Samsung SmartThings Review 2020
Samsung SmartThings is the system for the true DIYer. Sure, there are people who can set up a basic security system on their own. But Samsung SmartThings is like varsity-level home automation for people who use a lot of different devices and want them all to work together.
If you have (or want) a full-on smart home with lights, locks, sensors, outlets, thermostats, and more, then SmartThings is the gateway to all your wildest home automation dreams. It’s not a perfect system, but it will let you create all kinds of rules and routines to control your smart devices from a single app.
|Product||Price||# of devices||Learn more|
|Samsung SmartThings Monitoring Kit||$140.11||5||View on Amazon|
Amazon.com List Prices (as of 4/13/20 16:45 PST)
Samsung SmartThings features
SmartThings works with all kinds of different smart devices. Just don’t make the basic kit your whole security system.
The SmartThings ecosystem can seem a bit complicated right off the bat. If you check out the SmartThings website, you’ll see a huge array of different devices and kits. It can be tough to know what you need and which things to choose.
We’ll break it down for you: the most essential piece of equipment for your SmartThings system is a smart hub. The SmartThings smart hub is the brain of the operation—it hooks everything else together, and it’s what lets you control your smart devices from one app: the SmartThings app.
The SmartThings hub works with Z-Wave devices, Zigbee, and Bluetooth. And one of the biggest selling points for SmartThings is how many third-party devices you can add on to the system without missing a beat.1
Some other smart home/security systems, like Ring Alarm, have a much shorter list of integrated gadgets.2
Samsung SmartThings Hub features:
- Works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, LAN, Cloud-to-Cloud, and Zigbee3
- Supports wireless connection to integrated smart home devices
- Links to the SmartThings app for custom smart home rules and remote control
- Sends alerts to your SmartThings mobile app for your chosen triggers
- Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
One drawback to the SmartThings hub is that it doesn’t have cellular or battery backup. Basically, if your power or your internet goes out, your SmartThings system won’t work. So we don’t recommend relying on the basic SmartThings hub and monitoring kit for your home security system.
See the SmartThings ADT kit on Amazon.
Samsung SmartThings sensors
SmartThings is compatible with a bunch of third-party sensors, including door sensors, window sensors, flood sensors, and motion sensors from companies like BeSense and Ecolink. But SmartThings also makes a few of its own sensors that you can buy as part of a monitoring kit.
Samsung SmartThings sensors:
- Water leak sensor
- Arrival sensor
- Motion sensor
- Multipurpose sensor
Our favorite is the SmartThings multipurpose sensor. This is, first of all, an entry sensor, which means you can put it on doors, windows, or anything else you want to make sure stays closed (like maybe the liquor cabinet if you have teenagers roving around your house).
But this little sensor also has temperature monitoring, and it can send you alerts if the temperature in a room changes. Like if your aforementioned teenager cranks up the A/C, and you’re worried for your financial future.
SmartThings smart devices
When you’re ready to move beyond the basic sensors and really dig into smart home territory, SmartThings has a few of its own devices on offer.
Samsung SmartThings smart devices:
- Smart lightbulb
- Wi-Fi smart plug
- Smart outlet
- Smart button
For the most part, you’ll probably want to go with integrated smart devices rather than the SmartThings-branded devices. For example, SmartThings doesn’t offer its own smart lock or smart thermostat, but it does work with Ecobee thermostats and Schlage locks (among many others).
But if you want to keep things simple, then SmartThings can at least supply you with outlets and some lightbulbs.
Personally, we really like the SmartThings button because it lets you execute entire routines with just one click (or two clicks, or a long press). It’s useful when you want to do a bunch of things at once (like turn off all your Philips Hue lights and lock your doors) without pulling out your phone or loudly asking Alexa to do it for you.
Samsung SmartThings pricing
The SmartThings hub is pretty affordable, but other devices can add up.
The SmartThings hub itself is pretty affordable. Last we checked, it cost $69.99. And SmartThings doesn’t require you to subscribe to any sort of monthly subscription to use the app or get alerts (which many security companies do).
The main cost you’ll have with SmartThings is buying all the devices. Keep in mind that you might also have extraneous subscription costs, like if you have an Arlo Q camera and you subscribe to one of Arlo’s cloud storage plans. SmartThings can’t replace that for you.
|Water leak sensor||$19.99|
|Wi-Fi smart plug||$17.99|
|Learn more||View Kit on Amazon|
Amazon.com List Prices (as of 4/13/20 16:45 PST)
Samsung SmartThings home automation
SmartThings is home automation royalty and supports a bunch of different protocols.
Home automation is where SmartThings really shines.
Sure, you can buy the SmartThings-branded sensors and lightbulbs and have a baby-smart-home situation going on. But the real appeal of the SmartThings system is that you can take all your devices from all their different manufacturers and make them work together and follow complex rules and routines.
In the SmartThings app, you can make dozens of different rules or “scenes” that make a bunch of smart home things happen together. For example, if you set up a good morning routine, then SmartThings can turn on all your lights, put on a song, and start your coffee maker for you before you’ve even opened your eyes for the day.
SmartThings also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can do all the same stuff through voice commands. You can have Alexa turn on your TV, dim the lights, and lock your doors—among other things.
For the most part, SmartThings can replace other apps you’d usually have to use to control your smart home devices. But it can’t totally take the place of every app out there.
Take, for instance, if you have cameras. You can’t view a livestream from your camera in the SmartThings app, which means you’re still going to need to have that Ring or Arlo app downloaded on your phone.
Samsung SmartThings installation
SmartThings is pretty easy to install, but not so easy to switch over to a new hub.
The main thing you need to do to install your SmartThings system is set up your hub. Luckily, it’s a pretty simple process. You just install the SmartThings mobile app on your phone, create an account, and click the “+” icon to add a device to your account (in this case, the hub).
You can plug the hub directly into your router with an Ethernet cable, or you can connect it wirelessly. Unless you have super-slow internet, it shouldn’t make a huge difference either way.
Whichever connection type you choose, the SmartThings app will have you scan the hub’s QR code (you’ll find it on the back), and set your location. After that, you’re pretty much set. You can add other devices to your SmartThings system by tapping the “+” icon and selecting Add New Device, just like you did with the hub.
Recap: Is SmartThings any good?
We really like the SmartThings system overall, but it has a couple of drawbacks.
If you want to build a super-smart home system from the ground up, then SmartThings can be your best friend. It ties everything together and lets you control all different devices from one app, whether they’re SmartThings devices or not. SmartThings lets you set up routines that make your life easier and your home smarter.
All that said, the system isn’t perfect. You might still need to keep some third-party apps around, like for your cameras. And it can be a pain to switch hubs and get all your devices added on to the new one. But overall, SmartThings is one of the easiest ways to truly customize your smart home situation.
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