Best Smart Home Hubs of 2017

Best Smart Home Hubs of 2017



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.

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.

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.

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


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Best Smart Light Switches
The Best Smart Thermostats
Tips to Keep Your Smart Home From Being Hacked
Top Smart Door Locks
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6 comments
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  • smarthometrends20
    Among all the hubs, we found the Echo Dot as the best bet. Low cost and absolutely amazing range of functionalities provided!
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  • Bob_127
    I wouldn't call the Alexa product line a "hub" as much as an interface. Each smart device needs some other device that Alexa can send commands to. As far as I know, Alexa doesn't communicate directly with any smart plug, outlet or thermostat.
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  • mprospero
    @Bob - Actually, there are a number of devices that Alexa can directly send commands to - if a device can connect via Wi-Fi to your home network, it generally doesn't need any other intermediary.
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  • Bob_127
    But that is not a hub. It is still an interface. Sounds like you're talking about devices that don't require a hub.
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  • Old_Mustang
    Agree with Bob_127. Alexa, Dot and Google Home are not hubs. They are Virtual Assistants or Smart Speakers. Refer to the recent review from Dealerscope mag.
    http://www.dealerscope.com/post/amazon-alexa-vastly-overrated-smart-speaker/#ne=14b1cdaef539c770e3293027e294a4c5utm_source=dealerscope-todayutm_medium=newsletterutm_campaign=2017-06-29&utm_content=amazon+alexa+is+vastly+overrated+as+a+%E2%80%9Csmart%E2%80%9D+speaker-2
    IOT Agenda (TechTarget) defines a hub as "…a hardware device that connects the devices on a home automation network and controls communications among them". Neither Google nor Echo have ‘devices’ directly connected to them like the Wink or Smartthings. Nor does either the Google Home or Echo/Dot directly control communications. They are initiating the apps commands indirectly. Example: As stated Wi-Fi devices do not directly connect to either Google Home or Echo/Dot. They actually connect to the user's router which then connects to the Wi-Fi device service provider (cloud) which then connects to Amazon Echo or Google Home platform (cloud) and, provided the service provider has certified their products and app on the Amazon Echo or Google Home platform, will allow the Echo/Dot or Google Home to pass the verbal commands to the service provider which in turn translates the verbal commands to the app commands and send the commands to the router which then sends the commands to the device. None of this action is completed by Echo or Dot or Google home directly. Conversely, Smartthings and Wink have devices connected directly to them and issue commands (from the app) directly to the device. This is what a hub does.
    The Echo/Dot and Google Home are simply indirect means for the user to initiate commands rather than using the service provider’s app directly. And, if the internet goes down, Echo/Dot and Google can’t even do that. Whereas SmartThings (V2) can still execute scheduled events and/or automations even if the hub is off line.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love my Echo and Dots (I have 4). So does my wife. In fact, if I got a divorce, I would get the house but the Echo/Dots would have go with her. Both Google Home and Echo/Dot work well with SmartThings, Wink and other hubs. But they are not hubs.
    Greatly appreciate your reviews, but I feel in this case you may be confusing your readers by grouping all these together as ‘hubs’. My 2 cents.
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