What’s a home automation hub? It’s command central in a smart home. It’s where the action is, it’s the place from which all info flows. Really, it’s a small electronic device. But it does big things!

Has this ever happened to you? You’re standing in the living room and you feel chilly. You pull out your smartphone to turn the heat up a degree or two, but you can’t remember the name of the app. You have hundreds. You scroll through, you think you’ve found it, but no, that’s not it. You keep looking, and finally you find it, but now you’re sweaty from all that searching and you don’t need it anymore.

Piles of Apps

You could have walked over to the thermostat and adjusted it yourself in the time it took you to find the right app! And it happens with your other home functions too — lights, door locks, window shades, televisions. It’s not fun if you have to walk up to the devices and use those old-fashioned buttons. You need a hub — one place to store all your home automation apps so they don’t keep getting lost. Like a remote caddy, but smaller.

You’ll find a lot of hubs out there, some priced as low as $50. According to PC magazine, price doesn’t matter that much — most of the top sellers got 3.5 stars regardless of cost. The most important factor to consider is that the hub you choose is going to be compatible with your smartphone and your home automation system. Let’s look at a few popular choices.

  • Wink Connected Home Hub ($50) — You can’t beat the price, and this hub supports more products than its pricier competitors. PC called it buggy in 2014, though, and beware of that Amazon rating; it gets three out of five stars, but it’s a mathematical illusion — 37 percent of reviewers gave it only one star.
  • SmartThings Hub ($99) — Despite its uninspired name, this hub is great because it’s cheap, easy to use, and supports popular products, including If This Then That. On Amazon, 48 percent of users gave it five stars, so it’s a winner.
  • Logitech Harmony Home Hub ($99) — About half the reviewers on Amazon gave this four or five stars, but 25 percent gave it one — they said it was hard to set up and Logitech wasn’t clear about product compatibility. If it’s compatible with what you have and you can figure out how to set it up, PC says it’s tops for home theater.

TYM Smart Homes & Home Theaters is Utah’s premier provider of home automation and home theater systems and components. If you are planning to automate your home, or you already did and you need a hub, come down and talk to the experts at TYM.

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