priorities. But you can tell just from looking at the official status page that there are glitches. (The fact that Samsung decided to switch hardware production over to partners without ensuring an uninterrupted supply chain source for hubs and devices tells you pretty much all you need to know about their commitment to MFOP. )

So the decision is up to you. Maybe things will be better once the transition is complete.


For certain! I believe over 80 of my 112 devices.

Unless you’re a user with 5 devices and then mostly non-hub stuff like fridges and washers then you’re not a priority. Sad but true.

I’d love to be proved wrong but I’m tired of empty promises. The app response times are pitiful. The platform is having issues every few days. Alexa Integration is a mess. Supposedly with the sunset of the Classic app things would improve. Still waiting.

My patience is shot.


I’d just be happy to make it an entire week with all of my automations firing correctly. One or more of my automations fails to complete on a daily basis and no, I’m not exaggerating.


That’s what I thought. I’m not going to elaborate too much about ST’s zwave implementation because it’s discussed in this community a few times already. I’ll just say that when I decided to abandon zwave devices for zigbee that my experiences with ST improved monumentally. I have just a few zwave devices left (9 total) that now work perfectly fine, including ones several years old. It all started getting better once I got below 30 zwave devices.

When I say improved, I mean it. I’ve never had a more stable environment with ST, and I’ve been with ST since their birth. Every device and automation and smartapp just works.


Same for me. I’m right up there at 300 devices and I use webCoRE almost exclusively and don’t have many issues. I have a couple of “bad” devices but it’s not ST’s fault.

I hate the New App and it’s rules engine. Once I switched everything to webCoRE, my ST journey has been pretty hands free and pleasant.


So, sure, I could switch to WebCoRE but…how much do you want a bet the IDE is going away at some point and they’ll push us into the app? I only have a handful of automations and they’re not complex by any means.

Yeah unfortunately that’d be pretty expensive and time consuming as well. At that point I’d just switch to another platform.

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Their plan appears to be to build the new “Rules API” up to the point where it has parity with WebCore. It’s an official feature, but not part of the app. You build rules like you build pistons. Beyond that, I personally don’t know much about it. See the following official FAQ:

As to whether it will reach the desired parity…all we can say is it’s not there yet. :thinking:

That’s true, but there’s a market for used stuff. I funded a good portion of my conversion to zigbee switches that way, plus there are good deals to be found out there at times. I did my move over several months, and while there’s still a financial investment to be made, it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. It was a piece of mind well worth it for me.

Regarding a different platform, yes that’s a thought too. At that time for me other platforms that I seriously considered did not meet my needs, plus they were also experiencing issues (including zigbee). I have a lot of Samsung devices, including appliances, that only worked with ST and I did not want several home automation tools to mess with.


Reliability for me is very good we use side lights indoors exclusively, motion sensors, door sensors, external lighting controlled by smartplugs, the only what I class as exotic thing is a v1 Fibaro RGBW controler which does not integrate well with ST, it used too but the new app destroyed full integration

I’m happy with performance, I detest the new app, from day 1 I said it stinks, 4 years later it continues to stink, it is rubbish

It is also true to say I use Amazon Echo routines more and more, partly due to loosing control of what device is included in what automation, it is now impossible to keep track of multiple devices included in different automations


In Automations, something as simple as selecting “Anytime” I cant do because the “Save” button grays out. I have to use “Period of time”, and put 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM. SMH.

And now, I just noticed after I updated the app, if I select “Anyone is at the Caste”, it will save as “Everyone is at the Castle”, which is not the condition I want. I ended up just deleting all my automations. I wish there was an alternative app. I would dump smartthings in a heartbeat.

If you’re talking about something for everyday controls, there are a couple of alternative apps, including sharptools and actiontiles. You still have to do some of the administrative things, like adding a new device, through the official app, but for day-to-day use, and even, in the case of sharptools, for rules creation, you don’t need to use the smartthings app.

The following discussion started out in the context of wall displays, but since these are mostly browser-based options, they work on a phone as well:

FAQ: Sharptools , actiontiles or native ST app for your wall panel? (2020)

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Feel free to ping me if you have any questions about SharpTools Dashboards or Rule Engine!

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Well I use smartthings mainly to 1) turn on my outdoor cree bulbs when my ring doorbell senses motion, and to 2) turn my Arlo cameras off and on based on my location and time of day. That’s really all I need. Since migrating to the new app, my presence monitor has never worked. My wife’s works fine, but for some reason it never registers me leaving the house. And because of that my automations never work correctly.