If you’re looking for a reasonably priced home automation system that is easy to set up, SmartThings is a system worth considering. It connects to ZigBee, Z-Wave, IFTTT, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices, so you can automate your lights, doors, outlets, and more while you’re away from your home. Because of its wide range of equipment, stellar customer service, and reasonable pricing, SmartThings is our top pick for best home automation system. Read on to find out why it earned high marks.
How does Samsung’s SmartThings work?
- Full customization
- Ability to add devices as budget allows
- Z-Wave, ZigBee, IFTTT, and IP device compatibility
- No limits on number of devices
- 10-hour battery backup
- Hub range of 50–130 feet, depending on your home's construction
- Easy setup
- Large online community
- Amazon Echo and Google Home compatibility
- App-only accessibility—no control through PC or Mac
- Pricier hub than Wink or Insteon
- Reportedly difficult rule setup
- Lack of integrations with other devices like Nest
Every SmartThings system requires the app and Hub, which is the same with Insteon, WeMo, Philips Hue, and Wink. The app is free and the Hub costs $99, so make sure you have a smartphone or tablet and factor in the price of the Hub when selecting your equipment.
SmartThings integrates with many other devices including Bose, Honeywell, Leviton, Google Home, Ring, and many more. This allows you to expand your SmartThings system to help you automate multiple items in your life.
Don’t worry about a limit to the number of devices you can connect to your Hub. You can connect up to 231 Z-Wave devices and hundreds of ZigBee devices, but you may need a wireless repeater to help with signal strength. If you do meet that limit, you can always purchase a second Hub and expand your system that way.
SmartThings partnered with Scout Alarm, one of our top picks for best home security system, to provide professional monitoring to your SmartThings account. When an unexpected activity occurs at your home and an alert is sent to your smartphone, you have the option to ignore the incident, respond yourself, or have Scout alert a live operator who will call the police.
Products and pricing from SmartThings
Below is a list of some of the popular products offered by SmartThings as well as what they can do for you and links to where you can purchase them.
Getting a starter kit can be less expensive than buying each sensor individually. If you purchase a starter kit and then build off of it, you could save around $20, depending on which kit you go with.
Aside from saving you some money, the nice thing about starter kits is that you can add devices to it whenever you want. You don’t have to worry about purchasing a starter kit and all of the sensors up front. You can take time to get used to your system so you can get an idea of what other sensors you’d like to help automate your home.
A starter kit may be enough for you if you live in an apartment or want to automate only one area of your home. For example, if you want to adjust the lighting to different modes for entertaining, you may want to purchase the Convenience & Entertainment Kit and use it to automate the lights in your living room. But if you want to automate multiple rooms in your home, you’ll probably need to purchase some additional sensors.
|Kit name||Monitoring & Security Kit||Convenience & Entertainment Kit|
|Smart color-changing LED lightbulbs||None||2|
|Monitoring & Security Kit||Convenience & Entertainment Kit|
Our experience with SmartThings customer service
We reached out to SmartThings customer service via email with some questions and received a response within two hours. We were very impressed with this response time. On top of that, the representative thoroughly answered our questions, and they even gave us some tips. For example, we asked about the number of devices that could be connected to one Hub, and they said there is no limit, but you’ll want to make sure the devices are within communicating range of the Hub. The representative made us feel like they were invested in making sure we had a positive customer experience, which was refreshing.
What are customers saying about SmartThings?
SmartThings gets great feedback on how easy it is to set up, and customers like that it’s compatible with numerous brands and devices. The complaints mostly revolve around app errors and connectivity issues.
This system is easy to configure with simple, thorough instructions, very good and prompt tech support and is highly expandable with add-on modules from the same brand as well as many others. I’ve used a number of other non-Samsung modules with it and they all seem to be working very well. – Elucidat3d, Best Buy Verified Purchase 1/4/2016
Definitely a helpful tool. I’ve integrated it with Echo, so we enjoy turning the lights on/off verbally. Also adds to our peace of mind to set alerts for temperature drops or a wet basement. Scheduling the outdoor lights has been useful as well. I’m up to about 15 ‘things’ now, without any real issues. I’ve been able to purchase a lot a varying hardware that has all been compatible. The only issues I have had, generally surround the use of apps and their unintended results (basically user error). – BBuyCust22, Best Buy Verified Purchase 1/8/2016
Paid close to $250 for a kit but app crashes frequently and app errors are every few minutes on ALL of my 4 devices. Many false alarms. Doesn’t arm or disarm like it says on the app. No phone support and they’re closed on wknds. Going to return to Best Buy if not hotfixed in 15-30 days. – Doodman, Best Buy Verified Purchase 4/10/2016
Connects to devices sometimes, purchased to monitor home as a alarm, needless to say I do not trust this enough as my only alarm, had to go back and purchase 2 Canaries. Most of the time it takes 2 or 3 times to pair, then loses connections, added a couple plug adapters to strengthen the signal to no avail. App fails to pull up rooms or devices most of the time. Don’t waste your money. – iam4in, Best Buy Verified Purchase 5/11/2016
Would we recommend this product to you?
SmartThings is our #1 pick for best home automation, and we would definitely recommend it to anyone. SmartThings has a huge developer community and is integrating with more and more products. The system is easy to use, so you don’t have to worry about being the most tech-savvy person. Plus, if you do have questions, customers have had a great deal of success with SmartThings customer service and community.
What would you use SmartThings for?