You’re in the market for a smart hub, but there are many models to choose from. How do you choose?
Our Pick: Samsung SmartThings because of its quick installation and overall ease of use.
However, it ultimately comes down to your preference and needs. Smart hubs can revolutionize your home, from controlling home security to turning on lights to even playing music with just a verbal command. Simply put they are the way of the future.
To help you in your decision we will compare two popular smart hubs currently on the market: Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub and Vera Plus Smart Home Controller.
While each has pros and cons, our goal is to lay both out to help you decide which best suits your needs.
Comparison: The Hubs at a Glance
Samsung SmartThings wirelessly connects many smart devices throughout your house to a hub. It acts as a central connection for your devices, so you can control them remotely and sink them together to work in unison.
It has many capabilities, a few of the most important are:
- Can control over 200 devices at one time
- Range of 50 -100 ft.
- Installation in under 15 minutes
- Compatible with smart devices from over 40 different companies, including the likes of Phillips, Honeywell, and Google.
- Can be controlled via a specifically designed SmartThings App for your phone or through Amazon Alexa
- Works with 3 Protocols: ZigBee, Z-wave, and IP
- Connects via Ethernet chord to a wireless router for Wi-Fi capabilities
- Power from an A/C wall adapter with 2 hours of backup battery life
- Comes with a 1-year warranty and respected support staff to assist you with any issues
Samsung SmartThings has been around for a long time and is constantly receiving updates to fix problems and adapt to the changing landscape of home automation. It is a reliable choice as a smart hub.
Vera Plus Smart Home Controller
The Vera Plus Smart Home Controller serves the same purpose as the Samsung SmartThings, with a few key differences.
A few of the important capabilities are as follows:
- Can control 75 – 125 different devices at one time
- Over 1,500 compatible devices from major brands like Amazon, Nest, and Honeywell
- Has independent Wi-Fi capabilities or can connect via Ethernet chord to an existing router
- Works with 4 Protocols: Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, & Bluetooth BLE
- Allows for Geofencing (turns settings on/off based on your proximity to specified areas of your house)
- Can be controlled with a specific Vera App for your phone, on your computer, or with Amazon Alexa
- Powered by an A/C wall adapter and optional external battery packs are available
- Optional 3G capabilities in case of internet connectivity issues
- Comes with a 1-year warranty and free support to get your Vera Plus up and running faster
Vera Plus Smart Home Controller is a good improvement from its predecessor, the Vera Edge. It’s built-in Wi-Fi and Geofencing capabilities make it an ideal choice for those who want their smart hub to seamlessly transition between preprogrammed settings as they move through their house.
How Do They Work?
Both the Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub and Vera Plus Smart Home Controller strive to fill the same niche. They both do this well, which makes them very similar in some ways.
They both act as a central hub to control a multitude of different smart home products. They are controlled with specialized apps that allow the owner to control different products individually or set up groupings to control multiple simultaneously.
Both are compatible with a large variety of different 3rd party products and receive updates regularly for new products being released.
The Vera Plus has precise geofencing capabilities to change between preprogrammed settings based on your physical location automatically.
The Samsung SmartThings can control more devices, so if you are looking to include 200+ smart products in your home, it is a clear choice.
Additionally, it can function as a wireless router (does not need to be in proximity of an existing router) and has optional 3G capabilities if you live in an area with patchy internet.
Over time both the Vera Plus and SmartThings have been increasing the number of protocols, capabilities, and devices they are compatible with. Here is a compatibility comparison between the two.
- SmartThings – 3 (ZigBee, Z-wave, and IP)
- Vera Plus – 4 (Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, & Bluetooth BLE)
The Vera Plus has more protocols that it can work with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better. Most of the common smart products communicate through Wi-Fi.
The Vera Plus can directly connect to Wi-Fi, and the SmartThings has Wi-Fi capabilities if connected to an existing router.
The additional protocols are beneficial in certain situations, like if you are using your smart hub to control home security system.
- SmartThings – No direct Wi-Fi connection
- Vera Plus – Yes, direct Wi-Fi connection
The Vera Plus can directly connect to all of your smart home products through Wi-Fi and can function as a router itself.
The SmartThings cannot directly connect to Wi-Fi on its own. It can be connected to a router with an Ethernet cable to have Wi-Fi capabilities.
- SmartThings – Almost all products that use its supported protocols from over 40 companies
- Vera Plus – Almost all products that use its supported protocols, estimated at 1500+ devices
Both Vera Plus and SmartThings can be used with a majority of smart home products on the market and are comparable with a number of devices.
Installation and Setup
The Vera Plus and SmartThings both have very easy and straightforward installation processes. They both begin by plugging the smart hub into a power outlet and internet supply.
The Vera Plus can be plugged directly into an Ethernet port in your home, and the SmartThings must be connected to a router.
After this point, the installation processes differ and are outlined below.
Samsung SmartThings Setup
After the hub has power and an internet connection you use the SmartThings App to create an account and connect it to your SmartThings hub.
Next, the app will check if there are any firmware updates for your SmartThings hub and then you are ready to add devices.
Vera Plus Smart Home Controller Setup
After your Vera Plus is powered, you use the Vera website to set up your Vera Plus hub. On the Vera website, you will be prompted to set up an account and register your smart hub with its serial number.
After that, you can begin to add devices to your hub. The video details the installation process for the VeraEdge, which has the same process as the Vera Plus.
Vera vs Smartthings Comparison Chart
The following specifications chart will give you the differences at a glance. A couple of key notes:
- The SmartThings comes in at about half the volume and 1/3 of the weight of the Vera Plus, making it substantially smaller.
- The SmartThings has a built-in battery pack, and the Vera Plus requires an external battery pack to run without being plugged in.
|Specs||Samsung SmartThings||Vera Plus|
|Price||Check Price at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon|
|Dimensions||4.2″ x 4.9″ x 1.3″||7.7″ x 5″ x 1.3″|
|Battery Backup||10hr. Battery Backup||Optional, External|
|Operating System||Android, IOS||Android, IOS, Microsoft|
|Ports||Ethernet, USB||USB 2.0, WAN|
|Wi-Fi Compatible||Yes||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Protocols||ZigBee, Z-Wave, IP||Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, & Bluetooth BLE|
|Device Control (Simultaneously)||200||75 – 125|
Vera Plus Pros & Cons
- Advanced and accurate geofencing
- 4 communication protocols
- Direct Wi-Fi capabilities
- Optional 3G capabilities
- Compatible with most smart devices on the market
- Very customizable with geofencing and 4 communication protocols. The 3G capabilities are great for homes with spotty Wi-Fi connections.
- More complicated setup than SmartThings
- Large size and weight
- No built-in battery pack
- Only 1 USB port
Vera Plus has a longer and more involved installation process. The 1 USB port makes expanding the Vera Plus hub more challenging than the SmartThings.
Samsung SmartThings Pros & Cons
- Easy setup with an easy to access help forum on their website
- Small size
- Very Popular and widely in use
- 2 USB ports
- Built-in battery pack
- Compatible with almost all smart devices
- User-friendly mobile app
SmartThings is very easy to setup and intuitive to understand. It is already widely used meaning there is a large community of people discussing any problems and solutions for issues that you might have.
Everything you need to get started comes with the device, and it doesn’t need any add-ons like battery packs.
- 130 ft. maximum range
- Only compatible with 3 communication protocols
- Must be connected to a router for Wi-Fi access
SmartThings can only communicate in 3 protocols limiting some customization options that are available to the Vera Plus.
Final Thoughts – Which Hub is Better?
Both the Vera Plus and SmartThings have their merits. When choosing between the two, it comes down to what you would like to do with your smart hub.
If you want to set up your smart hub as quickly as possible, easily pair devices, and then forget about it, the Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub is better suited for you.
If you don’t mind a longer setup process and want to customize your smart home more, the Vera Plus Smart Home Controller meets your needs.
In the end, both are excellent choices and two of the best smart hubs on the market.