Smart home products often require a hub in order to be able to operate, such as automatic lights and movement sensors. Some hubs like Google Home or Amazon Echo serve as wireless speakers. Others like Samsung Smart Things run mostly on the background. But it should be noted that they are essential. Actually, although such names are familiar to you, they are not the only smart home hub available. There is also the Wink Connected Home Hub and Harmony Hub. And because one hub per company isn’t enough, you can also find the Samsung Connect Hub.
In this article, we will talk more about the lesser known smart home hub on the market. It includes the strengths and weaknesses of hubs, giving you all the information you need to pick the best hub for your home.
Smart Home Hub
The following smart home hub list can control a large number of smart devices across multiple categories. For example, these are the type of hubs you’d buy if you want to control your lights alongside a security system, or your front door bell alongside your thermostat.
1. Wink Connected Home Hub 2
The wink Connected Home Hub 2, allows products that speak the same languages to communicate. In doing so, you can control all of the accessories with the Wink app. Unlike similar products, Wink supports multiple protocols including ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth LE. It also works with IFTTT, which allows it to support additional products.
Supported products include: door locks, door/window sensors, motion sensors, light bulbs, switches and dimmers, outlets, and more. For compatibility, look for the “Wink Compatible – Wink Hub Required” seal on packaging. Partners include Amazon, Kwikset, Canary, August, and more.
- A huge product base because of supported protocols.
- It supports many inexpensive products, which is unique in the smart home industry.
- It includes support for voice control.
- The product has been through three owners in three years
- Some Wink-supported devices have been known NOT to work with the Wink app
2. Samsung Connect Home
The Samsung Connect Home is another smart home hub that also includes a Wi-Fi router. In this case, it provides mesh routing capabilities.
Once you look past its mesh capabilities, the Samsung Connect Home is every bit the same as the Samsung SmartThings Home, except that you don’t have to purchase separate hardware.
- Part of an established company
- Works with a large number of products
- This system is expensive (models generally start around $180)
- Could offer more functionality than you need for your home
Securifi offers Wi-Fi routers and extenders that also act as smart home hubs. These include the company’s newest products, the Almond 3, Almond+, and Almond2015. All three of these support the ZigBee protocol, while the first two also support Z-Wave. The Almond 3 also supports Bluetooth.
Hundreds of smart devices are already compatible with these products, including Nest, Philips Hue, Amazon Echo, and others. Securifi is a great solution if you are also in the market for a new Wi-Router or need an extender.
- Offers a full range of products across multiple pricing levels
- Includes a digital interface to view settings quickly
- If you are happy with your Wi-Fi system, you likely have no reason to switch
- Can get pricey, as most Wi-Fi systems do
4. Logitech Harmony
It may look best in the living room, but make no mistake, Logitech’s Harmony is much more than a television remote. The Logitech Harmony Hub is compatible with more than 270,000 devices at last count. In just a few minutes, you can use one remote to control up to eight devices, including your TV, cable or satellite box, Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Roku, game console, and much more.
Additionally, pre-programmed buttons on the Harmony app can be used to turn down your lights right before the big game or entertainment event.
- Arguably the best entertainment solution available right now
- Logitech is basically the only company offering this kind of smart home solution
- Harmony devices are never cheap
- There is a definite learning curve
The Harmony Hub is about $100 without a physical remote, but the two more expensive versions (The Harmony Companion and the Harmony Elite remotes) both include the hub.
5. Insteon Hub
With the Insteon Hub, you can connect lights and appliances from your iOS or Android device. By doing so, you can integrate with some of the biggest names in the smart industry including Nest, Amazon, Logitech, and more. With the Insteon+ app, you create schedules and automate devices, build scenes to control multiple devices, and more.
- It is great to have an Apple HomeKit version available
- Both Android and iOS-compatibility
- The Apple HomeKit version is much more expensive
For those dedicated to Apple products, there’s the Insteon Hub (HomeKit-enabled) edition. Priced around $150 and available exclusively through Smart Home, this hub offers the same features as the regular version plus support for Siri virtual assistant.
6. Lutron Caséta Smart Bridge
The Caséta Smart Bridge from Lutron allows you to control lights, shades, and temperatures in your home with the Lutron app. With the current-generation model, you can connect up to 50 smart devices with on hub. For added flexibility, the Caséta Smart Hub is also compatible with Apple HomeKit and Amazon Echo, which allows you to control lights and shades with either Siri or Alexa.
- Established company
- Tied to Apple HomeKit, ensuring years of compatibility
- Can get pricey once you add multiple devices
Besides the Smart Bridge, Lutron offers a few starter kits. These kits, not surprisingly, focus on smart lighting and include dimmer switches, wall plates, remotes, pedestals, and more.
7. Lowes Iris Smart Hub
The Lowes Iris Smart Hub is a customizable smart home system that might remind you of a modern day Swiss Army Knife. Once you own the hub, you can add security, lighting, and automation bundles, plus individual products as your needs change. Along the way, you can control all of your Iris-connected devices through the free Iris app.
Nowadays, there are over 80 Iris-compatible devices, including cameras, sensors, switches, thermostats, and lights. Lowes has developed many of these specifically for use with the Iris system. Others, such as products from Sylvania and Honeywell, are also compatible with other smart hubs or systems.
- A wide range of compatible products
- Prices for each device are reasonable
- Lowes is a big name in home improvement
- Relatively new, a chance it won’t catch on with a wider user base
- The features could be overkill for some folks
- Lowes is a relative newcomer to the smart home hub game
Is There Any Right Smart Home Hub to buy?
Smart home hubs have multiple forms and come from different price levels, as you saw above. If you need to choose one of them, the best one for you largely depends on your current and future needs. Unfortunately, the latter isn’t always easy to determine.
Purchasing a hub that supports more than one wireless protocol would be your best bet. From there, make sure it works with the smart devices you require. Finally, have some fun. A smart home can be a happy home, as long as you take the time to see what’s out there and make informed decisions.
If you like to learn about smart home security systems in order to provide safety for yourself, read our article about this.