A hub is the heart and soul of every smart home — it connects all compatible smart home products to make them work together as a team. All you need to do is download the hub’s app on your iOS or Android smartphone. The app lets you control all your smart products that are connected to the hub. Hubs allow you to create triggers, set schedules, and even remotely control your smart home appliances (while you’re away) from your smartphone.
At this point, we feel like it’s important to clarify the difference between a hub and a bridge. They implement two different concepts: a hub is a device which brings together different types of smart products, whereas a bridge grants you remote access to only one type of smart product.
For example, with a Philips Hue Bridge you can only control Philips Hue products. And with a Wink Hub 2, you can control lights, sensors, smart locks, cameras, thermostats and more from many different brands. With the Wink Hub 2 you can even control a Philips Hue Bridge, the thing which brings Philips Hue products to life. A hub creates a truly connected home and brings it to your fingertips. And that’s exactly what makes a hub the heart and soul of every smart home.
What Makes a Good Hub?
Choosing a good hub for your home pretty much depends on which smart home products you have or are planning to add to your home. A perfect hub pairs with all your smart products to give you instant access and easy control of all your smart devices.
Smart products run on different protocols to enable their smart feature. You’ve probably already heard about Z-Wave, Zigbee, ClearConnect, etc. Those are the protocol names for smart home products. It’s easy to think about protocols as languages. So, imagine your smart light bulbs and motion sensors speak different languages. How can you make them communicate effectively to make the lights turn on when they detect motion? — The answer is a hub. A hub usually incorporates different protocols. It works like a translator between all your smart products helping them understand each other and work together creating a truly connected home.
“But how do I know if my smart products will work with a hub?”
That question leads down a massive rabbit hole, where you’ll waste hours jumping from article to article, browsing compatibility lists. So, to save you some time, we’ve created a chart where you can check the pros and cons of different hubs and find a list of compatible products for each hub (see below).
And while we still have you here, you might also be interested in our Complete Smart Home Starter Kits guide, where we offer two solutions for complete smart home starter kits. You’ll find kits with all the smart products you’ll need to start making your home truly smart. All the products within each kit work perfectly with each other and offer great ideas to incorporate (or great features to play with) — You can thank us later.
Our Favorite Smart Home Hub
It’s pretty hard to choose an absolute favorite. Each hub will meet or exceed your expectations. But, if we had to pick one hub — it’d be SmartThings… or Wink Hub 2 — we told you it’s hard to choose one. Both SmartThings and Wink Hub 2 are great and have just a few minor differences (our Wink vs. SmartThings article), so it pretty much depends on compatibility with other smart products.
For example, Wink Hub 2 works great with the Nest Learning Thermostat, but Wink doesn’t support Arlo Pro cameras (yet?). Whereas the SmartThings Hub doesn’t officially support the Nest Learning Thermostat, but instead pairs with Arlo Pro cameras in a heartbeat. Check out the chart of features below for more information.
Compare Smart Home Hubs
Wink Hub 2
Maximum number of devices
ZigBee, Z-Wave, IP, Clear Connect
ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth LE, Kidde, Clear Connect
Smart technology is more prevalent than ever before, and products that were once reserved for the wealthy techie have become accessible to pretty much any homeowner. Now more than ever before, it’s a real possibility to have a home that is connected, convenient, and that responds to your whims.
There are hundreds of smart products on the market that offer utility or entertainment to your home, but what really separates a smart home from a jumble of technology is the smart home hubs. These bases communicate with your different technology and allow them to work together seamlessly, providing a cohesive experience rather than forcing you to deal with a bunch of self-contained devices.
Below we take a look at the Wink vs. SmartThings Gen 3 to help you get a sense of which smart home controller might be best for your home. Each brand offers their own take on the connected home, but is one better than the other? The answer might not be so simple.
Read on below for a detailed breakdown of what each device has to offer.
Most people, when they think of smart homes, think of smart bulbs and smart thermostats. But it’s services like Samsung SmartThings that take all your smart products and mesh them together into a truly connected home.
Let’s take a look at the SmartThings v2 vs. v3 and figure out which smart home controller will give you the most bang for your buck.
CES is the biggest consumer technology show that gathers tech companies from all around the world in Las Vegas, every January, to show off their latest efforts. So what’s there to look for in 2018 when it comes to smart home hubs & gateways?
The smart home sphere is still pretty far from using a single smart-home standard. With every new gadget in our home we’ve got to choose between Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, etc. So, it looks like smart home hubs are not going anywhere — they play an integral part in smart home building.
Though, there’s still a room for improvement. Let’s check what 2018’s got to offer!
WeMo HomeKit Bridge by Belkin
Are you using WeMo products? Then we have good news for you — the WeMo HomeKit Bridge. It’s finally up for sale after the company announcement at CES 2018. The bridge connects all compatible WeMo gadgets and syncs them all up with Apple HomeKit. So now you can control your WeMo devices by asking Siri or by using the Apple Home app. What a great alternative to the untimely buggy WeMo app.
Choosing between Wink vs. SmartThings is like choosing between iOS and Android — they’re both great and offer a lot of smart features. But, there are a few minor differences between the two that we think are worth being mentioned.
Every year that passes, more smart home devices get released. And it’s incredibly important to have a great hub that lets you easily control them all. So, when it comes to choosing between Insteon vs. Wink, for us the choice is obvious. And to make it easier for you, let’s guide you through the differences between these two smart home hubs.
And then there’s a Pro version 2243. The Pro hub is very different from the original and the new one. The Insteon Pro hub is designed to be used specifically for Homekit devices. You can still control a few Insteon devices, but you’ll need to sacrifice Insteon cameras, motion and leak sensors in favor of Homekit. For a comparison with the Wink hub, we’ll take the most complete and absolute version of the Insteon hubs — the new Insteon hub 2245.
Wink hub also has two versions which are the Wink hub and Wink hub 2. As it usually happens, the newer version has better features and aspects, plus it’s been around for a while already. So, for our comparison with Insteon, we’ll take Wink hub 2. And if you’re interested in reading the differences between the two Wink hubs in detail, feel free to check out our Wink Hub comparison article: Wink Hub vs. Wink Hub 2: What’s the difference?.
If you’re choosing between the Insteon 2245 vs. 2242, or are looking to upgrade your Insteon 2242 to the upgraded 2245 version, then you’ve come to the right place.
With the Insteon hub, you can simply control your smart home devices from any smartphone or tablet, anywhere in the world. Both the Insteon 2245 and 2242 allow for control of Insteon light bulbs, outlets, wall switches, and thermostats. Whether you’re at home or away, you always have access to your home. And in case something goes wrong, you’re the first one to know thanks to instant email or push notification alerts. The alerts can be triggered via water leak, door and window, motion, and smoke sensors while you’re away from home.
Both hubs have almost identical features when it comes to Insteon device control, and yet there’re some technical differences between them:
As with any technology, there’s a lot of excitement when an upgrade comes out for an existing version. And with the Insteon Hub Pro, there was a lot of hype. Unfortunately, the Insteon hub pro version didn’t quite meet peoples’ expectations.
Now, in a comparison between most standard hubs vs. their pro versions, usually the pro version has a few new features and a hardware redesign that make it stand out from the standard one. But, the Insteon hub pro is an exception. We’ve compared the Insteon hub vs. pro purposefully to warn you about the limited features of a pro version.
Both Insteon and Lutron are veterans in home automation scene. Insteon emerged from a home automation company that was created in 1992. And the Lutron company comes from the late 1950s, when its founder invented the dimmer. The fact that these companies have been successfully around for that long means you probably can trust them both when it comes to quality. And yet, when it comes to our comparison and choosing between Insteon vs. Lutron — we’d go with Lutron.
Before we even get into comparing GE Link Hub vs. Wink Hub (which you’ll find below), we need to talk a little bit about the companies themselves.
Both GE Link Hub and Wink Hub allow you control your smart home appliances, and both hubs come from the same company, Quirky — Except that Wink is a spin-off from invention incubator Quirky. According to a Quirky report, by 2015 there were Wink products in 300,000 homes, and the business was growing until April 2015, when Wink experienced a security problem.
Now, the problem caused a lot of Wink hubs to go offline or break. This incident forced the company to issue a recall. And already by November 2015, the Quirky company went through bankruptcy proceedings due to financial difficulties. Wink was sold for $15 million to Flextronics (now called Flex). It wasn’t surprising since Flex was Wink’s primary supplier of hardware and firmware. As of now, Wink continues to successfully operate as an independent subsidiary of Flex.
So, what is the difference between the Wink Hub vs. Wink Hub 2? Both hubs are great at connecting all your smart home appliances together in one app. But there are a number of differences that set the newer model ahead of the older one.
Now, when we first saw the Wink Hub 2, our first impression was that it just looked sleeker and slimmer. But there’s more to it than that; so let’s go over whether or not the upgrade is worth the price!