6 Best Smart Home Hubs for 2020
Smart home hubs are useful if you have a collection of smart home devices. They let you control all connected devices from one place. That’s not all, they can also help you automate the operation of those devices.
Imagine you’re home from a long day and as you approach, the garage door automatically opens. The front door unlocks so you don’t have to fiddle with keys, and the temperature in the house is just right because the thermostat turned on earlier to your preferred setting. All this automation started when your smart home hub sensed your smartphone.
Yes, some of the best smart home hubs can do that. They help your smart home devices send signals to one another to make automation sleeker. The Wink Hub 2 above can make such automation happen.
In this post, we’ll present you with smart home hubs in different categories. Afterward, we’ll tell you what to look out for when choosing a hub. If you see one you like, click on the image to get it.
The Best Smart Home Hubs You Can Go For
1. Samsung SmartThings Hub v3 – Best Overall
2. Hubitat Elevation – Best for Advanced Users
3. Google Nest Hub Max – Best Smart Hub with Display
4. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) – Best Alexa Smart Hub
5. Google Home – Best Google Assistant Smart Hub
6. Amazon Echo Dot – Best Smart Home Hub on a Budget
Samsung SmartThings Hub v3 – Best Overall
- Works with Wi-F-, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave
- Allows more automation than others
- Easy installation via Wi-Fi
- Rating: 4.3
The 3rd generation of the Samsung SmartThings hub won this position because of its wide connectivity. It is compatible with most smart home protocols. This means it can work with most smart devices from different brands; even those that work over Zigbee and Z-Wave. So, whether you’re a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa fan, you can still use your preferred virtual assistant to issue voice commands.
A beautiful part of this smart home hub is how well it can help you automate. You can set different routines with it and watch your home come alive once triggered. The SmartThings hub will also send you alerts whenever something unexpected happens.
Hubitat Elevation – Best for Advanced Users
- Works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, IFTTT, Wi-Fi
- Allows complex automation
- All logic is stored locally
- Rating: 4.4
This is best if you’ve been running a smart home for a while and you’re comfortable with its intricacies. Hubitat Elevation uses the innovative approach of combining local automation processing and cloud connectivity. This greatly improves the hub’s reliability and responsiveness.
It is compatible with many smart devices including those that use Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Lutron. You don’t even need internet connectivity once you’ve done the initial setup. That way, you can avoid latency issues and have a secured smart home system.
Google Nest Hub Max – Best Smart Hub with Display
- Can be used as a security camera
- Great sound output
- Can make video calls
- Compatible with many smart home devices
- Rating: 4.6
Even though this smart home hub is not as widely compatible as the previous two, it’s still a great option to consider. You can still use quite many smart home devices with it, and that number keeps growing. The Google Assistant integrated with it allows you to control connected smart devices with voice commands.
It doesn’t end there, this smart home hub has a 10-inch screen that extends its functionality. Imagine you want to try a new dish. You can tell this hub to search the recipe, choose a video version and you can cook along with what you watch.
If you’re not home, this hub can serve as a security camera and let you view the feed from the camera and see what’s going on in your home. The speaker attached to the hub sounds good enough to let you enjoy watching movies or listen to music.
Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) – Best Alexa Smart Hub
- Works with Zigbee
- Nice aesthetic appeal
- 360 audio effect
- Temperature sensor
- Easy to set up
- Rating: 4.7
This is a smart speaker with a built-in smart home hub. Even though its connectivity is not as wide as a standard smart hub, it is sufficient for most smart home owners. The Zigbee radio in it lets it connect with Zigbee devices which means you have more smart devices to choose from.
You can set up automation with this too but they won’t be as sophisticated as what you’ll get from the SmartThings or Hubitat. If you prefer the Alexa ecosystem for your smart home, this is the smart hub you need.
The Echo Plus is one of the best-selling Alexa devices. So, we don’t need to tell you how much love people have for it. You can check out our post on how to set up a smart home with Alexa to get started.
Google Home – Best Google Assistant Smart Hub
- Intelligent and versatile
- Compatible with over 5000 smart home devices
- Rating: 4.3
This is a direct competitor for the Echo Plus and they’re well matched. This Google Home device too can serve as a smart home hub. You can also create automation with it and stream hours of music. Yes, the audio quality is that good.
It makes for a decent smart home hub in combination with the app. Just like the Amazon Echo, there are ever-increasing smart devices you can connect with it to control with your voice. It’s fun to use but it’s functionality as a smart hub is still limited. That’s understandable as it was created as a smart speaker.
Amazon Echo Dot – Best Smart Home Hub on a Budget
- Works with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Cute design
- Good audio quality
- Rating: 4.7
If you’re just getting your feet wet with the idea of a smart home, this is something you can start with. It allows you to control the smart devices you decide to experiment with from one place, and with your voice! It’s quite compact and won’t take a lot of space plus it looks good.
It can serve as a sort of smart home hub but you can’t expect anything expansive from this. However, you can still create some automation that’ll impress you enough to dive deeper into the smart home pool.
The Google Home Mini is a close runner-up in this category. They cost about the same and can do pretty much the same things. So, if you’re a fan of the Google ecosystem, that device is awesome for entry levels users.
If you’ve just decided to start your smart home journey, those options might seem a bit confusing. Don’t worry, we’re here for you. We’ll explain how you can choose the best smart home hub for your particular needs.
Things to consider before buying a smart home hub
This refers to the technology smart devices and the hub connects with. There are different types and they work in different ways. The popular ones are Z-Wave, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Z-Wave and Zigbee are quite similar in that they both use low-power radio signals to connect devices. They also both use a mesh network which makes each connected device act as an additional signal booster. With this, you can connect several devices and not have lags in connectivity.
These are some of the reasons these protocols are widely used in the smart home world.
If you want the freedom to choose from a wide range of smart home devices, go for a smart home hub that’s compatible with these protocols.
On the other hand, if you’re going to connect only a few smart devices, you can still use hubs that use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The likes of Google Home or Echo Plus or Dot will suffice. However, you won’t be able to achieve the sophisticated automation that you can do with the Hubitat or Samsung SmartThings.
Do you want a hardware or software smart hub?
Aside from the hardware we suggested above, there are smart home hubs in a software version. You can install them on your phone and run the show from there. The Apple HomeKit is a good example of this. With it, you can connect compatible smart devices and control them via your Apple device.
You can do the same with Amazon Alexa and Google assistant ecosystems. You only need to get the app on your smartphone. You can even still use voice commands. Launch the app and speak your command into your phone’s mic. This approach can be a nice option as it’ll spare you from committing money to hardware.
Hybrid or dedicated smart home hub?
Which you go for will depend on how expansive your smart home commitment is. If you’re only going to be using a few smart devices, you can go for a hybrid smart home hub such as the Echo Plus. Of course, it’s a hybrid. It’s a combination of a voice assistant smart speaker and a smart home hub.
On the other hand, if you’re going to be using many different smart home devices, you want to go for something dedicated to connecting them. You’ll also get the flexibility of automating these devices to your preference. The Hubitat Integration or the Wink Hub 2 are perfect options for this level.
These are the main things to look out for. If you’re clear on how you want to go about setting up your smart home, you won’t have any problem deciding on a smart home hub that’ll work for you with this information.
Having a smart home is a cool way to go. Not only will it buy you valuable time with automation, but it’ll also make everyday routine fun to do. A smart home hub, such as wink hub, makes it even more convenient by giving you a single place to control all your smart devices. We’ve given you great options and a guide to choosing the best one for your needs. At this point, you only need to make up your mind and click on the image of the hub you want.