The 300th Hubitat vs. ST Question


First thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice. Taking my first dive into unifying my devices and looking for some opinions on Hubitat and SmartThings. Yes, I have read many of the reviews and forum posts on the topic already (hence my self-aware if sarcastic topic title) - so hopefully, by putting in writing my current understanding I can save folks that are willing to help me out some time by just telling me where I'm wrong. Other Disclaimers: I like the idea of being ABLE to run local and being able to migrate to that over time - I understand I still have a couple of unnecessary cloud-based integrations listed below, but for now, that's where I am. Also, I understand that any stability and speed questions are impacted by my local mesh and having an appropriate number of repeaters, etc... so obviously, assuming apples-to-apples for both hub solutions on that question.

  • General Usability: Before everyone immediately warns me that Hubitat is for experienced users and if I'm a newbie I should go with something simpler... Thank you for your concern... I'm an engineer with a fair amount of scripting and programming experience, so I'm not scared yet from what I've read. And if I'm wrong, for $70-$80 each, I'll just buy both hubs... So let's put that aside for now....

  • Ring: I've got 2 floodlight cameras, a doorbell and the alarm already. My understanding from reading past forum posts is that my best bet is to integrate that all via Alexa? Once I do that do I have access to all the same triggers and controls that I have in Alexa? (motion detection on the cameras, contact sensor states for the alarm, alarm armed/disarmed state, door lock events for the door lock that I plan to leave on the Ring ZWave network not the Hubitat or ST)

  • Thermostat: I have a LUX Kono (Wifi, not the z version). It's currently integrated with Alexa via the cloud interface. My understanding is that the z version can be locally integrated with Hubitat but that there is no cloud based integration for the wifi ones? Assuming an Alexa integration would expose simple thermostat controls to Hubitat as well? If I upgrade, I'm eyeballing the Ecobee - looks like that cloud integration is natively supported?

*Light Switches: Don't have any yet, but eyeballing the HomeSeer dimmers. Reason being, they are the only ones I can find (so far) that are both a hard physical switch (i.e.- will still turn on the light it's hard-wired to if my hub is turned off or crashed or whatever) but can also send custom triggers (i.e.-double tap, long tap, etc...) that can control OTHER devices or switches via the network. Anyone have experience with these switches plus Hubitat? Or ST for that matter? Do those features all work in either or both eco-systems?

*Lag Time: From reading posts, it sounds like I can count on ST giving me an additional ~second or so of lag time for anything that has to hit the controller and come back (i.e.- a zwave trigger tuning on a light that isn't hard-wired to the same switch) due to the cloud? Anything beyond that sounds like it's more likely caused by delays in the local mesh network (not enough repeaters, wifi stepping on it, etc...)?

Thanks again for the advice!

Welcome, first and foremost...

For WiFi, you first need to know if there's an API or not. Others with the same device may have found the APi and taken a swing at integration. You seem to have done that research for Ring. If you can't find another kono participant here, look in SmartThings. Migrating the driver/app is significantly simpler. If Home Automation communities have an integration, maybe that means there is a published API. At the far end of that research is "Nope, no API, no reverse engineered code" and you'll have to give up on it til that changes.

Lag time is a variable. On the good days it's small, on the bad days it's large. It's the variation that drives you crazy. You walk into a room and you just never know when the lights will come on. If it were consistent, you could plan for it and place sensors "further out" to trigger earlier.

Look at Inovelli for switches/dimmers. They are in the earliest stages of manufacturing their latest line and they are production constrained right now. You may determine that you cannot wait for them to get it all solved, but at least from the spec's you'll know that a truly innovative set of features are possible.


After about a year with Hubitat and many with SmartThings my conclusion is that Hubitat is a rock solid hub for Z-Wave and Zigbee, but it's not really designed for use with many other devices, there are some exceptions.
The lag and outages of SmartThings combined with phasing out the scripting I depended on in the now near future made it a deal breaker.

I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Then I found Home Assistant (HA), I let home assistant chug away on my Mac Mini and play with all of my WiFi devices and Hubitat takes care of my Z-Wave/Zigbee devices.
HA is a bit intimidating but it's getting easier to setup every two weeks.
There's a Hubitat App that spits out all of my Hubitat devices into a protocol HA accepts, known as MQTT.
Now everything is aggregated up to Home Assistant and my workhorse of a mac mini can handle all of my needs.

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Thanks for the feedback and the recommendation to checkout Inovelli. Do you have the simpler switches that are available? (Looks like it's just the dimmer's that are delayed from their website?) Do all of those features (scene controls and notifications) work with Hubitat?

Also, while they do look cool - not sure the feature set is far beyond the Homeseer I was looking at? Didn't open that manual to see exactly how many scene control and notification options they have, but they do have both. Just wondering if there was some key feature I missed beyond those two that triggered the recommendation. Thanks!

Price. :slight_smile:

Well there plenty of others that will give their opinion on the other stuff and for some reason there's even more that will give an opinion (very divided indeed) on thermostats. Seems to be a hot button topic for some reason. Case in point, my reply :slightly_smiling_face:

I'm an Ecobee user and I like it. But I don't have central air, so maybe that's why people really want to micro-manage their HVAC systems. Personally, I just let the thing do it's job. I was using the official integration, but like many others that suspected issues related to it, I removed the official integration. There is a community integration which seems to get fairly good responses. but I don't use that either.

I suppose it all depends on what you really want or need from your thermostat. Some prefer a no-cloud Zigbee or Z-Wave integration and like to automate the crap out of it. I don't care to do that. The Ecobee was designed to do a specific job, and for me it does it quite well and it saved me enough on my heating bill to pay for itself over a two-year period. I've owned mine since November of 2016 and I have experienced 1 cloud outage that I noticed. Maybe it went off-line more than that, but since I generally ignore the thermostat, I wouldn't have noticed. House was never cold due to an outage. I've also heard complaints that it doesn't stay connected to HomeKit. Again, not a problem for me. I'm using Homebridge with my hub, so if I really wanted to, I could control the settings that way and it would be local (as long as cloud and power wasn't lost). My understanding is that HomeKit with Ecobee requires an initial cloud connection before it can work locally on HomeKit. I'm not certain that is 100% correct, but it's something I read somewhere. Maybe here, can't recall.

So that's my 2 cents on Ecobee. I like and it's been reliable for me. Does its job and paid for itself. I can't ask for much more personally.

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Another beginner with smart automation. Still on the fence - ST or Hubitat? Could someone explain again the essential difference - I don't understand how ST uses Zbee/Zwave and still depends on internet.. If that's the case, why use Zwave /Zbee?

The Physical Switches, Dimmers and Sensors (door, motion) are all Zigbee/ZWave and communicate over that protocol to/from the Hub.

There's a calculation that must occur however. A door sensor indicates a door is open and that message must be evaluated by a Rule to decide something like: "It's after sunset, its dark, so turn on the light." THAT gets executed by a Cloud computer for SmartThings. For Hubitat, it's done on the computer inside the hub.

Door open --> one message to ST cloud,
Door close --> one message to ST cloud.
Rule decides to turn on light --> one message from ST Cloud.
Rule decides to turn off light --> one message from ST Cloud.

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Ya know.. I knew that was how ST works and it still ends up sounding totally bonkers when you write it out like that.... These are simple rules... it's not like it takes an significant amount of processing to do what amounts to pretty simple if-then-else statements.... I realize you can get more complicated than that, but I mean... my Fire TV box costs barely over a hundred bux, has a quad-core ARM in it that can process 4K HDTV and can emulate a dozen or so game consoles. Having enough processing power in a box that size to "turn on the lights if I open the door" is pretty minor by modern standards. Kinda hard not to take the cynical view that the primary driver for putting this stuff in the cloud is for data mining.... :thinking:

It's not about the size or complexity it's about the time it takes to process.

For simple lighting automations, SmartThings can run some of those locally on their modern hubs (i.e. not their original v1 hub from ~2013/14.) If the devices are all 'running locally' on the ST Hub, and you can accomplish your goals using the SmartLighting SmartApp, then the automations can be run locally on the hub. For example, a Motion or Contact sensor can turn on/off a light, all locally on the ST hub.

So, it is not 100% cloud-based for automations. However, I found this limitation far to restrictive for my needs. I wanted custom code to run locally, and thus I switched immediately to Hubitat when it was released.

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I added the "sunset element" just for that reason. The ST hub itself has no idea when sunrise/sunset is. That's a Cloud element. :frowning: I always felt like that was one of the large fails of ST. They could easily have precomputed "the top 100 answers" for your set of rules and dribbled them onto the hub for each day. As if there were a Cache.