Aqara Hub M3 vs Aqara Hub M2 Comparison scaled

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The Aqara Hub M3, Aqara’s latest flagship smart hub, embodies a significant upgrade from its predecessor, the Hub M2. It introduces critical support for both Matter and Thread, positioning itself as a central control point for a diverse range of smart devices through its multi-protocol gateway capabilities.

Key Differences at a Glance

The Aqara Hub M3 builds upon the solid foundation laid by the Hub M2, introducing several significant upgrades and enhancements:

  1. Thread support and Thread Border Router functionality: The M3 embraces the cutting-edge Thread protocol, enabling seamless connectivity with the latest Matter and Thread-compatible sensors from Aqara.
  2. Hub Cluster and Self-Healing capabilities: The Hub M3 can act as a master controller, overseeing child hubs to improve connectivity in larger homes and increase the overall device limit. It also features self-healing technology, ensuring uninterrupted operation even if one hub goes offline.
  3. Localisation of cross-hub automation: Automations previously executed in the cloud now transition to local execution, allowing the network to function independently of internet connectivity.
  4. Versatile power options: The M3 introduces USB-C power and supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), providing greater flexibility in placement and installation.
  5. Enhanced Wi-Fi capabilities: With Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and 5 GHz support, along with WPA3 security, the M3 delivers improved responsiveness and network performance.
  6. Price : The Aqara Hub M3 has a significant price hike compared to the M3, priced at £130 vs. £54.

What is Matter?

Matter is a unified, IP-based connectivity protocol for smart home devices. Developed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance), Matter aims to create a more interoperable and secure smart home ecosystem. By providing a common language for devices to communicate, Matter enables seamless integration between products from different manufacturers, simplifying the setup and control of smart home devices for consumers.

What is Thread?

Thread is a low-power, secure, and scalable wireless networking protocol designed specifically for smart home devices. Built on open standards and IPv6 technology, Thread creates a resilient mesh network that allows devices to communicate directly with each other, without relying on a central hub or router. This decentralised approach improves network reliability, reduces latency, and enables devices to continue functioning even if individual nodes fail.

What is Matter over Thread?

Matter over Thread combines the benefits of both protocols, leveraging Thread’s efficient mesh networking capabilities to enable seamless communication between Matter-compatible devices. By utilising Thread as the underlying transport layer, Matter over Thread ensures a robust, responsive, and energy-efficient smart home experience. Devices supporting Matter over Thread can communicate directly with each other, eliminating the need for a dedicated hub and reducing potential points of failure.

What is a Thread Border Router?

A Thread Border Router acts as a bridge between a Thread network and other IP-based networks, such as Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It enables Thread devices to communicate with devices outside the Thread network, expanding the overall connectivity and interoperability of the smart home ecosystem. Thread Border Routers play a crucial role in facilitating the integration of Thread-enabled devices with existing home networks and the wider internet.

Product Overview

Aqara Hub M3

Aqara Hub M3 App M3 home page

The Aqara Hub M3 is a feature-rich smart home hub designed to serve as the central control point for a wide array of connected devices. With support for multiple protocols, including Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth, and Matter, the M3 offers unparalleled compatibility and future-proofing. Its ability to function as a Matter controller and Thread Border Router further enhances its versatility and enables seamless integration with third-party Matter-compatible products.

Aqara Hub M2

The Aqara Hub M2, while lacking some of the advanced features of its successor, remains a capable smart home hub in its own right. Focusing primarily on Zigbee 3.0 support, the M2 can manage up to 128 devices, making it well-suited for extensive smart home setups. Although not initially launched with Matter support, the M2 received a subsequent update enabling Matter compatibility, allowing for integration with other platforms such as Home Assistant.

Specifications Comparison

FeatureAqara Hub M3Aqara Hub M2
ProtocolsZigbee, Thread, Bluetooth, MatterZigbee, Bluetooth, Matter
Infrared ControlTwo-way, 360-degree IR blaster360° Infrared Control
Ethernet PortPower over Ethernet (PoE) connectionEthernet RJ-45 Port
Wi-Fi2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band Wi-FiWi-Fi (band not specified)
Power SupplyPower over Ethernet (PoE) or AC adapterUSB Power via Micro-USB Port
Built-in SpeakerYesYes
CompatibilityMulti-protocol gateway for broad compatibility, including third-party Matter devicesMulti-protocol gateway for broad compatibility
DesignSquare, boxy designRounded design
Thread SupportYes, acts as a Thread Border RouterNo
Matter SupportYes, acts as a Matter controllerYes
Hub Cluster FunctionalityForms a hub cluster and takes the lead over other Aqara Zigbee hubsCan be migrated to an Aqara Hub M3 cluster
Local AutomationsConverts automations from cloud to edge for improved stability and speedLocal automations function without internet
Failover SupportMultiple Hub M3s provide failover support for automationsNot specified

Key Features and Differences

Protocols and Compatibility

The Aqara Hub M3 distinguishes itself through its extensive multi-protocol support, encompassing Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth, and Matter. This broad compatibility positions the M3 as a versatile Matter controller and Thread Border Router, facilitating seamless integration with a diverse range of devices, including third-party Matter-compatible products.

In contrast, the Aqara Hub M2 primarily focuses on Zigbee 3.0 support, enabling it to manage up to 128 Zigbee devices. While not initially launched with Matter support, the M2 received a subsequent update that introduced Matter compatibility, allowing for integration with platforms like Home Assistant

Infrared Control and Connectivity

Both the M3 and M2 hubs feature 360-degree infrared control, enabling the management of devices that rely on IR signals. However, the Aqara Hub M3 takes this capability a step further with its two-way IR blaster, offering enhanced detection and synchronisation with the Aqara Home app whenever a conventional IR remote is used.

In terms of connectivity, the Aqara Hub M3 boasts 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz dual-band Wi-Fi and Power over Ethernet (PoE) support, providing greater flexibility and stability. The M2, on the other hand, includes an Ethernet RJ-45 port and Wi-Fi connectivity limited to 2.4 GHz.

Design and Power Supply

The Aqara Hub M3 sports a square, boxy design, marking a departure from the rounded aesthetic of its predecessor. It offers multiple power options, including Power over Ethernet (PoE) and an AC adapter, catering to various installation preferences.

In contrast, the Aqara Hub M2 features a more compact, rounded design and is powered via a Micro-USB port.

Hub Cluster Functionality and Local Automations

Aqara Hub M3 Hub Cluster

One of the standout features of the Aqara Hub M3 is its ability to form a hub cluster and assume leadership over other Aqara Zigbee hubs. This enables the M3 to convert automations involving multiple hubs and child devices from cloud-based to edge-based execution, resulting in improved stability and speed. Additionally, the M3 supports failover, ensuring that automations continue to function even if one hub goes offline.

The Aqara Hub M2 can be integrated into an Aqara Hub M3 cluster, allowing it to benefit from the enhanced automation capabilities. It also supports local automations that can function independently of an internet connection.

Thread and Matter Support

Aqara Hub M3 App M3 Settings

The Aqara Hub M3 incorporates Thread support and functions as a Thread Border Router. This enables direct communication with Thread-enabled devices, resulting in a more reliable and efficient connection.

Furthermore, the M3 serves as a Matter controller, facilitating the integration of Matter-compatible devices from other brands into the Aqara Home app, as well as the seamless integration of Aqara devices into other ecosystems. This opens up new possibilities for a unified and comprehensive smart home experience.

While the Aqara Hub M2 does not include Thread support, it does offer Matter compatibility, allowing for the integration of Aqara devices with other platforms.


Aqara has consistently positioned its hubs as affordable options for those looking to embark on their smart home journey. The Aqara Hub M2, priced at just £54, represents an attractive entry point for individuals interested in exploring the possibilities of a connected home.

On the other hand, the Aqara Hub M3 comes with a significantly higher price tag of £130. While this may seem steep compared to its predecessor, the M3’s advanced features and capabilities justify the increased cost for those seeking a more comprehensive and future-proof smart home solution. It is worth noting that the M3’s price remains competitive when compared to other high-end smart home hubs on the market, such as the Samsung SmartThings hub.


With its extensive protocol support, including Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth, and Matter, the M3 is well-equipped to handle the diverse and evolving needs of a modern smart home. Its ability to function as a Thread Border Router and Matter controller further solidifies its position as a future-proof investment.

However, the Aqara Hub M2 should not be overlooked, particularly for those primarily focused on Zigbee connectivity and compatibility within the Aqara ecosystem. While it may lack some of the advanced features of its successor, the M2 remains a capable and affordable option for those just starting their smart home journey.

Ultimately, the choice between the Aqara Hub M3 and Aqara Hub M2 will depend on individual needs, budget, and the desired level of future-proofing. As Aqara continues to shift its focus towards Thread and Matter, the M3 presents a compelling option for those looking to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving world of smart home technology.

First published on Mighty Gadget

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