Will USA smartthings kit work with a UK Smart hub?

(Ben Mason) #1


First of all sorry if this has been asked before, I did a search and couldn’t find anything.

I am in the USA during the next few months and wondered if I could stock up on the official smartthings kit like door/window sensors, motion sensors etc while I’m there?
Is there any difference in frequency for example?



Zwave devices use a different frequency which will not be compatible with the hub from the other region.

Most smartthings branded devices are ZIgbee, and there the answer is more complicated. See the following active discussion for details:


I know Z-Wave kit has a different wavelength across the Pond - but what about ST Zigbee devices? Looking on eBay, it’s often cheaper buying from over there…so wanted to check.

(Brian Diehl) #4

Zigbee frequency is standard worldwide.

(Ed) #5

Good to know as I’m in the same situation. Watch out for customs import duties plus Royal Mail charges.


While it’s true that the zigbee frequency is the same worldwide, different regions have set different legal limits on the broadcast power allowed. Many US zigbee devices, including some of those that are branded SmartThings, use “boosted Zigbee,” which is a level which is illegal to use in the UK. It’s almost twice the maximum EU ceiling.

For this reason, it is also illegal to import these devices into the UK. So, there are some US SmartThings Zigbee devices in the UK. Technically they will work, but legally they are not allowed. It’s best to check with support on the specific model that you’re interested in before purchasing.


Ah, thanks for that. That’s interesting. It always annoys me how much more expensive tech is over here. Oh well, I’ll just have to give more of my money to Currys. :rage:

(Wayne) #8

Is this official? Have smartthings confirmed that they manufacture two revisions of their devices? Is it not possible that in order to conserve costs that smartthings manufacture all their zigbee devices to the lowest common denominator?


Yes, it’s official. They don’t actually manufacture their own sensors anyway, so they just have to source them from appropriate manufacturers. And they have definitely confirmed that the early US versions (which are manufactured by Centralite) all used boosted zigbee except for the arrival sensor. However, as noted by Tyler below, the most current versions do not all use boosted zigbee So it just varies model by model.

But you can certainly contact support and ask. :sunglasses:

@aaron or @slagle could likely get an official answer as well.

(Tim Slagle) #10

JD’s statement is 100% accurate. The only difference in the sensors is US uses a amplified antennae and UK does not. This is strictly due to the fact that it is illegal to use amplified antennae in the UK. (minus the arrival sensors which do not use amplified antennae in the US)

The only other difference in our devices which should be obvious is the Smart Power Outlet. Those are obviously different from a design perspective. (Also can’t use an amplified antenna in the UK)

(Aaron S) #11

@slagle beat me to it, so one other word of advice (ie I made a stupid mistake): Although either set SmartThings sensors will work, once you account for shipping & customs fees/headaches/etc… you may not find the difference cost effective.


Unless of course you are taking a trip to the US and get some when you’re there. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am not advocating the use of ‘illegal’ devices in the UK, but just highlighting the frustration of the price difference. Although I do, of course, realise this is across the board for electronics, and not unique to SmartThings :slight_smile:

I always come back with tech bought in the US. But no, I won’t be buying ST stuff there, apart from perhaps some presence sensors. (Useful to know they are the same)

(Wayne) #13

Good to know we can pick up a bunch of arrival sensors. Makes sense they are the same as they need to travel with the person.

(Wayne) #14

Interesting thought… assuming such things exist, would travelling with Z-Wave presence sensors potentially be illegal due to frequencies broadcast?


All the non cellular presence sensors that I know are either Zigbee or Bluetooth or WiFi. I’m not aware of any Z wave. That has to do with how they work. Zigbee devices normally do repeated check ins with their coordinator, which are pretty easy to capture. (That’s how the SmartThings arrival sensor works.) Zwave devices don’t. Also up until the most recent generation zigbee devices were smaller and has better battery life. So from a practical aspect, I don’t think the question arrives.

From a theoretical standpoint, however, if it’s illegal to import or operate the device on a specific frequency then that’s true regardless of the type of device. So it would apply to presence sensors as well. However, almost all Zwave devices are set to only broadcast on one frequency, in part because of just this issue. So you won’t find a device which can broadcast on both the US frequency and the UK frequency. It’s one or the other as it comes from the factory.

It’s one reason you have to be careful when shopping to make sure you get the right zwave frequency as it can’t be changed later,


We should add that SmartThings staff have now confirmed that the newest versions of the SmartThings-branded zigbee motion and multi sensors (but not the water leak sensor) should operate within the UK legal limits.

However, Devices that do not carry the CE electronic certification might not be allowed for import, so you do run the risk that they could be seized at the border if they don’t have an EU safety certification. So you need to check the label on each device.