If your home is full of smart gadgets, you might want to consider purchasing a smart home hub. These devices let you consolidate all your smart home devices into one app and control center, making them easier to access and regulate. Plus, many smart home hubs are compatible with Alexa, which allows you to control your devices with your voice. If you really want to automate your home, a smart home hub is important for making that happen.
Of course, not all smart home hubs are the same. Some can only control certain devices, while others are more versatile. To help you find the best hub for your needs, we reviewed 25 different products. We considered each product’s ease of use, versatility, control options, connectivity, and customer reviews when reviewing each product.
Early on in our research, we could clearly identify the Echo Show 8 as an obvious pick for the top spot on our best-of list. Not only will it learn your preferences and predict your choices, but it will also give you full control of your home’s smart devices, and compatible subscriptions.
The 5 Top-Rated Smart Home Hubs
|Best Overall Smart Home Hub||Echo Show 8||4.6|
|Best Smart Home Hub for Families||Echo Dot (3rd Gen) Kids Edition||4.7|
|Best Budget Smart Home Hub||SwitchBot Hub Plus||4.2|
|Best Smart Home Hub for Security||Ring Alarm, 8-piece kit||4.6|
|Best Smart Home Hub with Thermostat||ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat, 2nd Gen and Switch+ Smart Light Switch Bundle||4.4|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Overall Smart Home Hub: Echo Show 8
The Echo Show 8 will give you full control of your home and let you see it as you do. Unlike the other Echos Amazon sells, the Shows will let you see your scheduling reminders, or what the timer you set was for – you can even view movies, photos, and the lyrics to your favorite songs. You can control your lights, your smart plugs (and that means anything you plugin is potentially “smart,” your thermostats, security system and so much more. Anything that’s Alexa-Compatible will be easily synced and controlled with this hub.
Just like any Echo, you’ll be able to use this hub as an intercom, calling your family to dinner, or announcing when it’s time to go to bed without having to raise your voice. You can also use this to call other Amazon Echo Shows, so if you have friends or family that use the same smart home hub as you do, you’ll be able to call them and check up whenever you want. If you’re cooking your mother’s recipe, then it would certainly help to have mom on video in the kitchen’s Show, wouldn’t it?
Over 32,000 customer reviews on Amazon have earned this hub an overall rating of 4.6 stars, and any way you slice it, that’s pretty impressive.
Echo Show 8 Key Features:
- 5 packaging options
- 2 color choices
- 1-year Food Network Kitchen subscription free with purchase
Best Smart Home Hub for Families: Echo Dot (3rd Gen) Kids Edition
If you’re sick of having to check your Amazon account to see what random purchase your children have made from their Alexa device that day, then you may want to check out the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) Kids Edition. While it’s true that you can password-protect purchases and prevent them from signing up for Amazon subscriptions, you may find your children are actually criminal masterminds who can figure out workarounds for practically anything. (Not that we have any experience with that.) This device will prevent you from monitoring them as closely with their use and the parental controls are a big perk.
With your purchase, you’ll have access to FreeTime Unlimited, which allows them to enjoy their dot through stories, songs, even games, and quizzes. Alexa will read your children’s bedtime stories or help with their homework – and you won’t’ have to worry that they’re spending all night listening to stories, because you can set daily time limits, too.
With nearly 5,000 customer reviews and an overall rating of 4.7 stars on Amazon, we think you’ll be more than tempted. And with a price tag of under $70, you’ll definitely see the value added to your life.
Echo Dot (3rd Gen) Kids Edition Key Features:
- 2-year warranty
- 2 color options
- 2 packaging options
Best Budget Smart Home Hub: SwitchBot Hub Plus
The SwitchBot Hub Plus will absolutely help save you from the monopoly of smart devices in your home. You can use Google Home-compatible smart plugs and use the Amazon Alexa-enabled light bulbs to turn off the lights, and one device will link them all so that you’re going to get the most out of your devices. Designed to work with nearly any smart device, this hub allows you to control your automated home from your mobile phone and the internet. It is not voice-controlled, but it is connectable to Alexa and Google Assistant. This hub can also take the place of your IR remotes to make even your most outdated appliances smart.
This means you’ll be able to shop around for the smart device that’s the best deal, so you won’t need to worry about having to spend more on each component of your home just because you got a good deal on your initial setup. Not only that, but you’re going to be able to pick this smart home hub up for under $50, and that’s a huge saving. With an overall rating of 4.2 and over 500 customer reviews, it’s a total steal.
SwitchBot Hub Plus Key Features:
- Compatible Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Can connect to IR devices
- Uses a SwitchBot app
Best Smart Home Hub for Security: Ring Alarm 8-piece kit
The Ring may have built its name on the popularity of its flagship, the camera doorbell, but the company has branched out and dominated the entire smart security system market since. In fact, while we do love that Ring Doorbell, the Ring Alarm, 8-piece kit we chose as the best smart hub for security doesn’t actually have that! It does, however, have everything else you need to create a secure home.
You can expand the system with additional components, like a camera, more entry sensors, or keypads, and you’ll easily be able to access the system from your phone’s app, even remotely. So you can travel and your friends can still come to water your plants without tripping your alarm.
There are over 400 customer reviews on this smart home security hub, and with an overall rating of 4.6 stars on Amazon, that’s certainly a number worth celebrating.
Ring Alarm, 8-piece kit Key Features:
- Includes base station, range extender, 4 contact sensors, keypad, and motion detector
- DIY installation; 24/7 monitoring optional
- Mobile notifications
Best Smart Home Hub with Thermostat: ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat, 2nd Gen and Switch+ Smart Light Switch Bundle
The ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat, 2nd Gen and Switch+ Smart Light Switch Bundle lets you control your thermostat with such precision, you’re sure to set it and forget it – until you open your energy bill, that is! You’ll likely notice savings within the first billing cycle, and over time, you’ll certainly notice the convenience of creating a comfortable temperature zone without bothering with it daily. This one act of maintaining a range rather than a set temperature can save you big.
With this purchase, you’ll also get a smart light switch which you can also control through the hub, making your home more “smart” with just the one purchase. However, if you have several other smart devices you’re looking to set up together, then you may even want to try something like the Brilliant Smart Home Hub to control those devices and more.
ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat, 2nd Gen and Switch+ Smart Light Switch Bundle Key Features:
- DIY install in under 45 minutes
- Pays for itself within 2 years
- 3 packaging options available
Who Should Buy a Smart Home Hub
If you have visions of building a smart home that’s a techy’s dream, then you’ll want to look into a smart home hub. There are so many tasks that can be controlled via voice and app that you may just find the time spent on mindless chores just melts away. If you don’t have to run back and make sure you locked the front door and instead can check an app once you get to work (and lock it if you’ve forgotten), you may just find your tardiness vastly improved. You can deter burglars with the presence of a security camera with two-way audio and you’ll love the ability to speak a few words from your bed to turn your lights off as you doze off.
Even if you have all of these smart devices, you may still be especially interested in the hub that can link them all together. If you have more than one device that controls your home sound system, your lights, your security, and your thermostat, finding a hub that will act to tie them all together is a huge plus for you. Not only will it simplify things, but you’ll be more likely to mess up one or two things while you’re creating a fully automated smart home.
If you’re looking for other home automation systems, that you can potentially connect to your hub, then you won’t want to miss The Best Home Automation Systems.
Important Features to Consider
A smart home hub should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a hub for your smart home:
- Compatible devices. If your entire house is set up with Alexa-enabled devices, it makes very little sense to purchase a hub that’s not Alexa-compatible. – That’s probably pretty obvious, but it also means you should look to the future as much as you can. While you may not be able to afford to set your entire home up with smart devices all at once, you should develop a plan that will allow for as much versatility as possible.
- Voice control. Though you may not think voice-control is the most important criteria while you’re picking your hub, we urge you not to discount it. If your phone is dead, then you’re going to want an alternative to operate your hub and voice is an excellent one. In fact, you may find that just speaking your desires into the air is far more satisfying (and quicker) than going through an app or interface.
- Apps. For your smart hub, you may find the best way to use it is an app that will gives you full control. That is to say, scrolling through an interface on a keypad or trying to get your voice command understood isn’t always as easy as clicking an app. You’ll even be able to control your smart home remotely from the app and that means you can make sure your home is safe and performing optimally, no matter where you are. Making sure the app is quality before your purchase is an absolute must.
- Control. You may expand as technology advances, but you should have a decent idea in mind of what you’d like to control with your smart home hub before you purchase it. For example, don’t buy one that centers on the lights alone if you also want to control the locks. Pick a hub that will give you the most control, and that includes fine-tuning, as well. You’ll want a hub that controls the full capability of your smart device. For those hubs that control lights, you’ll want one that will dim and alter color as well as just on and off.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a smart home hub and what does it do?
A smart home hub is a device that connects all the smart devices within your home. Sometimes the collection of your smart devices is referred to as an IoT or Internet of Things. The hub will allow you to control all your devices from one place. You’ll be able to make sure you aren’t losing any functionality while making your smart home as simple as possible.
If you only have one or two smart systems in your home, you may see a hub with each system so that the devices hooked up to it can be controlled in conjunction with each other. Your security system and lights are most likely candidates for having their own hub, but if you choose to use another whole-home hub, you’ll very likely be able to control the systems on that main hub, as well as the individual one, as well. It may make communication between devices a bit harder, but it’s not impossible.
Do I need a hub for smart home?
It depends entirely on the system set up you have. When you only have smart devices that work independently, you’ll likely have a hub that will control each one. For example, your thermostat may have a hub that controls only your thermostat and your security system will have a hub that controls only your security system. Each hub will control different components of the system, but they’ll control only their area of expertise.
You may want a hub that will coordinate and control all your separate devices in one spot, but the chances are, one of the smart devices in your home will act as that hub to control your smart home well enough (Amazon Echo is an excellent example of this). If you look carefully, then you’ll be able to find coordinating smart devices that will recognize each other to make installation and connectivity a breeze.
Is Alexa a Smart Hub?
Alexa is the name that Amazon has given the voice assistant that controls its smart devices. Often, owners will call an Alexa-device their Alexa, but they’re actually referring to their Amazon Echo. With that being the case, yes, Alexa is a smart hub. It can control several smart home automation systems, providing they’re compatible. (You will need to check before purchase, though because it’s not always the case.) In fact, an Amazon Echo can actually replace several other hubs – like a Hue, SmartThings, and IKEA Gateway, to name a few.
What are the pros and cons of smart homes?
The biggest pro for a smart home is the convenience. You will be able to customize your home’s lights, have easier access to the security system, save money on your heating and cooling, and generally control your home far more efficiently. You’ll be able to manage your entire home from one place (primarily your phone), maximize your home security, save on your energy bill, and control everything remotely. Not to mention, it’s just fun.
The biggest con is that your smart home becomes incredibly dependent on power and internet access. You can hook your important equipment up to a generator if your power is prone to outages, but there’s only so much you can do in the way of guaranteeing connectivity. While there are plenty of features you can safeguard to minimize this effect, the likelihood that you’ll be able to get everything working all the time isn’t 100%. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, there is plenty of potential for failure. It can get complicated the more you add to your smart home and the start-up cost to make sure you’re getting your home to a max efficiency level is substantial.
Other Smart Home Hubs We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other smart home hubs. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best smart home hubs list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your home. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Budget Smart Home Hubs
While this hub isn’t as versatile as many others, it is very budget-friendly and a good choice for those who are just beginning to automate their home. You can automate your switches and plugs using a timer or set schedule. It also monitors your electricity consumption through the outlets it is plugged into.
- Uses ERIA app
- Compatible with a variety of smart devices
- Works with Alexa or Google Assistant
While not technically a smart home hub, this device can be indispensable if you have a smart lock on your door. This device works as a bridge to allow you to lock and unlock your door even when you aren’t home. It also sends instant alerts if someone enters or exits your home.
- Locks and unlocks your door even when you aren’t home
- Sends instant alerts if someone enters your door when you aren’t there
- Can connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
Instead of replacing your old appliances, why not make them smart with BOND? If you have a ceiling fan or fireplace that uses a remote, BOND can control it. Set up is very easy and there is no complicated installation necessary. This device uses an app, but it is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Takes the place of your remote
- Controls up to 6 ceiling fans
- No installation necessary
- Alexa and Google Assistant compatible
This universal remote can connect to 50,000+ IR(38KHz) controlled devices, including your TV, A/C, DVD player, and more. It can connect and control almost everything that uses a remote. You can even set up schedules and timers to turn your devices on and off at specific times. This hub is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Supports 50,000+ IR controlled devices
- Uses an app
- Compatible with Alexa and Google for voice control
- Schedule and timer
The Echo Dot is the smaller, more budget-friendly member of the Echo family. It can play music from a variety of sources, call or message your friends and family, and control other compatible smart devices in your home. It knows over 50,000+ skills, with more being added all the time. The Dot can hear you from across the room and in all directions thanks to its seven microphones.
- Compatible with many other devices
- Knows 50,000+ skills
This control unit works with Lutron smart devices. It lets you personalize your lighting needs, schedule turn on/off times and even change the temperature in your home. This device keeps up with the sun movement and can shift its schedule to suit the seasons. It can connect with up to 50 Lutron devices at a time.
- Works with Lutron devices
- Schedules automation
- Connects to up to 50 devices
This hub functions as the center of your Philips Hue smart system. It allows you to control all Philips Hue smart products from an app on your phone. You can also set timers and alarms to automate your home according to your routines. While the unit itself is not voice-controlled, it is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant.
- Controls up to 50 Philips Hue smart lights
- Uses app
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant
This device uses voice commands to control connected devices using SmartThings and Google Assistant. You can teach it your “good morning,” “goodbye,” and “goodnight” routine to help automate your home and control your devices with a single keyword. With 24/7 monitoring, this device can also alert you when there is unexpected activity in your home. It can also be used to control a wide variety of devices, including voice assistants, lights, speakers, cameras, sensors, and more.
- Compatible with 40+ brands
- Learns your routine
- 24/7 monitoring
- Voice control
This hub is designed to control smart LED light bulbs. It allows you to turn the lights on and off, dim or brighten the lights, and set lighting schedules. It is not voice-controlled but can be connected to Alexa or Google Assistant. This smart hub also allows you to monitor your electricity usage and supports up to 64 Sengled Smart LEDs.
- Controls Sengled Smart LEDs
- Connectable with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Allows you to set lighting schedules
Compatible with Element smart LEDs and plugs, the Sengled Z02-hub allows you to set schedules, group devices, and control all your Sengled devices from one app. Adding new devices is easy, and the hub does not need to be connected to an ethernet cable after the initial set up.
- Connects to smart LEDs and plugs
- Controls up to 64 devices
- Connects to Amazon Alexa
- Uses a simple app
This hub allows you to control a variety of different smart home devices. It is compatible with a number of different brands and can support nearly every smart home device type out there. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa and can learn your routines to help you automate your home. It uses an elegant mobile app, though it is not voice-controlled by itself.
- Compatible with a wide number of brands
- Works with Alexa
- Uses an app
- Can learn your routines
Mid-Range Smart Home Hubs
The Echo speaker is one of the most popular smart home hubs around. It connects to Alexa to play music, read the news, set times, answer questions, and much more. It works as a hub and a smart speaker in one. With seven microphones, beamforming, and noise cancellation, this device can hear you even when music is playing.
- Powerful speakers
- Seven microphones
- Connectable with other smart home devices
This smart home device is both a WiFi mesh router and a hub in one. It allows you to connect and control hundreds of smart cameras, lights, doorbells, locks, speakers, and more all with one app. With the power of Plume, this device learns your environment and optimizes its own performance to give you the best experience possible. Set up is easy and you only need one app to control everything.
- Uses app
- Connects with hundreds of devices
- Easy setup
- Extendable coverage
Let this smart device be the brain of your wireless smart home system. It works with a variety of brands, including Nest, Schlage, Tale, kwikset, and more. When connected to the appropriate smart devices, it can lock your doors, turn lights on and off, and even allow you to view cameras from your phone. It can control over 200 devices at a time.
- Works with a variety of brands
- Can control over 200 smart devices at once
- No monthly fees or contracts
High-End Smart Home Hubs
This adobe starter kit comes with everything you need to start monitoring your home today. This is a self-controlled and self-monitoring home security system. No monthly fees are necessary, unlike many other security systems. In the case of power outages, this system can connect to cellular signals and comes equipped with a battery backup. If you want to monitor your home, you really can’t get much better than this.
- Battery backup
- No monthly fees
- Kit includes 1 Gateway, 1 mini Door/Window Sensor, 1 Remote KeyFob, and 1 Motion Sensor.
The Echo Plus comes with a built-in Zigbee hub to provide easy set-up and control of all your compatible smart home devices. This device functions as a premium, voice-controlled speaker and central hub for all your other devices. You can ask Alexa to play your favorite song, dim the lights, or lock the door – all from one hub. With seven microphones, beamforming, and noise cancellation, Echo Plus can hear and respond to you from any direction.
- Premium Speaker
- Stand-alone and compatible with other smart devices
- High-quality microphones
The Echo Show is one of the most expensive smart home hubs on the market, but there is a good reason for this. Unlike every other smart hub, the Echo Show features an HD screen and allows you to watch your favorite shows. It also does everything the Echo Plus does and comes with premium speakers. It is compatible with all Zigbee devices and functions as the hub of your smart system.
- Premium speakers and HD screen
- Compatible with Zigbee devices
- Eight microphones
- Over 50,000 abilities and counting
While this hub might not be the most popular, it is a great option for anyone looking to automate their home. It allows you to remotely monitor, configure, and control your home using a specific controller. You can schedule your automated device’s activity based on the time of day and triggers.
- Manage up to 1000 smart devices
- Schedule device activity
- Uses a controller
Think smart hubs are just for gadgets? This smart home hub is designed for water leak detection. This complete starter kit allows you to prevent water damage to your home 24/7. It includes one Automatic Universal Snap-On Water Main Shut-Off Valve Controller, one leakSMART System 3.0 Hub, and three Water Leak Detector Sensors. At the first sign of water leakage, the hub will send you a notification and can shut-off your water valve remotely. It is compatible with Alexa, Nest, and Google Assistant.
- Protects your home from leaks 24/7
- Instant notification
- Can shut-off your water valve remotely
The Wink is compatible with nearly all other smart home devices. It supports Bluetooth LE, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Kidde, and Lutron Clear. It condenses all these smart devices into one simple app that allows you to control every smart device in your home. This device also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Supports over 400 smart devices
- Uses one app
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Can connect through WiFi or Ethernet cable