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SmartThings vs Homey - Smart home system comparison

SmartThings vs Homey - Smart home system comparison

Homey and Samsung SmartThings are both popular smart home systems worldwide. But how do they compare? Let’s find out.

Choosing your smart home system is probably the most important decision in your smart home. As the heart of your setup, the system determines what you can and cannot do. It is the user interface for your home. Its compatibility, now and in the future, determines how much you will spend on making your home smart.

Disclaimer: you're on the website of Homey, and this comparison has been made by members of our team. While we try to approach all aspects as objectively as possible to help you make the right choice, we can't state 100% independency.

smart home Homey Animus

Homey vs SmartThings: summary

This is a summary of how the two systems stack up. For a more in-depth view, please read on.

HomeySamsung SmartThings
Supported devices 50,000+ 394
Supported technologies    
   Z-Wave Plus ✔️ ✔️
   Zigbee ✔️ ✔️
   Wi-Fi ✔️ ✔️
   Bluetooth Low Energy ✔️
   868 MHz ✔️
   433 MHz - Nexa / Telldus ✔️
433MHz - Somfy ✔️
   Infrared ✔️
   KNX-IP ✔️
     
Voice assistants ✔️ ✔️
Data graphs / Historical log ✔️
Mobile App Simple + Advanced Simple
Privacy-aware ✔️
Automation Powerful Limited
Energy management ✔️
Price € 299 € 89
Platform Open app platform Closed
Software status Mature, fast development Mature, slow development
Homey is more expensive than SmartThings, but the price difference does show in its capabilities.
Homey compatible devices and brands vs Smartthings

Compatibility and versatility

Let’s start with the most important aspect: compatibility. The connectivity and device support of the system determines what you can and cannot link. After all, you choose a smart home system to manage your whole house – not just a part of it. Connectivity also influences the future: how much freedom do you have when you want to buy new devices?

When we compare Homey and Samsung SmartThings, we see that where SmartThings features four wireless technologies, Homey supports seven. Homey adds 433MHz, 868MHz and Infrared to Z-Wave, Zigbee, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which both systems feature.

That's technologies. When we dive into the supported brands and devices, we see that SmartThings focuses on a small number of brands to support. Homey, with its open platform, is more open, and has a generally more extended range of supported devices and services, including popular options like Google Chromecast and Spotify Connect over Wi-Fi.

Interfaces, Apps and voice assistants

It’s essential for a smart hub to have an easy-to-navigate mobile application with a clean, simple design so that users don’t get lost and confused. Both Homey and SmartThings have a mobile app that does quite well in that regard. Both systems also feature integrations with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.

The SmartThings app is mostly designed to be simple. That has its pros and its cons. It helps in setting up your first devices and to make a simple automation. However, it also makes that some things that Homey does aren't possible on SmartThings.

Automation is very limited (more on that later), to start. SmartThings is further lacking a proper Energy overview, settings or family member invites. It's suitable for the basics, but odds are that you will run into one of the limitations when expanding your home past the first couple of devices.

The Homey app is also built to be easy to use, but offers more functionality and flexibility. It has quite some features not found in the SmartThings app. 

Homey's mobile app
The Homey app features a lot of powerful options in a friendly, modern interface.
Smartthings mobile app

While the new SmartThings app is quite easy to navigate, the possibilities are fairly limited.

SmartThings and Homey – Privacy

Homey is designed with privacy and security in mind, so your home stays yours. That is why all of Homey's connections are secured and encrypted, so you decide who gets access, what happens and when.

Samsung SmartThings, on the other hand, collects all of the data that you generate. That means when you arrive or leave home, when a door opens, when you move in a room or when an alarm goes off – it can all be used. For what this data is used is not altogether clear, although the SmartThings app does show ads sometimes.

Automation

One of the core functions of smart home systems, next to device compatibility is automation. Both Homey and SmartThings feature automation engines that can be used in the mobile app.

Homey has Homey Flow for automations. Flow is available directly within the Homey app for smartphones and tablets. Theres also a web app available for desktops and tablets. The interface is modern, organised and relatively easy to understand. At the same time, it has powerful capabilities with if… and../or.. then../else…, tags and logic, push notifications and Flows that can trigger each other. With Homey Flow, you can build anything, up to very elaborate scenarios, in a friendly user interface.

Homey provides an easy-to-use, yet powerful automation tool with Homey Flow.

Creating rules with SmartThings is also easy to do from the mobile app. They are more limited than Homey Flows though. For instance, you can turn on your light when your motion sensor goes off. Adding extra conditions to that, using 'and' or 'else', is not possible.

SmartThings also makes a distinct difference between automations and scenes. This means that you can have scenarios triggered manually ór automatically - not both. This might be a bit confusing. In Homey, Flows can always be manually triggered, also if their normal behaviour is based on sensors or time.

There's a good chance that you will run into the limitations of SmartThings automations at some point.

Homey visual appearance
Homey's visual appearance

Price

Nothing comes for free, and price is always a factor when choosing products – smart home and non-smart-home. When comparing, we see that Homey costs € 299 and Samsung SmartThings € 89.

That’s a significant price-difference. When you look at the difference in the context of your whole Smart Home, it becomes a bit less, but it's obviously still there.

The question is: are the added benefits of Homey worth the price difference to you? Since better-priced devices on Zigbee (which is only partly supported by SmartThings) or 433MHz are often not available on SmartThings, set-ups based on SmartThings and Homey in the end are similar in total costs.

The buy-in remains different though. If you're planning a quite basic set-up then SmartThings is a solid platform with a friendly app. If there's a good chance that over time, your smart home will expand further and you'd want a more versatile, future-proof system, than it might be worth it to spend a bit more on Homey, especially since changing systems later costs you more time and money.

Smartthings hub visual appearance
Samsung SmartThings v3 hub is more limited in functionality compared to Homey, but it's also cheaper.

Platform and development

When you invest in a system, you want to use it for the years to come. When it comes to platform structure and future development, there is one big difference between Homey and Samsung SmartThings: Homey is a completely open platform. SmartThings does state they are opening up their platform. In practice however, it still is a lot more closed than Homey.

The open platform of Homey works the same way as your smartphone: all integrations with devices and brands are separate apps. These apps can be individually made, installed and updated. And they can be made by anyone and distributed through the Homey App store. As a user, you never have to see or copy a single line of code, but still enjoy all these extras.

Homey has a large developer community adding support for new devices and services. This includes lots of cool stuff that would never make it in a closed system, like pet trackers. Like Tesla and Volvo cars, and a whole array of solar panel inverters.

For future integrations, you’re not solely dependent on the team behind Homey, as apps are published by community developers and of course the brands themselves as well. This makes Homey a future-proof platform in continuous development.

Unllike SmartThings, Homey has an open App Store.
Homey's App Store makes for many interesting integrations, installed with a single click.

Homey vs. SmartThings – Conclusion

Both SmartThings and Homey offer a good basis for a modern smart home. The question is mainly: do you want to keep it basic, or do you want to be able to expand?

For the basic users, SmartThings offers an app that works fairly easy and well. And if you can live with the more limited range of supported device, it might be a good platform to get off on.

Like SmartThings, Homey also offers a user-friendly user experience through its mobile app and other interfaces. Compared to SmartThings, it's more expensive, but also offers more functionality, versatility and device support.

Energy overview, scenarios and scenes in one, more versatile automation, family invites, three extra wireless technologies, including 433MHz and infrared, insights in historical data about your home, a truly open platform, better privacy... These are some of the things that Homey adds for these extra euros.

Homey has more freedom, possibilities and is more future-proof for your setup in general compared to SmartThings. It's more expensive upfront, but the support of extra technologies and a wider range of compatible devices also allow you to save money on your entire setup.

The choice is yours. The system you choose will be the heart of your smart home. If a basic setup is enough for you, you might be saving yourself some money with SmartThings. If you're willing to spend more on a basis that is more versatile, powerful and future-proof, we invite you to discover Homey.

Homey smart home hub

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