Best Smart Home Hubs Guide & Reviews of 2021

With all the new smart devices on the market, homeowners need something to help them better control all their appliances. A hub is a central point in the home that can connect each product, from a thermostat to a lightbulb to a security camera.

Of course, not all hubs are created equally, so here’s a review of the best smart home hubs of 2021. This guide will walk through which accessories offer the best integrations, compatibility, user-friendliness, price, and more.

Kyle Nelson

Kyle Nelson - Editorial Staff

Updated: March 31, 2021

What We Did to Find the Best

To find the best smart home hubs, it was important to pinpoint the top factors that consumers look at when making a purchase. This involved five key metrics, which are listed below. Each of these categories received a grade between 0 and 10, and the average scores determined the top 10 hubs.

  • Features

    0-10

    monitoring period, 24/7 alerts, disaster protection etc.

  • Support

    0-10

    telephone, email, chat, and other channels

  • Price

    0-10

    monthly fee, money-back, trial period

  • Ease of Use

    0-10

    installation, maintenance, service support

  • Trust Score

    0-10

    BBB.org and Trustpilot (positive, negative reviews)

Every consumer and household are different, so this list includes the ten best smart home hubs that span a variety of price points and capabilities. At the end of the day, families need to feel safe and that they can rely on their systems. Choosing one of these products ensures customer satisfaction.

1. Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) Smart Home Hub: Crystal Clear Audio

Total Score 8.9/10

Amazon Echo Dot Speaker
Amazon Echo Dot
  • Features9.0/10
  • Equipment9.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use8.5/10
  • Trust Score9.0/10

Starting Price

$39.99

Visit Website
BBB Rating A+
Best for Budgets

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

The Amazon Echo is the best smart home hub for families on a budget. Coming in at under $50, it’s not only affordable, but it’s part of Amazon’s lineup.

The company has a great reputation and is known for its dependability and compatibility. Individuals can use the Alexa app to control each of their smart devices. All they need is a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Automated schedules
  • Can make phone calls
  • Good speakers
  • Small and compact
  • Solid reputation
  • Voice-activated news and weather

Cons:

  • Limited integrations
  • No battery backup
  • Requires a stable Internet connection

What makes this the best smart home hub is the ability to set routines for each appliance. For example, users can program the app to toggle devices on and off, depending on a certain trigger.

These triggers might include leaving the house, or they might go into effect at a certain time. The Echo Dot can also sense broken glass and fire alarms, and alert homeowners through the Alexa app.


2. Apple TV 4K Smart Home Hub: Intuitive Organization

Total Score 8.8/10

  • Features9.0/10
  • Equipment9.0/10
  • Price8.0/10
  • Ease Of Use8.0/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$179

Visit Website
BBB Rating A-
Best for iOS Users

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

The TV 4K from Apple is perfect for those who are already loyal to the Apple brand. They can use any device that works with the iOS operating system, such as an iPad or iPhone.

It’s a bit on the pricey side, but it is an Apple product, after all. That means it’s intuitive, responsive, and dependable.

Pros:

  • Apple Arcade
  • App organization
  • Clear picture
  • Great streaming capabilities
  • Intuitive interface
  • Power enough for many devices
  • User-friendly design

Cons:

  • Compatible only with Apple HomeKit
  • Lacks USB ports
  • No battery backup

What makes this one of the best smart home hubs is the stellar picture and HDR display. It’s hard to find anything better on the market right now.

That said, the remote control takes some getting used to. Once they have the hang of it, individuals can manage all their iOS apps from the TV.


3. Wink Smart Home Hub 2: Plays Nice with Everyone

Total Score 8.6/10

Wink Smarter Home
  • Features9.0/10
  • Equipment8.5/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use8.5/10
  • Trust Score8.0/10

Starting Price

$68

Visit Website
BBB Rating A+
Best for Integrations

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

People have mixed feelings about the Wink smart home hub 2. On the one hand, it works with almost everything: Alexa, IFTTT, Z-Wave, Ecobee, and Zigbee, among others. It also has improved network support and security compared to the previous model.

The downside is that Wink recently implemented a contract plan, so customers need to pay $4.99 for a monthly subscription. Otherwise, they’ll have limited access.

Pros:

  • App support for iOS and Android
  • Better security protocols than the previous version
  • Easy set-up
  • Responsive to triggers
  • Sleek design
  • User-friendly home screen
  • Works with Alexa and IFTTT

Cons:

  • No battery backup
  • Poor BBB rating
  • Subscription required

There is no denying that this home automation hub is super compatible. Plus, it works with 2.4GHz and 5G connections. The Wink app is intuitive and features a nice, clean home screen.

Set-up is quick, and most customers get started within minutes.


4. Amazon Echo Show 5 Smart Home Hub: A Bold and Beautiful Display

Total Score 8.3/10

Amazon Main
  • Features8.0/10
  • Equipment8.0/10
  • Price8.0/10
  • Ease Of Use7.0/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$229

Visit Website
BBB Rating A+
Best for Display

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

It may surprise some people that the Echo Show’s primary function isn’t necessarily as a smart home hub. It can do that, but it also works as a call center, voice assistant, and TV screen.

The display is large, and users can quickly scroll through their app icons. However, the images are lower resolution than many competitors.

Pros:

  • Does video calls
  • Easy-to-read home screen
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Plenty of integrations
  • Seamless Alexa integration
  • Simple two-way communication
  • User-friendly

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No battery backup
  • Not the most intuitive display

On the bright side, the Echo Show works with Zigbee, Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings, IFTTT, WeMo, Honeywell, and Ring. This home automation hub is also sturdy and features two-way audio, which is perfect for devices like the Ring doorbell.

It doesn’t require a contract, and it syncs up with just about any smart product, from lamps to thermostats.


5. Hubitat Elevation Smart Home Hub: Wired to do More

Total Score 8.2/10

  • Features8.0/10
  • Equipment8.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use8.0/10
  • Trust Score8.0/10

Starting Price

$149.95

Visit Website
BBB Rating C+
Best for Energy Use

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

The Hubitat Elevation might not be a familiar product, but it’s the best smart home hub with a competitive edge. It is a strong power player and can handle a high energy output. There are also dozens of integrations, including IFTTT, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Customers will also appreciate the sensors, which can detect when they come home. The environmental monitors are super convenient, too.

Pros:

  • Automations
  • Capable of high energy usage
  • Environmental alerts
  • Geolocation services
  • Lots of integrations
  • Mobile access
  • Mode Manager

Cons:

  • Difficult to get used to
  • Little-known company
  • No battery backup

This home automation hub is wired, so it’s not the most convenient. That said, it is capable of higher power usage, so it’s good for people with many smart devices. The controls are a bit clunky, but the company recently unveiled Android and iPhone apps, which helps a lot.


6. Apple HomePod Smart Home Hub: The Best Choice for iPhone Users

Total Score 8.2/10

  • Features8.0/10
  • Equipment7.5/10
  • Price8.5/10
  • Ease Of Use8.0/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$229

Visit Website
BBB Rating A-
Best for Audio

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

The Apple HomePod doubles as a smart home hub and a Bluetooth speaker. Clients can set it up in minutes, although they need an iPad or iPhone to get it working. Also, the HomePod only works with Siri’s voice commands, not Alexa or Google Assistant. Still, it’s perfect for listening to music and podcasts.

Pros:

  • Advanced sound technology
  • Available in black and white
  • Clear audio quality
  • Compact design
  • Ease of use
  • Nice aesthetics
  • Timed automations

Cons:

  • No battery backup
  • Only works with Siri voice commands
  • Pricey

As a home automation hub, it can set timers, create schedules, send texts, and give weather updates, among other things. The device is available in black or white, and it’s small enough to fit just about anywhere.

There are several microphones and tweeters inside to provide a crystal-clear audio quality.


7. Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub V3: An Improvement from Previous Generations

Total Score 8.0/10

Samsung Main
  • Features7.5/10
  • Equipment7.0/10
  • Price8.0/10
  • Ease Of Use7.5/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$69.99

BBB Rating A+
Best for Complete Systems

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

This Samsung SmartThings smart home hub works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, Philips HUE, Ecobee, Ring doorbells, and many other products. It’s one of the most compatible devices on the market, although it doesn’t work with Nest.

The V3 has a slimmer design than the previous model, so it’s aesthetically pleasing and fits into any home environment.

Pros:

  • Automatically syncs with smart devices
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Reasonable price
  • Easy connection
  • Lots of integrations
  • Robust SmartThings app
  • Trusted brand

Cons:

  • Doesn't integrate with Nest
  • No battery backup
  • Wi-Fi requirements

Clients can control this home automation hub through the SmartThings app. On its own, the mobile program is already loaded with functionalities. It is one app to control everything, plus it syncs with all the other accessories automatically.

If there is one complaint, it’s that it requires a strong Internet connection.


8. Logitech Harmony Smart Home Hub: A Movie-Lover's Dream

Total Score 8.0/10

  • Features8.0/10
  • Equipment8.0/10
  • Price9.0/10
  • Ease Of Use7.0/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$89.99

BBB Rating A+
Best for Customization

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

The Logitech smart home hub is perfect for those who want to create their personal at-home movie theater or TV viewing room. The device comes with an app for iOS and Android, which works as the remote control.

This allows for even more ease of use and greater control over all the products in the house. Plus, individuals can run multiple programs at once without worrying about running out of power.

Pros:

  • Customized schedules
  • Excellent energy capabilities
  • Great compatibility
  • Integrates with game consoles
  • Intuitive automations
  • Programs connected products
  • Unlimited functions

Cons:

  • Can get pricey
  • Most integrations require an extender
  • Not the most intuitive

There is one potential downside with this Logitech product. While it is super powerful and can integrate with hundreds of third-party devices, some of them, like the Zigbee smart home hub, require an extender.

Since the automated hub is already $90, the costs could add up.


9. Securifi Almond 3 Smart Home Hub (Wi-Fi System): Plays Nice with Everyone

Total Score 8.0/10

  • Features7.0/10
  • Equipment8.0/10
  • Price8.0/10
  • Ease Of Use9.0/10
  • Trust Score8.0/10

Starting Price

$121.49

Best for Security

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

Security is not a well-known brand, but it plays well with just about every other company out there. At least, those that deal with home automation. The Securifi smart home hub has everything clients need to be built into the device.

This includes things like a security siren and a touchscreen interface. Customers can access guest passwords, the weather, news, music, and so much more.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Guest access
  • Scheduling
  • Siren
  • Strong security features
  • Touchscreen interface
  • 1,300-foot range

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • Little-known company
  • Not rated with the BBB

Customers can use the Securifi product with a Zigbee hub, Ecobee system, Nest thermostat, and more. It is also capable of voice controls, low battery warnings, and programmable schedules to turn devices on and off.

It is a bit on the pricey side, which may dissuade some homeowners.


10. Google Nest Smart Home Hub: Strong and Sleek

Total Score 8.0/10

  • Features8.0/10
  • Equipment8.0/10
  • Price7.0/10
  • Ease Of Use7.0/10
  • Trust Score10/10

Starting Price

$229

BBB Rating A
Best for Entertainment

DIY instal

YES

Trial Period

30 days

The Google Nest smart home hub has a 6.5-megapixel camera and an attractive, sleek design. It also boasts a built-in microphone and EQ light sensor, which helps with its third-party capabilities.

The device syncs with Geeni, Hive, LIFX, Wemo, Philips HUE, and several others. That means clients can use it with locks, smart thermostats, security systems, and more.

Pros:

  • Attractive and compact design
  • Beautiful display
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Financing available through Google
  • Good customer reviews
  • Solid reputation
  • Works with most Google Assistant-compatible devices

Cons:

  • No Alexa integration
  • Not as adept as Apple HomeKit
  • Very pricey

One of the few devices that have trouble connecting to the Google Nest is the Zigbee hub. However, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most clients. On the bright side, the product integrates with the most popular security systems on the market.

Combined with its beautiful audio quality and display screen, it’s a great choice.


Best Smart Home Hubs of 2021 (Pricing & Features)

When it’s time to buy, don’t forget to review this comparison chart of the best smart home hubs. Check out the most important features and any non-negotiable characteristics such as voice commands, sensors, or Bluetooth connectivity.

Provider Price Best for Batt. Backup Compatibility Connectivity Contract Display Envir. Ctrl Sensors Voice Ctrl
1.Echo Dot $40 Budgets No Alexa Wi-Fi No N/A Yes Yes Yes
2.Apple TV $179 iOS users No HomeKit Bluetooth No Yes Yes Yes Yes
3.Wink $68 Integrations No Alexa, IFTTT Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
4.Echo Show $229 Display No IFTT, Nest, Ring, Samsung Wi-Fi No Yes Yes Yes Yes
5.Hubitat $150 Energy use No Alexa, Google, IFTTT Wi-Fi No Yes Yes Yes Yes
6.HomePod $299 Audio No Siri Wi-Fi No No No No Yes
7.Samsung $70 Complete systems No Alexa, Google, Ring, Ecobee Wi-Fi No No Yes No Yes
8.Logitech $90 Customization No Alexa, Google, Ecobee, Nest, Samsung Wi-Fi No Yes Yes No Yes
9.Securifi $122 Security No Alexa, Philips HUE, Nest, Z-Wave Wi-Fi No Yes Yes No Yes
10.Google $229 Entertainment No Geeni, Hive, LIFX, Wemo, Philips HUE Wi-Fi No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Types of Smart Home Hubs

Another thing to be aware of before shopping for a smart home hub is which type to buy. It turns out that there are different varieties, so check out the options below for a better idea.

Traditional Smart Home Hubs

Some of the best smart home hubs are the traditional type. These devices rely on specific radio software to detect nearby smart products. Then, they sync up and create a system of intelligent accessories. Not to mention, the network makes life much easier for homeowners.

Pros:

  • Accessible from one app
  • Easy to find
  • Great with compatible products
  • Variety of price points

Cons:

  • Less user-friendly
  • Not all hubs sync to the same devices

Voice Assistant Hubs

The first examples that probably come to mind when thinking of this smart home hub are the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. As long homeowners have accessories that are compatible with the voice-activated system, they are good to go. Otherwise, there could be more connectivity issues.

Pros:

  • Easiest to use
  • Lots of compatibilities
  • Sometimes include traditional hubs, too
  • Widely available

Cons:

  • Can't sync to as many products
  • Many pricey models

Software-Only Hubs

Some home automation hubs rely exclusively on software, which can be good and bad. For some people, this is a great thing because it means they don’t have to splurge on a pricier system with its own protocol. On the other hand, sometimes the devices only work if the person is inside their home. The connectivity range is much shorter, so keep that in mind when shopping.

Pros:

  • Add-ons are available (like remotes)
  • Good for homes with a strong Internet
  • Integrates with many smart apps
  • Many popular brands use this type

Cons:

  • Connectivity issues
  • More difficult set-up

Ecosystem Hubs

This type of smart home hub is a good option for those who already use Z-Wave and Zigbee products. That said, many ecosystem hubs also work with environmental accessories like the Nest thermostat and LIFX lighting. The system requires a strong Wi-Fi connection, and it’ll be a dependable, smart companion.

Pros:

  • Can be a more affordable option
  • Great environmental control
  • Many ecosystems come with their own hub
  • Works well with other systems (traditional, software, etc.)

Cons:

  • Best suited to Z-Wave or Zigbee users
  • Most require additional devices

Home Automation Hubs Shopping Guide

Now that they know which are the 10 best products, consumers can follow this shopping guide and find the top home automation hubs for their needs.

Depending on the household and personal preferences, clients may favor one characteristic over another. This list should make it easier to make the right choice.

1. Wired vs. Wireless Smart Hub Connection

The communication protocols will determine whether the system is reliable or spotty. For instance, a Zigbee smart home hub has a wireless connection, but other devices may use an Ethernet or other wired connection. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but consumers should figure out which will best suit their needs.

A wired hub is often easier to connect to devices like the Amazon Echo.

2. Sensor Range

Depending on the size of the property, homeowners may need multiple sensors. That may also mean they have to invest in more than one smart home hub. They should also check the connectivity requirements, be it Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Ethernet. Remember to pay attention to third-party compatibility, too.

3. Battery Backup

If the Internet in a client’s area is spotty, or they just want to be safe, then battery backup is something to keep in mind. It’s not as common in home automation hubs as one might think. As an alternative, perhaps consider another uninterrupted power source.

4. Overall Complexity

Clients should look at the smart hub they’re considering and think about what it is designed for. It might be a system that’s best suited to renters or seniors. Maybe it has too much customization that it’s superfluous.

Research how well the mobile app integrates with the system and choose accordingly.

5. Smart Hub Voice Control

A smart home hub without voice commands and capabilities aren’t worth the money. It is so much more convenient to be able to give an order rather than scroll through the app to find the function. Fortunately, most systems include this feature.

6. Professional Monitoring

The best smart hub is probably one that can also work as a security system. Some hubs are capable of this functionality, such as Zigbee products, which sync with the Ring alarm. To be fair, this feature often comes with an added cost or even a contract agreement.

7. Smart Home Hub Service Plan Costs

Speaking of security systems and hubs, don’t forget that this convenient feature often requires a subscription or contract. However, these home automation hubs can be worth it considering the ease of use, the flexibility, and the peace of mind they provide.

Plus, self-monitoring usually costs less than the professional option.

8. Adaptability

Customers should think about what they want their smart hub to do. Some people are fine with syncing it to their security system. Others want all their apps on the network so they can control the lights, thermostats, cameras, and more. This is where adaptability comes into play.

Perhaps they have Samsung devices or an Amazon product they must sync to. It might seem like a small problem, but it makes a big difference. Besides, a system that can’t play well with other products isn’t very smart, is it?

9. Operating System Compatibility

Just about all home automation hubs will work with iOS and the Android operating system. For those who have something different, like a Windows phone, it’s important to check the tech specs.

A hub can be a huge help around the house, but only if it works properly.

10. Device Support

A consumer may already have an IFTT system, or perhaps an Amazon Alexa or Echo. So, they want to be sure that their hub can play well with those devices. For instance, the smart home hub from Zigbee will sync with Samsung SmartThings, Yale locks, Hive thermostats, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Smart Home Automation Hub, and What Does it Do?

    Smart home hubs can be just about anything that the user wants them to be.

    While the best smart home hub will vary depending on the person, there are a few things that shoppers may want to keep in mind.

    These are the many things that a system can do, and the list is not exhaustive:

    • Third-party integrations with thermostats, lights, cameras, speakers, etc.
    • Voice commands through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.
    • Environmental control
    • iOS and Android-compatible mobile app
    • Weather updates, news, music

  • What Are the Best Smart Home Hubs?

    To see the top smart home hubs, just check out the list above, which provides the ten best options. That said, there is not a one-size-fits-all hub, just as there isn’t a home or property that will suit every single family. That is why there are many different options and models available for the best smart home hub necessities.

    The reality is that what one person values in a smart system will not even occur to another individual. Fortunately, there is a device for every preference.

  • Do I Need a Smart Home Hub for Home Automation?

    Yes, in most cases, smart home hubs are necessary. Again, they work as the center-point or nucleus for all the other devices. Individuals need a central product to control their smart lights, speakers, doorbells, and other accessories.

    Sometimes, people can accomplish this through a mobile app, but only if they have a few items. Otherwise, a hub is necessary.

  • Do I Need a Hub for Smart Bulbs?

    Even the best smart home hub may not be entirely necessary for a smart lightbulb. However, these systems will certainly make life a lot easier.

    Here are a few bulbs that don’t require a hub:

    • Philips HUE
    • Teckin RGB
    • TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Bulb
    • LIFX Wi-Fi LED Smart Bulb

  • How Much Does It Cost to Automate a Home?

    The answer depends on which smart home hubs that the consumer is looking at. There are plenty of options to choose from, so a good place to start is with the list above.

    Keep in mind that quality requires an upfront investment, so the price is not the only factor to consider. A good ballpark figure is between $100 to $300.

  • What is Needed for Home Automation?

    Different smart home hubs will have unique requirements, although there are a few basic unifying qualities. For one thing, customers must have the hub. The next thing they will need is a remote control, usually through a mobile app.

    The last primary element to consider is connectivity, which may either be Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Ethernet.

    On top of that, there are secondary considerations to make, including energy efficiency, battery backup, voice commands, and environmental control. For example, if they have a SmartThings system, they may want to connect to a Ring doorbell or a Nest thermostat.

Enjoy the Best Quality at the Right Price

Hopefully, this guide to the top smart home hubs will make it easier to choose an amazing product at the right price. Remember to go through the shopping guide to find the best smart home hub for any individual needs or preferences.

Moreover, keep in mind that consumers may have to pay more to get long-lasting quality. Don’t be afraid to invest in a device that will sustain a property’s security for years to come. If you already have a hub, leave your opinion in the comments.


Kyle Nelson

Editorial Staff

Kyle Nelson has a degree in journalism and came to Securing Home with more than a decade of experience writing for several technology magazines. He is optimistic and charismatic. We appreciate having him on our team not only for his excellent articles but also for his sense of humor and ability to tell stories.


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