Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Now that Hubspace has been around for a while, we’ve been able to have a good look at this smart home command center. Is it right for you and yours? Let’s weigh some of the current pros and cons to find out.

What is Hubspace?

Have you ever heard of Hubspace? Similar to Alexa and Google Home, Hubspace is another smart home platform that’s been around for a couple of years. The one big difference is that Hubspace is a Home Depot exclusive.

Developed in partnership with Afero, Home Depot’s Hubspace platform is your one-stop-shop for adding, controlling, and customizing all kinds of smart home devices, including smart lights, plugs, ceiling fans, and more. And it’s all handled by a single app (for iOS and Android devices).

Let’s weigh up some of the pros and cons so you can decide if Hubspace is right for you.

Pro: Scan And Go, Plug and Play

A graphic that explains what types of devices Hubspace is compatible with.

We’re betting the word ‘easy’ got tossed around a lot when Afero and Home Depot were developing Hubspace. Ever since Hubspace was unveiled in 2022, the platform has prided itself on its super-simple setup process. Sure, setting up an Alexa smart speaker isn’t the most difficult task in the world, but Afero went above and beyond for Home Depot customers.

First and foremost, it’s so nice to not have a hundred apps for every smart home device on your Wi-Fi. If your device supports Hubspace, it’s registered, controlled, and customized via the Hubspace app. That’s it! Alexa and Google Home fans can still control certain device features within the respective platform apps, but nothing beats the streamlined approach that Hubspace does best.

On top of the “everything under one roof” approach, setting up a Hubspace device for the first time couldn’t be easier, thanks to Afero’s QR code scan-and-go methodology.

Every Hubspace device has a QR code on the box or product itself. Once you grant Hubspace access to your phone or tablet’s camera, simply scan the QR code to add the device to the Hubspace app. No setup wizards, no pressing and holding any buttons, no hassles.

Pro: Hubspace Doesn’t Actually Need a Hub

Technically, this is just an extension of Hubspace’s scan-and-go tech, but we felt this bit of information warranted its own section. For a platform called Hubspace, it’s amusing, but also convenient, that users don’t actually need a web-connected hub to control anything.

Any compatible Hubspace products connect directly to your home Wi-Fi. Furthermore, Afero’s QR scan tech is even smart enough to connect your Hubspace product to the appropriate network band; so no more worrying about whether a product supports dual-band connectivity or not.

Pro: Budget-Friendly Brands, All in One Place

One of the best parts of going with Hubspace for your smart home ecosystem is the price. For the most part, Home Depot’s many Hubspace-compatible partner brands produce smart lights, switches, locks, and other hardware for far less than you’d spend in rival ecosystems.

Where one smart light bulb normally costs upwards of $35 for a single A19 model, you can score an Ecosmart bulb for as little as $10. The same goes for smart plugs. The average price for a single plug is usually around $25, but you can grab this Hubspace-ready Defiant model for only $10.

We also like the fact that you can find all the Hubspace hardware you need at brick-and-mortar Home Depot locations and on the company website. No more scrambling from one store to the next to find the type of smart home device that will work with your ecosystem of choice.

Con: Where’s the HomeKit Support?

Several Apple HomeKit devices.

Since its inception, Hubspace has been compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. When your devices are connected to Wi-Fi, simple voice commands can be used to control smart lighting, smart plugs, and even door locks. You’ll still need to have your own Alexa or Google Assistant-powered smart speaker or smart display to control your Hubspace hardware though.

After more than two years on the market the Home Depot platform still doesn’t offer native support for Apple HomeKit or the Matter smart home standard.

A quick Google search will return a few step-by-step guides for integrating HomeKit in a backdoor manner, but Home Depot’s target demographic (“mass market America”) probably won’t want to go the extra tech-mile to get Hubspace shaking hands with HomeKit, Matter, IFTTT, or any other unsupported protocol.

Con: Questionable Security

As of March 2024, the Hubspace app still doesn’t offer two-factor authentication (2FA) or expanded login safeguards. Other than its privacy policy and terms and conditions clauses, it’s difficult to understand exactly how much protection Home Depot is giving to your data.

It probably wouldn’t take much to step up security on the developer’s end. When you consider that most Hubspace users aren’t likely to be using VPNs or similar internet security tools, both Home Depot and Afero may be setting themselves up for big headaches down the road (a company called Ring knows what that’s like).

None of this is to say that Hubspace isn’t a safe platform to use. In fact, an Afero whitepaper and Internet of Things (IOT) security page prove just how committed Home Depot is to providing Hubspace users with end-to-end security. This is why it’s even more surprising to us that 2FA still isn’t available.

Con: Limited Device Compatibility

Wyze Video Doorbell Pro flashing a white light.
Andrew Heinzman / How-To Geek

One of the biggest benefits of building a Hubspace ecosystem is the many different products you’ll be able to scan into the app and control. Currently, there are over 150 compatible devices, but here’s the catch: they’re all Home Depot in-house products from brands like Commercial Electric, Defiant, Ecosmart, and Hampton Bay.

We don’t expect Home Depot to be totally open-armed about the types of hardware that can be controlled through Hubspace, but a handful of third-party brands could go a long way, especially since Home Depot sells some easy shoe-ins right alongside its in-house assortment.

We’re talking about companies like Wyze, Blink, and Nest, which specialize in DIY security products that Hubspace still doesn’t have. Yes, Home Depot announced a full-on DIY Hubspace surveillance system at CES, but guess what that bundle doesn’t come with? A web-connected security camera.

Perhaps Home Depot has plans for its own seeing-eye tech down the line? That being said, giving Hubspace the ability to get along with just a few non-Home Depot budget-friendly brands could give Hubspace users the kind of peace of mind that would keep folks coming back to Home Depot for more Hubspace-compatible devices.

Hubspace is just one of many smart home ecosystems you can use right now. The most interesting development in the smart home space is probably Matter, a protocol that allows various smart home devices to work together.

Wondering where to begin? We recommend starting with smart home devices that are actually useful. You can also save money by upgrading “dumb” devices to be smart-home compatible.

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By John P.

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