How To Choose The Best Hub For Your Smart Home

When it comes to automation, we’re no longer just creatures of habit, but only because we’re spoiled to everything being done for us. For example, we don’t have to remember phone numbers with a call list on cell phones and auto dial options. We don’t have to memorize recipes because they are available online or digitized. And with smart home hubs, we can even control almost everything in our homes without even moving.

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Sure, it’s great to know that you can potentially set your home security alarm, your wake-up alarm, and even the thermostat through a smart home hub. But there are so many other things you can do as well. And you want to make sure you get the most for your money, wither reassurance that you can rely on your hub to actually do everything you need without fail. That’s why you can’t just buy the first smart home hub you find without researching the differences and knowing what you’re buying.

How to Choose

  • Like any product, the truth is in the experience, so checking actual customer reviews for any issues or seeing how users rave about the smart home hub tells you a lot about its promise.
  • Don’t rely on third party sites for everything. Use the manufacturer websites to determine exact specs and capabilities and see if there are any discounts available.
  • Know what you have at home. Find out what components you’re capable of controlling through a smart home hub so you don’t miss anything but also don’t overpay for more power than you need.
  • Know what you want to spend. Have some flexibility based on whether or not you’re going to upgrade and add more devices to the hub in the future, but don’t go crazy and choose something that is far above your means.

Why Use a Smart Home Hub?

A smart home hub offers so much to the user, from convenience to capability. Most people have grown accustomed to the nature of technology and its advancement and when you have a smart home, it only makes sense that you have a convenient way to control the various elements without having to do so individually.

Localized Control

Having a smart home hub gives you as the homeowner the convenience of having a centralized location from which you can control all smart aspects of your home. That means potentially setting television recordings, turning on the oven to warm up, turning security alarms on and off, setting timers for lights, and so much more from a single location – or from multiple locations, if you prefer.

Automation

Your smart home and smart devices are useless without the ability to automate your control of them. What’s the point of a smart refrigerator if you’re still manually programming the temperature controls? With a smart home hub, you can use either touch screens or voice control to change settings and assert commands, essentially automating every smart device the way they were made to be used.

Easy Programming

Let’s face it – no one wants to go around and manually program every smart device in their home. In fact, without a hub, many people tend to forego the programming option and just give commands at the same time every day. But why do that when you can use a smart home hub device to program everything at once? Set your favorite shows to automatically record, have the dishwasher run the same time every week, set the security system to engage the same time every night, and have lights out for your children at the same time. The options for programming are almost endless, and it’s all done from one centralized location with smart technology that feeds through to all of your smart devices.

Simple Installation

For most smart home hub devices, installation and set up are a breeze. With everything connecting via a network, you can easily get all of your smart devices set up on your hub in no time. Then, it only takes a few minutes to program your devices through the hub. With simple installation, ease of use, and centralized control, you save time and hassle, allowing you to be more involved in other things, such as family events

Top 5 Best Smart Home Hub Reviews

We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up some of the popular design software available for Mac users and breaking down the details to help you choose the one that will work for you.

1. Echo Plus

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Amazon has created a great competitive space with its smart devices, and the Echo now goes a step further, with the Echo Plus that includes a built-in smart home hub. Using the ever-growing AI platform Alexa, the Echo Plus gives you more than just the premium sound that the Echo originally promised, as well as expanding on the capabilities of the Echo Plus with each generation.

Voice control allows you to access your premium music services on multiple platforms, including the likes of Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora, aside from Amazon Music. But it also gives you the opportunity to control all of your smart devices with a simple voice command. The built in Zigbee smart home hub gives you control over multiple devices, including fans, television, locks, the garage door, the thermostat, and more. In fact, there’s even a built-in temperature sensor that helps keep your home comfortable based on your preferences.

The Echo Plus also has added security in multiple areas. First, enable Alexa Guard so that the Echo listens for and alerts you instantly to smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or the sound of breaking glass. It also comes equipped with privacy protection. At the same time, you can make calls, sync several to work as intercoms to communicate through the house with family, and more.

Who Should Purchase This?

People with the need to control multiple devices using a hub that is always learning and growing in capability will love the Echo Plus. In addition, this is a great solution for those who enjoy voice control, easy access to news, music, and more, and the ability to set up greater privacy and security.

best overall
Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

Personalize your listening experience by adjusting the equalizer settings.

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Pros:

  • Easy to use and program
  • Offers additional communication with family
  • Compatible with any ‘Works with Alexa’ device
  • More affordable and more versatile than many smart home hubs

Cons:

  • Connected devices must be Alexa compatible

2. Logitech Harmony Hub

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With the ability to control multiple entertainment devices and almost limitless apps, the Logitech Harmony Hub is a great solution for almost anyone. Logitech is a well-respected brand in technology, and the company has created a simple product to take care of a potentially complex issue.

Link up to 8 devices/remotes to the Logitech Harmony directly through a smart phone app and add countless apps to control other devices and appliances in your home from one location, using your voice as your remote. And once you have everything linked, you can set up custom commands, such as a ‘date night’ button that dims lights, launches streaming apps, and more all at once.

With the Harmony App, swiping and tapping can control multiple channels, even letting you create a customized ‘favorites’ list with up to 50 channels. And with smart plugs and sensors, you can automate anything from blinds and lights to locks and thermostats.

Who Should Purchase This?

Anyone who wants to tap into the power of their cell phone to control multiple smart devices will love how the Logitech Harmony Hub works. In addition, those most concerned with entertainment options and those looking to set up custom options will enjoy this particular hub.

best value
Logitech Harmony Hub
Logitech Harmony Hub

Works with Alexa to easily control your home entertainment devices with your voice

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Pros:

  • Works with Alexa for ease of use
  • Utilizes an app on your iOS or Android cell phone to program
  • Works with voice control for easy operation
  • Easily affordable

Cons:

  • Limited to 8 devices directly
  • Requires additional sensors or plugs to control non-entertainment devices

3. Securifi AL3-WHT-US Complete Smart Home WiFi System

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The Securifi Complete Smart Home Wi-Fi system allows you to control everything with the push of a button on a touchscreen, and that includes integration with a number of other devices. With simple programming options, you can literally have it completely set up and running in just a few minutes, something nearly impossible for most smart home hubs.

With included wi-fi, the Securifi covers large homes, with a single hub covering 1300 square feet. In addition, you can network two or more of these devices for whole control of a larger home. The hub is compatible with virtually any ISP modem and router, making it ideal no matter who your provider is. It also integrates with ease to the Phillips Hue, the Nest, and the Amazon Echo.

The Almond 3 unit is equipped with a touchscreen for easy interface, wi-fi, a built in Zigbee radio, support for Z-Wave with a USB dongle, and a programmable siren for home security. It has a guest network that can be enabled, offers blocking, scheduleing, and parental controls, and the ability to control remotely.

Who Should Purchase This?

If you want to cover more area and reach all of your house with a wi-fi extender included, the Securifi Almond 3 is a great option. In addition, networking multiple devices and being able to control your smart home remotely are great reasons to choose this device.

easiest to use
Securifi AL3-WHT-US Complete Smart Home WiFi System
Securifi AL3-WHT-US Complete Smart Home WiFi System

Use an app to expand your control so you can change settings and control your devices even when you’re not home.

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Pros:

  • Ability to control devices remotely with the app
  • Linking multiple Securifi devices for whole house coverage
  • Boosts wi-fi signal for greater coverage in the home
  • Easy to use and program in no time with touchscreen

Cons:

  • May require multiple hubs for whole home control
  • Costs could add up quickly

4. Samsung SmartThings Hub

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Arguably, Samsung has the best Android devices on the market, but the Samsung SmartThings Hub is not just an incredible device; it’s also reasonably priced. With tons of capability across more than 40 partner brands that build smart devices, as well as a very low price point, it’s hard to beat what Samsung offers.

The device can connect to tons of devices, using voice assistance to control them all, including lights, security, cameras, and more. Additionally, set up specialized bulk commands that fit your morning, night, and other routines based on ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ learning by the Samsung device.

Set up your hub so that, when there is unusual activity throughout the day when you aren’t around, you get an alert through the app. SmartThings works directly with devices as well as with Google Assistant for a wider range of capability. It’s also easy to set up the device on wi-fi rather than having to plug into an ethernet cable. It also integrates with Amazon’s Alexa for greater control and the ability to get more AI advancement.

Who Should Purchase This?

People looking for a bargain while still getting great service and technology will be happy with the Samsung SmartThings hub. In addition, people who want to set up custom control, integrate with Alexa and Google Assistance can benefit from this device.

bargain buy
Samsung SmartThings Hub
Samsung SmartThings Hub

Wirelessly connect and control a wide range of compatible smart devices from 40+ partner brands, including voice assistants, lights & switches, speakers, cameras, sensors and more

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Pros:

  • Compatible with almost countless smart devices or smart plugs and sensors
  • Ease of installation and use with wi-fi setup and integration
  • Custom settings and controls, with AI learning
  • Price point is below average

Cons:

  • Limited compatibility with certain manufacturers

5. Google Home Max

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Google has enamored shoppers in the technology and AI departments for a long time now, branching out from the original success of taking the internet browser world by storm into other areas of service. Google Home Max is compatible with over 5,000 smart devices, so you can control lighting, smart plugs (which can give you control over devices that don’t have smart technology), thermostats, televisions, and so much more. Over 400 brands of developed smart devices work through Google Home Max, so you don’t even need a remote.

Connect to your Google Chromecast with just your voice to access all the streaming apps on your television, and let the Google Home Max adjust to the acoustics of your home automatically, so that it understands you better when you speak and plays music or speaks at the right volume and tone for its location.

Imagine waking up to your alarm, which you can snooze through voice command, and then tell the Google Home Max to start the coffee pot so that, when you do roll out of bed, you have fresh, hot coffee waiting. With so many capabilities, including connection to so many types and brands of devices, the Google Home Max is perhaps the best in the market.

Who Should Purchase This?

If you’re looking to control all the devices in your home with voice, including using smart plugs so that you can control non-smart devices, and you want a comprehensive unit that is easy to use, the Google Home Max is perfect.

high-end option        
Google Home Max
Google Home Max

Now, the Google Home Max smart home hub allows you to control every aspect of your smart home with just your voice.

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Pros:

  • Works with thousands of products across hundreds of brands
  • Easy to use with voice control
  • Connect directly to other home hubs for a complete solution
  • Automatically adjusts to home acoustics

Cons:

  • Significantly more expensive than other options

The Bottom Line

When it comes to smart home hubs, you have such a wide array of choices that there’s a device to suit almost everyone, even if you don’t have your entire house automated through smart technology. And with the way many of the devices are built and programmed, it’s easy to grow your technology over time.

Taking the time to look through the available choices, especially considering some of the best smart home hubs on the market, can give you a better idea of what will work best in your home and with your knowledge of technology. With so many to consider, you’ll find the right option at the right price, allowing you to sit back and enjoy in home automation and free up time for the more important things in life, like family, friends, and relaxation.