The best smart home hubs for 2019

Add to your home's brainpower with the best smart home hubs on the market

Smart home hubs serve as bridges that allow us to connect our devices to each other. Everything from TV to refrigerators and thermostats can be monitored and controlled with the best smart home hubs at the click of a button or a simple voice command. If you’re currently shopping for a hub but don’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best smart home hubs in the market based on price and capabilities. 

Securifi Almond 3 Smart Home Wi-Fi system ($120)

Securifi Almond 3

While the bulk of hubs often have the general aesthetic appeal of a low-profile brick, the Securifi Almond 3 Smart Home Wi-Fi System is one of the most handsome hubs we’ve seen. But this unit is more than a pretty face — the Almond 3 flat-out performs.

The unique, resistive 3-inch color touchscreen allows folks to easily access virtually all of the settings. This also helps to streamline the already straightforward setup process. (There’s also a built-in stylus for those with, we’ll say, “less agile” digits. The Almond 3 utilizes multiple access points around a space, extending the Wi-Fi signal so devices can switch to stronger signals automatically as we move about the home or office. On the 5GHz band, the mesh network system worked seamlessly with our gadgets, however, the 2.4GHz channel, on the other hand was a different story altogether.

Seeing as the Almond can use any Wi-Fi connected device to establish triggers via the IFTTT applet, the unit is a solid bet even if you currently don’t have a home brimming with smart home products. The Almond 3 has Alexa support and once this has been connected the digital assistant can relay set the parameters for that “date night” — dimming the lights and setting the thermostat on command.

That’s the good news — here’s the bad (if not all-out ugly) with the Almond 3. During our testing, we found that in larger homes, or multifloor homes, a lone Almond 3 offers spotty Wi-Fi. Simply adding a second hub on the main floor shored up the erratic connections, though. Similarly, with just two Ethernet ports for connected devices, some individuals will be left literally wanting and needing more.

Read our full Securifi Almond 3 Smart Home Wi-Fi system review

Amazon

Vera Control, VeraPlus-US Smart Home Controller Hub ($120)

The VeraPlus is a fan-favorite that offers a variety of security features plus compatibility with a number of other smart home devices.

The device can be used to lock your door, turn your lights on and off, and set your thermostat so it changes automatically based on the temperature. You can also use it to view cameras on your phone from everywhere, while also controlling over 200 sensors, locks and lights.

You can connect to the hub through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, Zigbee, and Z-Wave. The Vera Control works with a wide variety of products, including Nest, Schlage, Yale, Kwikset, and First Alert. Your phone and laptop can connect and interact with the VeraPlus, setting up and operating from everywhere.

It is a more advanced version of its predecessor, the Vera Edge, harnessing more protocols, memory and processor power.

Amazon

Wink Hub 2 ($99)

This company may not have decades of success and a big name behind it like the Googles and Apples of the world, but its smart home hub game is on point. The Wink Hub 2 is an improvement over its predecessor, linking together smart products from various companies to give you a comprehensive hub experience.

The gadget connects to your phone’s free Wink app and it has a simple install process that will get you going in a heartbeat. You can connect to your smart devices by plugging the Wink Hub 2 to an ethernet port or logging in via Wi-Fi, and it comes equipped with a durable and powerful processor. It also offers plenty of memory to make your smart home connections transpire in a quick and efficient manner.

Much like other top smart home hubs, the Wink Hub 2 can connect with iOS, Android, and Apple Watch devices. It can also be linked together with Alexa’s voice-activated features. One of the most attractive elements of the hub is its design, which is compact and sleek, making it easy to place next to your TV.

Read our full Wink Hub 2 review

Amazon

Logitech Harmony Home Hub ($89)

logitech harmony hub black friday deal final thumb

For a similar price to the Wink Hub 2, you can get the Harmony Hub from Logitech, which works at lightning speed, turning on in 30 seconds. The device is ideal for those with a penchant for home entertainment, as it has controls for eight home entertainment gadgets, plus it works with more than 270,000 devices.

Smart televisions, cable boxes, Apple TV, Blu-Ray players and a variety of consoles can all work alongside the Harmony Hub. The back of the hub includes IR mini blasters that helps extend the coverage area of the device. It uses Bluetooth connectivity to link with your devices, but it also comes with a USB port in case your phone doesn’t offer Bluetooth. (Hey, it’s possible.)

The Harmony App connects with iOS or Android smartphone and tablets, supports Alexa, giving you access to channels, movies and 50 customizable Favorites. Couples would enjoy this device as it can create a perfect home movie environment, dimming lights — or smart lamps —  and connecting with stereo systems for your TV-watching purposes.

The Harmony Hub very portable, making it easy to set the device down in closed cabinets. 

Amazon

Samsung SmartThings ($80)

The “brain” for your smart home, Samsung Smartthings connects to a number of gadgets around the home. It can control the usual speakers, lights and gadgets, but it can also improve your home security and comfort by adjusting your thermostat, locking your home, and notifying you of any unusual activity picked up by motion sensors.

Much like the Echo Dot, the SmartThings hub is a bargain at $50 as it learns more about your home based on what you’re doing. Some may find it intrusive, but it’s pretty neat that the hub knows what to do when you’re asleep, awake, or away from your home. The SmartThings app is compatible with iOS (8.1 or later), Android (4.0 or later), and Windows Phone (8.1 or later).

It does have its limitations, as you need to plug it in to an Internet-connected router through a Ethernet cable. If you’d like a (pricey) smart home hub from Samsung that also serves as a Wi-Fi router, check out its AC1300 Smart Wi-Fi System.

Amazon

Wally Starter Kit ($100)

The beauty of the variety of smart home hub offerings in the market right now is the fact that you can take your pick based on your needs. While the Echo Dot offers affordability and the Harmony top entertainment features, the Wally Starter Kit is ideal for those who prioritize safety and security in the home or in a business environment.

Wally connects to your smart devices via Wi-Fi, notifying you via an alarm, text message, email, phone call or push notification when something goes awry. If it detects a water leak, the device will make sure you know about it. It will also help you find a plumber nearby, sharing their rates with you.

The Wally product can also monitor temperatures in order to help you avoid freezing pipes and other hazards. It also examines humidity levels to prevent mold from forming before it does, and it can also shut out running water when it detects a leak. Retailing for $100, the Wally Starter Kit has all your bases covered if you’re looking for a safety product to complement your entertainment hubs.

Amazon

Mobile

Apple’s most affordable 2018 iPad is now even cheaper on Amazon at $249

The entry-level iPad is the iPad to get for the vast majority of people. It's inexpensive, well-designed, and quite powerful, especially for the price. Speaking of price, the 9.7-inch iPad is now even more affordable from Amazon.
Smart Home

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which smart home speaker is better?

We put the two most popular smart home speakers -- the Google Home Mini and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot -- together and tested them on appearance, audio, and abilities. So which should you buy? Find out how they did in our showdown.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Wearables

Win your gal's heart (and wrist) with the most stylish smartwatches for her

If you're looking to buy that special woman in your life a smartwatch this Valentine's Day, we're here to help. Here are our top picks of the best smartwatches on the market for ladies. We have something for any style or budget.
Smart Home

Google Home and Amazon Alexa are asking smart home device makers for user info

Google and Amazon want to establish a "continuous flow" of information between their servers and your smart home devices, but companies like Logitech have begun to speak out for user privacy.
Smart Home

Language barrier? Psh. Here's how to make your Google Home an ace translator

You can now use interpreter mode on your Google Home devices. This means, you can use your Google Home device to translate conversations in real-time. Here's how to use interpreter mode.
Product Review

From tables to porches, Ring's Stick Up Cam watches wherever you want

Ring’s latest home security camera offers more versatility than ever before, with the ability to mount it, set it on a table, or put it inside or outside. We got a chance to test it out. Here’s how it went.
Smart Home

Ring adds color night vision to wired security devices and HDR to wireless ones

Ring rolled out color night vision to its wired security products with cameras such as the Spotlight Cam Wired. At the same time, Ring added HDR control to its battery-powered security devices including the Video Doorbell 2.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Smart Home

Check out the largest pools in the world - and how you can get there

From Egypt to Singapore to California, here's a pictorial breakdown of some of the biggest and largest pools in the world. Many of these pools are so big that you can even kayak and windsurf on them.
Smart Home

Consumer groups call out retailers in a bid for better IoT security

Consumer groups posted a "Dear retailer" letter on February 12 that called out Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Target, shaming the companies for selling insecure smart home devices.
Deals

The best Presidents’ Day sales 2019: Amazon, Walmart, Dell, and more

Presidents' Day sales are a great chance to score electronics, clothing, home and office stuff, and other goodies at a discount. We’ve smoked out a large handful of the best of these Presidents' Day deals, from tech to bedding, to help…
Deals

Walmart drops a killer Instant Pot deal for Presidents’ Day weekend

With the Walmart Presidents' Day sale going on right now, you can actually pick up the Instant Pot Lux60 6-quart programmable pressure cooker for just $69 -- $30 off its normal price.
Smart Home

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents’ Day sale

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents' Day sale. Whether you're taking your first step in configuring a smart home or expanding to every room, Walmart has excellent sale prices for all the key components.