Best Overall Home Automation Hub
Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi + Hub
The Samsung SmartThings hub is without question the best option when it comes to the best home automation hubs. It is the Swiss Army knife of home automation hubs. The Samsung SmartThings hub not only unifies all Samsung smart devices, but it also does the same for 200+ 3rd party devices. That being said, you should invest in the Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi + Hub. This router allows you to link all of your smart devices to one place. Doing so will enable you to control all the devices via the SmartThings app for iOS and Android.
A singular Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi + Hub covers up to 1,500 square feet in your home or apartment. However, you can upgrade to a set of three of these and create a mesh network if you need 4,500 square feet of coverage. The consensus so far is that the Samsung Wi-Fi + Hub is worthy of high praise – this is especially true since it covers a large home with wireless connectivity and delivers fast speeds to many devices.
Best Splurge Home Automation Hub
Google Home Max
The Google Home Max is our pick for the best home automation hub if money isn’t an issue. It unifies big smarts with significant volume. Inside its streamlined enclosure, you’ll find a pair of 4.5-inch woofers and dual 0.7-inch customized tweeters. Here’s an explanation of what this means for those non-speaker heads out there. The Google Max shines when you crank up the tunes. It flat out delivers high, undistorted volume with a booming base. Furthermore, it is wicked easy to set-up. Just plug in the speaker to a power source, open up the Google Home app, and it will walk you through the steps to get your speaker up & running.
Thankfully, the heart-pumping sound quality isn’t the only marquee feature for The Google Home Max. The built-in Google Assistant makes it smart speaker, which in turn offers a stupendous two-in-one product and choice for our best home automation hubs. All you need to do is say, “Hey, Google,” and you can play music and control many smart home devices. Furthermore, one of the most notable features of Google Assistant is your ability to conduct a Google search with your voice. Six far-field microphones will pick up your voice commands from nearly anywhere in a room, even if you’re playing music. The Home Max can also recognize up to six different voices, synchronize music in multiple places, and play music from a variety of streaming devices.
Best Value Home Automation Hub
Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation)
The most recent Amazon Echo Plus is flat out stacked, and the price tag is more than reasonable. It comes standard with a seamless protocol – Zigbee – that allows it to function as a real smart hub. The Echo Plus’s Zigbee integration will enable it to control smart devices such as smart thermostats and lights directly – this makes it a very compatible and user-friendly choice and top choice for our best home automation hub.
While the Echo Plus (2nd generation) is technically a follow up to the original Amazon Echo, it does showcase several new design features. The first new feature is an array of color choices. Amazon offers the new Echo Plus in three neutral colors: charcoal, heather gray, and a very light gray that Amazon calls “sandstone.” This superficial offering gives the Echo Plus a more premium look since it blends in with all sorts of decor. However, some things never change – the top of the device still features the signature gradient light ring. The Echo Plus 2nd Generation fits in nicely with the rest of the Echo product line.
Amazon Echo Plus Features
Naturally, the Alexa functionality is still a mainstay feature of the Echo Plus 2nd Generation, which means that you can again ask questions, check the weather and whole lot more. Amazon has built an Alexa skill library of more than 50,000 skills. The real stand out feature, however, is the insane speaker setup. Previous Echo devices sometimes struggle with thin, quiet sound quality – this is not the case with the new Echo Plus.
The most recent version of the Echo Plus boasts a three-inch neodymium woofer and a tweeter that is nearly a full inch long. Let’s put this into perspective if speaker talk is all Greek to you–the Echo Dot audio set-up features a single woofer that is only about one and a half inches. What this means for end users is a louder and richer sound that will do a far better job filling a room with a full audio experience.
Here’s a more indepth look into the full line of Amazon Echo devices!
Best Budget Home Automation Hub
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)
If you’re not looking to dish out the cash for Amazon’s new marquee Echo Plus (2nd Generation), then check out the new Echo Dot. This 3rd edition of the Echo Dot is both smaller and less expensive than the Echo Plus. The most recent generation of the Echo Dot provides a formidable number of features without leaving you penniless. The most noticeable drawback is that you lose the Zigbee smart home connectivity and the Earth-shaking speaker setup of the new Echo Plus. However, it seems safe to say that Amazon has put some effort into improving the speaker to give it a bit more oomph and volume.
The Alexa functionality is still present in the Echo Dot, which allows you to stream music, search the web, and engage with upwards of 50,000 unique skills. Like the Echo Plus, the Echo Dot features a line out and Bluetooth connectivity, and the new premium mesh grill look is also present. The flat, smaller design makes the Echo Dot a perfect choice for smaller rooms or anywhere you want Alexa capabilities without a big screen or prominent speakers.