While there are many smart home hubs on the market, not all specialize in home security. But home security is the most important smart home function. So it makes sense to start with a hub that offers reliable home security protection. This article reviews the best smart home security hubs.
A bare bones home security system requires motion and entry sensors. These secure your home while you sleep, and while you’re away from home. The best home security hubs are easy to set up and operate. You can connect and arm smart security devices, then control them from your phone.
Most people start extending with cameras. Check when your kids come home from school. Watch over your pet while at work. Set up a smart look with doorbell camera to keep tabs on the front porch.
Others go the smart home route. Add smart lights that dim via voice command. Plug a coffee maker into a smart switch to start a fresh brew on demand. Use a smart thermostat to warm up the house before you get home.
Whatever your preference, it all starts with a hub.
The best smart home security hubs on the market
As of late 2019, there are three proven security hubs we can recommend. Security is the highest priority, so all of the following hubs offer that as a baseline. They also share a few industry leading features:
- Integration with voice assistants like Amazon Echo Plus and Google Home.
- Mainstream wireless protocol integration for Z-Wave and ZigBee. These integrations make your hub compatible with hundreds of devices.
- Robust Android and iPhone apps that let you control everything from your phone.
There are other hubs out there with lesser reputations and unverified integration claims. They don’t factor into this article.
Given that the DIY smart home industry is less than a decade old, it’s prudent not to gamble on unknowns. That’s why we suggest sticking with a leading provider, if you’re looking to buy a smart home hub.
Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub
The third-generation Samsung SmartThings is the most versatile hub you can buy. Other products can connect to dozens of devices. The SmartThings Hub can connect to hundreds.
That’s because it’s compatible with everything.
- Integrations: IFTT, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Garmin and Apple watches. It also comes with full-featured Android and iPhone apps.
- Voice Assistants: Google Home, Amazon Echo.
- Supported wireless protocols: ZigBee, Z-Wave.
Check out the full list of SmartThings integrations and compatible devices. The hub can control thermostats, lights, door locks, cameras, doorbells and more.
SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
Unless you have a complex plan mapped out, it makes sense to buy a starter kit, rather than a standalone hub.
Keeping security as priority, the SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit is a great foundation. Along with the hub, this kit contains two entry sensors, one motion sensor and one smart switch.
Fire up the system and get instant alerts on your phone if sensors detect unexpected entry or motion.
Check the SmartThings website for a full list of compatible devices. Below are three of the most popular addons:
Amazon Echo Plus with built-in Hub
The Amazon Echo Plus is powerful enough to serve as the brains of your smart home setup. It has a built-in ZigBee smart home hub. This allows for easy setup of compatible add-ons. These include cameras, lights, sensors and more.
It also connects to Amazon Alexa. This is a cloud-based service that lets you automate parts of your life.
Bundled inside of the Alexa app is Alexa Guard. Alexa Guard can send you phone notifications if your security devices detect issues. Notifications include intruder alerts, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and glass breaking.
Echo Plus Security Starter Kit
The Amazon Echo Plus don’t offer any bundled home security packages. The main reason is because it’s very easy to build your own setup piece by piece. For example, all Samsung SmartThings devices work with Alexa.
After buying an Echo Plus, these add-ons can serve your home security needs:
Wink Smart Home Hub
There are two reasons why Wink’s second-generation smart home hub is the best option for beginners. First, because it has the simplest app interface.
Second, because of how easy it is to extend.
Wink Hub 2 works with both Alexa and Google Assistant. Its supported wireless protocols include Z-Wave, ZigBee, Kidde and Lutron Clear Connect. That means it can connect with lots of smart gadgets. You can control them via voice using your Echo Plus or Google Home devices.
The Wink Hub 2 also offers local control. Older models would send commands from your phone to Wink servers then back to each device. The Wink Hub 2 eliminates lag by letting the app communicate directly with the hub while you’re at home.
On the downside, the Wink Hub 2 lacks battery backup. If the power goes out, the system dies. All devices will need to re-connect once the power resumes. You might even need to reboot your Wifi router to get it going.
If you need vacation security while away, choose another system with battery backup.
Wink Hub 2 Security Starter Kit
The Wink Hub 2 doesn’t offer bundled home security packages, but it’s easy to assemble one. The following Wink Hub addons can secure your home effectively.
Smart Home Hub FAQs
This section covers all questions potential buyers might have about smart home security hubs.
Who should buy a Smart Home Security Hub?
You should buy a smart home hub if you want complete control over which components to use. The upside is freedom to choose. The downside is that setup and management can get complicated.
Thus, home security hubs are best for hobbyists. For those wanting to protect their home as first priority, a bundled starter kit is a better option.
How many devices can I connect to my home security hub?
Each hub reviewed in this article can support at least 100 devices. Devices can include motion sensors, entry sensors, smoke detectors, cameras and lights.
Note that more add-ons requires more processing time and bandwidth. Stacking on too many devices can make your hub run slow and perform erratically.
Instead of going crazy with addons, be practical. Add one motion sensor in the hallway. Add entry sensors to all entryways into the house. Place a few entry sensors around windows.
If you want to push your hub’s limits, add a camera, smart door lock and smoke detector.
If you keep your hub connected to less than 30 devices, expect crisp performance with no lag time.
How does IFTT work with a smart security hub?
The Internet of Things (IOT) is about devices that interact with each other. As of 2019, the smart home industry is bursting with innovation. New platforms and devices are emerging all the time.
If This Then That (IFTTT) provides an industry standard communication protocol. This allows smart devices to work together.
Then log into your IFTT account. You should be able to find recipes available for your devices.
Check out the massive list of IFTT smart home recipes.
Do security hubs need Alexa or Google Assistant integration?
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant lets you use voice commands to control devices. Those voice commands bind your smart devices to an Andoid or Iphone app for easy control.
Home security systems work just fine without using a voice assistant. Although you’ll lose voice commands, you can still easily control your system from your phone.
This article reviews the best home security hubs on the market. Each recommended hub provides a base to build the ultimate home security system.
Start with motion and entry sensors. Add smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for extra protection. Stack in smart LED lights to save energy and control lighting events. Finish off with cameras.
That will secure your home, but the fun doesn’t need to stop there. With any of the hubs in this article, you can also add home automations to improve quality of life. Set lights to dim or brighten at certain times. Configure a smart thermostat to save energy while ensuring comfort. Connect your coffee maker to make a fresh brew at a set time.
The possibilities are endless. In fact, limitless possibility is one of the biggest downsides to buying a standalone hub. It’s easy for beginners to let their imaginations run wild. If they buy too many devices, they will complicate and slow down their system.
These hubs are great for adventurous hobbyists. For straightforward security protection, consider buying a DIY home security starter kit instead.