Controller Suggestions?

I recognize that this is likely off topic, but would love suggestions.

I’m really struggling to choose a controller and would love feedback from this group. Posting here and the largest set of devices are my switches and dimmers (~40). Beyond that, I have some Yale Assure SL Locks, Rollease blinds and a couple of fans that use bond & Nest Thermostats.

I’m coming from a Control4 world and the challenge is I that all the controllers I’ve researched seem to fill most of my needs and I’ve entered a state analysis paralysis :frowning:

My primary use cases are:

  • Control: This is a second home, so the ability to control this when I’m not around is very important. Although most devices have their own app, so that is always a fallback
  • Automation:
    • Simple: Some simply automation like 3/4 way switches (this counts as automation when you have to do z-wave association right?)
    • More Advanced: Being able to lock down the house, wake up, with a single action.

I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I care if the system is hosted in the cloud or not (e.g. SmartThings), and I think I’m fine with it. I care more about a stable and easy to use system with a clean interface (on web for programming, mobile just for access).

Main contenders seem to be SmartThings, HomeSeer, Hubitat and HomeAssistant

Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

As someone who only jumped into this a few months ago, I went Hubitat since it had the 2nd largest share of users for Inovelli at least and at that time SmartThings was out of the hardware business and Aeotec hadn’t released their replacement for it yet. It seemed to be the more popular option including only ‘new’ supported hardware, so I figured it would have the best longevity and the largest community support.

I’ve been happy with it so far, but any purchases have happened after checking the compatibility list or for community integrations first. I use it locally only, but they allow you to expose your dashboards through the cloud so you shouldn’t have any issues there if you want to check on it or change states of devices. You can use scenes to control multiple switches if zwave association isn’t working out for you too, or they have a rule machine along with other automation tools that gives a lot of flexibility in accomplishing your more advanced automation as well. As far as compatibility goes for your devices, if they’re inovelli switches those are good, I believe the Yale locks are also natively supported, but can confirm here - List of Compatible Devices - Hubitat Documentation. I found community integrations for the Bond fans and Nest Thermostats, and possibly something for the Rollease blinds, but I’m not sure of the current state. I’d suggest double checking the Hubitat forums on those if you decide to go that route.

The dashboard itself isn’t very pretty, but I don’t have a comparison point there. You can also use smartly to customize the dashboard more, though the creators are spinning off their own hub as well and I don’t know how long that would be an option or if they’ll end up cutting out support. If you don’t mind setting up a raspberry pi and some config there you could check out a very nice looking new release called Hubidash that looks promising for a cleaner frontend also, but it’s brand new and in beta.

All in all though, I’ve been very happy with both it and the community support.

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If you want plug and play and ~90% reliability (both in uptime and complex automation completion) go with Smartthings.

If you are a tinkerer and willing to play around a bit every few weeks, Home Assistant is a massively compelling offering now that almost everything is in the UI (no more pesky yaml!).

I’ve not used Hubitat, but while it is local and very similar to ST (and executes well), it’s finish isn’t polished and really doesn’t have a good front end/user experience based on others comments. It is tough to get WAF points with that one massive caviat.

So ST or graduate to HA, that has been my path and I couldn’t be happier.

This is helpful. I’ve heard similar things about Hubitat’s interface and how HA may have a learning curve.

I’m a engineer so HA should be fine, but I also need to realistic in that I may not have a ton of time to tinker.

A lot of it is setup. I spent about ~4-6 hours setting up devices (integrations from many 3rd parties including weather, air quality, garage, smartthings, ecobee, fully kiosk (wall panel control/automation), google, HACS, printer, life360, mobile apps, pi-hole control, plex control, ring control, sonarr/radarr sensors, speedtest, kasa, vesync, WLED, xbox, zwave, etc.) another ~4-6 setting up primary automations to replicate my ST, then tweak for 5 mins here and there (over time), and then let it settle. I touch it when I get an idea, but for the most part it runs itself at this point.

I’m always willing to help!


I’m a Hubitat Elevation user with no experience using the other major platforms, but I haven’t found its limitations too limiting to the point I want to use Home Assistant, but it’s more flexible than SmartThings IMO.

Do keep in mind that you have very limited remote control with Hubitat unless you tunnel into the local network. This is the opposite of SmartThings where the cloud handles most everythig and the local device is primarily radio control.

The Dashboards can be prettied up very nicely with additional third party plugins if that becomes important to you, but I’ve yet to really take the plunge into creating a dashboard that is anything but a product only an engineer could love.

One of the reasons I joined the Inovelli forum was to watch for discussions like this. I’ve also joined HA and Vera forums, but spend more time here, since I’ve got mostly Inovelli devices in my home at this point (about 26, not all installed yet). I bought my first Z-Wave devices 5 years ago, and have been looking for a decent hub since :smile: - until January I used a Minimote as my only control (acts as a hub), in one room. I decided in January that now is the right time to finish my Z-Wave project around the home, since we were in lockdown (Ontario) and not much else to do.

I’ve setup with HA using the Z-Wave (Deprecated) integration, and found with some tweaking that all my LZW30-SN, LZW31-SN and LZW36 are working as expected for on/off/dim. I found a blueprint to use scenes on the LZW30-SN, but not the other devices. I’ve got a 3-Way association setup, and tweaked some LZW36 LED colours for my girls.

Which of the four or more HA Z-Wave configurations are you using @kreene1987 ?

I’m quite disappointed in the state of the home automation market. I thought ST was the way to go, but it’s no longer for sale. Vera no longer for sale. Aeotec Autopilot - can’t find much info?

Hubitat interface and remote control options don’t look appealing.

Ezlo is in pre-order? In beta? Looks like a mess from what I read on the forum. Their website doesn’t list it for sale, but says it’s shipping early February. AarTech in Canada has it on pre-order, but when will it ship?

I’ve done well with the dashboard customization on HA. I like what I see and will likely stick with it. I’m comfortable with Linux command line, and not sure how you would run HA well without getting in there sometimes. I’m pretty disappointed in their Z-Wave setups though. What a mess.

I have questions about a few of the things you mentioned having in your home. I’ll search the forums first, but here’s a few of the things I’ll be looking for:

  1. Ecobee
  2. Kiosk - I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.6" that is available
  3. Mobile access outside home without the $5 monthly fee

And @anikkar I will help where I can, only been using HA for 2 months, but I guess this means some of the current issues are fresh in my mind.

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Take a serious look at SharpTools. Incredible flexibility in dashboard design, made stronger with css integration, with a strong community and active developer participation.

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ST is available to purchase. Samsung decided to stop manufacturing the hardware. The ST hubs and devices are now manufactured by Aeotec with Samsung keeping the rest. There was a period of unavailability during the switchover, but it’s available now. It’s called the Aeotec Smart Home Hub, but it’s basically a ST Hub.

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@Bry that is for sure the way to go, and the pricing very attractive for what you get. This is the year I get a touch screen dashboard put up so I can start transitioning over to hub based security.

I am using the Zwave JS add on server (I run supervised) and integration. I swapped from OZW 1.6 as soon as I was able to test. It’s SO much better/faster stronger. There have been hiccups but they have official support so it’s GOING to get patched, and is the path forward. I do have zwaveJS2Mqtt as well for any quick settings changes since ZJS isn’t fully built out yet.

How are you finding support for Inovelli devices (and scene control) in Z-Wave JS?

The Inovelli devices just work? I’m not sure what to say but they are 100% working now.

As far as scene control, I use Node Red but there are also scripts for each device that can be used in automations that set parameters and perform actions when scenes are detected.

Edit: Node Red Zwave JS scene manager should be findable here. Scripts on

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Wow…didn’t expect so much great feedback (initially I was hesitant to post since it’s a bit off topic).

This is all really great info. Basically it feels like it comes down to HA vs ST, and I’m leaning towards HA given long term flexibility (I would be pretty frustrated to purchase a device that doesn’t integrate), but I still have a lot of diligence to do.

I do like that I can run it on a pi or docker instance.


I would also add that I DO pay the $5 (one coffee) per month because I CHOOSE to support the developers that make HA great, and it simplifies Alexa/Google integration to almost idiot-proof levels. I haven’t tried to work around it even through I already have reverse proxy/ssl/domain, etc.

Has been worth every penny.

Some people’s definition of home automation includes removing the manual interactions with their HA system du-jour from daily life. I have not logged into the Hubitat UI so far in 2021! All of our Hubitat devices are managed by either automations or from Apple Homekit tools through Homebridge/HOOBS. I can operate every single automated device in our house via Siri from my Apple Watch…


I will say I feel I may have been overly harsh on Hubitat’s dashboard and would agree with vreihen’s post above (also Bry’s reference of SharpTools looks really nice). The fiancée and I control everything via voice for the most part and while I’m still tinkering with the automation and messing with devices, I rarely have any need to actually use a dashboard. And since I used one of the referenced 3rd party apps, the one I do have isn’t bad and is currently a single column to support messing with stuff from a mobile interface (those ‘off’ statuses are clickable to turn them on, etc) -

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I guess I am well beyond “automations” in that our dashboard is now a part of our daily life. It has calendar events, weather, locations of individuals, scenes, etc. A front end is literally a must-have in my home now, and the mobile experience is great as well.

Control and automation is definitely one aspect of a smarthome, but user interfacing is a VERY significant portion of my needs.

Edit: I feel like I’ve had a few “debate-level” comments in the past few days. I totally understand that Hubitat is a fantastic product AND local AND works with GH/Alexa, etc. I’m not knocking it as a solution AT ALL, I’m literally saying that the front end is not very good, AND that it’s very hard to get into to make a change if you aren’t on a LAN. That’s really what kept me away. That and the fact that I had the necessary equipment already stood up to test HA and I loved it, so I saved myself $130 or so on a hub.


You just aren’t expanding your capabilities fast enough!

I have no desire to get locked outside of the pod bay by a malfunctioning automation system… :rofl: