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The best smart home hubs of 2022

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You will need a smart home hub to control all the smart home devices in your home. Smart home hubs are a central location from which to control all your devices. This includes lights, garage doors openers, cameras, thermostats, cameras, etc.

A smart home hub allows you to connect all your smart home devices together. A smart home hub can, for example, tell your smart lock to lock and to switch off your lights. It can also turn on your thermostat to eco mode. This is a crucial gadget to create an automated smart home.

This is just one function that a smart home hub can perform, but there are many others. We’ve tested all the available smart home hubs to help you choose the best.

 

Which are the top smart home hubs available?

You can also check out our other smart home guides

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The best home security cameras

Water leak detectors that work best

The 4th-generation Amazon Echo will be the smartest home hub for most people. The 4th-generation Amazon Echo is the best smart home hub. It can be connected to other smart devices via Wi Fi, Zigbee and Bluetooth. You can also create routines through Amazon Alexa that activate smart home devices by triggering events such as your departure or arrival home. Alexa Guardian will turn on your smart home devices when it hears a window opening or fire alarm. You can also use Alexa to control smart home devices because Echo is a smart speaker.

The Aeotec SmartHome Hub is the best choice if you want to integrate more smart home devices with Samsung’s SmartThings platform. This allows you to control more devices and create more complex routines. It is also extremely easy to use.

Apple has confirmed that iOS 16 will allow you to use your iPad for HomeKit, but only if the Home app is not updated. You won’t be able access some of the new features such as the ability to add Matter compatible smart home devices if you don’t update the Home app.

For all the latest smart home hubs, read on.

These are the best smart home hubs available today

1. Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

Alexa’s best smart home hub

Specifications

Size: 5.7 inches (diameter).

Wireless: Wi Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Sidewalk

Ports: 3.5mm audio

Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Sleek spherical design+Great smart home skills+Audio in/out port

Avoidable reasons

I wish it had a clock audio that was not as good as Sonos One

The Amazon Echo (4th Generation) is the smartest home hub available. It supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Zigbee. It can connect to many low-power smart devices. Alexa’s routines make it easy to use multiple triggers to activate other smart devices. It can also be used with Alexa Guard to listen for glass breaking or smoke alarms and turn on your lights. You can also connect to a variety of smart home devices. We have a list of the best Alexa-compatible devices to help you put together your smart home.

The fourth-generation Echo supports Amazon Sidewalk a new, low-power, long range networking protocol that will work with smart lights and Tile trackers over greater distances.

2. Aeotec SmartHome Hub

SmartThings is the best smart home hub.

Specifications

Size: 5x5x1.2 inches

Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave

Ports: Ethernet, USB

No Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Allows more automation than other hubs+Works well with Zigbee/Z-Wave devices+Works well with Nest

Avoidable reasons

-No battery backup

The Samsung SmartThings hub has been a top choice for smart home hubs. It had Zigbee/Z-Wave in it, which means you can connect to hundreds more devices than other hubs. SmartThings’ app has a lot of functionality that allows you to create many different scenarios for your gadgets. SmartThings is now compatible with Nest products, making SmartThings a complete smart home hub.

Samsung has discontinued its SmartThings hub, so if you want to use the SmartThings platform’s SmartThings features, the Aeotec Smart Home hub will be required. It replicates all functions. It is basically the same hardware but has a different logo front. In our testing it worked exactly the same.

3. Apple HomePod mini

HomeKit’s best smart home hub

Specifications

Size: 3.9 inches (diameter), 3.3 inches tall

Wireless: 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0. Thread

Ports

Backup battery

There are many reasons to buy

+Great audio for size+Competitive price+Attractive design

Avoidable reasons

-Limited child controls – No physical microphone button

Our opinion is that Apple’s HomeKit smart-home platform is superior to Google’s. HomeKit is compatible with fewer devices (see our list of best HomeKit products), but it allows for more complex smart home routines. We don’t need to worry about what Apple does with our data.

The HomePod mini not only acts as an affordable smart speaker but also functions as a HomeKit hub that allows you to connect low-power devices such lights, locks, and other devices directly to it. The HomePod mini has Thread as well; although there aren’t many smart home gadgets with this technology, it is becoming more popular thanks to support from both Apple and Google.

 

4. Amazon Echo Dot

The best smart home hub for a budget

Specifications

Size: 3.3 inches (diameter).

Wireless: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Ports: 3.5mm audio

Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Inexpensive+Nice Design+Vastly Improved Audio

Avoidable reasons

-Can’t change its look-Doesn’t get loud

The Echo Dot costs only $49 and is half the cost of many of the best smart home hubs. This makes it a great investment for anyone just starting to get into smart home automation. Although it doesn’t have Zigbee and Z-Wave capabilities, it can be used with smart home devices that are compatible with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

You can also create powerful routines using the Alexa app. We especially love Alexa Guard which can activate smart homes devices if it hears glass breaking or fire alarms.

There are a few options for the Amazon Echo Dot. The 4th-generation Echo Dot is available at $49 and the 4th generation Echo Dot with Clock is $59; the 3rd Generation Echo Dot costs $49.

5. Starling Home Hub

Smart home hub that connects Nest devices to HomeKit

Specifications

Size: 2x2x2x

Wireless None

Ports: Ethernet and microSD

Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Links Nest and HomeKit+Works work well

Avoidable reasons

-No Wi-Fi

The Starling Home Hub does a single thing and does it well: It connects Nest devices, such as the Nest Learn and Nest Protect, to Apple’s HomeKit smart-home platform. Unfortunately, Nest and Apple have never been able to work together. If you use Apple’s smart-home platform, you can use the best smart smoke detectors and smart thermostats.

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Starling Hub allows you to view Nest security cameras and use HomeKit secure video. HomeKit supports the Nest cam (wired), Nest cam (battery), and Nest cam with Floodlight. Nest Aware subscriptions can be costly. Starling has also launched an iOS app so that you don’t have to use the web interface to change settings or connect new devices.

6. Hubitat Elevation

The best smart home hub for power users

Specifications

Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 inches x 0.5 inch

Works with: Zigbee and Z-Wave, IFTTT and Wi-Fi

Power, Ethernet ports

No Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Works with Zigbee, Z-Wave smart home devices+Allows complex interactions between smart homes devices+All smart house logic stored locally

Avoidable reasons

-Stay learning curve-Hub must be plugged into router

The Hubitat Elevation has the best learning curve and the most precise controls. It is the ideal smart home hub for power users. Hubitat’s web interface allows homeowners to set up very specific rules and conditions for when their smart homes devices will activate.

Although the Hubitat Elevation is small, it can hold both Zigbee or Z-Wave antennas. It does not have Wi-Fi so you will need to connect it to your router. The Hubitat Elevation was first reviewed in January 2017. It didn’t have a smartphone app so we had to use a web interface to control everything. The company has since added a mobile app to both Android and iPhones that makes it easier to manage your smart home from anywhere.

7. Amazon Echo Show 10

Alexa smart home hub featuring a large display

Specifications

Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.9x 4.2 inches

Works with: Zigbee and Honeywell, Nest, Philips Hue and SmartThings.

Ports

No Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Excellent sound with bass+Convenient smart home hub+Two way doorbell and camera audio

Avoidable reasons

-Very large-Expensive

The third-generation Amazon Echo Show 10 is a smart home hub and smart display in one device. It can now face anyone who asks Alexa questions. This ensures you have the best view possible, but takes up more space than the previous models.

The Echo Show, like the Amazon Echo Plus has Zigbee, allows you to connect smart home devices directly with the Show. Amazon Sidewalk is a new networking technology that allows low-power devices and computers to connect to the Internet over longer distances. It is however, one of the most expensive smart home speakers at $249. It’s worth considering as a smart hub, but we recommend it for its other functions.

8. Apple TV 4K

HomeKit Smart Home Hub with a streaming TV platform

Specifications

Dimensions: 3.9×3.9×1.9inches

Works with HomeKit

Ports: Ethernet and HDMI.

Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Fantastic 4K HDR content +Intuitive home screen+Simple integration with iOS and macOS

Avoidable reasons

-Fiddly remote-No USB or digital audio ports

Although Apple’s HomeKit smart-home platform isn’t as well-known as Amazon’s or Google’s, it is extremely powerful and offers a sophisticated set of interactions between smart home devices. These devices must all be connected to a smart hub.

Although you can use many Apple products as a HomeKit hub, such as an iPad or the HomePod, the Apple TV 4K is the most affordable. It’s also one of the most popular streaming devices, allowing you to watch 4K HDR content across a wide range of sources through an intuitive interface. However, we are not fans of the remote.

9. Google Nest Hub Max

Great smart display, but not enough smart home hub capabilities

Specifications

Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.2 x 4.25 inches

Uses Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Thread

Ports

Battery Backup

There are many reasons to buy

+Great display +Excellent audio+Lots entertainment options+Good camera to video chat

Avoidable reasons

Google Home only has limited capabilities for smart homes

The Google Nest Hub Max smart display is a great one: It is a 10-inch-wide screen that can be used to watch YouTube and Netflix, look up news and recipes, and has dual speakers. It also has 6.5MP cameras which are great for Google Duo video calls and can even “follow you” as you move around the room.

It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Thread is a new smart home networking protocol Google has been trying for years. Nest Hub Max’s display allows you to view live footage from compatible Google Assistant-compatible home security cameras and video doorbells. You can also adjust smart light levels with on-screen controls. The most compatible Google Home compatible devices is nearly as many as the ones that work with Alexa. Google Home, however, isn’t as sophisticated as Alexa and HomeKit as a smart-home platform.

How to select the right smart home hub

Before you can choose the smart home hub that is best for you, it’s important to consider what you want from it. A smart home hub is not necessary if you only have one set of smart lighting. If you have smart lights and a lock that can be controlled by a smartphone, you may need a hub to control the lights.

Wi-Fi or Bluetooth?

To communicate with other smart home devices, every device will use some type of wireless technology. Because they are low-power and can transmit less data, smaller devices such as motion detectors and door sensors will use Zigbee and Z-Wave. These sensors are small enough to be easily built. However, they must link to a bridge (such a smart home hub), if they want to be connected to the internet. Smart locks used this technology in the past, but smart locks are increasingly switching to Wi-Fi. For a deeper dive, you can check out our explanation on Zigbee and Z-Wave.

Larger devices and those that require constant power supply can use Wi-Fi. It can transmit more data and doesn’t need a hub or bridge. This category includes smart thermostats, video doorbells, and home security cameras.

Think about the products that you would like to connect. If all of your products are connected to Wi-Fi, you can use an Amazon Echo Dot smart home hub and the Alexa app for control. You will need to buy a smart hub that can receive signals from other devices, such as Zigbee or Z-Wave.

A new standard for connectivity called Matter is expected to be released in the near future, hopefully by 2022. This protocol has been approved by Apple, Google and Amazon. It promises to simplify the process of linking smart home devices. This protocol will make it possible for HomeKit owners to have access to many more smart homes devices, which is a significant improvement over the current friction point in Apple’s smart-home platform. You may need to buy new equipment if your current smart home devices do not support Matter.

How to test smart home hubs

Every smart home hub is tested by us in real life (our house). First, we evaluate how easy it is to set them up. Smart home hubs aimed at beginners should be easier to use than those for advanced users.

We also consider the number of devices that are able to connect to a smart-home hub. It’s obvious that a hub’s utility is limited if it doesn’t have enough devices that can connect to it.

The next step in any smart home hub is to determine how complex the interactions between smart home devices can be. If a hub allows you to create rules based on time of day, or how you speak commands, that is very limited. Smart home hubs that are capable of doing more will allow you to change their status based upon your location, or even what happens when another smart device is turned on or off.

These routines and rules are created to test our ability to create them. Finally, we test the rules and routines that we have created to make sure they work.

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