Imagine controlling all your house items like windows, doors lock, thermostats, electronics, lights, and switches at the comfort of your bed! Isn’t that amazing? Well, this is no more imagination but a dream comes true. Thanks to Z-wave hub technology, you can connect and control all your household appliances with the help of its wireless communication network.
This amazing technology does not only make life easy for you but also helps to save on consumption of electricity in your house. It is no doubt that there are a lot of manufactures in the market battling to produce different types and models of these modern devices. As a result, we came out with a list of the best Z-wave controllers in the market to make things easier for you. Before going deep into these controllers, let’s first understand what Z-wave protocol is.
About Z-Wave Hub Protocol & How Does It Work
Z-wave protocol is a system of wireless communications that use low energy radiofrequency to command directives to office or household appliances. It is a two-way connection system that relies on low energy consumption WI-FI or wide range Bluetooth coverage for performance.
How Does Z-Wave Hub Network Work
Before going deep on how this works, it is important to first understand terms and basics of this technology. Z-wave is an incredible modern technology for home automation. They are several units’ in existence with an average frequency band of 800-1000 MHz, thus capable to penetrate any kind of obstacles and command instructions even beyond walls and ceilings.
This unit operates under secure mesh network. This simply means the more actuators you add, the stronger and reliable the network coverage. To understand better, let’s describe the following terminologies;
- These are devices that control other Z-wave devices.
- They are basically the most important part of this unit that reports or send alerts like water leakage or any detected breakage through signal. They are also used to measure factors like humidity, temperature and gas concentration.
- These are the recipients. In other words, they receive instruction from controllers.
With that in mind, let’s now discuss the complete process to set up this network.
- Unpack and connect your smart home appliances. This refers to smart home actuators. Note that z-wave supports as many actuators as possible so connecting many of them should not be a topic of concern.
- Connect each of your actuators to the controllers. This is one of the easiest process that require you to dial the sequence number from your devices manual on both the device and central hub to create a connection.
- After connection, you are now free to control all your devices from the same hub.
How Does Z-Wave Hub Works
Z-Wave works by passing instruction from the hub to a chain of devices until it reaches the targeted destination or actuator. It is a two-way system that means the actuator passes back the signal through the same chain back to the hub. The hub then notifies your controller that the command was well received.
To understand this better, assume you want to send command to light on your living room lighting system. In this case, living room lighting is the actuator. From your mobile app, which is the controller, you should make a request to your hub. The hub passes a request to the nearby smart switch, which in turn sends a command to the next connected devices until it reaches the motion sensor that is probably next to your living room lighting. The sensor passes on the signal that turns the light on.
After turning on, the actuator sends back signal through the same chain up to your hub. The hub then sends an alert to your mobile app or controller to notify that lighting is on successfully as requested.
Why You Need a Z-Wave Hub
There are numerous types of home automation units in the market. Among many, I would recommend Z-Wave as the best to consider because of the following;
- It is secure: Z- Wave hub uses robust encryption and tight security systems similar to those in banks. Similar to WIFI, its network features network ID and node ID on all actuators to eliminate any possible security risk.
- It is reliable:‘Experience is the best teacher’ they said. This is evident in the 2 wave hub. The fact that this unit has existed in the market for more than 15 years makes it a great deal. The unit is thus one of the most reliable and trusted in the market. Secondly, the unit uses mesh network technology that allows the connection of several devices with no signal or performance interference.
- It is easy to install: Installing the Z-Wave unit and connecting devices into their network is one of the simplest installation processes that have come across. Everything requires little installation skills that require no professional. For instance, to connect your thermostat into the unit just requires you to;
- Switch it on, connect to the Z-Wave network, and start controlling immediately.
- It is cheap and affordable: Z-Wave hub is way cheaper and affordable than most home automation systems. It is also available in several stores across thus easily accessible. More to that, it requires simple installation skills hence requires no special skills or contractors. Not to forget, the unit consumes less energy thus saves on huge electricity bills. Some of actuators use batteries thus paramount on energy efficiency.
- It has strong and wide signal range: Z-Wave technology has a high ability to resist interference from obstacles. For that reason, its network has wide signal range of more than 100 meters. Its mesh network technology also increases the strength and range with increase of actuators. In simple words the higher the actuators, the stronger the signal.
Top 10 Best Z-Wave Hub Controllers
Among many, below is a list of the best and most reliable latest controllers to consider.
1. Apple Home POD
This modern apple speaker has left most of its users startled over its outstanding features. Why is it the best? It is equipped with an excellent sound quality which is powered by seven tweeters, a nice woofer that has been backed up by six microphones hence allowing the user to use voice control easily. Siri technology also makes the voice command very effective for use. However, it falls slightly behind Alexa and Google assistant in terms of general smartness. The setup process has been simplified; once the home pod has made its startup sound, a window appears on your phone asking to set it up. It then allows the user to control the connected devices based on their location and the time they want.
- It is compatible with Bluetooth and WIFI.
- Compatible with voice control system with perfect audio.
- It is cheap to acquire and maintain.
- It has no ports.
- No battery backup.
2. Samsung Connect Home
Designed as both a router and smart home automation device, this Samsung device sets bars for almost every other smart home hub in the modern market. Despite its dual functionality, it features a very simple setup process. Thanks to its advanced technology, it has a very effective wireless technology that works remarkably even in the presence of very thick walls. The control app also links devices automatically once you feed in your password. Nonetheless, it is equipped with both Zigbee and Z-Wave antennas which give it unlimited compatibility allowing the user to connect the hub to multiple smart devices like door locks, burglar alarms, and even smoke detectors. The app allows the user to program (automate) connected devices to serve them how they want.
- It has easy installation process.
- It has extra and functional ports.
- Has wide range coverage.
- No battery backup.
3. Samsung SmartThings V3 HUB
If you are looking for a satisfying and unbiased smart home hub, this gadget from Samsung will surely be the right one for you. Fitted with both Zigbee and Z-Wave antennas, it allows the user to connect it to a vast number of smart devices. This gadget works through the smart things app which allows the device to maintain 24/7 surveillance and send notifications in case of any unusual occurrences. The app also allows the user to add in an extra additional user perhaps there is roommate involved.
Besides, it is equipped with voice control technology that allows one to use voice commands. The inbuilt advanced automate feature sends commands automatically allowing the connected device to respond as programmed to. Even if this smart home hub is a bit pricey, its remarkable features surely do match its price.
- It is compatible with a wide range of smart home appliances.
- It allows you to monitor your home throughout the smartphone app.
- Easy to install, maintain, and use.
- Other than Z-Wave, it also supports other protocols like Zigbee.
- It relies only on the network for performance.
4. Apple TV 4K
Talk of a satisfying, reliable and competent home kit, this device will literally blow your mind. Crafted in a very alluring design, it works fairly square with a variety of devices thanks to its readily customizable interface. Despite its low-key reputation, this Apple gadget is ranked as one of the best streaming devices. Most people have termed it pricey but it’s slightly cheaper compared to devices like home pod.
- It is designed with extra ports like HDMI, Ethernets and USB.
- Cheap to acquire and maintain.
- Uses outdated remote control methods.
5. Amazon ECHO DOT
Are you the type of person that spends most of their time outdoors or perhaps at work? If yes, it is inevitable that sometimes you get perturbed over the security of your property at home. With this device, it’s a farewell to all this sort of worries. This is because it is powered with 8 piece kit alarm that is backed up by motion sensors and contact sensors. This helps the user gets notifications on their smartphones whenever they are not around. This gadget allows 24/7 surveillance that is backed up by both cellular backup and video recording. Furthermore, it’s fully customizable allowing the user to chip in extra sensors for extra security. It can support voice control as well since it works fairly nicely with Alexa.
- It is cheap to acquire and install.
- It has a sleek design.
- Works effectively with voice control system.
- Has wide range connectivity.
- It has no battery backup.
6. Wink HUB 2
If you have multiple smart devices in your house, this is the ultimate smart home hub to settle for you. Powered with diverse compatibility features, the device allows the user to connect more than 400 smart home devices. It also has one of the best protocols that support several standards like Bluetooth le, Zigbee, Z-Wave and Lutron clear connect. This makes it very versatile to different smart devices. Voice control lovers have not been left out here as this smart home hub can support both Alexa and Google assistant. The wink app which serves as the operation center is very simple and concise to use anywhere. The app also gives alerts and allows the user to automate the hub hence conditioning the work in a specific routine.
- Compacts well with voice control systems.
- Uses mobile app for easy monitor.
- Has no battery backup.
7. Vera Control Veraplus
Ranked among the top ten smart home hubs, this device is definitely a force to reckon as it is endowed with some of the best features. Why is it the best? Through this unit, one can lock doors and switch on lights automatically. When compared to Vera edge, it has better processing power and memory hence ensuring the user gets nothing but quality performance. Just like the wink hub 2, this unit supports Bluetooth BLE, WIFI, Zigbee and Z-Wave hence completely diversifying its compatibility.
Additionally, this smart home hub comes with the best Vera services i.e. the Vera protect and the Vera sentinel. Vera protects offers professional security monitoring services while the versa sentinel makes it easy for users to manage their security videos and recordings. The central control app basically ensures that users have their entire house in their palms.
- It has no monthly subscription.
- Has wide compatibility.
- Can control more than 200 devices simultaneously
- Has a bulky setup process that requires intense details.
8. Hubitat Elevation
Occasionally dubbed as the most suitable smart home hub for power users, this powerful unit has been fitted with both Zigbee and Z-Wave antennas which render it a vast capability. However, it essentially requires the user to manually plug it in into a router for it to work. Unlike most hubs, this one allows the user to program connected smart devices so that they can work in the desired manner. It is designed a very amiable app that allows the users to set up and control their smart home hubs with the utmost ease.
- It supports voice control with loud audios.
- Easy to install and use
- It has additional features like temperature sensors.
- No battery.
9. Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Generation
Unlike most Amazon smart home hubs; this particular version has been equipped with very unique features thus ranking it among the best controllers. It is fitted with Zigbee radio antennae which enables it to holistically link up with a wide range of smart home devices. This gadget does not support WIFI connectivity but instead employs the Zigbee and Z-Wave technology. Additionally, it works with Alexa hence providing voice control capability. This smart home hub works specifically with smart devices that are within a range of 50 meters.
- Has wide compatibly.
- It is effective with voice control system.
- Easy to install.
- Cheap to acquire.
- It has no battery.
10. Amazon Echo Show
Thanks to its very outstanding display, this smart home hub qualifies among the best controllers in the market. Why? It is powered with Zigbee antennae that allow it to easily link with Zigbee enabled devices. It also features excellent audio with a strong base as well as a quality front camera to capture videos and images. Just like most Amazon smart home hubs, the latter functions with Alexa hence compatible with voice control features. It also boasts of large and bright displays for efficiency. Not to forget its beautiful attractive design.
- Boast of a sleek design.
- It has extra ports for USB.
- It has wide compatibility.
- High resistive to obstacles.
- Features a high-quality camera.
- It has no battery.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Z-Wave Hub Controllers
Not all Z-Wave controllers in the market are legit and effective for use. Some connectors are also designed to connect few devices while others can connect as much as possible. That’s why it is important to consider the following factors before purchasing your controller.
Is it compatible with all smart home appliances or protocols in my household? This is the first question that should come in mind before settling for your controller. It is important to make sure your unit works perfectly with different types of devices from cameras, doorbells, alarms, speakers to irrigation systems.
Most users are blind to manufacturers when buying their home automation system. The truth is; this is the most crucial factor. Your manufacturer determines the efficiency, performance, quality, and durability of your unit. Ensure you conduct a thorough search or reviews and ratings of your manufacturer. It is also important to make sure the manufacturer is legit and licensed. This helps in purchasing a quality unit.
It is always important to consider your pocket before buying any product. Ensure to buy a product within your budget. The most fortunate thing is that Z-Wave controllers are generally cheap in price. They are also cheap to install and maintain. However, you should look out on extremely cheap devices because there is a possibility that they are not of the best quality.
4. Number of Devices to Connect
Some controllers are designed to connect to few devices while others connect as many as 400 and above. If you have a huge home with several smart appliances, you should consider a unit that connects several devices. If your home is small with few appliances, it is therefore advisable to consider the unit with low connectivity to save on cost.
5. Signal Range
This is another important factor to consider before buying Z-Wave controller. Do you own a huge home? Then consider the hub with strong and wide signal. It is believed that these devices cover an average range of 50-250 feet. Therefore, consider a range that best suits the size of your home.
6. Voice Control
It is important to consider units that are compatible with voice control systems like Alexa and Google assistance. The voice control system makes work easier and efficient for the user.
7. Advanced Technology
Everything in this recent era is advanced in terms of technology. That’s why it is important to ensure your unit has advanced features like mobile apps to control your home smart appliances from anywhere. This is possible whether you are in or out of your home. Mobile apps also help to create shortcuts that help control your appliances with just a single tap. Amazing, right?
Also to mention, the app helps the user to receive alerts of anything unusual around your home. Advanced units are designed to connect to internet or other wireless standards like Bluetooth or Zigbee.
8. Frequency Band
Avoid controllers with huge signal frequencies like that of WI-FI. A right Z-Wave unit should have an average frequency of 80-100 MHz This is to avoid signal interference from obstacles. This also averts huge consumption of energy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Z-Wave hub?
This is a central unit that commands instructions to devices that are connected to its wireless network either through internet or remote control.
Does Z-Wave need a hub?
Yes. Z-Wave cannot work effectively without a hub. This is because hub is the central control unit. It is essential in receiving commands from the controller and directs it towards destination devices.
Does Google hub support Z-Wave?
Yes. Google hub is an intriguing voice control system that works effectively with Z-Wave to manage smart home devices through voice command.
Does Z-Wave Hub require subscription?
Yes. Z-Wave requires a monthly subscription for performance. This applies to modern units that rely on the internet to send commands. However, some units like Vera control Vera plus require no subscription.
Is Z-Wave Hub better than WIFI?
Z-Wave and WIFI are both better and important in their own perspective. This is because each has its own pros and cons. comparing the two in terms of expenses and frequency, Z-Wave is better. It uses a low frequency that WIFI thus consumes less energy and face minimal interference from obstacles.
What devices use Z-Wave?
The list of devices that are compatible with Z-Wave is endless. The most common devices are; smart locks, Google thermostats, smoke detectors, home security systems, door bells, remote controls, garage doors, feed pets, and sprinklers among others.
Is Z-Wave Hub safe?
Yes. Z-Wave has tight security settings with network ID to secure its accessibility. This makes it safe for use. However, users should be cautious because of the speculations that Z-Wave smart devices are vulnerable to hacking since they use a shared network to procure traffic.
Z-Wave hubs are not just home automation devices but also used as home security devices. For that reason, these devices are important to have at home. They are also cheap to acquire and maintain worth investing.
We are aware that users have different tastes when purchasing this device. It is for that reason we found it necessary to analyze ten different hubs to meet each user’s requirement. Go through the article keenly and get a perfect solution for your need.