The Internet of Things (IoT) is still a largely unexplored space. There are several brands competing for the top spot, and not all devices are compatible with one another.
Samsung wants to change that with its SmartThings line. Like Belkin’s Wemo line, SmartThings comes in two parts: a software program and a series of smart home products. Both are designed with expansion in mind, and you can control literally hundreds of devices with SmartThings.
SmartThings is meant to be a system that ties together the various parts of your smart home. It works with many of the big smart home brands, and it’s not that expensive either.
It’s one of the most promising innovations in smart home tech, so let’s take a look under the hood and see what SmartThings can do for you.
One hub, endless integrations
The center of the system is the SmartThings Hub. It’s a small, white device that looks unassuming yet has the power to connect all SmartThings devices. It comes in at right under $100, and while you only need to buy one, you’ll also need to buy all the devices you want (e.g., locks, thermostats, etc.)
The hub goes hand in hand with the software, which comes in the form of an app for iOS, Android, or Windows. You buy the Hub, download the software, and then pair any device you want with the Hub.
Before we get into the devices, let’s talk about how SmartThings operates.
You create what are called Routines, which tell your devices what to do. Think of these as automated commands.
For example, you can create a Routine that tells SmartThings to turn off the lights when you leave your home. You can make all kinds of Routines, from simple to complex.
They can happen at preset times as well, so you can create a Routine to turn on the lights every morning at 6:30 A.M.
The system has some other cool features, like the ability to track what’s going on in your home while you’re gone. It can also alert you if you’ve left a window or door open.
As far as smart home systems go, it’s one of the most flexible and controllable. The ability to custom make Routines leads to some amazing possibilities, and you could theoretically automate your smart home completely.
In short, using SmartThings is the closest you can get to artificial intelligence for your home (for now, at least). It’s like your home has a brain of its own, yet you tell it exactly what to do.
You control all of this from the SmartThings app, which is simple to use and puts you completely in charge. Its user-friendly design makes home automation easier than with many competing apps.
Samsung has hit it out of the park with Routines, and neither Apple nor Google have caught up yet. For many people, Routines will help them create the kind of smart home they envision in their minds.
What devices work with Samsung SmartThings?
Many smart home enthusiasts worry about compatibility. Some brands don’t work with each other, and some devices have trouble working together.
You really don’t have to worry about that with SmartThings. The system works with Amazon Alexa/Echo, Google Home, iOS, and even smart watches. SmartThings doesn’t care which smart home provider you go with––it just wants to help you connect everything.
You can connect most smart devices to the Hub and integrate them into your existing setup. This means that you can always be expanding your smart home, as long as the devices you choose are compatible with SmartThings (and they probably are).
Not every single smart home device works with SmartThings, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a smart home product that doesn’t. There are 142 compatible products and counting, and most brands will undoubtedly make sure future devices work with SmartThings.
SmartThings is especially ideal for the smart home owner who wants to use various brands. Currently, there’s no singular product line that provides everything you need for a smart home, so SmartThings is an appealing solution.
Samsung has a full list of compatible products here.
How does it stack up to other smart home systems?
Samsung is currently in the lead with SmartThings, and it boasts a huge amount of compatible devices. However, Apple and Google are more widely used than Samsung, a factor that may persuade some to forego SmartThings.
However, seeing as SmartThings has apps for iOS, Android, and Windows, there’s not a lot of reason to choose Apple HomeKit or Made by Google if flexibility and performance are your top concerns.
That said, you might like HomeKit or Made by Google out of personal preference. And if you have an existing setup, you might be hesitant to replace it all with SmartThings.
SmartThings also works well for complete smart home systems. If you just use one Amazon Echo and are content with it, there’s not much use in adopting SmartThings. On the other hand, if you’re ready to fully automate your home, it makes a lot of sense to do it with SmartThings at the core.
Our verdict? While Apple and Google have good smart home products, they’re not are as easy to use as SmartThings, and neither offer as much complete functionality. Currently, SmartThings is the most versatile choice, and it’s also budget friendly.
SmartThings is a big smart home solution with even bigger potential. Its product compatibility is unparalleled, and it’s easy to use.
Perhaps the best part about SmartThings is its future. It’s the most flexible system on the market today, and if more products are compatible with it, SmartThings could dominate the smart home space.
There’s not a lot to dislike about SmartThings, and we wholeheartedly recommend considering it for your smart home.