Top 7 Best Smart Home Hubs and The Worst One

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There are many smart devices available on the market, from simple light bulbs to smart thermostats. Together, they’ve become known as the Internet of Things (IoT). 

Having a house full of smart devices can become a hassle if they’re made by different manufacturers and are controlled through a host of different apps and controllers. Why can’t there just be one remote control to manage all the devices? 

Well…there is! 

That’s where the smart home hub steps in. These hubs will act as the central portal to control your multiple smart products. But what are the Best Smart Home Hubs? 

I’ll get into the best smart home hubs and a complete buyer’s guide to choosing the right smart hubs for you and your home. 

If you’re in a hurry, here’re the best ones.

Preview
BEST OVERALL
Samsung GP-U999SJVLGDA 3rd Generation SmartThings Hub, White
Best Alexa Hub
All-new Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa |...
Best HomeKit Hub
Apple TV 4K HD 32GB Streaming Media Player HDMI with Dolby Digital and...
Best Budget Hub
All-new Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa |...
Product
Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation
Amazon Echo Show 10
Apple TV 4K
Amazon Echo 4th Generation
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with Apple HomeKit
Works with Google Assistant
Works with Z-Wave
Works with Zigbee
Prime
-
-
BEST OVERALL
Preview
Samsung GP-U999SJVLGDA 3rd Generation SmartThings Hub, White
Product
Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with Apple HomeKit
Works with Google Assistant
Works with Z-Wave
Works with Zigbee
Prime
-
Best Alexa Hub
Preview
All-new Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa |...
Product
Amazon Echo Show 10
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with Apple HomeKit
Works with Google Assistant
Works with Z-Wave
Works with Zigbee
Prime
Best HomeKit Hub
Preview
Apple TV 4K HD 32GB Streaming Media Player HDMI with Dolby Digital and...
Product
Apple TV 4K
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with Apple HomeKit
Works with Google Assistant
Works with Z-Wave
Works with Zigbee
Prime
-
Best Budget Hub
Preview
All-new Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa |...
Product
Amazon Echo 4th Generation
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with Apple HomeKit
Works with Google Assistant
Works with Z-Wave
Works with Zigbee
Prime

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Best Smart Home Hubs List

Best Overall Smart Home Hub

Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation

Samsung GP-U999SJVLGDA 3rd Generation SmartThings Hub, White
  • Connectivity: Wirelessly connect and control a wide range of compatible smart devices from 40+ partner brands, including voice assistants, lights & switches, speakers, cameras, sensors and more
  • Home Automation: Teach the hub your Good Morning, Goodbye, Goodnight, and other routines to automatically turn devices on or off throughout the day

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One of the great advantages of the SmartThings hub is its compatibility list. This hub can control a wide range of smart devices, including Smart Thermostats, light bulbs and switches, motion sensors, smart speakers and more.

It’s compatibility isn’t only tied to devices, it’s also compatible with multiple smart home ecosystems

SmartThings pairs with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice control. 

The SmartThings Hub is also the Best Zigbee Smart Home Hub and the Best Z-Wave Smart Home Hub.

Throw in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and you have as much versatility as you could hope for from a Smart Home Hub.

While it works well with third-party sensors and devices, Samsung has also designed their own product line of devices and sensors including. 

For extra safety and security, you can also set alarm notifications when paired with cameras and smart doorbells. You can also control your heating when it’s connected to a Smart Thermostat.

Best Alexa Smart Home Hub

Amazon Echo Show 10

All-new Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) | HD smart display with motion and Alexa |...
  • Alexa can show you even more - With a 10.1" HD screen that’s designed to move with you, video calls, recipes, and shows are always in view. The speakers deliver premium, directional sound.
  • Stay in frame - Video call friends and family or take a picture while the 13 MP camera with auto-framing and motion keeps you front and center.

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is the best and smartest yet to come from the ever-expanding range of Amazon Echo Show smart displays.

Compatible with a host of smart devices through Wi-Fi, Zigbee and Bluetooth. It can be set up for use as the central hub to control all compatible devices. 

With built-in Alexa, you have the voice control to set everything up.  Ask Alexa to search for devices, and it will discover and set-up all your devices for you.

The Echo Show 10 can be paired with a variety of devices including:

  • Smart Thermostats
  • Security Cameras
  • Smart Lights
  • Ring Smart Lighting

It is also a communication and entertainment center, boasting a 10.1-inch screen and a premium speaker. It also features a 13-megapixel camera which uses auto-framing to keep you center of the picture. 

The HD screen can be used to watch shows from the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Use it as a digital photo frame or to make video calls with the camera and microphone.

For peace of mind you can also remotely access your Amazon Echo Show 10 and access the built-in camera if you need to check what’s happening at home.

Best Google Smart Home Hub

Google Nest Hub Max

The Nest Hub Max is Google’s top of the line smart hub, in functionality and even in some ways aesthetically. 

Connectivity with the Hub Max has WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 and Zigbee options. It features a 10-inch touchscreen that has a maximum resolution of 1280 * 800 dpi. 

The onboard 6.5 megapixel camera also has the auto-frame feature and has a wide-view angle of 127-degrees.

The Google Nest Hub Max also has voice control built-in and can be paired with many smart home devices, including: 

  • Smart Lighting
  • Thermostats
  • Security Systems
  • Video Doorbells
  • Smart Plugs

The Google Nest Hub Max comes with Google Chromecast built-in. That allows you to use the hub as a home entertainment center with all the major media subscription services like Netflix and Spotify, and even listen to podcasts.

Best HomeKit Smart Home Hub

Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K HD 32GB Streaming Media Player HDMI with Dolby Digital and...
  • 4K High Dynamic Range (Dolby Vision and HDR10) for stunning picture quality
  • Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Apple TV 4K differs from the Google and Amazon Smart home hubs as it has no built-in screen or speakers. Instead, Apple TV is a set-top box that attaches to any compatible TV. 

As the name suggests, it provides full 4K resolution and the audio output is Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 Surround sound. It has voice control through the remote-control using Apple Siri.

For connectivity the Apple TV 4K features Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0. Currently, there’s no support for either Zigbee or Z-wave, although there are bridge devices that will act as intermediaries to allow some form of compatibility.

With Apple products, it’s better to stick with Apple’s own offerings of HomeKit products or with those who have been licensed to produce HomeKit compatible devices. Be on the lookout for Works with Apple HomeKit symbols on product boxes.

Compatible devices include:

How to sync Apple TV with your smart-home setup

As with anything Apple, the list of compatible devices is more limited than its competitors. 

But there are still many available devices for the Apple TV 4K to act as a centralized smart home hub for.

Best Budget Friendly Smart Home Hub

Amazon Echo 4th Generation

On Sale
All-new Echo (4th Gen) | With premium sound, smart home hub, and Alexa |...
  • New look, new sound - Echo delivers clear highs, dynamic mids, and deep bass for rich, detailed sound that automatically adapts to any room.
  • Voice control your entertainment - Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, SiriusXM, and more. Plus listen to radio stations, podcasts, and Audible audiobooks.

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Amazon Echo 4th Generation smart speaker is a great entry level, budget smart home hub. 

The Echo offers support for Zigbee compatible smart devices and like its big brother, the Echo Show 10, setting up these devices is as simple as turning them on and saying “Alexa, discover my devices.” 

Designed with simplicity in mind, this is really a smart speaker that is super smart. Controllable through either voice control or through the Alexa app (available on Android and iOS).The Echo also supports connectivity through WiFi and Bluetooth.

It has the capacity to control a host of smart devices and send alerts based on triggers like the sound of a smoke alarm or breaking glass.

Don’t be fooled by its budget price though, the Echo 4th Gen is more than capable of controlling and monitoring the same range of smart devices as the more advanced Amazon Alex 10.

If you’re looking to start off setting up a smart home this entry level hub, may be just the one for you.

Best Professional Smart Home Hub

Hubitat Elevation Home Automation Hub

On Sale
Hubitat Elevation Home Automation Hub - Compatible with Alexa, Google Home,...
  • New Z-Wave 700 radio supports S2 security and SmartStart device inclusion (Model C-7 hub)

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Don’t be fooled by the Hubitat Elevation Hub’s compact size, it still packs a punch. 

Compatible with Z-wave and Zigbee devices this is one of the more versatile hubs on the market.

Although not WiFi enabled, it can be accessed through an Ethernet cable connection. If that’s connected to an existing WiFi router and network, its interface can still be accessed wirelessly on other devices.

While the omission of Wi-Fi may seem like an oversight, it fits perfectly with the Hubitat ethos of operating all your smart objects locally, without any requirement for cloud access. It also stores all your data locally and puts a high emphasis on your privacy and the security of your data.

The Hubitat Elevation hub comes complete with its own built-in suite of apps that let you build your own automations and rules for all your connected smart devices. It also works with smart speakers/hubs including Amazon Alexa and Google Home to enable voice control.

Smart Home Hub - Hubitat Review

There is a free smartphone app available for Android and iOS devices that allows you to access, control, and set up your devices from your smartphone or tablet.

Best Smart Home Hub and Wi-Fi Router Combo

Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi Mesh Router Hub

Samsung ET-WV525BWEGUS SmartThings Wi-Fi Mesh Router, White
  • Two-In-One Smart Home Solution: Samsung ET-WV525KWEGUS performs double duty as a mesh router and SmartThings Hub, allowing you to connect and control 100+ compatible devices, including cameras, lights, speakers, doorbells, and more
  • Whole Home Coverage: One mesh routers provides up to 1,500 square feet of secure, stable WiFi for homes; Add up to 32 routers if additional coverage is needed; Unlike traditional routers, SmartThings Wifi uses multiple access points

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This two-in-one device does something that seems so sensible I don’t know why more manufacturers haven’t yet followed suit. 

Not only is it a Smart Home Hub with all the capabilities of the Samsung SmartThings hub, but it also acts as a WiFi router too.

The Hub and Router Combo does both tasks extremely well. The router side offers a host of features like smart traffic learning, parental controls, and built-in security to block malware and spyware attacks.

The Smart Hub side of the operation offers support for both Zigbee and Z-wave devices and boasts seamless setup of all your smart devices through the smartphone app.

If you have a large home and are worried about weak connections, you can buy more hubs to boost and extend the WiFi signal as well. There’s no need for additional internet lines or anything, the hubs will automatically talk to each other and create a larger area for connections. 

Samsung ET-WV525KWEGUS Mesh Router, White, 3 Count
  • Two-In-One Smart Home Solution: Samsung ET-WV525KWEGUS performs as a mesh router and SmartThings Hub; Connect and control 100+ compatible devices, including cameras, lights, speakers, doorbells, and more
  • Whole-Home Coverage: Pack of 3 mesh routers provides up to 4,500 square feet of secure, stable WiFi for larger-sized homes; Add up to 32 routers if additional coverage is needed; SmartThings Wifi uses multiple access points

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Worst Smart Home Hub

Wink 2 Smart Home Hub

On Sale
Wink WNKHUB-2US 2 Smart home hub, White
  • VOICE CONTROL: Works with Alexa and Google Assistant (devices sold separately)
  • CONNECT ALL YOUR SMART DEVICES: Easily connect and manage your smart home ecosystem with Wink Hub 2. Compatible with all major smart home categories, including cameras & doorbells, lighting & locks, thermostats, sensors & alarms, appliances, speakers and more.

Last update on 2020-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s both surprising and a shame that such a fully featured hub as the Wink 2 Smart Home Hub rates so lowly. 

On paper, it sounds promising. Compatible with Zigbee and Z-wave, and boasting compatibility with many major smart home devices, it should have been a winner for Wink.

But somehow, it seems to have all gone wrong for Wink. Earlier Wink products were full of promise, but over the years, they’ve fallen behind the competition and the list of compatible devices is dwindling. 

The only thing growing seems to be the list of poor reviews and complaints. With many complaints that customer support is poor. Even while paying a subscription fee for support, many users have claimed their Wink Hubs have suddenly stopped working.

With the very future of the company in doubt, you might want to avoid this one.

What is a Smart Home Hub?

A smart home hub is a device that lets you control all your smart gadgets by creating a network of all your devices. Some hubs use low-power wireless protocols like Zigbee or Z-wave, while others may only use standard WiFi protocols or Bluetooth.

With a smart home hub and a mobile app, you can control all your devices from one place – your smartphone.

Top 7 Best Smart Home Hubs and Complete Guide

Do You Need a Smart Home Hub?

Benefits of Smart Home Hubs

Imagine this scenario, you have an ecobee SmartThermostat, a handful of Philips Smart light bulbs, and a Nest security system. Things can get confusing pretty fast. In cases like this, a Smart Home Hub can help simplify things.

A Smart Home Hub lets you control all your devices from one central location or hub. And if you’re using a set-up with voice control integration, then it’s even easier still.

There is also the financial aspect to be looked at, when used in conjunction with devices like a smart thermostat and light bulbs. Lowering temperatures and turning off lights can help save on energy costs.  

Smart Entertainment

Of course, hubs can do much more than just control your heating and lighting. 

Many of the systems also link to smart speakers and screens, or even have them built in. 

If you want Alexa to play music in whichever room you’re in, then a Smart Home Hub has this functionality too. Turn your TV on and off with your voice too.  

How to Choose a Smart Home Hub

Hardware and Ecosystem Considerations

Building a smart home and choosing a Smart Home Hub can seem daunting, but there are a few simple questions to ask yourself before you make that choice. 

What smart devices do you already have and what ecosystems are they compatible with? 

For instance, if you already have a Nest Smart Thermostat, then the Google Smart Hub would be worth considering, as Nest is a Google product. Similarly, if you already own Apple smart products, then an Apple HomePod would be a better consideration.

Check the compatibility of your current devices before you decide which hub brand/model suits your needs best. 

Wireless Connectivity

As we touched on briefly, Smart Hubs have a variety of wireless protocols and other connectivity options. 

It’s important to check what technologies your existing devices have. Choose a hub that uses the same protocols, or you may find yourself replacing devices. 

The most common wireless protocols are 2.5GHz and 5GHz WiFi, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, and Zigbee. 

Features and Benefits

Once again, it’s good to be clear about your own expectations and demands before making that purchase.

Some people may just want something that controls their heating or lighting systems, while others may be looking for something with more functionality, like voice control or integrated multi-media capability. 

What’re the features and functions that you want and will offer the most benefit to you?

Ease of Operation

A main selling point of setting up a smart home is to make life a bit simpler. 

If you’re tech-savvy, then this might not be such a big point. But, if like most people, you just want things to work out of the box, then you should take this into consideration. 

For instance, if you want to easily integrate voice control into your smart heating system, then devices like ecobee4 and ecobee SmartThermostat come with Alexa built-in.

Types of Smart Home Hubs

Hardware Smart Home Hubs

This is a physical device that is a Smart Home Hub in the traditional sense of the word. You’d be buying a hub box that you set up at home. 

A hardware hub will generally offer a range of connectivity options with the most common, as already mentioned, being Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth.

Software Smart Home Hubs

A Software Hub is a single piece of software that will either link to your smart device directly or through the smart device’s own app. This could be your Amazon Alexa app or Google Home app. 

If you already have half a dozen apps installed to control your multiple devices, that will be hard to manage. A software hub can pull all the associated controls into a single app and let you control them all from one interface.

For someone new to the world of smart homes, this may well be a suitable starting point, particularly if existing hardware is compatible with the software hubs. A point that is obviously worth checking beforehand.

Hybrid Hubs

As the name suggests, Hybrid Hubs are a blend of both hardware and software. 

The easiest way to give you a feel of what a hybrid hub is would be to mention a couple of examples. For instance, earlier generations of both Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot and Google Home speakers would fall into this category.

These devices could be set up to control smart devices like light bulbs and smart thermostats through voice control. 

The physical aspect of these obviously constitutes the hardware side of the description. 

However, as the connection between the hub and the devices is not direct, rather it’s through your WiFi system, they aren’t considered true hardware hubs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need a Smart Home Hub?

If you want full and effortless control of your home environment, added security, and lower heating and energy costs, then the answer is yes. 

Most homes will be smart homes in one form or the other in the near future. Smart homes offer convenience, security, and Green, helping to cut down on energy usage.

What is the Best Smart Home Hub?

Everyone’s needs are different, so take a look at what you want out of a smart home. If you have a variety of smart devices that don’t have a common ecosystem, take a look at the Samsung SmartThings Hub and see if it’s compatible with your current devices.

I do like the Amazon Echo 4th Gen for its versatility, many use cases, and great price point. I also have many other Alexa-enabled devices. I’m also waiting for the Echo Show 10 to come out for the 10” display. 

If you have Google Nest products, the Google Nest Hub Max is the one for you.  If you have an Apple home, you’ll want to get an Apple TV or Apple HomePod. 

Does a Smart Home Hub Work Without the Internet?

The Internet is important for such features such as remote access and control of your devices. WiFi and the internet is how your mobile app will be able to connect and talk to your hub. 

But there are options that can offer a fully functional Smart Home System without the requirement of an internet connection. The Hubitat Elevation Home Hub is the only one to claim this functionality and is compatible with most smart ecosystems.