5 Best Smart Home Hubs: Comparing Pros and Cons

What’s the best hub for home automation? We compare the 5 best options, including: SmartThings vs Wink vs HomeKit vs Hubitat vs Home Assistant.

Whether you are deciding if you should ditch your current hub, or you’re a beginner trying to pick a hub, the smart home hub comparison will help you figure out the best hub for you.

LINKS (affiliate):
SmartThings v3 hub: https://amzn.to/2XJQJza
Wink Hub 2: https://amzn.to/2XQezZY
HomePod: https://www.apple.com/homepod/
Hubitat: https://amzn.to/2NRp1Mu
Raspberry Pi 3: https://amzn.to/2tYYx2h
Raspberry Pi Case: https://amzn.to/2EXZyhj
Raspberry Pi Power Supply: https://amzn.to/2XMWoED
Home Assistant Z-Wave/ZigBee USB: https://amzn.to/2NS2yil

MY SET UP & GEAR
See the list of everything I use in my smart home and other favorites:
https://www.amazon.com/shop/smarthomesolver

SUBSCRIBE for more smart home reviews: https://www.youtube.com/c/SmartHomeSolver?sub_confirmation=1

DISCOVER MORE:

Wink vs SmartThings
Video: https://youtu.be/nKXuYvpg2hE
Article: https://smarthomesolver.com/reviews/wink-2-vs-smartthings/

5 Harmony Hub Integrations
Video: https://youtu.be/IUJQmvN6kk8

SmartThings v2 vs v3
Video: https://youtu.be/AHlrHfiOy2A
Article: https://smarthomesolver.com/reviews/smartthings-v2-vs-v3/

15 SmartThings Ideas
Video: https://youtu.be/mSoN685l_i4
Article: https://smarthomesolver.com/reviews/39-smartthings-ideas/

See devices that work with…
SmartThings: https://smarthomesolver.com/solver?show=smartthings
HomeKit: https://smarthomesolver.com/solver?show=homekit
Alexa: https://smarthomesolver.com/solver?show=echo

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Writer/Editor/Director: Reed Kleinman
Producer: Alysa Kleinman

Disclaimer: Smart Home Solver purchased all of the hubs for this video with our own money. As always, our opinions are 100% our own and not influenced.

Comments

freemanone87 says:

Alexa and Ghome do have automation, tho simple and limited, but they have it with the “routines” feature. Plus HomeAssistant doesn’t need the 5$ subscription to work with Google or Amazon, it’s for the cloud based services. You can pretty much just set it up, but you will need to make your own certificates, because secured protocol is the only way to go!
Anyway it’s a great video, keep it up!

shockracer says:

I’m on smartthings and fir the most part it runs great, we only have Note 9 phones in the house which makes it even better as Samsung integrated smartthings in the phone notification bar.

Jeffery Kenner says:

You left out the very popular Insteon Hub(s)

Joan Snow says:

I see in your video, your Schlage door lock has a key open, I just want to mention someone can use a bump key to open the lock. My home has been broken into with just that. I just bought a Yale z-wave, no key. I love it, so far. I want to thank you for not speaking Alexa it keeps quite.

D Lim says:

hi just asking, at the end of the video you were saying the switchbot become the winner, can you elaborate more?

Supermonkey 1964 says:

I recently (after a lot of research) decided to go with the Smartthings V3 Hub, and i don’t think i made a mistake for now. It seems to work well, and be poised for future useability too. 🙂

oleg kriger says:

What about Home Brigde? as far as i know its a hub that connects devices to homekit – devices that are not competable with homekit

Dat Baller23 says:

Great video Reid ! Could you possibly make a video with a new light or something and show us how you set it up ? From unboxing to finish ? I’ve ordered my smart thing hub and I have some lights but idk how to set up. Keep up the great work !

The Hybrid Family says:

The only reason why I would rank the wink Hub higher than the Samsung SmartThings is because Samsung does not have the clear connect radio antenna built in for the caseta by Lutron switches, wink does.

Jame Grabham says:

currently using ST hub gen #2…but have HA running as well…. started on Pi-3 but have moved to virtual machine on NAS…moving from z-wave devices to wifi only…. we will see if I am wrong..:)

Josh Jetson says:

So basically Samsung Smart Things is still the best way to go.

Jade Stanley says:

Do you have any experience with the Athom Homey Hub? I’m torn between it and the Smartthings Hub, Samsung are obviously the more established company but I am hearing nothing but good thing about Homey, not to mention it is much more capable on the hardware side of things.

Gavin Campbell says:

Great video. A few corrections about Hubitat. You can control your devices remotely using dashboards (similar to sharptools on SmartThings). There is an app in the works that will be released soon and have integrated push notifications but for now you can use IFTTT (SMS/Push/Email/Phone Call even presence) or Pushover for push notifications. Lots of other pro’s/con’s too but they are constantly making it better.

Roman Nichel says:

Any solution to link 433Mhz sensors ? I was thinking to something like the Sonoff RF 433 bridge, but this one is limited to 4 devices 🙁 thx.

The Hook Up says:

Really good video… but a few things I would add/change:

1. Home assistant doesn’t require the $5/mo subscription to make alexa work. You can use local hue emulation to get alexa up and running pretty easily.
2. Amazon echo and google home are very much “hub” like these days, similar to homekit. Once a device is added to your alexa app you can use your echo or google device as a hub to control them when you are away from home.

Other than that I agree with basically every conclusion you made. Glad you checked out Hubitat, I’ve been feeling like someone needed to give it a shot.

Josh Washington says:

7:30 – Okay, stop right there. You do understand the definition of a ‘hub’ correct? If you work within the I.T. field, which you earlier on claimed you did, you should already know. “A hub, also called a network hub, is a common connection point for devices in a network.” Actually, we’re going to toss in the definition of Automation as well, since I’m this is highly misunderstood: “Automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process, or system by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human labor”. What can you do with all of the devices listed? You can, and will, be capable of connecting them all with these devices. Google Home/Assistant ‘can’ allow you to connect and ‘automate’ (Routines) these features down to the very second. I have no clue if Alexa can, but I’m pretty sure the base application can too, since it feels rudimentary.
What about all the rest? It looks like Smart Things has this ability under their actual ‘automation’ tab (which again, the definition is escaping people). Apple Home Kit also has this functionality. Clearly Phillips Hue and Bridges have this functionality (Loosely, a bridge is a hub except smarter. A bridge looks at packets sent, a hub does not – ergo, unintelligent. Basic Networking). It looks like the argument of the ‘best’ seems to be more so objective dependent upon ‘ease of use’ dependability. This is where this argument plays into the hands of ‘Home Assistant’, however, it appears you have to do some scripting for this (So arguably, far more complicated lmao).
What’s the major differences here: Google Home Assistant app is free and every Android phone has this loaded already. Everything else it appears is ‘purchase’ or ‘setup’, which is the nightmare for some. If you just purchased 20 smart light bulbs, and your plan is to ‘automate them’, the only real thing you need is a motion sensor. You don’t need a ‘hub’, you already have one. Why? How? Because. You do. If you have a Google Home or Alexa, that IS A HUB. They’re cloud based (Ergo – they rely on your account information to achieve the definition given to them.) Let’s break that down for those who are misunderstanding and believe nonsense: The reason why your Google Home knows what ‘Light 1’ is regardless of what device you are on (once you put in your Gmail account) is due to the light being setup as ‘Light 1’ on your account. Needless to say, this should ideologically work the same as how Alexa should work – unless Alexa ‘isn’t’ cloud based, but I recall hearing ‘cloud based assistant’.
How about benefits of non-cloud based ‘hubs’? Well, other than the excess cost you have to spend to get them working, setup, or even the time to learn how to effectively use them – this directly means you can utilize the automation without needing an internet connection. In turn, this means if ‘internet goes out’, you still have the ability to power off and on your devices with the ‘automated’ (loose term, since many believe automation is another button press and Human interaction). What’s the downfall? Well. Cost. A Rp3b+ ‘starter kit’ is $80, plus you need to utilize a desktop computer to get this running (or at least, install hassio or raspbian and then get the network setup before even using VNC to connect into this – assuming you have the ability to even do this without purchasing anything). Next, you have to point all your devices to connect to the same network, also assuming you then only have ‘one wireless signal’ (I’ll get into this shortly). After, you now have to setup and configure the devices (however many you may have). Then if you want ‘automation’ it’s not a ‘click and drag’, it’s a “Type in some code to setup an automated feature and hope it works, if not troubleshoot”. So you are investing a LOT MORE TIME and additional cost for the feature of….utilizing buttons when the voice-automated assistants go offline. Okay. Noted. Why do I say buttons? Well, this is where ‘Home Assistant’, and for that matter Open Hab (and any others) come into play. They’re web clients with GUI that allow you to press a button to respond to a task. Simple I/O functionality to your ‘smart devices’ which the manufactures of those devices already sell (or, if you dare, just utilizing a switch since most people are using this for a light).
Let’s go into the ‘security aspect’, as browsing each of those websites, you notice the majority of people are spending hundreds on allowing their cameras to be setup around their house and connected to their smart-home network. Needless to say, they could have opted for the ‘not smart’ SSD format that allows them to broadcast an intranet signal for their ‘low quality standard definition’ webcams, they oddly placed in their teenage daughter’s bedrooms (People are creepy, and browsing Hassio forums displays this). Instead, they decided to go full-out idiot and put their entire broadcast to their external network and allowing it to be access via a port. That’s smart. Good job.
This leads to the cons of Home Assistant and Open Hab. Security vulnerabilities like no other. This is setup to your intranet, BUT it’s accessible on your outside network because it opens a port. Please, go research ‘security flaws’ in these systems, as there are so many it’s sickening. It’s not like the “Google Home” flaws, where people have “Password123” as their router encryption key.
Let’s talk quickly about other wireless signals. Actually, I’m not. I’m just going to simply say: If you have a 2 wireless signals setup in your house on different routers. Connect one to the other router and then try to utilize this device. You can’t lol. This is for a very good reason, BUT this is also why ‘cloud based’ is a little more ‘ease of use’.
So to simplify:
1) A hub is not a wireless receiver. That concept is lacking the understanding of the technology.
2) Automation is not ‘allowing you to press a button’. That’s the direct opposite of automation. Automation is for an instance to automatically do something without Human interaction (Motion sensors, for example). All of these featured (even the ones you pointed at the end) have this functionality. Including Google Home and Alexa).
3) Google Home and Alexa are hubs.
4) Smart Things major selling point is their products, such as the sensors. Otherwise, the ‘app’ (which would be effectively the ‘hub’, since a frequency can be picked up by any device that accepts wireless signal, or in better terms – RF, ‘Radio Frequency’).
5) Your best determining factor on ‘what you purchase’ depends on the ecosystem you are building for. If you have a Google Home Mini, then you ‘should’ be building out things based upon that rather than based around ‘well if I buy this cool gadget I can connect it to my smart things then connect it to my home assistant to say ‘hey google turn on the washing machine’. In fact, the majority of the time, said device is already added (or going to be added) to whatever assistant you are attempting to voice-automate (Note, ‘voice’).
6) Hassio/OpenHab are useful for offline use, however they are complicated to setup for an ‘average user’ and generally have far more security flaws that open up higher risks and concerns than simply just adding the device through your Google Assistant App, using IFTT or Stringify
and finally
7) Great video, but I’m tired of these misconceptions from nearly anyone who does IoT videos. I don’t even know a ‘ton’ about them yet, but I understanding Networking and I understand the technology. You shouldn’t advise people to not utilize the devices which they already have to do the tasks which they can already do from their devices. A Google Home and Alexa can BOTH do the exact same things as nearly any of the rest you mentioned. What can it not do? Well you don’t have a ‘beautiful GUI’ from your ’device’, but you have a pre-loaded and setup app directly on your Android phone..or for that matter, iPhone.

Jim Long says:

The biggest issue with SmartThings, and likely some others, is the complete lack of migration to a new hub. Not even zigbee. You have to delete everything off the current hub, and if lucky start completely from scratch. Absolutely moronic.

Murchy Murch says:

It’s all going away soon enough. Smart Bridges are going to be absorbed into Mesh routers thus a homeowner will be able to simply install a new router system and have access to Home Automation protocols. The Thread Group has just about every company that matters onboard. The good news is unless you’ve been buying crap IoT hardware most of your items will still work. I’m ready for this phase of IoT to conclude. The bridges and balkanization have done nothing but slow the adoption of Home Automation,

Keith Croshaw says:

Great video! You beat me too it! Literally recording something similar, just a bit Hubitat biased, as my first video. How long does recording one video take for you? Just curious.

Also +1 on what @Gavin Campbell said, you can access Hubitat dashboards via their cloud. I use Sharptools.io personally.

taran says:

what’s the little cloud light behind you?

jimmy oung says:

Any suggestions for people who have a nest setup, smart thing s might not be the best option and wink 2 has been on the market for some time! Great video shoutout for the speaking very easy to understand tech knowledge.

Matt Z says:

Hubitat can be controlled remotely. It was released just over one year ago. Given this, it’s progress is impressive. You can design web based apps. This is nice because you don’t have to deal with a bunch of nested menus typical within an app. That said, I hear an app is coming somewhat soon.

Kevin Forth says:

I use Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ at 2 homes and love it. I use it for monitoring and alerting, controlling outdoor lighting, garage door and smart lock control, thermostat control, etc. It’s great if you’re comfortable with YAML and configuring your home router network. Certainly not an option for the non-technical folks.

Xander Asnot says:

Do a review on the Homey

Will Curran says:

No Homeseer?

Shane Whatley says:

Another thing to consider mentioning is privacy and how these hubs compare. I’m all in on HomeKit for many reasons, but largely because I appreciate Apple’s stance on privacy and their requirements for HomeKit authentication.

AppMyHome says:

Well done review. We have a few of the hubs/non hubs you mention. Even have used Zipato’s hub in the past which has excellent local control. Any of the hubs able to control WiFi connected switches and outlets, either native or via cloud? We like the wink hub but worry about its life expectancy, will it survive? As you know many other hubs have been EOLd. Lastly, which of the hubs work with WiFi to the router and which require a wired connection?

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