If you’re a SmartThings Hub owner, and you’re looking for the best Samsung SmartThings dashboard control panel, you’ve come to the right place.
It use to be that if you wanted a home automation dashboard, you had to spend a tremendous amount of money, and the setup was custom. So if you wanted to tweak something, like updating a visual or adding a new automation to your dashboard, you had to rely on the company that created it to make that change for you.
It wasn’t a great user experience, and it definitely wasn’t great for your wallet.
Luckily these days, things are different. Several low cost, highly-configurable SmartThings dashboard options are available. I’ve taken the four most popular (ActionTiles, SharpTools.io, HousePanel, and webCoRE) and compared and reviewed them for you below.
Best SmartThings Dashboard
|Cost||$28.99/one-time (use my discount code “goodha4837” for 10% off)||$30/year subscription||Free/|
|Platform||Proprietary||Proprietary||Open source||Open source|
|Free trial||14 day free trial||14 day free, premium trial||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|Free long term option||No||Yes, limited to 15 tiles||Yes||Yes|
|Smart hub compatibility||SmartThings||SmartThings, Hubitat||SmartThings, Hubitat||SmartThings|
|Automation creation capabilities||No||Yes, visual rule builder/engine||No||Yes, rule builder/engine|
|Technical knowledge required||A little||Some||Some||A lot|
|My Recommendation||Best option for the average Joe||If you need a rule engine, but don’t want to code||I would avoid||Great option for the more technically inclined|
NOTE: Before jumping into each SmartThings dashboard option in more detail, it’s worth mentioning that ALL of these choices require upfront work and learning. Some more than others, but make no mistake about it, you will need to spend several hours, at a minimum, setting up your dashboard.
If you’re looking for a SmartThings dashboard that is affordable, quick to setup, and looks clean, ActionTiles is the easy choice.
At a one-time cost of 28.99, the risk is extremely low. And they even offer a 14 day free trial that gives you access to the entire product, so you can make an informed decision before buying.
I spent about 4 hours total learning and setting up my ActionTiles dashboard. And then maybe another 2-3 hours tweaking it, to get it just right.
The image below is the actual dashboard I use in my house today.
The application is web based, so you’ll need WiFi in order to keep your dashboard up and running. That said, you can pull up this dashboard on a phone, tablet, or laptop. Basically any device you can access the web with can be used to access it.
The dashboard has a responsive grid layout, so it will adjust to your phone, tablet, or laptop width.
Personally, I chose to use an old iPad Mini and mounted it on my wall with the ActionTiles dashboard permanently displayed. I mounted it close to my front door so that I can use automations like “Goodbye!”, which turns off everything in my house at once, as I’m walking out the door.
ActionTiles comes with over 3,000 icons that you can use to customize each automation/tile, and you can easily change colors, fonts, etc.
When it comes to Samsung SmartThings dashboards, ActionTiles is the most natural fit. I wouldn’t hesitate buying this product for a second.
If you’re interested, you can view many different examples of ActionTiles dashboards here.
SharpTools.io is the closest competitor to ActionTiles in terms of proprietary, web-based SmartThings dashboards on the market today.
The major difference being, SharpTools.io also includes a visual home automation rule builder, or what they call a “rule engine”.
This visual rule engine is versatile and gives you the ability to create fairly complex home automations without needing to write any code.
If there are home automations that you wish you could setup, that you can’t right now with SmartThings, Amazon Alexa, Google Home etc., then SharpTools.io might be worth exploring.
Some components of the rule engine include:
- Event Triggers
- Device events: i.e. door is unlocked or temp is >75 degrees
- Location events: i.e. mode is changed to away
- State stays: i.e. garage door is left open for 10 minutes
- Time Schedules
- Exact time
- Repeat daily, or only specific days of the week
- Conditions (If this, then that)
- Device status
- Location status
- Time range
- Day of week
- Execute a routine
- Control a device
- Fade device level over time (i.e. dim light from 100 to 0, over 10 minutes)
- Things (i.e. Echo speaks, Sonos)
Besides the rule engine, the dashboard itself is fairly comparable to ActionTiles.
While I don’t love the idea of paying for yet another subscription plan, 30 dollars a year isn’t so bad.
My concern however, is that SharpTools decides to increase their subscription pricing at some point, leaving existing customers stuck with the choice of paying up, or losing all the work they’ve done.
That can’t happen with ActionTiles, or the other open source options that follow.
If you’re interested, you can view many different examples of SharpTools.io dashboards here.
Let me start by saying, HousePanel is a really cool project. It’s completely free and open source, so critiquing it doesn’t feel right.
That said, I don’t think it’s worth exploring for the average person.
The founder himself admits, “HousePanel is considerably more difficult to setup…than ActionTiles”. His goal, when creating HousePanel, was to “provide an open source platform that developers can use to create dashboards”.
It’s a cool concept, and it’s impressive what he’s built, but it’s clearly geared towards developers.
The founder even has his own ActionTiles account, and uses it regulary!
If you’re a developer however, dig in! I’ve always been a fan of open source projects. The larger the community, the stronger and more robust the product.
Maybe some-day HousePanel will become a viable home automation dashboard option. Until then, I’d look elsewhere.
If you’re interested, you can view some different examples of HousePanel dashboards here.
The last SmartThings dashboard on this list, but certainly not least, is webCoRE.
Like HousePanel, webCoRE is an open source project. Unlike HousePanel, the community that supports webCoRE is growing by the day.
“webCoRE is an advanced web-based rule engine that works on top of Samsung SmartThing’s automation platform and delivers complex automation scenarios that users can program. It does so by using a pseudo scripting language that is easy to read and understand by users. Each such script is called a piston, because, well, we’re talking about an engine, right?”
So really, webCoRE is primarily a rule engine, that can be leveraged to create a dashboard of all the devices in your home.
If you’re up to the challenge and tech savvy enough, this option offers a TON of flexibility, scalability, and control over your home automation project. And, because it’s open source, you will continue to reap the benefits of future updates and upgrades, for free.
Given how invested existing users are, I would hazard a guess that this platform isn’t going anywhere and will greatly improve over time.
Be warned however, that tinkering never ends with webCoRE! Its high customizability is both a blessing, and a curse. Be ready to commit a lot of time to learning and implementing this dashboard.
If you’re interested, you can view some different examples of webCoRE dashboards here.
For my money, the best SmartThings dashboard is ActionTiles.
A reasonable, one time payment gets you a user-friendly, and highly customizable dashboard. If you outgrow it overtime, no problem, you’re only out-of-pocket $28.99.
If you’re looking for a bit more control and overall automation scalability, I’d absolutely entertain webCoRe. You’ll have to invest a significant amount of time to learn, and to ultimately implement webCoRE, but in my opinion, no other platform offers as much flexibility.
Personally, I’d avoid SharpTools.io because of the cost, and HousePanel because of the lack of community support.
Which SmartThings dashboard do use? What has your experience been like so far?