In this weekly column, hosts Brandon Doyle, Doyle Real Estate Team with RE/MAX Results, and Colton Pratt, project manager, walk through smart-home products and showcase their capabilities while reviewing pros and cons.

Between Samsung’s SmartThings and Hubitat Elevation, the smart-home hub train is one you’ll want to board. But which of these tech tools is best for you or your clients? Which sounds better: local control or wireless automation? Are certain integrations more important than others? Whatever the preference, everyone’s bound to decide on the best one for them.


Samsung SmartThings is a home hub that wirelessly connects your smart home devices and allows you to remotely control and automate them across different manufactures that don’t have direct integrations.

For example, if you want your voice assistant to alert you and turn a light on when your security camera detects a person outside at night, it can do that!

SmartThings works with the most devices available on the market right now and is very user friendly. We’ve tested ours with a variety of different sensors, cameras, locks, thermostats, speakers, plugs, switches, and voice assistants. Setting up the hub is very easy: simply select the manufacture/device from the list within the app and it’ll walk you through the pairing instructions.

Some devices will be controlled locally via Zigbee, Z-Wave or WiFi while others are controlled through the cloud, but there are no subscription fees to make these work. Our SmartThings hub ties our Lutron switches, shades and LIFX bulbs to our motion sensors and Brilliant Control panel. Although it isn’t something we absolutely need, it has added a level of comfort and convenience at a low price point, and it is much easier to set up compared to other hubs.

SmartThings does have a partnership with ADT for home security, however I would recommend other do-it-yourself (DIY) security system options that don’t require an expensive subscription and offer professional monitoring on demand, such as Abode, Simplisafe, Nest or Ring.

Hubitat Elevation

If you’re looking for completely local control with even more level of customization Hubitat is another great hub.

Hubitat Elevation is a smart home Z-Wave and Zigbee hub that focuses on local automation. This means that your data is not shared, and your automation will still function without being connected to the internet.

Most Hubitat users end up transferring their devices over from another hub (such as Wink or SmartThings) and tend to be a little more advanced. It is not as easy to setup as Samsung SmartThings, but it provides a deeper level of control and functionality.

One of my favorite things about Hubitat Elevation is the Lutron Caseta integration. When paired with a Lutron Smart Bridge Pro, the system opens up two-way communication through the Telnet protocol. This allows users to use Lutron Pico remotes as button controllers for any device (including smart bulbs) connected to the hub, and it allows those devices to control the Lutron switches, shades, etc.

Other hubs that integrate with Lutron use cloud-based services, so they are not able to receive commands from the Lutron Pico remote and have problems when the home’s internet connection is down.

The list of other device integrations is quite lengthy and updated frequently with new drivers that often have better control than native apps. Hubitat has created a video series that helps walk through the setup, discover devices, and apps and automations with a rule machine.

The learning curve is a little more steep, but the online community is very helpful should you run into problems or are looking for new ideas. I would recommend this product for anyone who has a variety of Z-Wave/Zigbee devices, some experience with home automation and the desire to control your devices locally without relying on cloud-to-cloud services.

In this weekly column, hosts Brandon Doyle, Doyle Real Estate Team with RE/MAX Results, and Colton Pratt, project manager, walk through smart-home products and showcase their capabilities while reviewing pros and cons. 

Create your own success story at Inman Connect New York, Jan. 28-31, where over 4,000 industry professionals gather to forge new relationships, share tactical takeaways and discover the latest technology to boost their bottom line. 

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