Control4 versus Savant

Interesting article comparing Control4 and Savant

In your effort to create a comfortable and secure home, it is essential to find the ideal home automation solution to meet your unique needs. Two of the most popular and robust systems are Control4 and Savant.

Without a doubt, both systems offer a plethora of options for revolutionizing your home – yet there are inherent differences between them that we will attempt to outline.

Beginning with Savant, the system has the ability to intelligently light your home, deck out your media room, improve your audio set up, and seamlessly control climate. The system is run by a dedicated Mac or Linux based processor that connects the various appliances within the home for ease of use.

Control4 is identical to Savant in that it also has the capability to intelligently control all of the elements in your home. Control4 products allow you to control everything in your home from lighting, to your home theatre and audio, to climate, security, surveillance cameras and more. The system is powered by a dual core 1.8GHz processor.

Both Savant and Control4 have apps that allow you to use your smartphones, tablets or PCs to control your system.

The following is a breakdown of the main differences between the two systems:


Though neither system is inexpensive, Control4 is significantly more cost-effective than Savant.

Control4 may be a more reliable, faster system, it can still be a challenge to convince the high end client that a less expensive system is the right choice for them.


Since its inception in 2003, Control4 has designed and manufactured its own computer processors – processors designed specifically for home automation.

Control4 solutions interoperate with more than 7,000 third-party consumer electronics devices—and that number is rapidly growing.

Their latest dual core 1.8 GHz processors are lightning fast and super reliable.

Much of Savant’s high end panache is due to the fact that they have successfully created the perception that they are the Apple of home-automation.

Savant’s love affair with Apple has resulted in one tiny roadblock – incompatibility with Droid based devices – smart phones and tablets that are now equal to iPhones and iPads in sales volume.

To remedy this, Savant has quietly introduced a Linux based processor that now communicates with Droid based devices as well as iOS devices. But herein lies the rub – moving forward, Savant will have to drop one of its processors and it does not seem likely that the mac-mini will make the cut.

And while Savant’s processors are excellent, consumers will likely pay a price for the Apple name even after it is gone, which is slightly ironic given that Steve Jobs introduced the mac-mini in 2005 as “the cheapest, most affordable Mac ever.”

User Interfaces

Savant has introduced a new user interface that is nothing less than stunning. Users can set their own backgrounds, create their own lighting scenes and do things that in the past that would have cost them at least three hours in programming time.

The problem with the new user interface is that it is not necessarily compatible with legacy systems, meaning existing clients will need to upgrade their systems to gain access to the new app. This will likely frustrate many clients who will see the new look in other homes but will be faced with yet another costly bill to get the “free” app.

Control4 has maintained its look over time and though it may be time for a facelift, the user interface has held up surprisingly well. It still looks relevant and clean. Control4 offers a wide variety of native interfaces from standard remotes to keypads, in-wall touch panels and on-screen TV displays.

Savant still defers to Apple – utilizing iPads and iPad minis for in-wall touch panel control. The Savant TV remote is no comparison to the look and feel of Control4 remote.

Streaming Music

Savant supports iTunes and provides streaming content via a rebranded Mirage Media Server (MMS). The MMS is very good, but for the price users should not have to see compromised UI’s of their favorite streaming sources. Pandora is functional, but Spotify and Rhapsody are so compromised that most users prefer an AppleTV with Airplay over the MMS. Add to that the fact that the MMS is incredibly susceptible to heat and you’ll find yourself frustrated all too often with this music source.

Control4 supports iTunes, and provides Rhapsody and TuneIn native to its processors. Control4 also happens to work seamlessly with Sonos, the streaming music source that has become an industry leader. A Sonos controller user interface within Control4 is first class.


As mentioned previously, Savant’s new app now allows the user the ability to program lighting scenes on their own. This is an innovative move, but does this feature truly appeal to the high end customer who is not likely to take the time required to utilize this feature? Control4 has developed a simplified user interface which assists in saving on programming time. It is the hope of many C4 enthusiasts that they will soon follow suit with a do-it-yourself lighting scene like Savant’s.


Both Savant and Control4 offer direct integration with thousands of vendors in the AV/Security/Automation industry. As for lighting Control4 is compatible with more LED lighting vendors than even Lutron or Vantage.

Control4’s greatest coup may be its compatibility with Sonos and Nest thermostats. Savant is not compatible with either, which is odd, given that Tony Fadell, creator of Nest thermostats, also designed the iPad.


Savant offers lighting solutions through LiteTouch, a company they acquired in 2012.

Control4 has consistently developed their own lighting control system over the past ten years and now offers a panelized lighting control system that is in every way comparable to Lutron or Vantage and nearly 20% less expensive.

Again, the advantage may go to Control4 as they have been innovating their product over the last ten years while Savant is banking on a lighting company buyout to add lighting control to their offerings. Note: Most Savant dealers spec Lutron lighting and simply skip the LiteTouch option altogether.


In conclusion, while both Savant and Control4 offer a virtually unlimited number of options, we at The Electric Playground are of the opinion that Control4 offers the perfect blend of cost-effectiveness, intuitive controls, speed and versatility.

Taken from an article by Vince Lahey, Director of Sales & Marketing at Mackie Electronics Systems