I moved from Samsung to Hubitat six months ago. It has not been without difficulty but I have decided to soldier on for now. I am a long-time hobbyist in the computer and electronics fields. I can program in archaic languages and I have two Raspberry Pi's running Ubuntu and doing stuff.
My daughter and her husband just moved into a new house. She loves all of the smart stuff at our house. She already had a smart fridge, oven, and washer/dryer installed and she is asking what kind of smart dimmers, switches, and other stuff to buy. Neither she nor her husband are the kind of people who have a GitHub account or want to deal with flaky Z-Wave networks or firmware updates.
Thus my question.
Would you recommend Hubitat to a "normal" person?
With Samsung going away what else is there?
I would recommend Lutron Caseta for in-wall lighting controls. For smart bulbs, I’d recommend Philips Hue. Between those two, all of their lighting devices should be easily controlled. They could then tie both of those systems together with Amazon Alexa. If they use an Echo with built-in Zigbee hub, the they could add motion and contact sensors easily enough. Tie all of it together via Amazon Alexa Routines, and they’d have a very flexible system with no custom code required whatsoever. It would be cloud dependent, but it would be fairly straightforward.
I would avoid Samsung SmartThings, as it is unclear what their long-term strategy really is, as they’ve stopped making home automation hardware. Hubitat is great for the tinkerer, hobbyist, enthusiast type of folks. But if you’re looking to keep it simple...well, you know...
If they grow beyond the capabilities of the above, they could always add a Hubitat hub later on. The Lutron and Philips lighting would be easy to integrate with Hubitat. Only the Zigbee sensors would need to be re-paired.
What he said. Good advice.
Unless it’s someone where I’m ok being on call to be their support person, I tend to recommend Alexa. Hubitat is awesome, but it isn’t quite as polished as Alexa’s mobile app
Which motion sensors, wall dimmers, and wall switches do you recommend for basic lighting control?
Doing some research I also see a "Pro" hub and "Pro" devices that we may or may not be able to buy online.
It's never simple.
I would agree with @ogiewon and others here...
Hue was certainly a good starting point for me, those were essentially the first things I bought, including the Hue bridge. It does have a relatively easy app to navigate and you can setup some relatively good lighting rules, so is a good entry into the concepts of rules, conditions, etc. There's also some more advanced apps you can use to write more detailed rules on the Hue hub, I used All4Hue for this. The addition of a voice assistant can also add to the experience and while I'm a Google shop, Alexa getting a Zigbee radio is a big selling point.
I've made reference to this before on other threads, but I tend to agree with Matt Ferrell's philosophy of choosing smart home tech that is cross-platform and so can be easily switched, e.g. those that work with Google and Amazon, etc. You can only take this so far in some cases, but having options down the track is essentially the idea, should a vendor take away support or your setup change for any reason. So the same applies to "normal" people, they may be "normal" now, but they may not always be that way, you never know... So options like Hue fit that idea of an early choice of tech that can still be part of a larger system if you do grow into a Hubitat system or something similar.
I'm thinking I've misinterpreted the question were asking... but...
If you went the Hue or Lutron routes I would recommend using their accessories or those they support, that way they can be used within the lighting ecosystem you take on. I'd only start to consider others if/when you look to make use of some other hub, e.g. Alexa (hence the comment at the start...). That said, Hue accessories are at least supported on the whole by Hubitat, aside from a few minor exceptions, so you would have that to look forward to. Their motion sensor, though expensive, has a relatively good reputation for speed and features.
The Lutron sounds strong but fully-priced.
What about just going with a choice from the flood of cheap WiFi dimmers and no hub other than the Echo devices?
It depends on motivation and your need to add/avoid tech support.
I think @ogiewon has nailed it. I think ikea does a half decent intro hub and devices too, may be worth a look.
For reference I always wanted to eventually upgrade from smartthings to hubitat and pass on my ST hub to parents. But things were broken so often I abandoned that idea and physically binned it. Couldn't be dealing with the phonecalls.
I'm looking at these Treatlife WiFi dimmers and switches on Amazon. They are one-fourth to one-fifth the cost of Lutron. No hub other than the router required and thousands of four and five star reviews. Sounds hard to beat. What am I missing? Is there a "catch"?
Look for Homey. Pretty strait forward for regular end user without tech skills, wide device compatibility, little bit pricy compared to HE, but it has got everything needed for home automation.
New design constraints:
NO new hub other than the Zigbee built into the newer Echo devices.
Wall plate switches and dimmers must cost less than $30 each and be available with Amazon Prime shipping.
Change my mind!
Seriously, the Alexa routines are much more versatile lately so you can do all of the usual stuff. I trust Kasa devices.
Is there some other problem with WiFi dimmers and switches?
Oh, and .... compatible with Hubitat for eventual upgrade.
I'm pretty ashamed to admit this given the amount of effort and interest I've had in general home 'tech' for a good few years, but it's only been thr past year that I finally decided to take a look at my router.
Although I ditched the standard isp edition for a Netgear immediately, I've always assumed that WiFi in general was a bit crappy. For example, I messed about with a range extender to give garden wifi access with limited degrees of success. After my jump to hubitat I began to add a stupid number of cheap WiFi-based esp8266's to replace my problematic fibaros (zwave). The reason for this was to add a variety of dumb temperature, contact, motion sensors and actuators to complete a few projects without spending a million pounds I don't have.
This highlighted that my WiFi position and quality was cack and needed sorting. So I purchased a nighthawk router and a long ethernet cable and did s bit of moving/testing.
End result is that now I'm having flawless WiFi, everywhere, without a repeater.
My point I'd that WiFi devices, to me, were crap. Until I ensured I had a more robust network. Cheap WiFi devices plus a bad network is a recipe failure.
That is a good point, not all situations are the same, and it is hard to give general advice, everyone's situation and experience is different. It is not always the fault of the product you buy, the idea of a smart home is that you have interdependent devices acting together, that relies on both the devices themselves and the ability for them to work together, two very different things.
Another suggestion / philosophy I would recommend is starting small whenever venturing into a new part of the a smart home or new product type. So if you are starting in lighting, for example, start with a few bulbs, but don't deck your place out straight away, work out whatever it is you are venturing into is going to work, both for you and within the rest of your setup.
@djh_wolf 's experience is testament to how it is not always the individual device that is the problem, it can be the infrastructure around it, which is not easy for those non-technical users to grapple with. I don't have an easy answer to this, beyond taking it slowly. Making small changes at a manageable pace can help understand where problems may arise, introducing too much too quickly makes it hard to diagnose issues if they arise.
There's probably a point where people stop reading posts like this.... I know I do Start small and simple, that's the crux of my post.
Surely people will read a shorter second post....
The other point I would make is just because your daughter:
Make sure the things you try to add are things that will improve their day-to-day experience at home. Find things that need improving (fixing problems or enhancing their lives) and focus on those. Adding devices or services because they are "cool" won't last or encourage the investment in time and energy to make them a success. Things that make a difference to them will.
Thank you for the thoughtful replies!
The WiFi network is important. I put a Ubiquiti UDMP Pro and two Ubiquiti access points in a few months ago. I love it and it's great for fixing IP addresses and adding firewall rules, a separate IoT LAN etc.
They will not want to deal with any of that.
Usually hue stuff as much as possible. Again, I’m focusing on the “it just works” products.
The Lutron Caseta Pro hub is a consumer, retail product.
Geez. Did your parents beat you when you were a child?