You probably know that some smart locks need a hub to connect and interact with other smart home devices. But this may not be the case with other smart locks. If you’re wondering how this works, you want to continue reading as this article contains all the information you need about smart locks and a hub.
Here is the short answer to whether all smart locks require a hub:
Not all smart locks require a hub to communicate with your smartphone or other smart home devices. For instance, smart locks with built-in Bluetooth or Wi-Fi can connect directly to your phone without a hub. However, other smart locks require a hub to connect, and those are mostly locks that rely on Z-Wave and Zigbee for connectivity.
How a Smart Hub Works with Smart Locks?
Smart locks do not use different hubs from other smart devices. A hub is what it is called—a device that lets you connect and control your smart home devices from a central point. It’s an integral part of a smart home system.
The reason for a hub is to let smart devices with different communication protocols connect and communicate with one another. For instance, your smartphone that isn’t Z-Wave enabled cannot communicate with a Z-Wave smart lock. So you will need a hub to connect and translate the data between the devices.
Note: Smartphones are only native to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which means you may not need a hub for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled smart lock. However, Bluetooth has a limited range, and connecting via a hub can extend the signals and you could even control your lock remotely.
Best Hubs for Smart Locks
For sure, there are plenty of hubs out there, but you need to get the best for a flawless connection, right? Yes, and the most important things to consider when looking to get a hub include compatibility, integration, and connection (we’ll talk more about that in the next few paragraphs).
So here are our recommended hubs:
- Logitech Harmony Hub
- Philips Hue Smart Hub
- Samsung SmartThings
- Securifi Almond 3
- Google Home Hub
- Wink Hub
- Insteon Hub
- Amazon Echo Plus
Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Smart Home Hub
- Integrations: How many devices are you looking to connect to your hub? This should influence your decision on the type of hub to get as they offer different numbers of integration. Some hubs offer more integration, while others are less. Depending on your need, get a model that does the job.
- Connection: Similar to integration, some smart home hubs can connect directly to your router while others connect via Wi-Fi. You should get one that meets your needs.
- Compatibility: You need to check if the hub is iOS and Android compatible. It’s best to get one that is compatible with Android and iOS in case you change your smartphone. Also, can your hub connect to all the communication protocols? Check to see if the hub can connect with Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee.
- Smart Phone App or over the Web? While most smart hubs have applications for smartphones, they also have options for Mac or PC, which gives the users different options to control their devices. So you want to check if the hub has both access channels—based on your preference, though.
- Voice Control: Can the hub work with voice assistant devices? You want to check that also if you’re looking to control your smart lock or other smart home devices via voice commands.
Smart Locks that Require a Hub vs. Smart Locks that Don’t a Hub
Should you go for smart locks that use a hub or one that connects directly without a hub? As mentioned, connecting via a hub is determined mostly by the type of communication protocol a smart lock uses. Smart locks with built-in Bluetooth or Wi-Fi may not need a hub to connect while those with Z-Wave and Zigbee sure require a hub to connect and interact with your smart home systems or phone.
Let’s look at the downsides and benefits.
Smart Locks that don’t Require a Hub
Wi-Fi smart locks can connect directly to the rest of your smart home systems or phone via the Wi-Fi network. And they don’t need a hub to do so, which could save you some bucks buying a hub.
For Bluetooth locks, they also don’t need a hub to connect to your smart home system or phone. You can connect via the Bluetooth network as long as the other devices are Bluetooth compatible.
However, the major downside to Bluetooth connection is the short range. At best, you can only control your smart locks from anywhere within your home, which means you can’t control your locks remotely, say from your workplace.
Smart Locks that Need a Hub
Examples of smart locks that need a hub are Z-Wave and Zigbee locks. These communication protocols are not common in smartphones, and you want to control your locks via your smartphone. So you need a hub to connect, transfer, and translate the data.
There’s nothing wrong with connecting via a hub unless you don’t want to incur the cost of getting a hub and perhaps paying for a subscription. This is somewhat the downside to smart locks that require a hub.
Choosing between locks that require a hub and those that don’t depend on several factors such as your budget, the type of connectivity you want, preferred means of controlling your locks.
However, if you’re looking to remotely control your locks and don’t want to spend extra bucks buying a hub and paying for a subscription, Wi-Fi locks work best. Otherwise, you need a hub to control your locks remotely.
But Wi-Fi locks drain batteries faster than Bluetooth and Z-Wave locks. Though you could boost the battery life by replacing it with lithium batteries. See our guide on how to improve smart locks batteries life.
Do you need a hub for August Smart Lock?
Yes, August smart locks that do not connect with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (but Z-Wave and Zigbee) require a hub to connect with other smart devices. Users could go with August’s hub—Connect Wi-Fi Bridge or use a third-party hub like Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue Bridge, etc.
Does Schlage Sense need a hub?
Schlage Sense comes with built-in Wi-Fi, which means it connects directly to your smartphone or other compatible smart devices without a hub. So you don’t need a hub for Schlage Sense, but you may need to use a hub for other Schlage smart locks without built-in Wi-Fi.
Does Kwikset smart lock need a hub?
Kwikset’s Z-Wave and Zigbee smart locks need a hub to connect with other smart devices for remote control. But the new Kwikset’s Halo lock is Wi-Fi enabled and can connect to other devices without a hub.
Does Yale smart lock need a hub to connect with my smartphone?
Like other smart locks, Yale has built-in Wi-Fi locks and others (Z-Wave, Zigbee). Yale Wi-Fi locks don’t need a hub to connect with your smartphone or other devices, while the Z-Wave and Zigbee locks need a hub to connect.
So that’s it! All smart locks do not require a hub but those that connect via Z-Wave and Zigbee. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth smart locks can connect directly without using a hub.
Both means (connecting via a hub and without a hub) offers you an excellent way of controlling your locks remotely, though with limitations. As you know, Bluetooth locks may connect directly but have short ranges, which means you need a hub to extend the range.