Which Smart Home Hub is For Me?

If you're just starting on your home automation journey, one of the most important decisions to make early on is which smart home hub is right for you. Konnected currently supports four different smart home platforms — both commercial and open-source options. Each platform has its own unique advantages and drawbacks. While we can't tell you objectively which one is best, this side-by-side comparison should help you evaluate your options:



SmartThings

Home Assistant

Hubitat

OpenHAB
Website

https://www.smartthings.com/

https://hubitat.com/

Commercial vs. Open Source

commercial

open source
Apache License 2.0
commercial

open source
Eclipse Public License 1.0

Company / Funding
wholly owned by Samsung
supported in part by Ubiquiti Networks and Nabu Casa, Inc
Hubitat, Inc.
openHAB Foundation e.V.

Hub Hardware

SmartThings Hub (v3) - $70
SmartThings Hub (v2) - $90
SmartThings WiFi - from $120
Build your own hub, typically on a Raspberry Pi or other personal server
Hubitat Elevation hub - from $100 (Amazon)
Build your own hub, typically on a Raspberry Pi or other personal server

Community Forums

https://community.smartthings.com/

https://community.home-assistant.io/

https://community.hubitat.com/

https://community.openhab.org/

Year Founded

2012 (via Kickstarter), acquired by Samsung in 2014
2013
2016
2010
Platform Technical Support

Phone and email.
https://support.smartthings.com
Community support only.
Email.
https://support.hubitat.com
Community support only.
Wireless Protocols

Z-Wave and Zigbee built in.
Bluetooth built in but disabled in firmware.

Software support for most wireless protocols. Build your own hardware.

Z-Wave and Zigbee dongles included in most purchases.

Software support for most wireless protocols. Build your own hardware.

Cloud vs. Local Processing

Cloud

Local

Local

Local

Native Mobile App

New app: iOS and Android
Classic app: iOS and 
Android
iOS only
none yet
iOS and Android
Commercial use

Prohibited
Allowed
Prohibited
Allowed
Availability
U.S, Canada, U.K. and parts of Europe
Worldwide
U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia
(all variants ship from U.S.)

Worldwide

Security System Features

Konnected enables your home automation platform to act as a security system. Each platform has a slightly different take on security and home monitoring with different levels of functionality and setup complexity.






Konnected Integration Status

Unofficial. Install via the SmartThings IDE. See instructions.
Built in since Home Assistant 0.70.
Unofficial. Install via Hubitat dashboard. See instructions.
Available for automatic install from the Eclipse IoT marketplace.
Security & Monitoring Setup

Smart Home Monitor is built in to SmartThings and has pre-defined modes for Security monitoring: Armed (Away) and Armed (Stay). It also supports smoke alarm monitoring and water leak detection. Configuration is done via the SmartThings app.
Manual Alarm Control Panel is a built in component in Home Assistant and allows for very flexible configuration of armed_home, armed_away and armed_night modes.


Hass Custom Alarm is a community created addon that integrates alarm system features with a touch screen panel.

Hubitat Safety Monitor is built in and has pre-defined modes for Security monitoring: Intrusion-Away and Intrusion-Home. it also supports monitoring of smoke, CO and water leak sensors. Configuration is done through the Hubitat web based interface.
OpenHAB can simulate alarm system features by building automations and rules to take certain actions based on the status of Things and Items. It's very flexible but requires some coding and thoughtful setup.
Notifications

Push notifications built-in to official mobile apps.
Push notifications built in to iOS app.
HTML5 notifications for Android.
Also supports several 3rd-party notification apps

Third-party push notification services only (Pushover)
Push notifications built in to official mobile apps.
Also supports several 3rd-party notification apps

Entry/Exit delay
Not officially supported in Smart Home Monitor.
Community created apps can work around this limitation.
Built in to Manual Alarm Control Panel and Hass Custom Alarm
Built in to Hubitat Safety Monitor
Possible to implement via automation rules
Wall mounted tablet display
3rd Party apps ActionTiles and SharpTools
Built in Lovelace UI or HADashboard
Built in Hubitat Dashboard
3rd party apps: SharpTools

Built in HABPanel
3rd Party Pro Monitoring

Unofficial Noonlight integration for security & smoke alarm (built by Konnected) - $10/mo
Scout Alarm monitoring for security only built in to Smart Home Monitor - $20/mo

Noonlight integration coming soon!
none yet
none yet
What happens in an internet outage?

Will not work
Local alarm only
Local alarm only
Local alarm only


Konnected's Smart Home Platform Reviews

Let's review some of the key considerations when evaluating each smart home platform. We've compiled this feedback based on our own experience and feedback collected from Konnected users.

Samsung SmartThings

What we like: SmartThings was Konnected's first integration and is still the most popular choice among Konnected users. The built in Smart Home Monitor app works quite well for most people and is easy to set up using just the SmartThings mobile app. Backed by Samsung's consumer electronics dominance, SmartThings has a large and strong user community of all technical skill levels and works with a wide variety of smart home devices (both official and un-official community created integrations). The native mobile apps make receiving push notifications super simple. A rich ecosystem of 3rd-party integrations such as ActionTiles for wall-mounted dashboards and Noonlight for smart home pro monitoring, and native Google Assistant and/or Alexa integration make a complete smart home solution with minimal effort.

SmartThings hubs and hardware is affordably priced and generally functions well. The new line of SmartThings WiFi products are convenient if you're also in the market for a new mesh WiFi system because it's both a WiFi system and SmartThings hub in one. The SmartThings branded wireless sensors also work well and are fairly priced to augment your wired sensors connected via Konnected.

What we don't like: SmartThings has invested heavily on the cloud, and as a result the majority of your home automation functions in the cloud. This means that when SmartThings cloud goes down, it takes your home automation and security with it. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen! Cloud based communication also adds some latency to Konnected and other automations, so response times are not as quick as other locally processed choices.

SmartThings is also in the middle of a years long transition to the "new" SmartThings app (formerly Samsung Connect) and consolidation with Samsung's other smart home products. This is why there are two versions of the SmartThings app (new and Classic) with the new app still not at feature parity with the older SmartThings Classic app. The new platform still doesn't support 3rd-party custom apps as of writing. This has created some uncertainty and confusion among users about the future of SmartThings as it's incorporated deeper into the Samsung world.

We've also observed SmartThings spend considerable effort on promoting big corporate partnerships that we believe don't really address most users' needs and creates some confusion and competition among Samsung's own products.

A good choice for: SmartThings is a good choice if you favor ease of use and "it just works" over flexibility and privacy. Your security system goals are more for convenience and peace of mind rather than mission-critical security. You're new to moderately experienced with home automation and want the lowest upfront investment in hardware and setup time.


Home Assistant

What we like: Home Assistant is an open source home automation platform that's increasing rapidly in popularity. It already supports tons of device and 3rd-party service integrations and the pace of development is extraordinary. Home Assistant is extremely configurable, making it possible to do just about anything you want to with home automation without having to write any real code (if you don't want to). Built in components like Manual Alarm Control Panel make it relatively easy to get security system like features up and running quickly.

Home Assistant's stated goals center around privacy, local control, open source, and interoperability. We think all of these are very important when using a home automation platform for security.

In 2018, Home Assistant really started taking off when the founder, Paulus Schoutsen, was hired by Ubiquiti Networks to work on Home Assistant full-time. The team recently founded Nabu Casa, a corporation to administer the companion Home Assistant Cloud service and integrations with cloud-based voice assistants Google Home and Alexa. We expect to see great things from Home Assistant in the next couple years.

What we don't like: Setup and configuration is still not easy enough for most average consumers. Much configuration relies on editing YAML configuration files which is confusing and off-putting for some. A new Home Assistant installation starts as a blank slate, which can be intimidating for the novice home automator.

As an open source project, Home Assistant doesn't really offer any one-on-one support, although their very active community and Facebook groups are great resources for help and inspiration.

A good choice for: If privacy, security, and ultimate flexibility are important to you and you don't mind investing some effort into setup and configuration, then Home Assistant is a good choice. Cost conscious users will be satisfied that Home Assistant can run well on a cheap Raspberry Pi or even on an old computer/server. Fans of Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant will be happy as HA has excellent integrations for both, either by their optional $5/mo cloud service or using a slightly more complex self-hosted setup.


Hubitat

What we like: Hubitat is a new startup in the home automation space with an emphasis on local execution. Hubitat has taken many architecture and design cues from SmartThings, but has re-implemented them to run locally on a hub placed in your house. As a result, many apps and devices that work with SmartThings can also work with Hubitat with minor modifications. The local processing is fast, the built-in rule machine is powerful, and Hubitat's cloud connector gives you the best of both worlds -- local execution with no hassle remote access.

What we don't like: The lack of a native mobile app and built-in push notifications is a deal-breaker for some. Hubitat is a new player in the space, so device support is limited compared to the two options above. The lack of a distribution channel for independent developers to add to the Hubitat platform may slow progress. 

A good choice for: If you want a commercially supported platform that runs locally, look no further than Hubitat. You're ok with some rough edges, an un-polished user interface, and a lack of native mobile app for now because you expect the platform to mature over time.


OpenHAB

What we like: OpenHAB is another open source option that's been around for a bit longer than Home Assistant. OpenHAB has a powerful scripting language that makes building custom automations fairly simply. It runs on commodity hardware such as a Raspberry Pi or household server.

What we don't like: The pace of OpenHAB development is slower, and the Java-based architecture is a little antiquated in the open source world. This may hold OpenHAB back from working with the latest integrations and products right away as the smart home industry continues to grow. One big drawback for Konnected users is that there's no out-of-the-box alarm system software built in -- you have to write it yourself.

A good choice for: Open source users who prefer a more mature and stable platform. Power users who want to do a lot of scripting.

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