As smart home automation becomes more popular, staying up to date with the latest technology is a good idea. Zigbee is one of the best smart home protocols thanks to its customizability and ease of use. We know finding the best Zigbee hubs can be difficult, so we’ve compiled a list of the best options for your home.
Before we get started, be sure to check out our Zigbee Vs. Z-Wave comparison to get a better understanding of smart home automation. Zigbee components are becoming very affordable, and you are no longer tethered to one particular manufacturer for all devices. However, the centerpiece of your smart home is the Zigbee hub.
So, after testing the most popular Zigbee hubs, our top choices for 2023 are:
- Best Overall: Aqara Smart Hub M2
- Best Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo (4th generation)
- Best Zigbee & Z-Wave Combo: Aeotec Smart Home Hub
- Best Local Hub: Hubitat Elevation C-8
- Best Video Hub: Echo Show 10
#1 Best Overall Zigbee Hub: Aqara Smart Hub M2
The all-around best Zigbee hub is Aqara’s Smart Hub M2. This compact hub is about the width of a coaster and the height of an external hard drive. For a better comparison, it is smaller than most Google and Amazon smart speakers. However, size isn’t the only reason to get this hub; it is also very versatile and affordable.
The Aqara Smart Hub M2 connects to your Zigbee devices and to the internet via WiFi. However, it also has an ethernet port for a wired connection, and a USB-A port allows you to connect select devices directly. Additionally, it supports connections to 128 Zigbee devices.
Inside is a speaker that can integrate with your smart home, but it is not a replacement for better quality smart speakers. Aqara’s Smart Hub M2 is best used with Apple’s HomeKit. Of course, you can always use other Zigbee apps or Aqara’s smart home app. Finally, the price is reasonable compared to other hubs, considering the number of features it includes.
|A good price point for a feature-filled hub.||The Aqara Home app has occasional errors that require restarting the app.|
|The hub is very compact.||The speaker does not include an assistant.|
Check out Aqara’s Smart Hub M2 on Amazon.
Zigbee Smart Speaker Hub: Amazon Echo (4th generation)
- Sound automatically adapts to any room
- Supports lossless HD audio
- Built-in hub to voice control compatible lights, locks, and sensors
- Privacy protection
Amazon’s latest Echo generation is the best Zigbee hub with a smart speaker. Amazon Echo is one of the most well-known smart home product lines. However, the latest Echo speaker is the first to integrate a Zigbee hub into the device. Now, your Echo speaker does more than just take commands and repeat them; it serves as the backbone of your smart home.
The latest model is a more elegant round ball than its cylindrical predecessors. It also has much better audio quality than previous models. The newest Echo has WiFi, Bluetooth, Sidewalk, and Matter connectivity in addition to Zigbee. This combination of wireless technologies makes it capable of managing your entire smart home.
Of course, Amazon’s Alexa is built-in, which lets you verbally communicate and command your smart devices. One downside to the Amazon Echo is that it is not the cheapest option, but it is frequently on sale.
|Combines two popular devices in one.||A larger device that looks unsightly.|
|Connects with other protocols like Sidewalk, Matter, and Bluetooth.||You lose the Zigbee hub if you replace the Echo.|
Check out Amazon’s latest Echo on Amazon.
Best for Controlling Zigbee and Z-Wave: Aeotec Smart Home Hub
- Compatible with over 5,000 smart home products
- IP00 protection rating
- Ring, Google Assistant, SmartThings, Amazon Alexa, IOS, Android controller types
- ZigBee, Bluetooth, Matter, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave connectivity
The Aeotec Smart Home Hub is the best device that combines both Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols. Z-Wave is another popular smart home protocol that you may want to use. However, most Zigbee hubs cannot communicate with Z-Wave devices. If you already have Z-Wave devices, purchasing a hub that integrates both signals makes sense.
The Aeotec Smart Home Hub is on the larger side, but it is still smaller than an average internet router. Additionally, it uses a standard DC power connector, whereas most hubs use a USB adapter. There are connections for a USB device and a wired internet connection. Setup is quick and easy through the Aeotec app.
The hub is compatible with SmartThings, as well as other smart integration apps. Samsung actually uses Aeotec to manufacture all of its official SmartThings devices. Although the Aeotec Smart Home Hub offers a lot of cross-compatibility, it is one of the most expensive options, considering it does not include a personal assistant like Alexa or Google.
|A single hub for Zigbee and Z-Wave smart devices.||It does not use a USB cable for power.|
|A part of Samsung’s SmartThings.||It is expensive compared to other Zigbee hubs.|
Check out Aeotec Smart Home Hub on Amazon.
Best Local Zigbee Hub: Hubitat Elevation C-8
- Control everything on your local network
- Features WiFi and Z-Wave connectivity
- External antennas for increased range
- Enhanced privacy
If you are not interested in cloud integration for your smart home, then the Hubitat Elevation C-8 is the perfect choice. Hubitat has released several smart home hubs, but each release comes with lots of new features. The latest model has two external antennas to reach devices throughout your home. It also has WiFi and Z-Wave connectivity in addition to Zigbee.
What puts Hubitat on our list is that it operates on your local network rather than the cloud. Most smart homes rely on a connection to a third-party server to change your home’s settings. While that may not sound important, it is a consideration for those concerned about privacy with devices like door locks and security cameras.
Having your smart home managed locally also means you can make changes even when the internet is out. While you can control hubitat from your home’s network, a mobile app adds extra functionality. Hubitat’s Elevation C-8 also integrates with various voice assistants. The hub is very expensive but offers unique features not found in competitor hubs.
|Everything is controlled on your local network.||It is overpriced if you don’t want local connectivity.|
|Supports both Zigbee and Z-Wave.||It is a little complicated to set up.|
Check out Hubitat Elevation C-8 on Amazon.
Best Zigbee Hub With Video: Amazon Echo Show 10
Amazon’s latest Echo Show 10 adds Zigbee connectivity to create the best video hub. A Zigbee hub must connect to compatible devices, as well as the internet, to get full functionality. However, devices like the Echo Show 10 deliver a lot more than just a means of connecting smart components. With the Echo Show 10, you can modify various devices directly from the hub.
The Echo Show 10 adds a screen, which no other Zigbee hub on the market has. The screen serves multiple purposes, like video chat, providing visual answers, and displaying key data. It also allows you to control your smart home directly without a mobile phone. One of the really cool features of the Echo Shows 10 is that it automatically rotates around, so the screen is always in your field of view.
The camera on the hub also serves live monitoring, and it can pan around. All of the functions of the Echo Show 10 can also be controlled from the Echo smartphone app. Because the device does have a screen, it is the largest hub. It is also the most expensive hub on our list by far, but Amazon regularly has them on sale.
|Includes a nice display to manage your smart home.||The most expensive Zigbee hub on our list.|
|The screen can rotate to follow you, which is great for video chats.||Removing the Echo Show 10 will require you to get a new Zigbee hub.|
Check out Echo Show 10 on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Zigbee Hub: Step-by-Step
When choosing a Zigbee hub, there are four main factors for most buyers.
Let’s review each of these criteria in more detail.
Brands are not something we typically focus on, but it is a very important factor in a Zigbee hub. For instance, there are many companies making cheap Zigbee hubs that may or may not be around long term. That is a major problem as you will not be able to get updates or customer service support. Therefore, you should stick to larger, well-known brands.
The next thing to consider is the features that the hub has. Some Zigbee hubs are simple boxes with a power connector, while others feature multiple connection types like Ethernet and USB. In addition, some hubs have extra speakers or other smart capabilities built in. Some Zigbee hubs can even operate locally without an internet connection.
Price is always a major factor in a purchase decision, and that is certainly the case for Zigbee hubs since they vary significantly in price. The simplest hubs cost as little as $30, but more advanced ones go for over $200. This huge price difference is largely due to the features that each one offers. However, you should still set a budget and determine how much those extra features are worth.
An important consideration for many people will be what other devices the Zigbee hub is compatible with. All Zigbee hubs can control Zigbee devices, but the hub offers a gateway to the internet as well as other smart devices. A few Zigbee hubs also include Z-Wave compatibility, which is great if you want to operate both protocols in your smart home.
What to Know Before Buying a Zigbee Hub
Before buying a Zigbee hub, you should ensure that it does everything you need and that the Zigbee network protocol is right for you. It is important to understand that Zigbee does not operate like WiFi or Bluetooth, as each device extends the network’s reach. This means you don’t have to worry too much about the hub’s placement.
Using a Zigbee Hub: What it’s Like
Zigbee hubs are the best way to connect your devices to the internet for easy control. Once you set up your Zigbee hub, you won’t have to mess with it again. Using a smart home device like an Echo is a great and affordable option. However, if you decide to upgrade or remove that smart device, you must get another Zigbee hub.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Casezy idea/Shutterstock.com.