There are dozens of smart hubs on the market that have useful features, integrations and capabilities. If we want to purchase the best smart hub that offers exceptional features and third-party integrations, it's good to be well informed when making a decision.
Insteon and SmartThings are two leading hubs that are best-seller devices. These two have thousands of positive reviews and the highest ratings.
Table of Contents
- Insteon vs SmartThings: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Insteon vs SmartThings: Pros & Cons and Verdict
In this SmartThings vs Insteon article, we'll compare, evaluate and rate the most important aspects of both smart hubs. We'll also present detailed charts, and lastly, we'll come up with a reasonable verdict and crown one as the leading product.
1. Installation Process
The first topic we need to cover is the setup processes of Insteon and SmartThings. It's crucial for these hubs to be easily activatable since modern smart home shoppers always look for devices with simple setup processes that don't require professional assistance or interference.
Insteon is a popular smart hub and the main competitor of Wink and SmartThings. Like its competitors, Insteon has a straightforward setup process that takes around 10 minutes to complete. We've dropped a fantastic guide uploaded by Insteon that explains the ‘Insteon Starter Kit' setup.
So that's pretty much everything there is to know about the installation of Insteon. If you still have questions regarding the setup, make sure to check the user manual for further guidance. Alternatively, reach out to the Insteon support team, who are superb at helping.
SmartThings is one of the most accessible hubs. I won't write a step-by-step guide since ST uploaded an excellent guide that perfectly explains the whole installation process. If you're interested in how it's done, watch ST's video:
Setting up SmartThings is so simple that I'm sure that there won't be any complications. If you still encounter some, the package of the smart hub includes a well-written user manual for further guidance. As a last resort, you can contact SmartThings customer care.
If you don't feel like reaching out to the customer care department, there's an excellent community forum run by SmartThings. It's the coolest thing done by a smart hub company, and that community forum is one of the main reasons why people consider ST as the leading industry device.
It's essential to have an eye-catching, attractive and a beautiful design since it plays a crucial role in how well a product sells. Luckily, both Insteon and SmartThings are well-designed and will blend well with a room's aesthetics.
Personally, I think the design of Insteon is too mainstream. It's nothing special, the quality doesn't feel right, and it surely can't compete with the looks of its competitors. If you don't know how the Insteon Hub looks, take a look at this:
So the picture speaks for itself. Insteon isn't a smart hub that attracts a lot of attention, and it doesn't make the house feel more intelligent and enhanced.
Besides discussing the looks of a device, it's essential to know the dimensions of a product to be sure that it'll fit the pre-planned area in our house. The dimensions of the hub are 3.7 x 3.7 x 1.5 inches, and it weighs around a pound.
SmartThings is also available only in white, but it boasts being the most beautifully-designed smart hub on the market. The first interaction with the hub makes you understand how well-built the product is.
If you're interested in the charming looks of the hub, I've dropped an excellent picture below:
SmartThings is small, simple, minimalistic and eye-catching. It's vital for a hub like this to have the right dimensions since people want to place things in different places. The dimensions of SmartThings Hub are 4.2 x 4.9 x 1.3 inches, and it weighs 0.5lb.
While ST is one of the well-designed hubs, I've come across people who are tired of the traditional white colour and the square form. Some even complain about SmartThings' lack of innovation.
3. Supported Devices
The main reason why people purchase these hubs is due to their integrations. People want to have all their smart devices connected, and if SmartThings and Insteon can't help with the process, there's no incentive for us to invest in the products.
Insteon hub is a third-party integration-friendly device that works with other ZigBee, Z-Wave devices. It's also HomeKit-enabled and supports Amazon Alexa.
What we loved about the smart hub is that it connects with unlimited devices. Other hubs link to a much more limited number of devices, and it's nice that Insteon provides such freedom.
If you're interested in what products Insteon integrates with, take a look at this list uploaded on the company's website. The primary and most essential integrations are with Amazon Alexa, Echo, HomeKit, Logitech and Nest.
We paired the Insteon with popular devices like Nest Cam, Amazon Alexa and Sonos Play. Mostly, the integrations went smoothly, and we had full control over the devices. Still, there were cases when Insteon couldn't monitor and control the connected devices.
We had cases when the system glitched, crashed or froze. It happened rarely, but it's still important to keep it in mind.
SmartThings is well-known for being the most integration-friendly hub. There's a supported device list uploaded by ST, and if you’d like to view what products integrate with SmartThings, click here. In case you can't find the device you own on the list, don't worry, there might be a solution for you.
In addition to what's listed there, SmartThings integrates with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. There are also two USB ports, and a built-in Bluetooth LE for future device support.
As soon as the Bluetooth is active, SmartThings will turn into a perfect hub that will flawlessly sync with any smart device. If you don't know what the Bluetooth does, simply put, it allows you to control specific devices directly from the hub. For instance, you can control Philips Hue bulbs via SmartThings.
SmartThings ideally syncs with security cameras. If you own an Arlo Pro, you can connect it to the smart hub. The most significant drawback here is that SmartThings' cloud store will soon turn into a paid service.
That makes things worse since we won't be able to record clips if we don't subscribe to a paid plan. Since a lot of security cameras offer free cloud storage with an option of upgrading to a paid one, there's no reason for us to pay for it.
If the cloud storage does become a paid thing, for most users it'll become meaningless to integrate security cameras with SmartThings.
Besides everything we've mentioned, SmartThings works with IFTTT. While this might cause small delays in triggers, it’s still enjoyable to have the integration.
What I'd like to mention is that ST doesn't connect with Nest. But don't worry, there's a solution. SmartThings is well-known for its stable API that allows us to write device handlers.
While such integrations are harder to complete, it's still possible to do it if you're willing to add some scripts. If you don't know how to do it, be sure to visit SmartThings' community forum. There are valuable guides written there that might come in handy.
The newest addition to the smart hub is the Amazon Alexa integration. We tested the integration, and it went smoothly. The voice-enabled commands are a nice perk, and it's cool that SmartThings supports it.
4. Mobile Application
It's essential for a smart hub to have an excellent mobile application since a lot of owners use it as a primary tool to navigate, control and monitor activities. So we need to know if Insteon and SmartThings have functional mobile apps that won't be causing us any trouble.
Insteon's mobile application is a bit buggy. We've tested it and encountered some serious glitches. For instance, when we tried connecting the hub with the app, the sweeping radar kept spinning forever and eventually led to an error message.
The app itself looks well-structured. It allows you to control your devices and even offers a scheduling feature (you can set specific times for devices to turn on and off).
From the Insteon mobile app, you can set schedules, monitor security camera activities, configure the smart thermostat, check sensors and, most importantly, build scenes.
Popular Comparison: Wink Hub vs Wink Hub 2: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Creating scenes is one of the critical aspects of a smart hub. For example, Insteon grants the ability to control your home's lighting.
Another thing I like about the app is that it keeps track of every sensor. If anything goes wrong, Insteon provides full insight into the current state of your home. If anything requires repairing or securing, you'll know it instantly.
SmartThings' mobile app is one of the best on the market. It's well-built, easy to use, straightforward and intuitive. What I like the most is that ST's mobile application never bugs, glitches or freezes.
We've tested the app, and as expected, the results were terrific.
SmartThings allows the owner to configure a lot of things and offers fast access features. It has several modes to choose from, and you automate the shifts so that everything runs smoothly.
If you're in the ‘Home Mode' and leave your house without activating the ‘Away Mode', don't worry, SmartThings will take notice; it'll automatically do the switch that'll activate, if paired, the motion detection system of your security cameras.
Besides the main modes, you can create extra ones as you see fit. For example, creating one called ‘Guest Mode' is a beautiful idea (If you have visitors, lights will not turn on or off on their own).
We also have three security modes: Armed (Away), Armed (Home) and Disarmed. You can also configure them as you see fit.
As for the mobile app, it works brilliantly. We never had a case when it froze, crashed or glitched. It's quite easy to use, and the navigation is very straightforward.
Lastly, like the Insteon hub, SmartThings allows us to create scenes. For instance, if you’re in the ‘Armed Away’ mode, the security camera will start recording, and if it detects motion, it’ll call 911 (if you have a monitoring contract purchased) and sound the siren to alarm trespassers they’ve been spotted.
5. Advantages and Disadvantages
Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of Insteon and SmartThings is essential for complete clarity before making a purchase decision.
It's vital to understand the pros and cons of both.
Hence we've created two detailed charts that clearly show all the advantages and disadvantages of SmartThings and Insteon.
|Easy Setup Process||Buggy Mobile Application|
|Free to Use||No Android Support|
|Plenty of Connections||Average Third-Party Integrations|
|X-10 Protocol Compatible|
|No Monthly Fees||Purchase Insteon|
|Flexible Mobile Application||Limited Bluetooth Connectivity|
|Amazon Alexa Support||No Wi-Fi Radio|
|Compatible With Hundreds of Smart Devices||Problems Disabling Alarms|
|Powerful Developer Community|
|Zigbee and Z-Wave Support|
|Easy to Install||Purchase SmartThings|
That's all there is about the pros and cons of both smart hubs. The charts show the superiority of SmartThings. While Insteon is promising, it's nowhere near the industry-leading hub of SmartThings.
Here's another aspect where SmartThings wins big. Unlike its competitor, SmartThings has a wonderful developer community forum where other ST owners discuss topics related to the hub.
If you have any questions, suggestions or ideas, you can share them with the community where other SmartThings owners and official representatives of ST will join the discussion.
As for the customer care area, both Insteon and SmartThings have good support teams. I've reached out to both and always received professional answers and tips.
Before concluding our SmartThings Hub vs Insteon article, we’d like to present a detailed chart that shows the full features of both smart hubs.
While both hubs have good features and terrific capabilities, it's evident that the SmartThings hub is the superior device that exceeds Insteon in every important aspect.
The Bottom Line
Insteon Hub is a decent product that is capable and promising, but the experience and flexibility it provides are limited compared to the likes of SmartThings and Wink 2. Insteon doesn't offer anything unique, and it's not a top-notch smart hub.
On the other hand, SmartThings is the complete hub on the market that has the best features, capabilities and high reliability. SmartThings is easy to use, straightforward and effective. Its third-party integrations are unmatchable, and it also boasts being the best-seller hub.
If you want to own the best smart hub that is reliable, secure and durable, purchasing the SmartThings is the best decision you can make. It'll surely meet or even exceed your expectations.