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Best Smart Home Hub: Insteon vs SmartThings vs Wink vs WeMo & More!

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Wink Hub logo
Wink Connected Home Hub
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Samsung SmartThings logo
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Logitech
Logitech Harmony Hub

You wake up to start your day and the lights automatically brighten, the window blinds open, the coffee pot starts brewing, and the thermostat is adjusted — all before you get out of bed. Is this heaven? No, it’s just a smart home. Wouldn’t it be nice to have certain aspects of your life automated? Thanks to smart home hubs you can do so affordably and easily. What is a hub exactly? Read on to learn more about how they can be the brains of your home and work with a growing list of products within each room.

What Is a Smart Home Hub?

Think of a hub as the central communications center for your smart home. It connects to your internet router via WiFi or ethernet cord to electronically speak to other smart devices (like lights, switches, locks, doorbells, security cameras, thermostat, blinds and more) which you can then control from your smartphone from anywhere in the world. Some smart devices can be controlled via Bluetooth technology however without a hub there’s not a way to control if you are out of range from the device. With most hubs you can create “scenes” for specific events like waking up, going to sleep, hosting a dinner party, etc. or create settings for each room. So they are customizable for each family’s particular needs and to every individual home.

What Devices Can You Add to Hubs?

There are countless smart gadgets you can add to your smart home hub including lights (read our Smart Light Bulb review article), cameras, locks, switches and more. The list is growing by the day, and we’re doing our best to keep up with the latest and greatest things you can add on to your hub in our reviews. But for now, we’ve chosen some of our favorite smart home technology in this article. Some hubs make their own branded devices like light bulbs or security monitoring. But, more than likely, you can use third-party brands like Phillips, GE or Nest. One thing to note, not all devices are compatible with all hubs, so read the packaging and double check the system requirements first.

Best Home Automation Hub Reviews

Now that you know what a hub is and what you can do with it let’s take a look at the best hubs on the market and what we like (and dislike) about each one so you can find the best fit for you and your home.

Wink Hub Review

Wink Hub 2#1

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Wink has the best reviews we’ve seen for a smart hub so choosing it as the best home automation hub was easy. It supports WiFi, Bluetooth LE, Z-wave, ZigBee, Lutron ClearConnect and Kidde. One of many customers’ favorite features is its integration with Amazon Echo or Google Home so you can change the lights in your home via voice activation. Their new Hub 2 comes with even more features including auto-discovery of new devices, guided set up, 5GHz WiFi and increased memory (512 MB vs 64 in the original model). It costs slightly more but is thinner and sleeker in design (and comes with an ethernet cable), which is worth it in our opinion.

Pros

Cons

  • More than 50% of Amazon reviews are 5 star
  • iOS and Android app (and can control using Apple Watch, Android and Android Wear)
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home and can program recipes with IFTTT
  • Connect about 200 devices to one Wink Hub
  • Live chat is excellent and helpful (also has phone and email support)
  • 1/5 of Amazon reviews are 1 star
  • Most negative reviews state Wink doesn’t always work (which can be a common complaint about smart hubs)

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Price: Check on Amazon
  • Dimensions: 7.25″ x 7.25″ x 1.75″
  • 1 year warranty

Coupon Code

There are no Wink Coupon Codes available at this time.

Video: Wink Hub 2

Learn more about the newest model of Wink Hub and what it’s capable of in this quick minute and a half video overview.

Samsung SmartThings Review

Samsung SmartThings#2

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Our second pick for the best smart hub is the Samsung SmartThings. You can control your home’s security, energy usage, lighting and more from your smartphone app. The Smart Things Hub is plugged into the wall, but if the power goes out, the 4 AA batteries can provide 10 hours of backup power (which is a nice feature if you’re super dependent upon your smart home).

Pros

Cons

  • Connect an unlimited number of devices
  • 10 hours of backup power with the 4 AA batteries
  • Works with wide-range of third-party brands including Samsung, Bose, Schlage, Yale, Cree, OSRAM LIGHTIFY, Honeywell, First Alert and more
  • More than 1/3 of Amazon reviews are 5 star
  • iOS and Android apps
  • 1/4 of reviews on Amazon are 1 star
  • Some users report it stops working at times

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Price: $49.00
  • Dimensions: 4.9″ x 4.2″ x 1.3″
  • 4 AA batteries required (as backup)
  • 1 year warranty

Coupon Code

There are not any Samsung SmartThings Coupon Codes available at this time.

Logitech Harmony Hub Review

Logitech Harmony Hub#3

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Rounding our top three is the Logitech Harmony Hub. The Logitech Harmony Hub allows you to control your gadgets via your smartphone or Harmony remote. The smart hub has the ability to set up one-touch settings for up to 50 events (e.g. waking up, going to sleep, dinner parties, etc.). It works with more than 270,000 devices including your TV, satellite or cable box, Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Roku, Sonos, game consoles, Philips Hue lights, Nest Learning Thermostat and more.

Pros

Cons

  • Connect up to 8 home entertainment devices
  • Connect an unlimited number of home automation devices
  • Works with more than 270,000 devices
  • Program up to 50 custom activities
  • Autoscan devices for easy setup
  • Control via iOS and Android apps on smartphone (or with up to 8 Harmony remotes)
  • More than 50% of Amazon reviews are 4 or 5 star
  • Almost 1/4 of Amazon reviews are 1 star, but the majority are from 2015 which may be from an earlier version
  • Inconsistent performance

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Price: $88.88
  • Dimensions: 6″ x 5.3″ x 3.1″
  • 2 AA batteries required
  • 1 year warranty

Coupon Code

There are not any Logitech Harmony Coupon Codes available at this time.

Honorable Mention: Insteon Review

InsteonView on Amazon

In addition to being a smart hub, Insteon is a communications technology. Unlike other hubs and products that rely on Z-Wave, WiFi or Bluetooth the Insteon is its own system which is faster, more reliable and more secure. The only downside is you must use Insteon’s equipment and it won’t work with third-party products. However, you can control your Insteon hub using voice commands on Alexa or via your iPhone, Android, tablet and Apple Watch. Another feature is the ability to set up one-touch settings for events (e.g. have lights brighten to 50% to help you wake up, set your kids’ lights to turn off automatically after they’ve left the house for the school day and more). You also receive notifications from motion, door/window, water leak and smoke sensor while you’re away from your home. This is a little more technical of a system to install but could be worth it for the speed and security.

Pros

Cons

  • 1/3 of Amazon reviews are 5 star
  • Control via iOS and Android apps
  • Integrations with Cortona, Amazon Echo, Logitech, Sonos and more
  • More than 200 Insteon devices to choose from
  • Compatible with Logitech Harmony remote and Alexa
  • 1/3 of Amazon reviews are 1 star
  • Requires you to mostly use Insteon equipment (switches, plugs, etc.)

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Price: $60.50
  • Dimensions: 3.75″ x 3.75″ x 1.5″
  • 2 year warranty

Coupon Code

There are not any Insteon Coupon Codes available at this time.

Home Automation Hub Comparison

Here’s a quick chart that summarizes the key features so you can compare smart home hubs side by side.

 Wink HubSamsung SmartThingsLigitech Harmony HubInsteon
Google Home CompatibleCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Alexa CompatibleCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
TechnologyWiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigbeeWiFi, Z-Wave, ZigbeeInferred, WiFi, BluetoothInsteson
# of Add Ons200Unlimited8 Entertainment200 Devices
Operating SystemsiOS & AndroidiOS & AndroidiOS & AndroidiOS, Android, Apple Watch
Battery BackupNone4 AA2 AANone
PortsEthernetEthernet, 2 USBUSBNone
Price$69.17$49.00$88.94$60.50

Best Smart Home Systems (Without Hubs)

Here are a few smart home “lite” systems that do many of the same features that we thought were worth mentioning too.

Wemo | Wink Relay

WEMO Review

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WEMO doesn’t offer a hub. Instead, they have products that can be controlled via WiFi with their smart switch and maker. WEMO products are made by Belkin, and their product line consists of smart switches, motion sensors, light switches, cameras and more. So, if you’re not worried about a hub, WEMO may be a good option for you.

Read our in-depth WEMO Review

Wink Relay Review

Wink RelayView on Amazon

The Wink Relay is like a hub on your wall and replaces most single or double light switches. The computer-looking light switch includes two more traditional switch buttons, which can be programmed to control different things. It can do many of the same features as the Wink Hub but with a visual display and built-in temperature, humidity and proximity sensors. If you have multiple relays you can use them as an intercom to speak to different parts of the house (great for 2-level homes). If you prefer a more traditional switch this is a great fit.

Pros

Cons

  • Built-in sensors and intercom
  • Supports Uber, Fitbit and IFTTT recipes
  • iOS and Android app as well as touchscreen control
  • Connects with WiFi and Zigabee products
  • Smart buttons act as light switches or can control other smart products
  • 1/3 of reviews are 5 star on Amazon
  • Limited in capabilities compared to other hubs
  • More prominently visible in home
  • Not compatible with 3-way light switch
  • Recommended that you have it professionally installed
  • Almost 1/4 of reviews are 1 star on Amazon

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Price: $68.99
  • Dimensions: 6.6″ x 5.9″ x 1.2″
  • 1 year warranty

DIY vs Professional Smart Home

Gartner, Inc. forecasts that there will be 20.4 billion connected smart things by 2020, so you can be the coolest neighbor on the block to get a head start on the trend. If you’re not a gadget guru or want to bother with DIY installation (even though it’s super easy) you can have a professional service set up your smart home for you. Check out these home automation system providers who can help install your system but take note, those VIP services come with a much higher price tag.

Which appliances and devices would you most like to have automated control over?

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Kimberly researches everything before she buys. She wants to make sure she is getting the best bang for her buck by purchasing the best product/service, which is why she loves her work. She has a degree in Multimedia Journalism and has been researching and writing professionally since 2013 to help consumers make more educated decisions.

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1 Comment on "Best Smart Home Hub: Insteon vs SmartThings vs Wink vs WeMo & More!"

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Allan Rodriguez
Allan Rodriguez

Kind of crazy to think our entire houses could be controlled from our phones using this technology. I am slowly converting my home into a smart house, started with Nest and Protect but thinking I’m going to tackle lights and locks next. So glad I found this article – didn’t know these hubs could connect them all!

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