Whether your home is already connected or you're just testing the waters of home automation — these 5 smart hubs offer unique capabilities that keep you in control. Anywhere.
There's no denying that smart homes are becoming more than just a fad — proving that there is money to be saved over time when it comes to products like WiFi thermostats and automated home lighting. To control your new pimped-out pad you'll need a smart hub that makes managing all that intelligence quick and easy from your iPhone.
If you're ready to take the plunge, sift through these 5 smart hubs we've selected to get a bit more insight on how you can incorporate them into your home and lifestyle.
1. SmartThings Hub
Compatible with hundreds of Z-wave, ZigBee and WiFi-smart products, the SmartThings Hub uses a free iOS/Android app to connect-to and manage your smart home products straight from your device. Currently, this particular smart hub is the most popular and universal choice to roll with for any smart home, especially those using Z-wave products found at most Lowes and Home Depot stores.
You can get the SmartThings Hub either as a standalone unit ($99), or as a complete starter kit ($299) that includes a couple door sensors, motion sensor, smart outlet and presence sensor. The corresponding app has come a long way since its initial launch, and continues to improve as more devices pack compatibility. On the Apple side, HomeKit compatibility is on the way. Definitely a great smart hub for both beginners and seasoned smart home owners.
2. Logitech Harmony Home Hub
Logitech's Home Harmony Hub works to connect all your smart devices in your home by sending commands to and from their free Harmony App using WiFi, Bluetooth, or IR signals. Set up and label your favorite devices, whether it be your TV, XBOX, hallway lighting or WiFi thermostat through the app for quick and easy control. It's compatible with a variety of devices such as Philips Hue lighting, Nest thermostats, and even August door locks.
Included with the Harmony Home Hub is an IR mini-blaster which can be placed anywhere around your home for controlling multiple devices away from the smart hub. Although Logitech chose not to include an additional blaster, you can utilize up to 2 of these IR mini-blasters on a single hub. Their Harmony App for Android and iOS isn't the most intuitive, especially compared to the SmartThings App, but you are able to control up to 8 home entertainment devices and an unlimited number home automation devices. Currently priced at $99, the Harmony Home Hub is an affordable and viable smart hub for any home.
3. Insteon Hub Pro
With Insteon's Hub Pro, you not only get control of all your Insteon devices, but HomeKit-enabled devices to boot. Set up specific schedules to automate thermostats, light switches, outlets, and more around your home through the new Insteon+ App which provides a more simplified interface and additional controls. Inside the App, you can now manage Insteon and HomeKit devices alongside each other, whether you're setting up scenes or schedules.
For a little extra fun, you can even use Siri to control your devices with your voice. For taking full advantage of your Insteon home while having handy compatibility with Apple HomeKit technology, the Insteon Hub Pro — priced at $149 — is a safe bet for a variety of smart devices. Sorry Android folks, this one's strictly for devices with iOS 8.1 or later unless you grab the previous model which does not include HomeKit compatibility.
4. Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge
Using Clear Connect wireless technology, the Lutron Smart Bridge (L-BDG2-WH) works seamlessly with Apple HomeKit, Nest, Logitech Harmony remotes, and certain Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats through the free Lutron App. Heck, even your Apple Watch can take care of business if you want to get super fancy.
Monitor your Caseta wireless dimmers, Serena remote controlled shades, or simply create scenes that can adjust multiple devices all at once. The Lutron App's "geofencing" feature allows you to set up your lights to turn on/off automatically when you leave or enter your home. While the Lutron Smart Bridge is priced at $119, there are a number of Lutron accessories available to add to your home worth checking out.
5. VeraEdge Home Controller
For managing a home full of Z-Wave or WiFi products, the VeraEdge Home Controller is a smart hub worth considering for any user, regardless of technical expertise. The one-touch control of your entire home automation system is a bonus, and their easy to use Android/iOS app provides extensive customization options if you want them.
While the VeraEdge is a little more pricey, $149 to be exact, there's a certain level of control and information that's included you can't get on many other smart hubs of its kind. It even provides smoke detection, security, and energy consumption alerts straight to your iPhone. The only downside of the VeraEdge is that it's not compatible with a wider range of smart devices such as ZigBee or X10, but if you're sticking with Z-Wave products there's nothing to worry about there. Also, if cost is an issue, or you're after a smart hub that works on a smaller scale, you can stick with the VeraLite Home Controller and save yourself $50.
Your favorite smart hubs
Whether you're using one of the smart hubs mentioned here, or a different model that suits your needs just fine, let us know in the comments below. We're interested in hearing how well your current smart hub and its corresponding app is keeping you connected to the smart devices around your home.