Picking a Hub

Here are my initial questions about picking a hub (I’m pretty sure there will be more):
Can I use a dongle until I expand the system, or do I still need a hub? Most of the documentation I can find for dongles says they also require a hub. If the dongle requires a hub, what’s the dongle for? So, do I need a hub with a dongle?
I have a few hubs in mind; I am considering a Hubitat hub and at least one more, but I’m open to suggestions. I understand I should be seeking a hub with several ecosystems(? not sure that’s the correct word, still learning the jargon, i.e. Z-Wave, Zigbee). The next step is to find a suitable hub that I can use our cell phones to operate these first few switches. Which of course goes to the next step, find an app to use. This should get me to the point where I can finish adding light control. When I have all the lights that I want to control done, of course I will be looking into scene control. After that I will be researching other things I can do with home automation. I know for sure I will be looking for a tablet or some type of touch screen, hopefully by next year.
Maybe down the road I will look into other smart devices to add. I’m not real big on talking devices or cameras, although I can’t rule out cameras if I ever install a security system and I don’t currently have an Alexa or any of those types of devices.
Hopefully this is enough information to help in planning and perhaps make it easier to offer suggestions knowing what I hope to do, thanks again everyone.

What do you mean a dongle? Like a z-wave stick or zigbee stick? Either can be used to pair devices, the problem is the software? Once you add the software you've essentially turned your pc into a hub.

Hubitat has dashboard you can run on your phone. That said, that's not really automation, that's remote control... :slight_smile:

I hardly if ever open my dashboards. I prefer to let things run themselves. I've thought about using a tablet as a monitoring station only (seeing current temps and status') but not really control. (Others are different)

See this thread. People discuss their reasoning,


I thought I just read this post...

1 Like

Nothing wrong with that. Seems like he's just evaluating things. Aside from ST being sold off and not being 100% local, well I think he'll figure it out :stuck_out_tongue:


As I recall, from your other post and this post, your needs were primarily scene control (for lighting), and control via a mobile device.

Hence, my suggestion to you is what @rlithgow1 made elsewhere:

  1. Remove your 4 GE z-wave switches.
  2. Get the Lutron Caseta Bridge Pro (emphasis on Pro)
  3. Get Lutron Caseta switches, dimmers, and plug-in dimmers

The reasons for my recommendation are as follows:

  • Lutron hardware is of legendarily good quality. And in contrast, GE/Jasco z-wave switches are noted for their failure rate when power quality is unstable.
  • Lutron's ClearConnect technology is almost bullet-proof. It uses a low frequency radio-wave (much lower than z-wave) that communicates through common building materials (drywall, wood, brick) far better than z-wave. I have never heard of Lutron Caseta or RA2 switches dropping off the network, whereas there are plenty of examples of z-wave devices doing so.
  • Lutron's mobile app is friendly and easy to use. It permits the creation of scheduled lighting and scenes. It also provides a simple integration to Alexa or Google Home, should you wish to control your devices using a voice assistant.
  • If in the future you decide to add motion-based lighting, Lutron makes high-quality motion sensors in the Caseta line (as well as their higher-priced lines).
  • Finally, if in the future, you decide that you need a hub like Hubitat, the Caseta Pro Bridge integrates with the Hubitat hub, providing local control of all your device.

I'll add one more thing - there are a substantial number of Hubitat users who use Lutron Caseta/RA2 dimmers/switches, and integrate them with zigbee sensors (motion/contact etc.) via the Hubitat hub.

Good luck with your search!


ok, my secret is out. I'm posting on two sites and the way
my memory works, or I should say the way it doesn't work, I
may have posted it here twice. I wonder how the st post
ended up here?
I am in the evaluation and planning stages. I did jump the gun a little
by purchasing the switches.


I think I really did jump the gun. I have a ton of research and planning to do


Take your time with the process. I started automating my house in 2012-2013. Almost all my devices were z-wave devices. Over time, I've made the following changes to finally create a system that works without any intervention on my part:

  1. All my switches/dimmers are Lutron Caseta (except the bathrooms/closets, where I still have z-wave switches/dimmers).
  2. 80% of my sensors are zigbee, the rest are z-wave.
  3. All my color bulbs (RGBW) are LIFX.
  4. I integrate everything for automation via Hubitat.

BTW, I thought @JDRoberts gave you a great answer on the SmartThings forum.


From what I see, you are doing this right. Starting small and doing some research.

There’s nothing wrong with Z-Wave switches (mine are almost all Z-Wave), but I totally agree that the Lutron Casseta are the most solid technology. I have quite a few of those as well, linked to their Pro hub and all controlled via Hubitat, which provides great local control.

One thing that is really great with Hubitat, as you’re already seeing, is the active community. There is usually always someone that is willing to help out.

Whatever you chose in the end, I hope you enjoy the transition to the world of smart houses!


Yes, he does a great job of providing a lot of info without a tangent into the weeds, :smiley: and has for years. Consistently good.