We don't have slick future homes like The Jetsons yet, and the path to getting there has been more than a little rocky so far. Still, if you want to start making your house a little smarter on your own, there are some hubs that get the job done.

Best overall

Samsung SmartThings

See at Amazon

While one-off connected home gadgets are fun, the real power of the connected home comes from all of the smart things in your house talking with one another.

Samsung's acquisition of SmartThings in 2014 signalled the company was ready to bridge the gap between its incredibly popular mobile and appliance divisions with tech that worked to give you access from everywhere. Since the acquisition, Samsung has focused on expansion and refinement of the SmartThings brand, turning it into a complete solution that users can slowly build based on their needs.

The SmartThings Hub has grown over the years to support smart outlets and switches, a key fob that lets the house know when you're home or away, door and motion sensors to keep you informed and safe, and a massive network of third-party accessories that work with SmartThings hubs and apps.

Bottom line: Samsung SmartThings is the most supported connected home hub, so you stand the best chance of building a system that works with your needs.

Why Samsung SmartThings is the best

It's got the most support.

The one big point that makes SmartThings stand out in the crowd right now is support. All of the major popular products support SmartThings, and that's important when trying to create a smarter home for yourself. All of the good smart thermostats, connected lighting, automated door locks, and even most connected kitchen tech supports SmartThings out of the box. That kind of plug and play support makes a big difference when trying to set everything up, especially if you're trying to set a up a connected home for someone who isn't technically minded but could use some assistance.

But there are some problems. SmartThings aren't encrypted from end to end, which means your house could be an easy target for someone who wanted to cause you some trouble by turning on your stove when you aren't home. Almost no connected home tech was built with encryption in mind, which is why Google and Apple are trying so hard to build new systems that place a premium on being secure.

Beyond security, a lot of the SmartThings kits aren't particularly convenient. You can buy a $54 connected outlet that takes up two outlet spots on your actual outlet but only gives you one place to connect something to power, and it's only real feature is that you can turn it on and off with your phone. That's cool for very specific situations, but why not make something that fully replaces the outlet instead of an adapter that actively takes away outlets? It's messy, but it's one of the best messes you can build for yourself right now.

Best for Gadgets

Wink 2

See at Amazon

As one of the first connected home hubs to really get some attention, Wink has earned itself a healthy list of tech you can connect to it. The Wink hub has seen several hardware revisions since its initial launch as well, enhancing stability and functionality with each release. The core Wink setup is similar to just about everything else right now, in that you can connect everything to the hub and then use your phone to control all of the connected tech. You can also set up scripted patterns of behavior, so lights turn off and locks engage and thermostats adjust based on your schedules and actions. It's all fairly standard stuff, with one huge difference.

And optional add-on to the Wink Hub is the Wink Relay, a wall-mounted display with all of the Wink software onboard for anyone to interact with. No need to unlock the phone, or share your Wink account with others, this interface exists just like a light switch on the wall for anyone to use as they need. In fact, it even includes a pair of physical switches that can be customized to do whatever you need. If you live alone, it's mostly a gadget. If you have family, especially kids that don't have their own phone or tablet, it's a great way to make sure the connected home is available to everyone in it.

Bottom line: Wink is what you invest in if you're looking for a lot of options and an experience that goes well beyond your phone.

Conclusion

The connected home market is kind of a mess right now. There are a lot of individual products that work well, but it's going to be a while before a single truly great hub comes out to support everything. If you're not willing to wait, Samsung's SmartThings is a decent place to look for building your ideal setup. If you'd like something that extends your home and can be used even without a phone, Wink is what you should take a look at first.

Best overall

Samsung SmartThings

See at Amazon

While one-off connected home gadgets are fun, the real power of the connected home comes from all of the smart things in your house talking with one another.

Samsung's acquisition of SmartThings in 2014 signalled the company was ready to bridge the gap between its incredibly popular mobile and appliance divisions with tech that worked to give you access from everywhere. Since the acquisition, Samsung has focused on expansion and refinement of the SmartThings brand, turning it into a complete solution that users can slowly build based on their needs.

The SmartThings Hub has grown over the years to support smart outlets and switches, a key fob that lets the house know when you're home or away, door and motion sensors to keep you informed and safe, and a massive network of third-party accessories that work with SmartThings hubs and apps.

Bottom line: Samsung SmartThings is the most supported connected home hub, so you stand the best chance of building a system that works with your needs.