A smart controller (or smart hub) is the central part of a home automation system. Simply, it is the brain of a smart home. And, one of the widely used communication protocol in smart devices is Z-Wave. This technology enables communication between all smart devices, especially with smart controllers. If you’re looking for the best home automation hub, this is for you. So, this is the ultimate list of the Best Z-Wave Controllers or Hubs today.
Aside from the list, we’ll also cover the Z-Wave smart controllers fundamental guide. This will help you get the best Z-Wave controller which is right for the smart home you are building.
Table of Contents
- The Best Z-Wave Controllers 2018
- The Fundamental Guide To Z-Wave Controllers
The Best Z-Wave Controllers 2018
Don’t have time to read the details? Here’s a table of the best Z-Wave controllers. But, we’d recommend you read on for the details about each of these smart controllers.
|Smart Hubs||Main Features||Z-Wave Certification|
|Supports Z-Wave, Zigbee, Cloud-to-Cloud, LAN||ZC10-15090005||View|
|Wink Hub 2||Supports Bluetooth LE, Kidde, Clear Connect, ZigBee||ZC10-17035513||View|
|Vera Control VeraLite||Z-Wave||ZC08-14030003||View|
|Wink Connected Home Hub||Supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Lutron ClearConnect, Kidde||ZC10-17035494||View|
|Nexia Z-Wave Bridge||908.42 Mhz (Z-Wave® RF)||ZC08-13060008||View|
The Samsung SmartThings Hub is one of the best Z-Wave controller in the market. This device simply wants to be the brain of your smart home. It offers wide range of supported smart devices. It supports Z-Wave, Zigbee, Cloud-to-Cloud and LAN communication protocols. You can manage you smart home through its SmartThings mobile application. Wherever you are, you can receive notifications and check status of your smart devices. You can also turn on or off the connected devices.
It also features SmartThings Routines which allows you to customize actions at certain times as you configure, automatically or via a single command. This smart controller also offers voice commands through SmartThings, Amazon Alexa or Google Home. This device requires WIFI-Router connected to the internet with an ethernet port. This device is powered by outlet and 4 AA batteries.
- Connects to a wide range of smart devices
- Supports multiple communication protocols
- Simple installation and setup
- Affordable price
- Supports voice commands
- Issues with migrating from Gen1 to Gen2 versions
- Some connection reliability issues
Next in line among the list of the best home automation controllers, Wink Hub 2 allows you to connect a range of smart devices for your smart home. Not just Z-Wave, it also supports other protocols like Bluetooth LE, Kidde, Clear Connect and ZigBee. This smart controllers comes in with a modern industrial and sleek design. It also allows auto-discovery of smart devices and an improved setup process. If you have the original Wink Hub, it offers easy transfer of your ecosystem to this new version through the Wink app.
The features of Wink Hub 2 has a new Ethernet port. It also offers a more powerful Wi-Fi radio which supports 5 GHz. And 2.4GHz (Wi-Fi) for improve connectivity. The memory is also bigger with 512 MB than the original Wink Hub.
- Connects and controls plenty of smart devices
- Easy transfer of ecosystem from Wink Hub to Wink Hub2
- Does not have subscription fee
- Some Z-Wave devices are reportedly not compatible
Another good choice for the best home automation hub, the Vera Control Veralite smart hub markets itself as the most flexible, powerful and affordable smart home controller. It offers easy setup process and provides a convenient User Interface. Just what you’d expect from a smart hub, you can monitor and control smart devices remtely through an application. It also features Energy Monitoring capabilities, Universal compatibility for smart devices and Video Monitoring through live stream from plug and play IP cameras.
The package includes the Mi Casa Verde Veralite Home Controller, Ac Adapter, 4-Aa Batteries, Ethernet Cable and Operating Instructions. You can simply mange up to 70 devices and control over 750 smart devices. Just plug this smart controller to your Wi-Fi setup with its cable. It features 500 MHz MIPS SoC CPU, NAND 32 MB Flash Memory, 64 MB DDR2 Memory, 1 USB port, 1 WAN port and Z-Wave module with built-in internal antennae.
- Connects plenty of smart devices
- No monthly subscription fee
- Supports only Z-Wave
The Wink Connected Home Hub allows you to connect and control diverse Z-Wave devices. You can customize smart device interactions through its Wink app. This hub is easy to setup. Aside from Z-Wave, it also supports other protocols such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wifi, Lutron, Clear Connect and Kiddie. You can also control your smart home devices through your smartphones, smart watches such as Android Wear and Apple Watch. This smart hub also works with Amazon Alexa and you can program recipes with IFTTT.
This smart controller features support for a wide range of smart products like smart sensors, light bulbs, smart door locks and many more. This Wink hub is compatible with 2.4Ghz routers running on WPA-PSK, open security or WEP. However, it doesn’t support 5Ghz network. This hub is completely wireless and does not have an ethernet port.
- Connects a wide range of smart devices
- Supports multiple communication protocol
- Does not have monthly subscription fee
- Does not support 5Ghz network
- Some loses settings and needs reprogramming
The Nexia Bridge another smart home controller which supports Z-Wave protocol. The same with other Z-Wave controllers in this list, this hub allows you to connect plenty of smart devices. You can manage your smart home through your online Nexia account and mobile app. This enables you to monitor your home from anywhere you are and control your smart devices at the touch of your hand.
This smart hub can hold up to 200 Z-Wave smart devices at the same time. With this, you’ll be able to connect and monitor plenty of smart devices. The average range for Z-Wave communication is from 60 feet to 100 feet. The package contains the Nexia bridge, 100v power adapter and 10/100 ethernet cable. This controller requires high-speed internet connection with at least 1.2 Mps and a wireless router with an open port.
- Can connect plenty of Z-Wave devices
- Allows you to monitor and control devices remotely
- Has a monthly subscription fee for remote monitoring
The Fundamental Guide To Z-Wave Controllers
Technically, communication is the key where smart hubs interact with other smart devices. And, there are several communication technology which enables smart devices to talk to each other. There’s Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wifi and other communication protocols.
Z-Wave is one of the communication protocols. The best thing about it, is it’s primarily created for home automation devices. Thus, the features of Z-Wave was built around the purpose of home automation. Its best features are interoperability, low power and the wireless mesh network capability. Interoperability means smart devices, certified through Z-Wave Alliance standard, should work with each other regardless of their brands.
What Makes Z-Wave Good for Smart Hubs?
What makes Z-Wave good for smart hubs? The answer lies within the most important features and capabilities of Z-Wave technology. These features make Z-Wave great for smart home systems.
Interoperability – The smart controller can still talk or connect to smart devices, like smart door knobs, even if they have different brands and versions. With Z-Wave, the smart controller is compatible with many different smart devices. Thanks to the certification by the Z-Wave Alliance.
Multiple Devices Connection – Z-Wave controllers can connect with multiple smart devices. You can connect different devices from smart sensors, smart light bulbs, smart outlets and many others. This allows you to centralize control over your smart home system using the Z-Wave controller.
How Does Z-Wave Controllers Work?
The Z-Wave controllers connects all smart devices in your home. These devices could be smart lights, smart door knobs, smart sensors, smart appliances, smart outlets, smart dimmers and many others. The smart controller will help you centralize your home automation system. Through Z-Wave as the talking mechanism, the controller and all the smart devices can communicate with each other.
For example, a smart light sensor can tell the smart controller that the room is dark, so the smart controller can turn on the smart lights. This is just one of the many scenarios which can help you manage your home through the smart hub.
The best things about having a smart controller is to centralize control of your home automation system. With just the smart controller, you’ll be able to control, monitor and manage all of the other devices from anywhere you are. Through a mobile phone application, you can control multiple devices at home. You’ll receive notifications and check status through the application. This is where the smart controller act as the brain of a smart home.
The Buying Guide for Z-Wave Hubs
Now, choosing the right Z-Wave controller for your smart home is very important. This is where all of the other pieces of your home automation system will anchor. Thus, it is extremely important to consider many factors before you buy anything.
We hope this checklist of factors to consider will help guide you.
- Communication Technology – It is important to consider which communication protocol you want to use for your smart home. Will it be Z-Wave or Zigbee? Or is it Bluetooth or Wifi? There are plenty of communication protocols which powers smart devices. But, one good thing with Z-Wave is that there are plenty of smart devices already certified with it.
- Features – What needs do you want to fulfill with the use of smart hubs? What do you want to do or achieve in your smart home? List down the process or tasks you want to automate. These are important so you can check if the features supports the things you want to do.
- Compatibility – Make sure the smart controller you will buy is compatible with the existing smart devices you already have. But if you just starting out with smart home, choose a smart hub which supports smart devices you plan to have like smart sensors or smart switches.
- Supported Smart Devices – Check the number of different smart devices which the smart hub can connect. This comes down to the same communication technology, like Z-Wave, the smart devices supports. Fortunately, there are plenty of smart devices now which supports or use Z-Wave.
- Read Reviews: Always take time to read reviews about the product. Read reviews from verified users and know their painpoints. This will greatly help you see how the product will fit with your needs.
A smart controller is definitely important if you really want to build a home automation system. Even if you start with just a few process to automate, the smart hub is a vital device. This will allow you to add up smart devices later. Moreover, the smart controller will give you a central point of control over all different smart devices. This makes it easy for you to manage your smart home.
Finally, we hope that this article brings you helpful information on the best Z-Wave hubs and their importance. And, we hope that the list of the best Z-Wave controllers helps you find one to centralize your home automation system.