Best smart home hubs 2020: 10 models compared – Samsung to Lutron!

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It’s interesting how you can control your home using just a simple interface in 2020. A smart hub is a software or hardware that connects various smart devices in your home making them communicate with each other. If you want to control your smart home devices with ease, we recommend that you get the best Smart hub available. We are here to take a look at the hubs on the market, giving you a hint on which is the best fit for your smart home.

A smart hub is also known as a ‘smart home bridge’. At first, it may not seem necessary, but your smart home needs a smart bridge. A good smart hub automates every smart device you have.

The use of a smart hub is not only convenient for the controlling of the other devices but also plays a good role in security management. The 24/7 monitoring can keep you home safe from unusual activities. What we like most is that your devices send you an alert to notify you if something is wrong at your home if you aren’t around.

The network used by many smart hubs is Zigbee, Z- wave Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Smart hubs can open doors as well as turn your smart lights on or off. A smart hub will coordinate the smart devices in your home without you touching them. It’s amazing to imagine that this type of technology was only displayed on Sci-Fi movies but is now available to everyone.

Today we look deeper into smart hubs to give you some comprehensive information on the technology and products available for your home.

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Hey Alexa! How do I choose a good smart home hub?

Before you buy your smart hub for your home, you have to identify what you want it to do. You won’t buy a hub to open a garage door if you don’t have a garage, right?

You must know what you want to control and what you want to achieve with your smart hub. Choose a smart hub that uses the same signal that your smart devices are using. If all your smart devices use Wi-Fi, purchase a smart hub that has Wi-Fi and download the Alexa App to control your smart devices using your smartphone. If your devices only support Zigbee and Z-Wave, buy a smart home hub that supports the connections of your current smart devices.

What factors should you consider when buying a smart home hub

Different hubs have different features. It is important to conduct a proper check before purchasing one. We came up with a list of important features that a good smart hub should have. Check the list below:

Smart hub voice assistants

Most smart home hubs give you the comfort of controlling your smart devices hands-free by connecting to voice assistants. It’s beautiful when you just command your devices using voice. Popular apps, like Amazon’s Alexa, give you the comfort of using voice commands. Ensure that your smart hub can enable voice assistants.

Smart device compatibility

Your smart home devices will not connect to just any smart home hub. Before buying a hub ensure that you’ve checked the list of compatible brands. The list of the compatible brands can be found on the label of the gadget.

Hardware vs Software: Smart home hubs

Popular hubs have an appearance much like an internet router. Some of the smart features, however, are just software or an app on your mobile phone. When using the SmartHub software, you don’t need to have any hardware to operate and connect your devices.

Smart hub connectivity

You might want to add more smart devices on your collection later on. Before purchasing a smart home hub, ensure that you check the limited number of devices that can be connected to it. If a smart home hub connects few smart devices it means that you will have to buy another smart hub for you to be able to connect all your devices. To avoid this, ensure you buy a smart hub which will allow you to connect as many devices as you can.

Perhaps opt for a smart hub which has either Z-wave or ZigBee, because they are very common protocols and can easily connect to many smart devices. Zigbee and Z-Wave work in a similar way. Smart hubs that use the mentioned protocols use a mesh network, so every smart device acts in as an additional signal.

Z-Wave connects to other smart devices in your home by using low radio signals. In Z-wave, you can connect numerous devices about a hundred of them because they act as additional signal.

Smart Hubs that use Bluetooth, together with the devices that also use Bluetooth, don’t connect well over long distances because Bluetooth doesn’t have such wide coverage.

With more and more hub installations taking place throughout the UK, let’s take a look at some of the best smart hubs available for you to buy.

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Best smart hubs available in 2020

Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation

Price: £79.00

Dimension: 5×5×1.2 inches

Weight: 227 grams/ 8 Ounces

Colour: White

Power: Battery

This third version of the Samsung SmartThings smart hub comes top on our list because it connects to Zigbee, Google assistant and works with Alexa. For you to control your home devices using this hub, you will need to install SmartThings on your phone. Samsung SmartThings monitors your home 24/7 and it enables your devices to send alerts to you in case of any unusual events.

This home bridge will turn your devices on and off when need be. The connection of Samsung SmartThings is wireless therefore you do not need any Ethernet cables. This smart hub can connect more than devices like smart lights, speakers, cameras and sensors. The interesting part of this interface is that you can use your voice to give commands to all the devices that are connected to it. For the set-up of your new Samsung SmartThings, you will need the SmartThings Classic app.

The Samsung SmartThings hub can connect with over 329 compatible smart devices. The hub also connects with seven products that are from different brands like the Phillips Hue system among others. It also supports Bluetooth – provided the devices are not iOS.

There are several password settings on the first set up of the Samsung Smart Hub and if you want to upgrade it you’ll definitely need to reset all your smart devices.

What we like

  • The broad connectivity
  • Works with popular protocol like Zigbee, Z-Wave and Wi-Fi
  • Wireless connectivity

What we don’t like

  • There is no backup battery like on the former version
  • Complex process of installing the hub
  • Doesn’t support some brands

Customer reviews: 4.0 out of 5.0

Phillips Hue Smart Bridge/Hub

Price: £43.00

Works with: Alexa and Google Assistant

Product Size: 1×3.5×3.5 inches

Weight: 8.3 Ounces

Battery: 4AA

Colour: White

Phillips’ Hue smart hub comes second in our selection because it works with Zigbee, Google Assistant, Alexa and Apple Home kit. This smart hub allows you to connect over 48 Phillips Hue Smart lights.

Phillips Hue smart hub is easy to install and connect with other devices.  For the installation, you will plug the smart bridge to a power supply and then connect it with your router. For you to be able to control your Phillips Hue Accessories you will need to install the Phillip Hue App on your phone which will act as a remote control. Alexa and Google Assistant will help you use voice to talk to your smart devices. You can command your smart devices by using the software app on your phone.

The Phillips Hue Hub is compatible with almost all iPhones from the iPhone 4 to iPhone XR. It’s also compatible with the following wireless networks: A, B, G and N.

What we like

  • Easy to install and control if you’re familiar with smart devices
  • Can be controlled remotely

What we don’t like

  • It’s a bit expensive ( the hue bulbs are a bit pricey)
  • Cannot operate without an internet connection

Customer reviews: 4.4 out of 5.0

Samsung SmartThings Smart Hub 2nd Generation

Price: £190

Product Size: 4.9×4.2×1.3

Weight: 8 Ounces

Colour: White

Samsung’s SmartThings smart hub connects to numerous smart devices in your home using a wireless network. This hub connects and makes your devices talk to each other. For you to be able to control your smart devices like lights, sensors and thermostats, you will need to download the SmartThings App on your phone. Amazon Alexa also serves the same purpose as SmartThings App so you can choose either of the two. SmartThings 2nd Generation communicates using ZigBee, Z-Wave and other compatible accessories like Phillips Hue and Honeywell. This smart home bridge requires the use of WI-FI router which has an Ethernet port.

Samsung smart hub has replaceable batteries so it operates for around two hours in case of an electricity blackout. Using this smart hub makes it easy for you to control and monitor your home. This hub also helps with security purposes. If anything unusual happens in your home, you can be sure to receive an alert.

The Samsung Smart hub is versatile and by far most the most compatible hub available in our eyes. There are so many Samsung Brand smart devices which can be connected to this hub. We noticed that setting up this hub is a little bit tricky if one doesn’t have experience of setting up smart hubs. However after the set up is complete, this smart hub works efficiently.

What we like

  • Connects with ZigBee, Z-Wave, LAN and Cloud
  • Has a battery backup so it can be controlled even after electricity blackout
  • Supports devices from other brands like Honeywell and Phillips

What we don’t like

  • This version is smaller than Samsung SmartThings third generation
  • Setting up this smart hub is a bit complicated

Customer Reviews: 3.6 out of 5.0

Echo Dot 3rd Generation

Price: £49.99

Product Size: 3.9×3.9×1.7 inches

Weight: 10.4 Ounces

The Echo Dot Hub third generation is a very popular hub that does a good job of connecting smart devices at home. This smart home bridge comes with an LED display which acts like a clock and it can also show the temperatures. This hub can make calls play music and control your devices by talking to Alexa. You can use your voice to request for your favourite music, change the TV programs, asking questions and requesting for news.

If you’re a lover of rich stereo sound, the Echo Dot has got you sorted, all you need to do is pair all the devices on and pair another Echo Dot speaker. For those who value their privacy, the Echo Dot smart hub will be very convenient because it features numerous privacy options to choose from.

What we like

  • It’s easy to install this smart hub
  • Small size that doesn’t consume much of your space

What don’t we like

  • The sound quality could be improved

Customer Reviews: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars

Echo Plus Hub 2nd Generation

Price: £139.99

Product Size:  3.9 × 3.9 × 5.8 inches

Weight: 1.72 pounds

Colour: Charcoal, Sandstone, Heather Gray                   

Although the second generation of Echo Plus is a bit pricey, we’d say it has features that are worth the price. The Echo Plus 2nd Generation is simply made to control your smart devices by asking Alexa to discover your devices.  It comes in three colours which you can choose from. The Echo Plus has a great stereo sound just like Echo Dot 3rd Gen. Plus, it has a built-in Zigbee hub which is easy to set-up.

The Echo plus 2nd Gen Hub features a very beautiful speaker which is designed to give you a high-quality sound. Comprising of a 3-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter, you can connect this hub with Echo Dot for a louder and fuller sound filled with a base.

We discovered that with this home smart bridge, you can play music in different rooms at home by simply asking Alexa for your favourite song. You can also ask for weather updates and the latest news. Adjusting your smart thermostat and turning the smart lights on or off can be done by using your voice.

Make announcements through your Alexa devices in different rooms in your house. Like the Echo Dot 3, the Echo Plus 2nd Generation offers its users multiple privacy options whereby you can decide to switch off the microphone.

What we like

  • Ability to play music in different rooms easily
  • Great privacy features

What don’t we like

  • Audio quality isn’t as good as second-generation Echo Dot

Customer Reviews: 4.7 out of 5.0 stars

Best smart home hubs 2020: WINK HUB-2US Smart Home Hub

Price: £204

Product Size: 7.2 × 7.2 × 1.2 inches

Weight: 8 ounces

Colour: White

The WINK HUB is a fast, secure and reliable smart home hub. This smart hub works with Alexa and Google Assistant so you can control your devices using voice control. The good thing about this smart hub is that it gives you the chance to connect your devices even if they are from different brands. Buy your favourite devices and connect them wirelessly with your Wink Hub, provided they come from trusted brands.

The Wink Hub can be used with the Wink App which will help you connect and control your devices using your smartphone. Turn your lights on or off and tune your thermostat with just one tap. Wink-Hub smart hub can connect about 400 smart devices at your home – Imagine having control of about 400 devices at once! The Wink smart hub can use Zigbee, Kidde, Z-Wave and Bluetooth to connect. You can also use Wi-Fi 5GHz or the Ethernet to connect your smart hub.

Its slim size is attractive to many as you can hide your smart hub wherever you like at home. However, we noticed that connecting this smart hub via Wi-Fi is a bit complicated.

What we like

  • Make use of the hub via an easy-to-use app
  • Connect and control 400+ smart home devices

What don’t we like

  • Doesn’t work with Alexa

Customer Reviews: 3.5 out of 5.0

Kevo Plus Connected Hub

Price: £215

Product Size: 2.9 × 5.9 × 6.9

Weight: 12.6 Ounces

The Kevo Plus Connected hub works with Alexa and will require you to purchase Levo locks because they are the only brands compatible with Kevo smart hub. This smart hub uses an Ethernet cable to connect to your Wi-Fi router. This means that the Kevo smart home hub will not work without Wi-Fi.

You can remotely monitor lock and unlock your doors. This is made possible if your smartphone is compatible with Kevo Plus connected hub and you have an internet connection. The moment your doors are opened and you’re far away from home, you will receive an alert from your smart home bridge.

The disadvantage we encountered while testing the Kevo Plus Connected hub was that it works with only two brands of locks, the Baldwin and Kevo Kwikset. If this smart hub only supports those two brands, it means that you will have to buy a hub that will be compatible with your locks. If you have devices from other brands apart from locks, another hub will come in handy. The setup instructions of this smart home hub come in the form of a PDF and it gives step-by-step instructions on how to install and use the hub.

What we like

  • Enhance your home security easily
  • Remotely secure doors left unlocked

What don’t we like

  • Limitations on lock types

Customer Reviews:  4.0 out of 5.0

BroadLink Smart Home Hub Mini 3

Price: £19.90

Product Size: 2.22×2.2×2.6 inches

Weight: 4.8 ounces

The Broadlink RM Mini connects your smart home devices by using your phone to automate your devices. This hub works with Alexa so you can use your voice to control all your smart devices like the air conditioning, TV, radio light and sensors.

You can turn your TV on and off by simply asking Alexa. For the set up of Broadlink RM Mini, you will need to install the Intelligent Home Centre App (IHC). Ever wondered how you can compress all your remotes to become a single remote? With Broadlink Mini Hub your phone becomes the control centre. You can remotely command your devices by just using the IHC app on your phone.

Broadlink smart hub works with Google Assistant too. Set your timers for important things that you do not want to miss like your favourite programs on TV. Control the temperature of your home all through the use of your phone. If you’re the type of person who fears going inside the house when it’s dark, you can easily use your phone to turn your lights on.

What we like

  • Anywhere, any time remote control
  • Works with Google Assistant

What don’t we like

  • Support devices are quite limited

Customer Reviews: 4.0 out of 5.0

Best smart home hubs 2020: Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge

Price: $150 – US-only on Amazon 

Product Size: 2.8×2.8×1.2 inches

Product Weight: 6.4 ounces

Colour: White

The Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge Works with Alexa and Google Assistance to control your smart devices by using voice control.

This smart home bridge is far most the easiest to set up and use. All the instructions about setup are found in the app. Once you connect the Lutron Caseta to your router, you will receive instructions on how to set up your home bridge. The Lutron Caseta supports more than 70 Lutron devices.

With the Lutron App on your phone, you can control the temperatures of your home and switch your light on and off by commanding the smart devices using your voice. Schedule your smart devices so that they function as you want whether you’re around or not.

The Lutron Caseta comes in white colour and unfortunately, it doesn’t have a backup battery. This means that if you experience an electricity blackout you won’t be able to use your smart lights. The good thing with this smart home bridge is that it continues to work even when your Wi-Fi network gets unstable.

What we like

  • Control temperature and lights with the free Lutron app
  • Supports up to 50 wireless devices

What don’t we like

  • Set-up can be complex

Customers Reviews: 4.0 out of 5.0

Logitech Harmony Home Hub

Price: £89.98

Product Size: 6.3 × 5.8 × 3.2 inches

Product Size: 14.4 Ounces

The Logitech Harmony Home Smart Hub controls all your smart devices at home like home theatre, TV and Blue Ray. This hub plays the role of a universal remote and replaces all your remotes. Voice control is enabled by the use of Google Assistant and Alexa. Control your devices through the Harmony App which you should install on your smartphone.

The Logitech Harmony Hub can hold up to 8 home theatres together with other smart devices in your home. We realised that this hub is only compatible with iOS and Android meaning I phones aren’t compatible.

This smart hub has a backup battery made of Lithium-ion. This makes it useful even when there is an electricity shortage. This hub favours those who don’t own a smart TV because it comes with an RF cable and has two IR emitters.

What we like

  • The Logitech Harmony Home Smart Hub controls up to eight home theatres
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Supports a large number of devices
  • Can be controlled via phone app

What don’t we like

  • Only compatible with iOS and android
  • Limited network connections

Customer Reviews: 3.4 out of 5.0

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