If you're looking to outfit your house with smart lights, digital locks, security cameras, thermostats, and more, then you're going to need a smart home hub to connect them all together. Based on our extensive testing the Samsung SmartThings hub ($99) is your best option. Not only does it work with a wide range of devices, but its logic lets you set up fairly robust rules to trigger devices. Our favorite budget option is the Amazon Echo Dot ($49); while not a hub in the traditional sense, you can link lots of smart home devices in the Alexa app, and then trigger them using the Dot.
Why You Need a Smart Home Hub
As smart home gadgets proliferate — from — 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.
Amazon's myriad Alexa-enabled devices, such as the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Fire TV Edition, are also worth considering. Using your voice, you can control a fairly wide range of smart home gadgets, as well as do other things, such as ordering pizza, checking the weather, and the like.
Smart Home Hub News (February 2018)
- If you're looking for a Wi-Fi router and smart home hub in one, Samsung's Connect Home Hub mesh router has its SmartThings hub built in.
- We've reviewed the Apple HomePod, which can also be used as a hub to control HomeKit-enabled products. It sounds great, but HomeKit trails Alexa and Google Home in terms of the sheer number of smart home products it can control.
- The Hogar Milo could be the Google Home equivalent of the Echo Plus; this new smart speaker has Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth built in, so you'll be able to connect smart home devices to it, rather than going through a third-party hub first. The Milo will be available for $149 in the first quarter of 2018.
Other Hubs We Reviewed
See Also : 50 Best Amazon Alexa Skills