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Looking for the best smart home hub? We’ve got you covered.
Technology exists to make our lives easier, so it’s no wonder that more and more people are bringing new technology into their homes.
There are an increasingly wide variety of fantastic and convenient smart gadgets for the home that help save precious time and keep things organized and running like clockwork.
However the more smart devices we have, the more different individual apps we have to keep track of to control them all which can become a bit of a hassle.
So what’s the solution? A smart home hub…
- 1 What Is A Smart Home Hub?
- 2 Features of the Best Smart Home Hubs
- 3 Smart Home Hub Brands
- 4 The Best Smart Home Hubs
What Is A Smart Home Hub?
A smart home hub is a device which unifies multiple smart devices in the home.
The choice of innovative smart home devices is constantly expanding, and includes all sorts of things such as smart lighting, thermostats, digital locks, security systems, doorbell cameras, and more.
Smart home hubs enable you to combine all your smart home device apps — even with multiple different manufacturers or multiple protocols — in one place, so that you can control them all at the same time using one, easy to use interface.
What could be simpler?
How Do They Work?
For a smart home hub to function, it needs connectivity to smart home devices.
This could be Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-wave for example, or a mix of all three.
The home hub collects all the communications from different smart home devices and ties them together, acting as a kind of translator between devices if they work using different types of connection — Bluetooth and Zigbee let’s say — so that they can work together and be controlled using a single interface and allowing you to monitor elements of the smart home network and automate, schedule and control tasks.
Smart home hubs can be either physical devices that stand on a shelf or can take the form of a smartphone app, and are either manually or voice controlled depending on the hub you choose.
Features of the Best Smart Home Hubs
If you already have smart devices in your home, you need to be sure that the home hub you choose is compatible with them.
Additionally, if you intend to add to your range of smart home devices, you should choose a smart home hub which is compatible with a wide range of smart things from various manufacturers to ensure that it is as versatile as possible so that you can have a wide range of options for any future smart devices.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth smart home hubs are great, but they don’t work well in all situations and may not be compatible with all smart home devices.
Smart home hubs which work using a wider range of connectivity options including Zigbee and Z-wave as well as traditional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the best choice.
Nothing is more convenient than simply being able to give a verbal command to activate or regulate a home hub.
Voice controlled home hubs are hands free, allowing you to control your smart devices while you’re busy with other things.
The core function of a smart home hub is to control all your smart home devices easily in one place, but why can’t it be more than that too?
Smart home hubs that double up as speakers and allow you to listen to music, check out the latest news, or search for something on the internet are practical and fun in addition to performing their primary function.
Smart Home Hub Brands
Google Assistant is the voice controlled artificial intelligence behind Google’s smart home hub and other smart home devices.
Well known brand Samsung produce one of the top smart home hubs out there, as well as a range of other smart home devices.
One of the first to really break into the smart home market, Amazon’s artificial intelligence Alexa is one of the most popular voice assistant smart home hubs around.
Apple Home and Homekit are another major player in smart home technology. Apple home hubs and devices are either voice or smartphone controlled.
Long standing brand Philips are particularly well known for their excellent smart bulbs and other smart lighting options, but they have also created a smart home hub too.
The Best Smart Home Hubs
The 2nd generation Echo Plus is a speaker with a difference.
Not only does it offer premium quality sound with 360° audio and deep bass for streaming your favorite tunes or radio channels, it also acts as a voice controlled smart hub for the home. You can also use it to make hands free phone calls to friends and family, or to search for information on the internet.
Using Amazon Alexa artificial technology, the Echo Plus 2nd Gen can connect with other smart devices in your home to control them easily without you having to lift a finger.
This smart home hub has Zigbee connectivity built in, as well as Bluetooth and dual band Wi-Fi, and works with a wide range of Alexa compatible devices, with support for over 20000 home automation devices in total.
Benefiting from a neat design just under 6 inches tall and available in a range of 3 different finishes, the Echo Plus 2nd Gen is a stylish addition to any home and can even be paired up with a second Echo speaker to provide a surround sound effect.
It also has a built in thermometer to help you to monitor and control your home temperature.
If you choose, you can use this smart home hub’s manual controls, which include volume controls and a button which allows you to turn off the microphone for additional privacy.
The top of the unit features a light ring which illuminates if you are giving a command or if the device is responding.
- Attractive design
- Compact footprint
- Great connectivity
- Compatible with thousands of smart home devices
- Good sound quality
- Voice activated
- Mid tone sound quality could be better
- Doesn’t work so well with Philips Hue smart lighting
Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation connects wirelessly with a range of smart home devices such as lights, doorbells and security cameras, thermostats, and locks.
It uses Z-wave, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi connection protocols, and if paired with Alexa or Google Assistant can be operated using voice controls.
Alternatively use the Samsung SmartThings app to seamlessly control devices in your home, set timers, and receive real time alerts on your smartphone should anything be amiss.
This smart home hub can connect to your router either via Wi-Fi or directly using an Ethernet cable.
Measuring just 5 by 5 inches and 1.5 inches high, the slimline design of this smart hub can be placed unobtrusively anywhere in the home or office.
- Good value for money
- Sleek design
- Good connectivity
- Compatible with over 300 smart devices
- Easy to set up
- Intuitive SmartThings app
- Useful for scheduled multiple device programming
- Doesn’t support products from all major smart device brands
- No built in voice assistant
Known for their excellent range of intelligent home lighting devices, Philips Hue have created a dedicated smart home hub.
Compatible with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home voice assistants, the Philips Hue Smart Hub uses Zigbee technology to control up to 50 different Philips Hue smart devices in your home remotely using the Philips Hue app.
Use this smart home hub to set light timers, control dimmer switches, turn lights off and on, change light colors, or create presets for different moods.
The Philips Hue Smart Hub is tiny, measuring a mere 3.5 inches square and 1 inch high, and has a clean, white design.
- Convenient scheduling options
- Compatible with a choice of smart voice assistants
- Simple, space saving design
- Can be either wall mounted or placed on a flat surface
- Excellent for controlling Philips Hue products remotely
- Easy to set up
- Can connect up to 50 bulbs
- Bulbs are on the expensive side
- App could be more intuitive to use
This integrated smart home hub from TP-Link connects to Zigbee, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth smart home devices from a number of different brands.
It can also be paired with Amazon Alexa to create a hands free, voice controlled home hub. It uses a clever tri-band Wi-Fi system to ensure that everything in your home is connecting and working at super high speed.
The TP-Link app unifies all your smart home devices so that they can be controlled easily using just your smartphone.
There is even a built in Deco M9 antivirus to protect every wired or Wi-Fi connected smart device that you have. Two units are included to provide greater coverage for your entire home.
- Provides super fast Wi-Fi throughout the home
- Easy to install and manage
- Compatible with numerous smart home devices from different brands
- Can be used with Amazon Alexa for added voice control
- Comes with built in antivirus software
- Discreet design
- Useful parental controls
- Ideal for larger homes
- Antivirus software is only free for the first 3 years
- No Z-wave connectivity
Google Home uses Google Assistant to provide a voice controlled hub for your smart home devices.
This pint sized hub is also a punchy little speaker with decent base sound, and with it you can listen to the streamed audio of your choice, as well as schedule your daily routine, receive alerts and reminders, take phone calls, and more.
It can also be used with Chromecast to stream the latest TV, film, and music to your smart TV or to the speaker itself. It’s compatible with a large range of smart home devices from major brands such as Nest, Hive, and IFTTT, which can be centrally controlled using voice commands.
The attractive design features an interchangeable base section available in a whole rainbow of different colors to fit in with your decor.
Being Google, this smart home hub is great at answering questions too, and individual profiles can be created fro each member of the family.
- Works with more than 30,000 compatible smart home devices
- Good sound quality for the price
- Easy to use app
- Answers questions accurately
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Loaded with features
- Microphone could be more sensitive
- App could be easier to use
Sengled are masters of smart home lighting, and the Sengled Smart Hub is the perfect way to manage up to 64 different Sengled Smart bulbs and accessories.
The easily installed app uses Wi-Fi to control every Sengled smart device in your home at the touch of a button, allowing you to create schedules for turning lights off and on, customize settings to create ambient light moods, and more.
Lights can be grouped into rooms to enable you to create individual settings for each part of your home with ease.
The Sengled Smart Hub can also be connected to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to enable voice control.
- App allows for monitoring energy consumption
- Compact design
- Effective, easy to use app
- Lighting can be controlled remotely, away from the home
- Simple to set up
- Only controls Sengled smart devices
Designed to provide your home with high speed, reliable Wi-Fi, the Securifi AL3-WHT-US Complete Smart Home Wi-Fi System has Zigbee connectivity and Z-wave support.
Each hub device can cover areas of up to 1300 square feet, but if that should be insufficient it is possible to combine multiple devices to cover larger areas.
Connect sensors to the hub to monitor events and changes such as doors or windows opening, and motion inside the home for added security.
These sensors can be monitored using the unit’s touchscreen interface, or via the smartphone app, and will send an alert to your phone in the event of a possible problem.
Compatible with hundreds of smart home devices, this smart home hub can also be combined with Amazon Echo for added voice control.
- Great home security features
- Fast and reliable Wi-Fi coverage throughout the home
- Easy to set up
- Handy, intuitive touchscreen display
- Can be voice controlled using Amazon Echo
- Compatible with a wide variety of smart home devices
- Z-wave support costs extra
- Wi-Fi connectivity could be faster
Designed with home entertainment and comfort in mind, the Logitech Harmony Hub can be used to control up to 8 smart home devices such as TVs, speakers, Blu-ray players and game consoles, as well as things such as smart lighting, thermostats, or locks.
It uses InfraRed, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to connect to entertainment and home theater devices to turn them on or off when required using the Logitech smartphone app, with customizable settings for when you want to multiple devices to work together simultaneously.
The Logitech Harmony Hub is Amazon Alexa compatible, which is great news for when you want to switch to your favourite channel without lifting a finger.
- Excellent device compatibility with support for more than 270,000 gadgets
- Can be used with Amazon Alexa for additional voice control
- Simple to set up
- Convenient, small size
- Great activity scheduling options
- Good integration with big name brands
- Ideal for home entertainment systems
- App can be a little tricky to get to grips with for some users
- Zigbee or Z-Wave devices require the additional purchase of an extender
Which do you think is the best smart home hub?