Best Smart Home Hubs of 2022

We studied user reviews and compared products in hands-on tests to bring you the best smart home hubs.
Best overall
Aeotec Smart Home Hub
Aeotec Smart Home Hub
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • pro
    Best compatibility
  • pro
    Works with Alexa
  • pro
    Works with Google
Best budget
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 4)
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
  • pro
    Broad compatibility
  • pro
    Works with Alexa
  • pro
    Small size
Best smart display
Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)
Google Nest Hub (Gen 2)
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
  • pro
    Broad compatibility
  • pro
    Works with Google
  • pro
    Better voice recognition
Best for HomeKit
Apple HomePod mini
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Good compatibility
  • pro
    Works with Siri
  • pro
    Great sound quality
Best infrared remote
Aqara Hub M2
Aqara Hub M2
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Good compatibility
  • pro
    Works with Alexa, Google, and Siri
  • pro
    Universal remote functionality

When you're shopping for a smart hub, one of the most important questions is, "Will it work with my smart home devices?" The Aeotec Smart Home Hub earns our top pick because, more often than not, the answer to that question was "yes" with this hub. It works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

In addition to excellent compatibility, Aeotec's hub uses some of our favorite software, Samsung SmartThings, which offers more options for automating your devices than rivals. Find out how it compares to the competition in our full breakdown of the best smart hubs.


Best smart hubs for home automation


Compare the best smart home hubs

Product
Best for
Price
Wireless protocols
Voice assistants
Learn more
Best overall Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigbeeAlexa, Google
Best budget Wi-Fi, BluetoothAlexa
Best smart display Wi-Fi, BluetoothGoogle
Best for HomeKit Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ThreadSiri
Best infrared remote Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigbeeAlexa, Google, Siri

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Video: What Is Home Automation?

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Best smart hubs reviews

1. Aeotec Smart Home Hub: Best overall

Best overall
Aeotec Smart Home Hub
Aeotec Smart Home Hub
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$134.99

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Aeotec Smart Home Hub is a full-fledged Samsung SmartThings hub boasting some of the best smart home compatibility. It works with practically everything: Alexa, Google, IFTTT, and Zigbee. Plus, it's the only hub in our top five list that works with Z-Wave—vastly increasing the number of devices you can control. Still, there's no Apple HomeKit support.

pro
Pros
pro Top-tier compatibility
pro Great mobile app
pro Scenes and automations
con
Cons
con No HomeKit support
con Learning curve for app
con Expensive

The Aeotec hub works best when paired with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can link these platforms to every smart device on your SmartThings system—even devices they don't normally work with, like Z-Wave smart locks and thermostats.

You can also create powerful automation routines through SmartThings—for all of your devices. The SmartThings app manages all your IoT devices in one place, so you can create routines and scenes for specific times, like when you first wake up in the morning or when you leave the house.

While setting up a smart home routine in the app takes practice to prevent tasks from canceling each other out, it's more customizable than anything Amazon or Google offers. (We use SmartThings to make up for Google's lackluster automation tools.)

SmartThings scans for your devices' signals on its own—unlike other smart home hubs that require you to scan in the QR codes from all your devices. It might even discover smart products you didn't even know you had.

Overall, the Aeotec Smart Home Hub and SmartThings app are a better foundation for expanding your smart home than any other hub; we recommend it for folks with a few smart devices already. Still, the sheer number of customization options can be overwhelming for beginners, especially since Aeotec's pricier than most other hubs.

Read our full Samsung SmartThings review.

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Why does Aeotec use the SmartThings app?

Samsung SmartThings doesn't make its own hubs anymore. Instead, it relies on certified partners like Aeotec to handle the hardware. It now focuses on expanding SmartThings into a smart home software platform. This means it doesn't always need a hub to work with Wi-Fi smart devices like Ecobee thermostats and Sengled smartbulbs.

2. Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 4): Best budget

Best budget
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) is a lot less expensive than traditional hubs and still performs many of the same functions, like giving you Alexa integration and voice control for your smart home devices. At $50, it's one of the best ways to dip your toes into smart home automation. (It's also one of the cheapest ways to put a smart speaker in every room.)

pro
Pros
pro Great voice controls
pro Strong compatibility
pro Affordable
con
Cons
con No built-in Zigbee controls
con Lower sound quality than Echo

It costs half as much as the main Echo, so you can expect lower sound quality and no built-in Zigbee controls. But the Alexa voice assistant still answers your questions, plays your music, and gives you access to thousands of other skills and Alexa-compatible devices.

The best thing about Amazon Alexa is its massive list of compatible devices—including Amazon-owned brands like Ring and Blink. It's more common to see a smart home device support Alexa than Google Assistant (though many support both).

Oddly enough, Alexa doesn't require an Echo to control devices since you can use the Alexa app too. But we like the hands-free voice controls on smart speakers too much to give them up.

We love that the Echo Dot also works like a home intercom system with other Echo devices in your house. And if you don't want your smart home hub to look like an alien spaceship landed in the middle of your home, you'll appreciate the variety of Echo Dot colors.

Overall, the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) is an affordable way for beginners to try out the smart home lifestyle. It's a great choice for your first smart home device since you can use it for more tasks than controlling other devices.

Learn more in our Ultimate Guide to Amazon Alexa.

Bell
Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

The Amazon Echo (4th Gen) (about $100) is worth the upgrade in almost every way. Its speakers and mini woofer offer better sound performance overall. The built-in Zigbee radio means you can use it with more smart devices overall. Still, it's more for folks who already use an Echo Dot and want to expand their smart home options.

3. Google Nest Hub (Gen 2): Best smart display

Best smart display
Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Google Nest Hub (Gen 2) is our pick for the best smart home hub with a smart display. It's not too expensive and has more features than similarly priced Amazon Echo Show models. We're big fans of the clean, simple user interface and how many video streaming services it supports.

pro
Pros
pro Intuitive touchscreen and app controls
pro Excellent voice controls
pro Great video service selection
con
Cons
con No Thread functionality yet
con Fewer compatible devices than Alexa
con Simplistic routines

We like that there are so many ways to control your smart devices, like the 7-inch touchscreen display and voice commands. This makes it easy to watch videos, listen to music, and search for info on the web. There's even a built-in Soli radar chip that offers sleep-tracking in your bedroom—though Google plans to require a subscription for this soon.

This smart display comes with Google Assistant voice controls, which are a little bit better at recognizing a voice command than Alexa. We like the option for follow-up questions, like asking, "When does it open?" after asking where the nearest bakery is.

The Google Home app is easy to use, and we love that it puts all of your devices on one screen for easy access. Still, Google isn't compatible with nearly as many devices as Alexa. Sadly, it doesn't have an option for creating smart home routines based on device status like motion sensors or leak detectors.

While the Nest Hub comes with a built-in Thread radio, it doesn't work yet. Thread works like an improved version of Zigbee that's faster. Other than the small number of Thread devices for sale, we're not sure why Google doesn't use the radio yet, but it would be nice to have more device options with Google smart homes.

Overall, the Google Nest Hub (Gen 2) is a great option if you want touchscreen controls and an easy way to watch videos. That doesn't mean the Echo Show series of displays isn't worth buying (especially if Alexa's your platform of choice), but we think Google's smart displays provide a better experience overall.

Learn more in our Ultimate Guide to Google Assistant.

Notepad
Google Nest Mini

The Google Nest Mini (about $50) is a solid alternative to the Echo Dot for folks who don't need a smart display.

4. Apple HomePod mini: Best for HomeKit

Best for HomeKit

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The Apple HomePod mini is the most affordable way to add a HomeKit hub to your home. While the HomePod mini bears an almost uncanny resemblance to the Echo Dot, it offers better audio quality overall.

Plus, it supports HomeKit-certified devices that use Wi-Fi and Thread. At $100, Apple's "budget option" costs twice as much as the competition.

pro
Pros
pro Excellent audio performance
pro HomeKit certification program
pro Apple Home app
con
Cons
con Requires Apple device to use
con Limited compatibility
con Relatively expensive

One of HomeKit's biggest advantages is its rigorous certification program. Apple requires every device to meet strict security and privacy standards before it can connect to other HomeKit devices.

While Apple's goals are admirable, it limits compatibility compared to other platforms. HomePod mini and HomeKit aren't available for Android users since it's the only hub on our list that requires an Apple device to run.

We like how the Apple Home app shows all of your devices on tiles with their current status. This makes it easy to control lights and see which doors are open. You can also control devices with Siri voice commands on the HomePod mini or your iPhone.

Overall, we think that the Apple HomePod mini offers a sleek experience and a decent selection of compatible devices. Still, it lacks the choice of smart gadget options compared to rivals.

Learn more in our Ultimate Guide to Apple HomeKit.

5. Aqara Hub M2: Best infrared remote

Best infrared remote
Aqara Hub M2
Aqara Hub M2
4 out of 5 stars
4
$59.99

Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Aqara Hub M2 can help reduce the clutter of remote controls lying around your home with its built-in IR blaster. This is great for appliances that use simple remote controls like fans, blinds, lights, air conditioners, and TVs. The universal remote functionality even works with Google and Alexa voice commands—but not with HomeKit.

pro
Pros
pro Infrared remote
pro Affordable accessories
pro Great add-on to Alexa, Google, and HomeKit
con
Cons
con Infrared remote incompatible with HomeKit
con No third-party Zigbee device support

Aqara also makes our list as one of the better ways to add sensors to Apple HomeKit. While it's no substitute for Aeotec and SmartThings, Aqara sells affordable accessories like light switches, motion sensors, door sensors, smart plugs, water leak detectors, and home security cameras.

It doesn't support third-party Zigbee devices because Apple HomeKit certification applies to all products connected to a hub. Aqara can't guarantee that all third-party Zigbee products are HomeKit certified, so it requires Aqara-branded accessories. Still, we think Aqara's selection of devices is more than enough for folks looking to add more sensors to their Apple smart home.

Overall, we think Aqara Hub M2 is an affordable add-on for folks already using Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit. We like that its compatible accessories and IR controls make it easy to add security devices and bring older appliances into your smart home.

Light Bulb
Aqara Hub E1

The Aqara Hub E1 (about $30) offers much of the same functionality as the M2 for a lower price. While there's no IR remote support, it works with all Aqara's accessories and takes up less space.

More smart hubs we considered

Abode

The Abode Iota (about $330) combines a security camera, security system, and smart hub in one device. While we love that it works with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant, it requires a monthly subscription to use all of its smart home features. Plus, the higher prices mean it's more suitable for home security—with bonus smart home skills.

Learn more in our Abode Cameras Review.

Broadlink

The Broadlink RM4 Pro (about $45) is a slightly cheaper universal remote alternative to Aqara. It even supports the same devices like TVs, stereo systems, air conditioners, and fans—provided they already use a remote control. Still, it doesn't work with Zigbee accessories like Aqara—though Broadlink sells a small selection of standalone accessories like a smart plug, smart light switch, motion sensor, and smart button.

Hubitat

The Hubitat Elevation (about $150) is a powerhouse of a smart hub, easily beating SmartThings in user privacy and customization options. But it's mostly for hardcore smart home technology enthusiasts since it's more difficult to set up. Plus, it's one of the more expensive hubs on the market.

Bell
Wink

Wink was one of the earliest smart home hubs to hit the market and was a compelling alternative to SmartThings. While technically still available, the Wink Hub 2 is increasingly harder to find in stock. On top of that, Wink is less reliable now and requires a monthly fee—making it a poor choice for most people.

Final word

Thanks to its compatibility with an overwhelming number of smart devices, the Aeotec Smart Home Hub is our pick for best smart home hub. We especially like how you can press "discover all my devices" in the app, and the Aeotec hub does the rest for you. Still, there's a bit of a learning curve for new users, and you'll probably want to use it with a smart speaker for the best results.

Smart home hub FAQ

What should I look for in a smart hub?

Always look at the compatibility, mobile app, and setup when choosing a smart home hub:

  • Compatibility: Make sure the devices are compatible with each other to avoid buying additional hubs or new devices. If you already have connected devices in your home, choose a hub that connects with them and future devices on your wishlist. The hub's website should have a full list of compatible devices.
  • Mobile app: As you shop for a hub, read app reviews from users, and if you can, test-drive different automation hubs. You want a user-friendly app that's easy to navigate while interacting with your smart home device.
  • Setup: Most smart home hubs use tutorials and guides to walk you through the setup process. It's nice to have help setting up your hub and other devices in this growing market with many unknowns.

Do I need a smart home hub if all my devices connect through my Wi-Fi network?

Technically, no, and it's tempting to rely on a Wi-Fi-enabled smart home product and app to avoid a hub setup altogether

While Wi-Fi is okay for wired smart devices like smart light bulbs, smart plugs, a smart thermostat, and video doorbells, it quickly drains the batteries of wireless devices like a security sensor or smart lock. Having too many Wi-Fi devices can also drag down your network speed.

Suppose you want to avoid frequent battery replacement and keep your Wi-Fi network running smoothly. In that case, it's worth looking into wireless home automation devices that use radio frequencies like Z-Wave and Zigbee.

Can I link multiple smart hubs together?

Yes, you may have some hubs that speak one language and some that speak another, and that's okay. As you learn more about how home automation works and get more comfortable with your system, you may discover more gadgets that don't work with your current hub.

In that case, you can use another hub or a bridge to loop them into your smart home system. For example, we use a SmartThings hub and Google smart speakers together. SmartThings handles many automation tasks and links our sensors behind the scenes, while the Google Home app and speakers are our main user interfaces.

Can security systems work as smart home hubs?

Yes, the "brains" of the best smart home security systems also operate as smart home hubs and give you control of your smart home gadget (like a security camera) through the security system app.

If you want voice control, look for a system that's compatible with a voice assistant, and you'll be able to access a connected device like your Ring Video Doorbell with your voice. Security system hubs can also offer you the bonus of cellular and battery backups in case of power outages.

How we reviewed the best smart home automation systems

SmartThings Hub testing

Photo: John Carlsen, SafeWise. 

I've used a smart hub since 2014 and currently have a SmartThings Hub I use alongside Nest and Echo smart speakers in my home. I also have experience with major smart home platforms like Alexa, Google, HomeKit, IFTTT, Z-Wave, and Zigbee.

We looked for beginner and intermediate smart hubs for $150 or less for this review. While we think our top picks are the most impactful hubs, most smart home functionality carries over to other models from each brand, so consider checking out our guides to Alexa, Google, and HomeKit for more options.

Here are our primary considerations for scoring and ranking smart hubs:

  • Compatible device selection
  • Ease of creating and using scenes and routines
  • Setup and installation
  • Price

We have hands-on experience testing most of the hubs on our list that we supplemented with product specs, online customer reviews, and customer support articles. Read our full methodology to learn more about how we rank and review products.

Related articles on SafeWise

Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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