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. Now many automations work locally even when internet service is disrupted.
- Control via App or 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
- OUR BEST SOUNDING ECHO DOT YET – Enjoy an improved audio experience compared to any previous Echo Dot with Alexa for clearer vocals, deeper bass and vibrant sound in any room.
- YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC AND CONTENT – Play music, audiobooks, and podcasts from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and others or via Bluetooth throughout your home.
- ALEXA IS HAPPY TO HELP – Ask Alexa for weather updates and to set hands-free timers, get answers to your questions and even hear jokes. Need a few extra minutes in the morning? Just tap your Echo Dot to snooze your alarm.
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
- EVERYTHING YOU NEED AT A GLANCE – With a 15.6” Full HD (1080p) smart display and Fire TV, family organization and entertainment will look brilliant. You can choose portrait or landscape orientation.
- YOUR NEW KITCHEN TV -With Fire TV, you can stream over 1 million movies and TV episodes. Watch favorites with subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, Paramount+, and more.
- STAY ON TOP OF YOUR DAY – Use customizable widgets like shared calendars, personal sticky notes, and to-do lists to keep the family on track. Ask Alexa for daily meal inspiration tailored for you, including recipes, food delivery options, and more.
- YOUR SMART HOME AT YOUR FINGERTIPS – Add your most-used smart devices to the home screen for quick access, and see a live view from multiple cameras on a single screen.
- YOUR MEMORIES IN FULL-SCREEN – With the Photo Frame feature, you can use your Echo Show 15 to display artwork and your albums from Amazon Photos.
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.
Looking for more help building your smart home? The Smart Home Manual is a best-selling complete guide to understanding, planning, and implementing a smart home.
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
- Enhanced Capabilities: The new Hubitat Elevation Model C-8 includes Wi-Fi and updated Zigbee 3.0 and Z-Wave 800 radios with external antennas
- Improved Performance: New external antennas for increased range and reduced RF latency ensure your automations run smoothly and reliably. Comes with USB-C power adapter and ethernet cable. Free migration from existing Model C-5 or C-7 system to new Model C-8.
- Locally Processed Automation: Automations are processed locally on the hub for speed, reliability, and privacy, so your home stays smart even when the internet is down. Automate smart bulbs, locks, switches, smart home lighting, dimmers, blinds, thermostats, sensors, button controllers, smart plugs, and much more
- Versatile Integrations: Compatible with over 1,000 smart devices from over 100 brands, including: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Lutron (requires Lutron Caséta SmartBridge Pro or RadioRA2), Philips Hue, Ecobee, Wiz bulbs, Kasa smart plug, GE/Jasco and many more
- Robust Automation: A powerful suite of built-in automation apps for basic and advanced home automations, with no need for programming or coding skills. A free iOS and Android mobile app lets remote control and monitor your devices remotely—no subscription required
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 somewhere, 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. Last, but not least, you can get comprehensive smart home advice from my best-selling book, The Smart Home Manual.
What smart home hub do you use and why? Let me know in the comments and/or on Twitter.