6 Home Automation Systems You Should Know About

Popular Home Automation Systems

A smart home can’t be as smart without an automation system at the helm, and if you want a seamless way to connect all of your devices and make life easier for yourself, they’re a no-brainer.

Not all of these systems were created equally though, and before you can dive in and create a smart home for yourself, you’ll need to know what they do.

What are the best home automation systems?

The most popular home automation systems include Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, Wink Hub 2, Google Nest Hub, and Samsung SmartThings. These systems act as the command center for the rest of your smart devices and can turn a few random products into a fully functioning smart home.

You’ve likely heard of a few names that continue to come up in the discussion about home automation systems, and with good reason.

We’ll walk you through the best in show for 2021 and a little more about their capabilities and reputation with our guide to the central hub that makes your home smarter.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the home automation systems, we got you covered:

home automation systems

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What Is A Home Automation System?

In a world where everything has gone online and it’s never been easier to connect networks and devices wirelessly, it can all get a bit messy.

A home automation system is designed to act as a central hub that allows you to join, control, and monitor these devices from one place.

These devices operate with commands given by the user, whether it’s on a digital interface, voice command, or some other gesture, and they can be intuitive enough to know what you want at times.

The system then acts as the centralized device that controls them all, and they do with various protocols and connections, like your home broadband network, Z-wave, Zigbee, and more.

With the rise of smart products, there’s also been a rise in these central command systems, and it’s in the best interest of the manufacturer to make them accessible by as many protocols and devices as well.

There are lots out there to choose from but only a handful with a solid reputation, so you need to stack them up against each other to see who’s worthy.

The Best Home Automation Systems on the Market

As technology evolves and more developers throw their hats into the ring, there’s going to continue to be a boom in the smart home market.

In 2021 though, these are the home automation systems worth looking at if you’re planning on making your household smarter.

#1: Samsung SmartThings

samsung smartthings

If you want a simple yet qualified smart home hub, Samsung’s SmartThings is a serious contender. This is the only device you’ll need to run your home and it works with everything from smart buttons to peripheral sensors to create the experience for you.

It’s not so much of a multimedia hub as others but better at connecting everything together and making them easier to manage, which is everything a home automation system should be.

The biggest selling point of SmartThings is that it’s capable of playing with others, and a lot better than the competition. You’ll be able to connect to most third-party devices and it runs with both Zigbee and Z-wave protocols, and well as IFTTT. It’s also got a built-in battery to protect against power failures and is known as one of the fastest in terms of response time.

There are still issues that customers face with this hub, as always, and you might find the app unappealing and harder to navigate. If you’re stuck, it works with Alexa and Google Assistant so you can simply switch to voice commands and save the hassle, but having a workable app would be a nice touch, especially from the minds of Samsung.

#2: Apple HomeKit

apple homekit arlo

Apple HomeKit is an Apple lover’s delight and it relies on either the iOS or macOS app to run your household. As usual, Apple is super restrictive with the products that can work with HomeKit, and as you guessed, it’s only compatible with other Apple devices. This is good news for people who are loyal to the brand but for everyone else, it probably won’t be as exciting.

AppleHomeKit supports a range of smart peripherals, even if it’s primarily made for its own products, and you can rely on Siri to act as your efficient virtual assistant. There are some usability issues with the app but constant updates being made, and Apple has grand plans to take over the world of home automation, which they seem more than capable of doing.

With this home automation system from Apple, you can add a huge range of hardware including sensors, thermostats, cameras, and lighting, so there’s no shortage of goods to create a fully functioning smart home. They go deep into customization so you can create zones and rooms that have separate needs from the rest of the house as well, and it’s incredibly easy to make your home run exactly how you want it to.

#3: Amazon Echo

amazon echo

Alexa has become queen of virtual assistants in the last few years, and it’s all thanks to the Amazon Echo. This is a simple hub that makes it easy to consolidate many of your smart devices, as well as act as an assistant, giving you answers to questions, letting you know what weather to expect when you step outside or making phone calls to friends and family, all with voice commands.

To pair the suitable devices, just let Alexa know what you want to do, and she can usually make it happen. You’ll find this system is compatible with loads thanks to the built-in Zigbee hub and there’s plenty you can use with it. However, it is lacking in areas like connectivity with Google Chromecast or Apple HomeKit, unlike others that offer it.

Within the Echo range, there’s something for everyone, and even a kids’ version of the hub so you can set it up in their bedroom for a full smart house experience. The Amazon Echo has a lot going for it including name recognition, ease of use, and a convenient way to get the smart home you’ve been dreaming of, so it’s definitely worthy of your consideration.

#4: Wink Hub 2

wink hub

When you want a home automation system that can do more, something versatile like the Wink Hub 2 should be at the top of your list. This home automation system works on either a wireless connection or with an ethernet cable, so it’s already got something the others don’t. Once you’ve got the app, everything in your home can be run by it and you’ve also got yourself a central place to make settings and adjust customizations.

The Wink Hub 2 system isn’t without faults though, and the biggest issue it seems to have is not allowing you to make customizations that are too in-depth, so you have to resort to using the original device’s app to do so. There’s a lot of impressive features in this system, though, including IFTTT protocols, but it depends on the specific app as to what exactly can be controlled.

All of the commands are executed through the app which is installed on your device, and if you want to use voice commands, you’ll need to set these up with another type of assistant, like Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. There are loads of automation options and without having to download third-party software, so it’s miles ahead in this category and makes the overall user experience a lot friendlier.

#5: Hubitat Elevation

hubitat home automation

The Hubitat Elevation might not have the name recognition that these other devices do, but with everything they offer, they will soon enough. This is a breakthrough home automation system that can work offline and combines all of the benefits of local processing with the connectivity that the Internet of Things brings.

Within the Hubitat Elevation, you’ll get a number of apps already built-in and ready to use. Compatibility is at an all-time high with Zigbee, Lutron, Z-Wave, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa just a few on the list, as well as working with LAN and cloud-connected devices in your home. You customize the dashboard on the app so that it works for your home and create a number of rules and schedules so you can get exactly what you need.

There are some negatives to the existing Hubitat setup though, and the main issue seems to be a lack of support from any sort of tech experts. We’re hopeful that as the brand grows, its help will too because currently, it looks as though the online community of customers is helping each other out better than the brand is. Although it has some teething problems, the Hubitat Elevation is set to change the way we look at home automation by relying more on offline capabilities as well.

#6: Google Nest Hub

google nest

It should be no surprise to anyone that a Google product made its way onto this list, and the Nest Hub is far too impressive to leave off of it, even if it looks simple on the surface. This system uses Google Assistant to do its work and you can employ a range of voice commands and an interface to make requests, with the hub then doing as told.

Within the Nest Hub, you can do everyday tasks like checking the weather or playing music from your streaming services, all with the help of your virtual assistant. You’ll also be able to control your home’s lighting, heating and cooling, locks, cameras, and more, just as easily as you can do other tasks. Simplicity is key with the Google Nest Hub and it’s a great choice for those who don’t need anything too high-tech.

On the downside, it’s got a pretty small 7” screen and has had a lot of security concerns, with people eagerly awaiting updates. There’s a lot of integration possible with Google products though, so if you have these at home this is probably a smart choice. It works well with Google Services too, and the response time is faster than most. If you want affordability and simplicity, the Google Nest Hub is a great option.

Related Questions

A smart home automation system can be a gamechanger for convenience and everyday efficiency, as long as you get it right.

To learn more about what these devices bring to the table, we’ve answered a few commonly asked questions that newcomers to the world of smart homes have.

How Much Does It Cost to Automate a House?

automation costs

The degree of automation you’re trying to achieve will impact the final cost, with a minimum spend of a couple of hundred dollars likely, and up to $20,000 or more possible for something advanced.

A wired automation system will incur costs of devices, labor, and maintenance, and installing them in your entire home can be costly.

How Can I Make My Whole House a Smart House?

A smart house usually refers to one that has a few smart devices operating within it, so think of areas you want to automate and start there.

The easiest devices and applications, to begin with, are lighting, temperature control, security, and smart assistants so that you’ve covered all of the basics first.

How Do I Install Home Automation?

The installation of a home automation system will differ depending on the product but first, you’ll need an internet connection and electricity supply.

From there, you can think about the smart devices you want to connect through this system, download the control apps, and spend some time setting up schedules, sensors, and automation to get the full smart home experience.

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