New Construction - Smartthings vs Hubitat


#1

Hi all,

I've been lurking in the forums here for a little while but with the rapid changes to the HE system, it's hard to gather exactly where the ecosystem is at currently.

I have purchased all smart light switches for my new home construction (that is currently in painting/flooring stages - YAY almost complete!), and with these light switches I have purchased a Samsung Smartthings V3 hub.

I hope to grow my home automation through the foreseeable future (as funds allow), and hope to include voice functionality through my currently owned Google Home devices. My main question is, should I return my unopened ST hub and simply purchase the current HE system? Will the system in its current state allow me to at least run my smart light switches as seamlessly as possible in the short-term, with the long-term possibility of adding functionality for cameras (Wyze is what I'm banking on), and a mobile app (I see the dashboards and am maybe just intimidated with getting that started).

Sorry that seems like a rambling post, but I'm just scared that I'm going to get everything set up with SmartThings, when I could have done everything (and more) with Hubitat right off the bat. I'm also hesitant to go with Hubitat as I'm worried that the hub itself will change rapidly in the near future and if I pull the trigger now, I will just have a $130 paperweight (gotta love the CAD/USD exchange).


#2

You say you bought smartswitches already...what brand and model are they?


#3

Leviton Decora. Z-Wave plus


#4

Both platforms are likely capable of what you want to do. Many of us have used both and moved to Hubitat for a reason--in my case (and I suspect that of most), the instability of the SmartThings cloud, upon which SmartThings is dependent for most aspects of is operation. This includes all hub and device setup and administration, all manual control of devices via the app, and most "apps" (automations) except exactly two of the built-in ones under specific circumstances (no longer as hard to meet as it once was). In Hubitat, all of this runs locally (except initial hub registration), and you only need the cloud for optional components like cloud dashboard links (and should it go down, the local dashboard will still work) or third-party services that require a cloud endpoint like Alexa. Local execution provides speed and reliability that I simply wasn't getting on SmartThings. I'm sure others have other reasons, but that is mine.

As for whether Hubitat will work with what you currently have, we'll need a bit more information. If your smart switches are Z-Wave or ZigBee, they should work on Hubitat. If they are Wi-Fi, they probably won't, at least not easily, but that's really true on both platforms (hopefully this is not what you did). I'm never sure what people want when they say "camera" integration, but you can already get motion/alarm notifications from Wyze and control the "arming" of its detection in Hubitat via IFTTT (a bit more work to set up than a native integration probably would be, but it works--cloud, of course, required).

The mobile app is coming, but there's really nothing you'll be able to do with it that you can't already. If you choose Hubitat dashboard as a manual-control solution, you can "pin" a cloud link to your phone's home screen, and it will almost be like an app. :slight_smile: Presence and notifications would currently require another app/workaround, but they are still possible. (Hubitat Dashboard is also not the only solution here for manual control; SharpTools.io is natively supported, and you could also set up HousePanel, though it's likely more work that you'll want to do being new.)

I also wouldn't worry about a Hubitat hub you buy now becoming outdated. It's been public knowledge that they're working on a "v2" hub for a while now, but the biggest changes are apparently just internal radios so you don't need the USB stick and the elimination of unused ports on the outside so the hub looks a bit nicer. The remaining internal specs are likely similar or (last I officially heard but that was a while ago so may have changed) identical.

That being said, despite what I'd consider many advantages of Hubitat, ST does have a few. For new users, ST might be a bit easier to use. I think Hubitat is pretty easy, but that may have been because I came from ST and was already familiar with many of the concepts. (But I don't think ST is necessarily a winner here, either--people have long made fun of the "classic" UI, which I think has improved a bit over the years, and they are currently trying to transition existing users to--and start new users on--the "new" app/UI which doesn't yet have all the "classic" features). My only concern when switching was device compatibility, but if you're starting new, you won't really need to worry about that. Even that was a minimal concern; Hubitat was not the first system I tried to move to from ST (it wasn't released yet), but all of my devices became supported by the platform within weeks and it was already the best compared to the others on day 1.

Both systems are quite powerful--both allow you to extend the stock offerings with code for custom apps/automations, for example. Hubitat has a built-in rules engine, or you can write a custom app; SmartThings doesn't (the new app might have a rudimentary one built in, actually, but I haven't explored), leading many people to explore custom SmartApps (as they are called) or one particular custom SmartApp called webCoRE (unofficially ported to Hubitat, but it's not recommended to use due to performance issues--try Rule Machine, probably the very reason webCoRE exists, or a custom app, instead). Both also allow you to write support for custom LAN, Z-Wave, or ZigBee HA devices, though Hubitat has "generic" drivers for the most common classes of Z-Wave and ZigBee devices that should work with most as-is that aren't specifically already supported.

In any case, if you choose Hubitat and get stuck, the Community forum (this) is usually quite helpful, as is the staff (who also read these regularly). Should you choose ST, I'd say the same about their Community.--though if you ask me, I'd also say you'll probably be back when you get fed up with the same things many of us (including the creators themselves of Hubitat) did. :slight_smile:


#5

Wow thank you so much for your detailed response! Having done a little more research the locally controlled aspect of Hubitat is definitely appealing.

I think of myself as tech-savvy (I'm not writing code in my spare time, but I understand the base logic that I've seen displayed in the Rules Machine), so I don't think I'd have a problem picking up on the nuances of Hubitat.

One of the things that I'm trying to consider for my new home build is the security aspect of things, which obviously a locally controlled hub would lend itself too. However, would there be a way to protect a security system built around Hubitat from a power failure? Other than connecting the hub to a power supply and getting an automatic generator diverter that can run my home essentials? I live on a farm and my concern is if my power goes down, is there a way I can be notified via email/SMS or have an alarm go off? (sorry I realize I'm taking this on a tangent haha)


#6

There are many ways to do that, a battery powered UPS being the most obvious. It all depends on how long you need things to stay up and what you need to stay up coupled with how much you want to spend.

A UPS is generally designed to see you over short term issues of no more than a few minuites. They are kind of ideal where you need a system to close down gracefully if the power is going to be off long term however they're not usually designed for keeping things up and running for more than 15 minutes or so.

If you want long term power then obviously a generator is the way to go but then you start talking more serious money and it escalates depending on how much you need to keep up and how much power they're using. I have no experience of generators but I would be as sure as I can be that there are plenty of solutions around that will automatically start a generator if the power drops - that's what they do after all.

Most UPS allow you to notifications though it's all down to the specific UPS as to how it does that. Whether you can link that into Hubitat will depend on the UPS - it's without doubt possible but you might need to code it if it's not something already supported. Also bear in mind all alarm systems should have their own battery backup system so you really shouldn't need to worry about that side of things.

G


#7

I would not feel comfortable building a "real" security system around either SmartThings or Hubtat Elevation. I suppose if you were going to do it the local aspect of Hubitat Elevation would make it easier to firewall it off from the outside world. A UPS will keep it running for quite a while (probably a lot longer than most of the devices you want to control). If you want to get serious get a generator to run things then the UPS only carries the load until the generator kicks in (usually less than 30 seconds). Or you could go with Tesla PowerWalls . . . (quickly digressing).


#8

This. Learned that lesson recently.

There is only one absolute, sure-fire reason to go with SmartThings over Hubitat. If you have relatively new, or plan to purchase Samsung appliances, TVs, etc in the near future. Those only work in the SmartThings (new) app..

Otherwise my advice is to research the things you have now or plan to connect to your system and make sure they're supported on whichever platform you choose.


#9

If it's a standard 120v UPS it won't last as long as you might think.

Most UPS units waste so much power internally (They run DC to AC inverters to convert battery power into 120v AC power) that you're lucky to get more than 1-2 hours out of them even if there is nothing plugged in at all. They also use lead acid batteries which are very heavy and have to be replaced every few years, even sooner if you actually experience any power outages as the load of powering the UPS on battery decreases their life substantially. I have six different 120v UPS units for backup power on various things in my home. One of which used to only power my cable modem, and I was lucky if it lasted an hour powering that single device even with fresh batteries.

Since Hubitat runs on 5v DC, it's much much more efficient to just use a USB backup battery. Konnected (which makes Security Integration solutions that work with Hubitat) actually sells a kit for this purpose:

This is what I'm using and it works great. It gives close to 12 hours of backup time from a very small battery pack. I've also switched all of my other 12v DC powered devices (Cable modem, network switches, etc etc) to using these same battery backups. They are cheaper, smaller, lighter, and last 10x longer in a power outage.

-Jeremy


#10

There's only one problem with doing that...you can't easily put a switch between the hub and the power supply. I have had to reboot my hub remotely via a wifi outlet in order to recover from a lockup. If you wanted to do that here, you'd have to cut the cord between the battery and the hub and put in a relay or something. Definitely not as "clean" as a UPS. My ups is good enough for short blackouts. If it's anything longer, no one's going to be taking that opportunity to break into my house. They just happen to know when there's going to be a power outage? The only way you could knock the power out to my house is to knock out the whole neighborhood. We're all on buried lines. And if someone's going to go to that much trouble, they can have my TV. Good for them!
My hub won't do much good in a power outage since all the devices I want to control won't have any power.


#11

I'm a little confused here because you seem to be responding as though I was specifically addressing your very particular requirements in my response. If a traditional UPS is your preference and you believe that better meets your needs... then be my guest. I wasn't suggesting you personally should ditch your UPS unit. I was simply offering an alternative option to the OP since the OP specifically asked "would there be a way to protect a security system built around Hubitat from a power failure?"

My suggestion was meant to addresses that question.

That said: Yes you can easily add a wifi controlled switch/relay to the 5v USB backup if that's really that important to have. Second: I I don't think this is a common scenario people find themselves in: having a frozen Hub and not having anyone home and needing to reboot it remotely. I've not once had to hard reset either my 4 yr old ST hub nor my newer Hubitat hub for any reason. Does your hub really freeze up that often while you're out of the house that you need a way to hard reset remotely?

If it's really that important to have this you wouldn't want or need to cut the wire that comes with it. Instead you'd probably just buy the pre-cut barrel jack pigtails on Amazon (under $6 for a set of 5 male and 5 female) and the Sonoff USB powered wifi relay for $9. No wire cutting or splicing needed. You insert the wire ends to the screw terminals and tighten. The whole setup could be stuffed into a small plastic enclosure that would still be a quarter the size of a typical UPS unit for a "clean" appearance or ease of tucking away out of sight.

First: If this is true it would be quite unusual. Very very unusual. And again: I don't know why you're assuming I was targeting your specific homes unique attributes. I was addressing the OPs question which was centered around protecting a home security system from a power outage. Second: Are you really suggesting that you don't have an outdoor electrical power meter or that any part of your homes electrical wiring is exposed anywhere on the outside of your house? Even with smart meters the power company has to have a way to manually read/verify your meter and/or cut off your power if you fail to pay or for emergencies, etc. Knocking that out is quite easy and is commonly a first step for burglars. (As is cutting cable and phone lines to knock out wired monitoring, which is why wireless cellular backup is so common now)

Then why do you need any kind of UPS at all? Why would you spend $130+ on a UPS if you don't really need it?

And, again, I was addressing OPs question around security. Most of us using Hubitat for security have door and window sensors, motion sensors, sirens and all sorts of stuff that's not mains powered. If someone wants to break into most homes where it's known to have a security system: the first thing they are going to do is cut the power, cable and phone in an attempt to knock out the security system. Like almost all houses all three are generally grouped together right on the side of the house. Underground lines don't mean they stay underground all the way into your homes interior. There's got to be a place on the outside where the power, cable and/or phone companies can access and or disconnect services without having to physically enter your home.

And even aside from power outages or burglaries: Just today I had a contractor doing some electrical work in my house and he needed to cut the power for several hours. He had to cut the breaker to the room where my networking equipment was powered but the rest of the house stayed on. After 30 minutes my UPS units had all shut down but my wifi router, cable modem, and Hubitat all stayed up and running for the 5 hours he was working in there because of these cheap lithium battery backups.

Having cheap battery backup options is useful in a lot of different scenarios.


#12

Since the only comment I posted before was asking what switches he had why would you assume that I would assume you were responding directly to me? And why would you assume I was responding to you? I was merely giving my point of view.
IMHO, you state quite a few things that are just flat out wrong. Take a read through the forum and you'll see the long list of posts about lockups.
Second of all, if someone is going to go through the trouble of figuring out how to cut the power to my home (without electrocuting themselves) they're going to figure out how to bypass my security system, no matter what it is. Where do you live where there is this rash of cat burglars cutting power to break into your homes? I'll add it to my list of places I never want to live.
Why don't you take off the tin foil hat and join us over here in the real world. We have cake! :cake::birthday: