You’ve seen, heard it, and probably experienced it — smart home automation is one of those wonderful quality-of-life improvements that every home can enjoy. Smart home hubs bring all your home’s devices together into a single interface, making it fast and easy to get the most out of your investment.
What’s a Hub?
A smart home hub is the beating heart of your home. You can control lights, temperature, entertainment, and more through the hub — it unites all your different smart devices into one simple ecosystem. Have some of those nifty smart lights in the kitchen, or a Wi-Fi coffee maker? A smart hub is what allows you to connect all of those devices together.
First – Uniting Different Connectivity Systems
Smart home automation usually results in products from an endless number of different manufacturers.
Unfortunately, different manufacturers also mean different connectivity systems.
A smart home hub (say, for example, the Wink Hub 2) lets you connect your home together without any hassle. With support for Bluetooth, Kidde, Clear Connect, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi, you don’t have to worry about whether or not a particular device will work in your home.
Second – Wonderful Convenience with Voice Controls
Hands-free voice controls are the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to smart home automation — controlling your home by talking to it? It’s fantastic, both for convenience (not having to get up during a movie is nice) and also for showing off.
The Echo Plus or Echo Dot by Amazon and the Google Home Hub are two leading smart home hubs. Both offer excellent voice control support, but the Amazon offering comes with a built-in Zigbee hub. You’ll have to look at your own devices to determine which connectivity systems you have, but chances are the Echo Plus takes the cake — Alexa functionality is hard to beat as well.
You’ve Got Options
The Echo Plus
Coming in at $149, the second-generation Echo Plus is a great option for a multipurpose smart home hub. The built-in Zigbee hub means you can talk to any smart device using that protocol (Philips Hue smart lights, anyone?), but you miss out on Z-Wave and other communication protocols.
The Google Home Hub
Identical in price to Amazon’s Echo Plus, the Google Home Hub combines the incredible Google Assistant with a wonderful 7-inch screen. While it lacks Zigbee, Z-Wave, and other popular communication protocols, it’s hands-down the best option for someone maintaining a Google ecosystem.
The Wink Hub 2
Cutting under the competition at a pretty $99, the Wink Hub 2 is a true smart home hub — it supports every major connectivity protocol around with zero hassle. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant alike, making it an excellent option for either digital aid.
How to Choose?
In the end, which smart home hub you should buy comes down to what devices you have. If you have a wide range of different connectivity systems, a hub like the Wink Hub 2 or Samsung SmartThings is perfect. On the other hand, if you’re running a full Google home ecosystem, you’ll see better results from a Google Home hub.
Take a gander around your home and make a list of your connectivity requirements. There’s a smart home hub option out there, perfect for you.