Your experience with smart things?

Hey guys, basically I want some feedback from users before purchasing ST. How has ST been working for you? What “things” do you love and are worth the money? What things should be avoided? What about a cheaper alternative “thing” that has the same outcome? One thing I can thing of is instead of purchasing this (water valve shutoff for $400). Why not just purchase this (electronic valve) along with this!/products/samsung-smartthings-outlet (ST outlet). And use this to have the main water automatically shut off if a water leak sensor is tripped. Any bugs in ST? Does it always do what its supposed to do? What is the % error?

Howdy, and glad to see that you have an interest in ST.

ST has been working pretty well for me, there are some issues here and there due to how it functions with the cloud and with some occassional back end problems. However, there is no monthly fee, and the community is awesome here. They will respond to your issues and will always try to help. And the support team with ST will do their absolute best to respond quickly as well.

What I have found that works best for my household other than automating lights, is the automatic door locks and exterior motion detectors that couple together to set the home into various modes depending on who has arrived home and standard usage patterns,.

Another nice thing, is that once you are away, you can either automatically turn off lights and lock doors, or you can check yourself and turn on/off lights as needed remotely, and of course lock the doors.

There honestly is so much that you can do, just be creative, and look over the immediate needs. Also, plan to take it slow. Make a change, confirm it works well for you and then move on to the next change,.

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Honest opinion in a few sentances.

Brilliantly “open,” not necessarily open source but easy to integrate anything that’s logistically possible. (Facilitated often by this outstanding community.)
SmartThings themselves are involved and eager to continuously update the product to meet the market and customers desires.

Very DIY… If you don’t feel like reading through this forum like a textbook and you want anything to work in a way that’s not officially supported by SmartThings this might not be the solution for you.
No real local control. If the internet / platform is out, your system is out.
SmartThings holds all of the cards, if they want to change the way your hub operates they just push the button and your firmware is updated without you having a say.

Great if you don’t mind hacking and slashing your way through the new world of IOT.


Lots of bugs, lots of value. Whether there’s enough value is a very individual assessment.

Over the last year I’ve posted two project reports which might be of interest. What I’ve found works best for me was to focus on solving a specific problem. Then assessing whether SmartThings was a value for that particular case. Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn’t. I don’t automate just for the sake of automating. I have a limited budget and A need for things to be either very reliable or easily replaced with a plan B when they fail. (This is a clickable link.)

And this specifically discusses reliability:

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I cannot agree more with your Pros assessment, however I would generalize the “not officially supported” issue. I think is appropriate to say, if you expect things to work flawlessly, then ST is not the solution. It really requires time, patience and ambition to make things work. As for local processing many of my light automations work without internet, thanks to the Smart Lightning app.

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Your shutoff valve idea may work… Does it reopen when the power goes off? For leak protection you may actually want a “normally closed” model to ensure the leak is prevented even if there is a concurrent power failure.

You will also have to customize the outlet’s Device Type to emulate a “Valve” Capability so that SmartApps for Valve will work.

More Z-Wave compatible valves and such are coming to market at medium prices too, though.

I prefered N/O, for 3 reasons; I do have a backup generator, a N/C valve will be constantly using power and most likely fail without even being used ∴ preventing me from using water, and what are the chances of having a water leak when there is a power outage.

Have you tested that? I didn’t think that was enabled yet? But anyway, from what I’ve heard only certain devices will support local control. My big problem with all of this is not necessarily my internet going out just the platform. There’s no need for all of that stuff happening in the cloud, bit of a poor design choice but it’s too late at this point.

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In an earthquake zone? Very high!

But your other points are valid. :grinning:

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Also very high after a hard freeze when the Power goes out and then the pipes burst.

Indeed, I believe this was the original use case that prompted the founding of the company. Burst pipes at a vacation cabin caused a great deal of water damage once things thawed out.

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And the CEO / Founder Alex Hawkinson has subsequent admitted that SmartThings would not have prevented this damage (and still can’t?) because the internet connection was also out and thus this cloud dependent solution doesn’t even address the inspirational use case. :confounded:

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Yup. Here is the test.

Hey something works. You would think there would be more official word how to ensure we’re getting as much out of the hubs as we can in the event of outages.

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I’ve actually been in each major hurricane’s path that hits the northeast in the past 5 years. Luckily the two major ones flooded us and left us without power in separate events. If they had combined it would have been nice if I had some sort of water management and generator control integrated.

Yeah, anytime the power outage is caused by local physical damage, whether it’s due to the freeze, wind, earthquake, fire, or a car crashing into the side of your garage, you can get a combination power outage and water leak.

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I really want to like SmartThings but the reliability is not there. The openness of the platform is great but the bugs and unpredictable lag are maddening. Missed dates and underfulfilled commitments are sadly common in the tech industry but ST seems more prone than most to them.

You know an organization has issues when every time they make a major change their support starts telling you to forgive their slow response due to being overwhelmed.


First if your internet is not super fast and super reliable, then that will translate directly to SmartThings reliability as it relies 100% on the internet to function as of right now. If your internet is flakey at all, then smart things will be flakey.

So my question is, do you have perfect internet that is super fast and never goes down? then you will have a better experience with Smartthings.

The hub by itself, not yet. But hub V1/V2 at my house could prevent the same situation. I have all of my networking equipment on battery backup and three different internet connections.

Impressive, but still not free of Cloud Dependency. The 3 internet connections could all be down due to a catastrophic infrastructure failure, or the SmartThings cloud could be down. All odds are relative, of course, but, obviously, the idea scenario for SmartThings is to make as much “critical functionality” as possible is on the Hub V2 with it’s own 4xAA battery backup, no internet and no cloud required.

If you are away and want to get the notifications, the internet is going to be required. I have three separate internet connections from three different providers. Two are load balanced, one is a backup. A similar degree of security could be accomplished with the forthcoming cellular dongle that has been alluded to. My power can go out and I can lose two internet connections before I lose contact with my house. It would basically be the apocalypse. My networking gear can run for about 8 hours on batteries.

The bottom line is this. If every single thing ran locally, you would still be vulnerable to power outages and internet reliability. Plan accordingly.