A smart home hub integrates the various smart home devices in your home. Many homes have a variety of smarthome devices that aren’t aware of each other. For example, it’s common for a smarthome to have a combination of smart lights, smart switches, smart thermostats, and various other smart devices running on different protocols (e.g. Zigbee, Z-Wave, IP/WiFi, Matter, Infrared, RF, Bluetooth). These devices probably aren’t aware of each other. What happens when you want one device to trigger an action for another? Or, maybe you don’t want to switch through multiple apps just to do basic things. This is where a smart home hub comes into play.
Here are the best smart home hubs for you no matter what your situation is.
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Aeotec Smart Home Hub
The best smart home hub for most people
- Easiest way to make your home a smart home: Wirelessly connect and control a huge range of smart devices – over 5,000 are available from dozens of brands – including voice assistants, lights & switches, speakers, cameras, sensors and more
- Automate connected devices: Any device you connect can be included into automations which can be intelligently managed
- Control via Sapp and voice: Monitor and control connected devices, and run automations, using the Samsung SmartThings app on Android, iOS, and iPadOS, or voice user interfaces Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Since Samsung stopped manufacturing its own hub, this is the only current hub that works with Samsung SmartThings. It’s extremely flexible; it works with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. The Samsung SmartThings ecosystem is large, mature, well documented, and has a lot of enthusiastic users. The SmartThings app allows for tons of functionality for novice and advanced users alike. It also works with Nest products.
The best smart home hub for Alexa fans
- PREMIUM SOUND: Rich, detailed sound that automatically adapts to any room. Supports lossless HD audio available on select streaming services such as Amazon Music HD.
- VOICE CONTROL YOUR MUSIC: Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, SiriusXM, and more. HD requires a compatible music streaming service.
- SMART HOME HUB: Built-in hub to voice control compatible lights, locks, and sensors. Easily set up compatible Zigbee devices or select Ring Smart Lighting solar lights and bulbs.
Although Alexa lovers can use any Amazon Echo or Echo Dot device, this is the best smart home hub version because it works with Zigbee devices in addition to other Amazon Echo compatible Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. Also, 4th generation Amazon Echos work with the Amazon Sidewalk program, which may a bonus to some of you.
Alexa’s collection of skills and routines gives it all the automation power most smart home owners need.
Amazon Echo Dot
The best budget smart home hub
- Meet the Echo Dot – Our most popular smart speaker with Alexa. The sleek, compact design delivers crisp vocals and balanced bass for full sound.
- Voice control your entertainment – Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, SiriusXM, and others. Play music, audiobooks, and podcasts throughout your home with multi-room music.
- Ready to help – Ask Alexa to tell a joke, play music, answer questions, play the news, check the weather, set alarms, and more.
- Control your smart home – Use your voice to turn on lights, adjust thermostats, and lock doors with compatible devices.
If you love Alexa and want to save some dollars, or even if you just want to save some dollars and want a smart home hub, then this is the device for you. Like the Amazon Echo, it has access to an expansive library of routines and skills. It also works with a ton of devices. But, it is missing the Zigbee functionality that its big brother has.
You can even get one that has a clock on it.
Amazon Echo Show 15
The best smart home hub for Alexa fans who want a display
- Alexa can show you even more – With a 15.6” Full HD (1080p) smart display and 5 MP camera, family organization and entertainment will look brilliant. You can choose portrait or landscape orientation.
- At-a-glance organization – Use Alexa-powered widgets to keep the family on track with shared calendars, personal sticky notes, to-do lists, shopping lists, and assigned reminders.
- Alexa can help feed the fam – Get daily recipe ideas, cook along hands-free with step-by-step instructions, add ingredients to your shopping cart, or simply order meal kits or takeout.
- Your smart home at your fingertips – Add your most-used smart devices to the home screen for quick access, and see all compatible devices together on one dashboard.
- So much entertainment – Catch up on your favorites with Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, SLING TV, and more. Or stream music, podcasts, and audiobooks with Amazon Music, Spotify, and Audible. Pair your Echo Show 15 with other compatible Echo devices to enjoy a fuller sound.
All the functionality of an Amazon Echo Dot but with a large and beautiful touchscreen display. You can mount this on the wall or set it up on an island or coffee table. If you are looking for an Alexa-powered touchscreen display that is a little smaller and less expensive, check out the Echo Show 10 or Echo Show 8.
Google Nest Hub Max
The best smart home hub for Google Assistant fans
- Experience YouTube with a 10-inch HD screen and powerful stereo speakers. Watch your favorite clips, jam out with YouTube Music, and watch live television with YouTube TV.
- Whether you’re cozy on the couch or your hands are full with the kids, you can stay right where you are with compatible lights controlled directly by your voice.
- With smart plugs and the Google Assistant, turn your favorite devices on and off without lifting a finger. Get the coffee started or start the fan—all from the comfort of your couch.
- Get peace of mind with smart locks, cameras, and more. Ask if the front door is locked, or see your security camera right on your Nest Hub.
The Google Nest Hub Max is a wonderful smart display, and possibly the best digital photo display of all time. It makes a decent smart home hub too. Although not as expansive as Alexa, Google Assistant has an extensive set of smart home partners providing Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Thread smart devices that it can control with its powerful routines.
Apple HomePod Mini
The best smart home hub for HomeKit fans
- Siri is your do-it-all intelligent assistant that puts HomePod mini at the center of your family’s activities. And with multiple HomePod mini speakers around the house, it‘s easy to call on Siri from anywhere. HomePod mini and Siri can do even more by seamlessly connecting to your iPhone, and Apple Music Voice gives you access to every song in the catalog — all with just your voice.
- Whether you already have a smart home or are buying your first smart device, getting set up — and staying connected from anywhere — is a snap with the Home app and HomePod mini.
- HomePod mini is designed to fit anywhere in the house. Its elegant shape is wrapped in a perfectly seamless mesh fabric that’s virtually transparent to the sound passing through it. A backlit touch surface on the top provides quick control.
Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform is a favorite of many people and not just Apple fans. It allows for a great amount of functionality when creating home automations, and it also can control your smart home devices on your local network without sending information out through the Internet. This can be great for privacy and when your Internet connection goes down.
Apple has a smaller smart device ecosystem than Alexa or Google Assistant, but you’re still likely to find the type of device you are looking for. The HomePod Mini supports HomeKit compatible Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Thread smart devices.
The best hardware smart home hub for enthusiasts
- Speed: Automations are processed locally on the hub for fast, reliable home automation
- Compatibility: Compatible with most Zigbee, Z-Wave, LAN, Google Home, Alexa and Lutron devices (Lutron requires Lutron SmartBridge Pro). Please check for compatibility with your devices before purchasing.
- Customizable: Dozens of built-in automation apps for customizing your smart home
- Reliability: Automations do not rely on cloud servers or the internet
This smart home hub works with a wide variety of smart devices because it supports Zigbee, Z-Wave, and LAN protocols. Automations can be written with complicated logic that enthusiasts looking for fine control of their smart homes will love. It even includes built-in automations for those new to smart homes.
One thing I appreciate about this smart home hub is that your automations run locally on your home network. No cloud service is snooping in on what your smart home is doing. Less technical users may struggle a bit with the learning curve, but they’ll be rewarded with a powerful smart home engine.
The best software smart home hub
From my perspective, this isn’t just the best software smart home hub, it’s the best smart home hub period. I’ve written many articles about what Home Assistant can do, and I’ve written about why it is the perfect smart home hub for me. In short, Home Assistant is great because:
- It integrates with seemingly everything. Seriously. Check out the full list of integrations here. And, here are my favorite integrations.
- It has a great community of supporters and developers.
- It is constantly improving and adding features.
- It allows for local control — meaning you aren’t dependent on cloud servers or the Internet for core functionality. This is also better for privacy.
- I get to pick the hardware it runs on.
- It has a powerful automation engine. Here are some of my favorite automations.
- It’s free!
Smart home hubs enable you to truly automate your home. The right smart home hub for you depends on your needs, and luckily the right one is out there someone, and probably on this list!
If you are looking for smart devices of all types, you can get personalized recommendations using the HomeTechHacker Technology Advisor. You can also check out my buyer’s guide and the HomeTechHacker Shop for other recommendations.
What smart home hub do you use and why? Let me know in the comments and/or on Twitter.