Best Smart Home Hubs of 2017

The Samsung Smartthings is the best smart home hub. | Credit: SamsungThe Samsung Smartthings is the best smart home hub. | Credit: Samsung

As smart home gadgets proliferate — from lights and digital locks to security cameras and thermostats — it can help to have a centralized method to control them all. Smart home hubs offer this functionality, as they can connect all of your devices to the cloud and give you one app that acts as a sort of universal remote. Additionally, a hub provides the ability to automate your gadgets. So, for example, when you unlock your door, the lights in your entryway will automatically turn on, and the thermostat in your home will be set to the temperature you like.

However, the smart home category as a whole is still in its infancy, so not only is there a lot of confusion around what gadget will work with what hub, but the companies that make the hubs themselves are still working out the kinks. We reviewed the top smart home hubs, and all of them had issues, such as a confusing app or complicated setup process.

Smart home hubs as stand-alone devices may not last long. Increasingly, gadgets such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Logitech Harmony Elite remote control, the Almond Router—even Samsung's newest Smart TVs—can act as a bridge between your other smart home devices and the cloud. And, with the advent of Apple's HomeKit and Google's Thread, all you may need in the future is your smartphone.

But if you're looking to get all your devices connected today, the Samsung SmartThings hub is your best option, as it connects to a wide variety of products, and is fairly easy to set up and use. If you don't have a lot of smart home gadgets—say, just a thermostat and some LED bulbs—then the Amazon Echo ($179) or the Echo Dot ($49) may be a better choice. If you want the ability to search for anything by voice in your home, then the Google Home ($129) could be your best bet, though its integration with other smart home devices is still in its infancy. However, it can automatically stream content to Google Cast-enabled televisions, something Alexa can't do.

Wink recently announced the second generation of its hub, the $99 Wink Hub 2, which also can work with a wide gamut of smart home devices, and can also be controlled using Amazon's Alexa. It's now on sale at Amazon and Home Depot.

Check out our summary of all the smart home hubs we've reviewed below, and tell us in the comments whether you've tried one of these devices or whether you see the need for one.

  

MORE: Amazon Alexa Guide: Tips, Tricks, and How-Tos

Smart Home Guides and Products:
A Guide to Smart Homes
A Guide to Light Bulbs
The Best Smart Home Gadgets
The Best Smart Door Locks
The Best Smart Thermostats
The Best Smart Switches
The Best Smart Scales
The Best Smart Appliances
The Best Smart Vacuums
The Best Home Security Cameras
The Best Baby Monitors
The Best Smart Finders
The Best Smartwatches
The Best Smart Speakers
A Guide to Smart TVs

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12 comments
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  • mikes153
    So would you say holding out on investing into a smart home would be wise? I've recently gained interest and Im looking into buying the Samsung Smart things and get started with Phillips Hue and a door lock.
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  • mprospero
    @mikes153 As of now, I'd say the Samsung SmartThings is the best bet, but since the category as a whole is still in its early stages, none of the hubs we've tested really stood out. The Philips Hue bulbs are fun, though.
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  • Jon_25
    What about Vera, Nexia, Insteon, Fibaro, or Vivant? These all seem to be the leaders and they are not on the list.
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  • Tbrock47
    Insteon/zwave using the ISY99iZ as the hub has a huge following.
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  • Jonahsdad
    Staples Connect is dead. Except for smartphone OS compatibility, no further updates. I came across this article because I'm looking elsewhere.
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  • David_341
    I have to echo JON_25's comment.. where are the other industry leaders in this comparison? Why include Domotz?

    Also, I feel like this is more of a *list* of a few hubs with features rather than a buyers guide.

    Did you try any of these products?
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  • bados44
    Really WEAK review. Seams like Tom is on the Samsung payroll. I guess they just call it marketing now. Funny that no one is talking about Vera since Samsung bought SmartThings. All we see are half baked reviews like this one deeming SmartThings the winner. On another note, it's ridiculous that people are calling the Amazon echo and the Google Home "Smart Hubs". While they are intelligent, if they don't run Z-Wave or ZigBee protocol, they aren't that "smart" and should be used in conjunction with "Smart Hubs" until they do. Really disappointment in Tom's for selling out.
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  • burnormal
    Can you use Google Home as a stand alone hub to control Philips Hue lights without having another hub like the Philips Hue or Samsung SmartThings?
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  • Joel_59
    Amazon Echo products do not act as a hub - they will connect to a 3rd party hub for voice control, but they do not function as hubs on their own.
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  • mprospero
    They act as a hub in the sense that you can control a wide range of devices from a single interface.

    Anonymous said:
    Amazon Echo products do not act as a hub - they will connect to a 3rd party hub for voice control, but they do not function as hubs on their own.
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  • Joel_59
    Anonymous said:
    They act as a hub in the sense that you can control a wide range of devices from a single interface.

    Anonymous said:
    Amazon Echo products do not act as a hub - they will connect to a 3rd party hub for voice control, but they do not function as hubs on their own.




    They still are not hubs, they are remote controls for someone else's hub. Saying an Echo is a hub is like saying my remote is a TV.
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  • Tom_188
    I would stay away from door locks. I have read multiple reports that detail security problems with the door locks.
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