Samsung's SmartThings platform isn't quite the same as Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, but there's a serious amount of potential with this smart home hub.
As with its rivals, the list of compatible devices that you can pair with SmartThings is growing â and it's benefited from being open and accepting of a huge range of tech standards. It supports the two big smart home protocols, Zigbee and Z-Wave, plays nice with Alexa and Google Assistant, and enables neat functionality with Samsung's own TVs, fridges and robot vacs. There's also now one centralised SmartThings app for mobile and a dashboard for Samsung QLED Smart TVs and appliances.
Of course, SmartThings's relevance is waning in the Alexa era. Before, a smart home hub was essential to tame the different devices in your home, but since smart speakers have started handling that aspect, it's less important than it was.
But which are the best SmartThings-compatible devices? Below, we've rounded up the top picks in lighting, smart cameras, plugs, thermostats and more.
SmartThings compatible Samsung tech
Samsung now offers SmartThings controls for its Digital Appliances, including connected ovens, washing machines, dryers, air purifiers and air conditioning. Features vary but as well as controlling functions you can get status updates to SmartThings apps and dashboards.
You can check if your model is compatible here and it's worth noting that you'll need to upgrade to the latest SmartThings hub to control these gadgets and appliances, as version one doesn't support it. Here are a few of the big Samsung products with interesting SmartThings functionality:
SmartThings isn't all about the phone app â Samsung's new QLED TV line-up for 2018 features a SmartThings dashboard, with quick view items in the pop-up menu. This lets you quickly see the status of all your connected kit in various rooms, set up and turn on and off routines and do things like set the robot vacuum going from the sofa.
There are also onscreen alerts to tell you if, say, the washing is done. Expect the SmartThings dashboard to make its way to cheaper Samsung TVs soon. Plus the new Ambient Mode is really neat too.
Samsung's Family Hub line now acts as a SmartThings controller â so not only can you see what's in your fridge via the SmartThings mobile app or TV dashboard (and three built-in cameras), but you can also keep an eye on the rest of your home tech, as well as turn on/off smart lights, cameras etc, via this smart fridge's huge 21.5-inch screen or Bixby voice controls.
Other features include being able to mirror a Samsung smart TV and handy kitchen apps including Whiteboard, StickBoard, Shopping List, TuneIn, Pandora and AllRecipes. We're awaiting the release of the Family Hub 3.0, while the 2.0 is on sale now.
Samsung Powerbot Wi-Fi
This robot vacuum cleaner from Samsung is SmartThings compatible which means that you can set up and control the device from your phone or TV. So you can get a status update from the vacuum cleaner, send it to charge and start full or spot cleaning modes. Note â version 1 of the SmartThings hub doesn't support Samsung Digital Appliances including the robot vac.
SmartThings-compatible smart speakers
$99.99 | Amazon
Samsung doesnât have its own smart speaker, of course, but that doesnât mean you canât use the Amazon Echo line or any Amazon Alexa device. The Echo range gives you one of the most beginner friendly and affordable ways to get in on the likes of music streaming via voice; on-demand information such as news, weather and traffic and â of course â smart home controls.
From $129.99, google.com
Not into the Echo range? Well, you can also explore the Google Home lineup as well as Google Assistant devices. As with Echo, youâre also able to get involved with the three tiers of the system â Google Home Mini, Google Home and Google Home Max. Thereâs not too much difference between the capabilities of Amazon and Google here, so this really comes down to preference â overall Alexa just takes it day to day but Google is best if you're tied into its services.
SmartThings-compatible smart bulbs
Fancy mixing the colours up in your room, simply because you can? Well, with Philips Hue, not only can you get involved with the rainbow-lighting fun, but you can also control things through the Samsung SmartThings app.
All the usual routines are also available, meaning you can automate the lights with SmartThings and set them to turn on, off, or change colour when motion sensors sense that doors are opened, for example. If you have Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa in your house, you can also control the lights with voice command and there's a huge range of lighting to choose from. Make sure to pick up a Philips Hue Bridge along with your bulbs, though â youâll need one.
Philips Hue not your bag? No problem, since Lifx bulbs will also work with SmartThings. Lifx matches Hue on the range of lighting options and functionality. However, you wonât need any additional bridges to connect multiple bulbs together because Lifx works using Wi-Fi rather than more obscure protocols. You can still control the colours, set routines and order the lights around from the app, using a smart speaker, or using the SmartThings app.
Sengled Element Plus
Youâll need a SmartThings Hub (or a compatible device with SmartThings Hub functionality) to channel the power of Sengledâs smart bulbs, and Sengled offers an affordable option to those who may not fancy forking out for Lifx or Philips. Again, voice commands, routines and control through the SmartThings app are all options here.
SmartThings-compatible smart switches
Lutron Caseta is one of the big names in wall switches, and this 600W model will handle anything you throw at it â LEDs, incandescent, fluorescent, you name it. The added bonus of SmartThings here is that you'll be able to add them to routines and automate them.
SmartThings-compatible smart cameras
Both Netgear's indoor and outdoor smart security cameras have SmartThings compatibility. This includes automation for the camera, allowing you to set it to start recording if doors or windows open unexpectedly, as well as the ability to set routines that involve the smart camera range. You can also manage other connected devices with SmartThings, setting them to turn on or off when your Arlo camera detects motion.
If youâre looking to see, hear or speak to knockers at your door day or night, the Ring is our top pick for video doorbells right now. The benefits of pairing it with SmartThings? Well, you can monitor the video doorbell and other connected devices from the app, as well as set it to turn on or off when it detects motion.
SmartThings-compatible smart thermostats
The Ecobee4 Thermostat has Alexa built in, so it can do everything a smart assistant can. There are also room sensors that'll help you better manage temperatures in specific rooms, rather than a generalised temperature for your whole home. A popular choice for people put off by Nest's lack of compatibility with SmartThings, Apple HomeKit etc.
Honeywell Total Connect
Honeywell has a colossal range of smart thermostats, and the Total Connect supports SmartThings. You'll be able to manage your temperature via local weather reports and, of course, manage how hot or cool it is right from your SmartThings app.