The Best Smart Home Hub in the UK for 2020

Best Smart Home Hubs

What is a smart home hub?

There are many different types of smart products and appliances including, TV’s, refrigerators, speakers, doorbells and home security, lighting and thermostats and many more. These products and appliances are WiFi connected and controllable from apps on your phone.

Smart hubs are devices which connect multiple smart home products and appliances and allow you to control them all from one app. They can also allow separate devices to communicate with each other, for instance turn your lights on when your motion detector is activated. Without a hub these devices can’t talk to each other.

10 Best Smart Home Hub

In no particular order, here are 10 great home hubs available on Amazon.

1Samsung Smart Things Hub

  • Can connect to a wide range of smart devices and brands
  • Powerful processor allowing you to add as many devices as you like
  • Connects to your router via WiFi
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control
  • Range 40m (depending on your home). More than one hub can be linked together if you want more coverage.

Samsung Smartthings HubBuy Now

2Amazon Echo Plus

  • Can connect to any device that uses Zigbee or Works with Alexa
  • Connects to your router via WiFi
  • Built in Alexa voice control
  • Smart speaker
  • Range 15m

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3Amazon Echo Show

    • Can connect to any device that uses Zigbee or works with Alexa
    • Connects to your router via WiFi
    • Built in Alexa voice control
    • Smart speaker
    • 10” HD touch screen which is both a handy interface to control your devices and allows you to watch TV, view/watch recipes and make video calls

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4Google Home Hub

    • Compatible with hundreds of products across many brands
    • Connects to your router via WiFi
    • Built in Google Assistant
    • Smart speaker
    • 7” touch screen allowing you to see information as well as hear it

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5Google Nest Hub

  • Compatible with hundreds of products across many brands
  • Connects to your router via WiFi
  • Built in Google Assistant
  • Smart speaker
  • 10” touch screen allowing you to see information as well as hear it

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6Apple TV 4K

  • Watch your favourite TV programmes all on one place
  • Compatible with products that work with Apple Homekit
  • Connects to your router via WiFi
  • Built in Siri

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7Logitech Harmony

  • Compatible with more than 270,000 devices
  • Connect with up to 8 devices
  • Connects to your router via WiFi
  • Compatible with Alexa for voice control
  • Uses infrared to boost its range

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8TP-Link Deco 9

  • Strong WiFi signal to every corner of your house up to 6,500 square feet.
  • Connects with many popular home appliance brands using Zigbee, WiFi and Bluetooth.
  • Connects over 100 devices, no need for an additional hub
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa for voice control

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9Hive Hub 360

  • Connects your Hive devices
  • Connects to your router via WiFi

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10Panasonic Smart Home Hub

  • Connects your Panasonic smart devices
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa for voice control
  • Range 300m

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Samsung Smart Things

Samsung SmartThings Hub

  • Can connect to a wide range of smart devices and brands (more than most other hubs)
  • Powerful processor allowing you to add as many devices as you like
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control
  • Range – 15-40m (depending on the construction of your house). More than one hub can be linked together if you want more coverage.

The Samsung Smart Things hub can connect to hundreds of devices from different manufacturers allowing you to control all your devices through the SmartThings app (for iOS and Andriod).

This version of the hub connects to your router via WiFi, giving you more flexibility where you place it in your house. However, it can also be connected via an ethernet cable if you prefer.

There are three main things you can do with SmartThings. The first is control your smart devices, turn your light on, set your dishwasher and lock you home. Secondly, you can link multiple devices and create schedules and routines built around you and your family. For example, your kids come home from school, so the lights turn on automatically and the door locks behind them. Thirdly, you can monitor all your devices so that you know when they are in use or not.

Pros

  • Compatible with most appliances
  • Link 100’s of devices
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • The app needs work
  • Doesn’t come with voice assistants built-it
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Amazon Echo Plus

  • Can connect to any device that uses Zigbee or works with Alexa
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient
  • Built in Alexa voice control
  • Range 15m

The Amazon Echo Plus is both a smart speaker (with great sound quality) and a smart home hub, this means that you don’t need a separate speaker to listen to music or the radio.

The main perk, that other smart hubs can’t match, is it’s built in Alexa voice control. Amazon Alexa remains the market leader for voice control with over 50,000 “skills”, trouncing Google Assistant which has only 2,000.

Setting up this hub is hassle free, simply say “Alexa, discover my devices” and it will automatically find all compatible additions and add them to the network immediately. As long as your smart devices have Zigbee or work with Alexa, there will be a pairing.

Once you pair a device you can control it from the Alexa app which means that you can control all your smart-home devices, across brands, in one place. However, you will no longer be able to use the appliance’s proprietary apps so you will not be able to make use of the features provided in them. The Alexa app allows you to create Routines, for instance “bedtime” or “movie time”, and adjust your lights, heating, music or appliances connected to smart plugs according your requirements. However, Alexa is limited in exactly how much control it can wield over your connected devices (compared to the Samsung SmartThings) and Routines are not always reliable.

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Easy set-up
  • Built-in Alexa voice control

Cons

  • Not compatible with Z-Wave or Nest
  • Small range
  • Routines not always reliable
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Amazon Echo Show

  • Can connect to any device that uses Zigbee or works with Alexa
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient
  • Built in Alexa voice control
  • Smart speaker
  • 10” HD screen allowing you to watch TV, view/watch recipes, make video calls and view security camera feeds.

The Amazon Echo Show is similar to the Echo Plus but includes a 10” screen which gives you a handy interface to control your devices as well as watch TV, view/watch recipes, make video calls and view your security cameras feeds. When you’re not using your screen it also doubles as a photo frame.

Pros

  • 10” screen which doubles as a photo frame
  • Great sound quality
  • Easy set-up
  • Built-in Alexa voice control

Cons

  • Not compatible with Z-Wave or Nest
  • Small range
  • Routines not always reliable
Buy Now

Google Home Hub

  • Compatible with hundreds of products across many brands
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient
  • Built in Google Assistant with voice match technology
  • Smart speaker
  • 7” touch screen allowing you to see information as well as hear it

The Google home hub is both a smart speaker and home hub. It is compatible with over 200 products from 50 brands, thanks to its integration with Zigbee, Z-Wave and Nest as well as any device that works with Google Assistant. Please note that Nest has been discontinued and some devices have lost compatibility with Google Assistant, however if you already have a lot of Nest devices this hub could be a good choice for you.

You can also use it with IFTTT* to set up relationships between several gadgets, such as your lights with your thermostat or motion sensors. It has Google Assistant built in allowing you to control your connected smart devices by voice. There is also voice match technology, so it can tell whether it is you asking for your diary or your housemate.

The screen is smaller, and the sound quality is not as good as the Echo Show. Also, it doesn’t have a camera which could be a problem if you love video calling. However, the Google Home Hub does come in a little cheaper than the Amazon Echo Show so you may be able to live with these shortcomings.

Pros

  • Connects to many smart appliances
  • Cheaper than Amazon Echo Show

Cons

  • Small screen
  • No camera

*IFTTT is short for If This Then That and is free software that allow users to create simple scripts where some type of event in one device automatically triggers an action in another.

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Google Nest Hub

  • Compatible with hundreds of products across many brands
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient
  • Built in Google Assistant
  • Smart speaker
  • 10” touch screen allowing you to see information as well as hear it

The Google Nest Hub Max is similar to the Google Home Hub but has a larger screen, better speakers, Chromecast built in and includes a camera.

Like its predecessor, the Google Nest Hub Max is compatible with over 200 products from 50 brands, thanks to its integration with Zigbee, Z-Wave and Nest as well as any device that works with Google Assistant. Please note that Nest has been discontinued and some devices have lost compatibility with Google Assistant, however if you already have a lot of Nest devices this hub could be a good choice for you.

Google assistant is built in allowing you to control your connected smart devices by voice.

This smart hub is also fitted with powerful speakers complete with 3-inch woofer, allowing you to listen to music and watch videos. With Chromecast built in, you can stream movies and TV shows from services like Google Play Movies, HBO NOW, Hulu and more.

This version of Google’s hub has as a camera so you can also make video calls to friends and family. The camera can recognize faces and switch profiles based on who in the house is using the hub and acts as a security camera wherever you put the Hub Max (you can log on with your mobile device and look through the cam whenever you need to).

Pros

  • 10” screen which doubles as a photo frame
  • Camera
  • Connects to many smart appliances
  • Great sound quality

Cons

  • Nest smart products have been discontinued.
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Apple TV 4K

  • Watch your favourite TV programmes all on one place
  • Compatible with products that work with Apple Homekit
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient
  • Built in Siri

The Apple TV 4K lets you watch films and TV programmes in amazing 4K HDR. It streams your favourite channels live and allows you to access great content from apps like BBC iPlayer, NOW TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ITV Hub and iTunes without switching from one app to the next.

This hub also gives you access to over 50 million songs which you can play through your Apple TV.

And thanks to Siri there is no more typing to find what you’re looking for. Just ask Siri for a film, programme, genre, actor or song that you love.

View your photos and videos from your iCloud Photos library and share with your friends and family.

The Apple TV 4K also lets you control your HomeKit enabled smart devices via the Apple Home app. HomeKit’s ecosystem is growing and there are a lot more products now, enough to make a pretty decent set up. However, there’s no Zigbee or Z-Wave connectivity so you’ll need separate hubs to connect devices like Philips Hue light and WeMo products.

Pros

  • Setting up Automations and Scenes in HomeKit is easy

Cons

  • Connection to other smart devices limited
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Logitech Harmony

  • Compatible with more than 270,000 devices
  • Connect with up to 8 devices
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient
  • Compatible with Alexa for voice control
  • Uses Infrared to boost its range

The Logitech Harmony Hub is great for connecting your entertainment-based gadgets such as speakers, game systems and televisions but it can also control your lights, window blinds and thermostat.

The hub can connect with up to eight devices, and you can programme a wide variety of sequences. For instance, you can create a date night sequence to put a movie on and dim the lights. All of which you can control from your smartphone, PC or Mac. If you have an Echo Dot you can also use Alexa to control your smart devices.

Pros

  • Great for controlling entertainment-based gadgets and home cinemas

Cons

  • It can only connect to 8 devices so isn’t equipped to handle the automation of an entire house
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TP-Link Deco M9

  • Strong WiFi signal to every corner of your house up to 6,500 square feet.
  • Connects with many popular home appliance brands using Zigbee, WiFi and Bluetooth.
  • Connects over 100 devices, no need for an additional hub
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa for voice control

The TP-Link Deco M9 doubles as a WiFi router and smart home hub. It’s designed to connect all home automation hubs and smart home appliances while controlling them through one mobile app.

This is a great choice if you need to boost the WiFi signal in your house.

Pros

  • Boosts WiFi signal
  • Connects to many smart appliances

Cons

  • No built-in voice control
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Hive Hub 360

  • Connects your Hive devices
  • Connects to your router via WiFi so you can locate your hub where it is most convenient

If you have (or are thinking of buying) the Hive thermostat or security systems you will need a hub to connect them to the internet. The recommended bridge is Hive’s own offering.

It connects to your router via WiFi so it can sit where-ever is best for communication to your security devices in your home.

Hive is primarily a security company, the 360 can listen out for sounds (like your smoke alarm, dog barking or glass breaking) and alert you to this. When you’re home you can mute the microphone so you don’t need to worry about ‘listening in’.

Pros

  • Connects your Hive security smart devices
  • Detects sounds in your house and alerts you

Cons

  • Only supports Hive devices
  • No voice control
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Panasonic Smart Home Hub

  • Connects your Panasonic smart devices
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa for voice control
  • Range 300m

This hub connects all your Panasonic items such as cameras, sensors and smart plugs and allows them to be controlled from one place and communicate with one another.

It uses a DECT Ultra Low Energy low-frequency wireless connection to communicate with the grouped products, which is more secure than sharing everything through Wi-Fi.

Only Panasonic items can be connected to this hub, however there is an incredibly broad offering of Panasonic items which can make up your system.

It isn’t compatible with things like Alexa, Google Home or IFTTT* but if hacking is a concern for you this is a very secure hub.

Pros

  • Connects your Panasonic smart devices
  • Less susceptible to hacking than other hubs

Cons

  • Not compatible with Alexa or Google Home so voice control is not an option

*IFTTT is short for If This Then That and is free software that allow users to create simple scripts where some type of event in one device automatically triggers an action in another.

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How do I choose a hub? Types of Smart Home Hubs

When you are choosing which hub to buy consider the smart home appliances you already have (or plan to buy) and find out which hubs they are compatible with. You will also need to think about how many smart home devices you want to connect to your hub and make sure that it can support that number of connections.

Most home automation hubs are router-like devices placed in your home. But there are other smart home hubs that are simply mobile apps, with these you won’t need any hardware to connect your devices.

Traditional Smart Home Hubs

These are dedicated smart hubs which use radios to communicate with your smart devices and allow you to control them from one app. The most well-known example of this type of hub is the Samsung SmartThings.

However, these are falling out of fashion in favour of smart speakers.

Smart Speakers and Displays

Smart speakers and smart displays are increasing in popularity as a hub device partly as they are much easier to use (controlled by voice and touch screen) and also because they can be used to play music and listen to the radio.

Most smart speakers use software to connect to your devices, look for Works with Amazon Alexa or Works with Google Assistant one your smart appliances.

Smart displays are like smart speakers, but also have a touchscreen offering additional functionality and making it easier to track all the different elements of your smart home.

Software Only Hubs

You do not always have to buy a new piece of hardware, there are apps that can take on the role of a hub. Rather than opening different apps to control each of your smart appliances you can use one app to control them all.

You can download smart home hub apps such as Google Home app, Amazon Alexa app, Apple Home app or Samsung SmartThings app.

However, this option will only work when you are in your own home. If you want remote access you will need a hardware hub too.

Do I need a smart home hub for home automation?

Some smart home appliances don’t require a home automation hub to access smart features. Many smart gadgets can be set-up using your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity only. However, if you’d like to create a smart home that connects different appliances, you’ll need a smart home hub.

Should my smart home hub also be a Wi-Fi system?

Your smart home hub does not need to be a router, but most hubs require for you to connect it to one. If your home has poor Internet connection, you’ll want to consider a Wi-Fi system such as the Deco M9 Plus. It extends your Wi-Fi’s range while acting as a smart home hub to connect your smart devices.