Best Z-Wave Hub Controllers 2021: The Ultimate List

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 protocols 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’ introductory guide. This will help you get the best Z-Wave controller, which is right for the smart home you are building.

Samsung SmartThings, 3rd Generation

SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation Features We Like

  •  Compatible with a varied range of smart devices
  • Supports several communication protocols
  • Single setup and installation
  • Fair prices
  • Voice command support is accurate

The Samsung SmartThings Hub 3 is the best Z-Wave controller in the market today. The device is simply designed to be the brain and heart of your smart home. This one brings you a wide variety of smart devices with high compatibility. The Samsung SmartThings also provides Z-Wave, Cloud-to-Cloud, Zigbee, LAN, and Bluetooth communication protocols. 

Your smart home can be managed easily and much efficiently through its easy-to-use SmartThings mobile app. No matter where you are, you will be sent notifications and status checks right on your smartphone or smart device. All the connected devices can be operated from anywhere at any time. 

This device comes with SmartThings Routines, which lets you customize actions precisely while you configure, automatically or via a single command. The smart controller also features voice commands via Google Home, Alexa, or SmartThings. Apart from this device, a WiFi router will be required with an ethernet port and connected to the internet—an outlet and 4 AA batteries back this device.

Things We Like

Our Top Pick: Home Seer Hometroller S6

The HomeSeer Hometroller is an exceptionally efficient device that still boosts capacitors around. The HomeSeer Hometroller S6 comes with a steep price tag, but test results told us that it’s worth it. This controller is also compatible with all major protocols like Insteon, UPB, and X10. The S6 is an ideal device if you have many smart devices and wish to update that division with a single admittance point.

It is also compatible with Android and iOS devices, which means you can manage everything directly from your smartphone. This one also supports Thermostats, Door Locks, Lighting, Irrigation, Security, Audio/Video, and more.

Users can operate the Hometroller S6 at home or via the cloud with just smartphones, tablets, or table-top touchscreens. It also comes with a free standard cloud-based “my HomeSeer Remote” service which will provide simple remote access without loading your data in the cloud.

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Trending Up the Charts: Hubitat Elevation Hub

Hubitat Elevation Hub Features We Like

  • Simple to power the device through an Ethernet cable
  • Data from other linked devices stored locally for convenient access
  • Hubitat account can be created to access the hub using the web browser

The Hubitat Elevation Hub has taken home automation to newer and better levels. This one, too, is compatible with almost every typical protocol, including Zigbee and Lutron. Moreover, it comes with internal radios for Z-Wave and Zigbee, along with 5 Volts @ 1 Amp US 120V power supply and Ethernet cable.

Users can simply sign up to Hubitat Elevation Hub with an Amazon or a Google account. Once the sign-up procedure is finished, all the management tasks can be performed through the web-based interface.

This hub comes with an easy on-time installation setup. After completing the design, the smart hub no longer requires an internet connection. With this feature, there is a flawless performance output without any lags.

The Hubitat Elevation Hub offers you the ease to automate your homes according to your preference and convenience. In this context, the Hubitat Elevation hub supports systems like Alexa, IFTTT, Rachio, Life360, and Nest.

You can link the device with different smart devices from Phillips, Samsung SmartThings, Zen, Aeon, and much more. The Hubitat Elevation Hub is proficient in supporting hundreds of exclusive devices, which will let you automate the tiniest things.

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The Top Contender: Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Home Hub

Aeotec Smart Home Hub features we like:

  •  This one is compatible with more than 5000 smart devices from various brands, cameras, including lights, voice assistants, sensors, and more
  • Facilitates control through voice and app and lets you automate the routine tasks
  • Compatible with WiFi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave Plus protocols
  • Needs pre-installation of SmartThings app and internet connectivity to connect to your smartphone or tablet wirelessly

An advanced smart home hub that is highly compatible with many smart devices and will also support different properties for connection. The Aeotec Smart home hub provides the viability of Samsung SmartThings and can also function as a SmartThings hub.

The Z-Wave Aeotec is the central hub of a smart home, managing all the intelligence and automation. It allows you to systematize your everyday routines, be fully aware of the activities in your house, and control multiple smart devices remotely.

 Many devices can be easily connected to Aeotec Home Hub, extending from an air purifier to light. Moreover, you can also produce automation that will let you save a lot on your electricity bill.

Talking about its compatibility, it is very simple to install an automation structure with the help of this device because of its compatibility with smart home products from multiple other brands in the market. It is compatible with all the devices that support Zigbee 3.0, Z-Wave Plus, APIs, and WiFi.

We’ve rounded up some of the top brands compatible with the Aeotec smart home hub:

  •  Audio systems by Sonos, Bose, and Samsung
  •  Smart locks designed by Yale, Schlage, and Kwikset
  •  Door cameras brought out by Nest, Aeotec, and Ring
  • Thermostats by Ecobee, Nest, Honeywell, and more

Installing the Aeotec home hub is quite an easy process. You need to install the SmartThings app on your smartphone and just follow the directions for further use.

These smart home hubs are also compatible with voice control systems like Samsung Bixby, Alexa, and Google Assistant. By integrating the voice protocols with the seat, users are offered multiple features and manage through all the smart home devices.

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Premium Choice: Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 USB Stick for Home Assistant

 Zooz S2 USB Stick Feature We Like:

  • It is equipped with the latest S2 Security protocol, which lets you connect with switches, plugs, and S2 sensors
  • Employs the newest Z-Wave protocol compatible with Domoticz, Home Assistant, OpenHAB, or HomeSeer software
  • Requires a Raspberry Pi device, laptop, or PC with the home automation software to install
  • Features OTA firmware updates and the advanced Z-Wave library commands

Hitting the best Z-Wave controllers for this year is the premium in-class Zooz S2 USB Stick for Home Assistant. This device can be easily connected to a laptop or a PC and lets you create a home automation system for your smart home in no time.

The Zooz S2 USB Stick enables you to set up an efficient base for your smart home by bringing you a perfect combination of hardware and software to give the smoothest control. It can be attached to your laptop as well as PC and also features Z-Wave’s newest development.

This device features the advanced S2 security protocol. It also implements the SmartStart feature for integration, which means you don’t have to install any separate drivers on Linux, macOS, or Windows systems.

Like the smart home controllers mentioned in this list, the Zooz S2 USB Stick also supports many smart home devices. This device integrates a highly efficient and fast 500 series Z-Wave Plus chip, providing you with a long-range of about 500 ft in open spaces and 130 ft indoors.

To install, you just need to connect the USB stick to your Raspberry Pi, PC, or laptop via your USB port and imply a home automation software with an open-source of your choice. Home Assistant, OpenHAB, HomeSeer, or Domoticz are some of the most popular software devices compatible with the S2 USB Stick.

Although the installation procedure varies depending upon the system, i.e., Linux, Windows, and macOS, it is advisable to check the instruction manual for clear understanding thoroughly. We recommend installing a tested and open smart home solution on your S2 Stick for a stunning performance.

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Great Alternative: Wink Hub 2

Wink Hub 2 Features We Like

  • Connects and controls plenty of smart devices
  •  Easy transfer of ecosystems from Wink Hub to Wink Hub 2
  • Does not have a subscription fee

Next in line among the best home automation controllers list, Wink Hub 2 allows you to connect various 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 controller 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 have a new Ethernet port. It also offers a more powerful WiFi radio which supports 5 GHz. And 2.4GHz (WiFi) for improving connectivity. The memory is also bigger, with 512 MB than the original Wink Hub.

If you are not happy with Wink’s monthly subscription then check out this:

Check This >> Best Wink Hub Alternatives

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Vera Control VeraLite - Works Great as Well

Vera Control VeraLite Features We Like

  • Connects and controls plenty of smart devices
  • No monthly fees for subscription

Another good choice for the best home automation controller, the Vera Control Veralite smart hub, markets itself as the most flexible, powerful, and affordable smart home controller. It offers an 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 remotely through an application. It also features Energy Monitoring capabilities, Universal compatibility for smart devices, and Video Monitoring through live stream from the plug-and-play IP cameras.

The package includes the Mi Casa Verde Vera lite Home Controller, Ac Adapter, 4-Aa Batteries, Ethernet Cable, and Operating Instructions. You can simply manage up to 70 devices and control over 750 smart devices. Just plug this smart controller into your WiFi setup with its cable. It features a 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.

Wink Connected Home Hub

Wink Connected Home Hub Features We Like

  • Connects to an eclectic range of smart devices
  • Supports multiple communication protocols
  • Does not have a monthly subscription fee

The Wink Connected Home Hub allows you to connect and control various Z-Wave devices. You can customize smart device interactions through its Wink app. This hub is easy to set up. Aside from Z-Wave, it also supports other protocols such as Bluetooth, WiFi, Zigbee, Lutron, and Kiddie. 

You can also control your smart home device through your smartphones, smartwatches 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 an extensive 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 the 5Ghz network. This hub is completely wireless and does not have an ethernet port.

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Nexia Z-Wave Bridge

Nexia Z-Wave Bridge Features We Like

  • Wireless communicability with Nexia-compatible devices from most of the popular brands
  • Manage all your smart home devices remotely via a single app
  •  Let’s you control over 200 devices simultaneously, all at once

The Nexia Bridge is yet another smart home controller which supports the Z-Wave protocol. Like the others in this list, this hub allows you to connect with 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 z-wave 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 a high-speed internet connection with at least 1.2 MPs and a wireless router with an open port.

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Things We Don't Like

Securifi Almond 3 Smart Home Hub & Router

Securifi Almond 3 Features We Like:

  • Touch screen for efficient, quick, and easy setup.
  • Powerful amplifiers for high-range WiFi coverage to up to 5,000 sq. Ft
  • Multi-Purpose Hub: Router/Wireless Bridge / Range Extender/ Access Point

Securifi Almond is one under budget yet efficient Z-wave controller. It has two most unique features that cannot be found in the best home WiFi systems, i.e., An in-built smart home hub and a full touchscreen.

It’s also rare in the mode it features its routing functions. In times where many creators present their efficiency in concealing most of the internal functioning of the user-friendly routers under the advertisement of comfort and facility, Securifi provides the router fanatics complete access to each of its dials and levers.

But people don’t have to be fanatic to acknowledge the significance of the Almond 3. It is very simple to install through the web interface, the router’s 2.8-inch touchscreen, Securifi smartphone app, or an appropriate combination of the three.

It offers a ZigBee HA 1.2 radio that can be used with sensors for motion, door/window, smoke, flood, and smart devices like thermostats, lighting controls, smart entry locks, etc. Securifi manufactures some of its own compatible smart home devices such as smart plugs and flood, door/window, and motion sensors, and it is compatible with any ZigBee device.

After connection with WiFi, this device can communicate with ZigBee and Z-Wave-compatible smart home products. Almond 3 also allows remote access for the router and associated sensors via the Securifi Almond iOS and Android apps.

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How to Choose The Best Z-Wave Hub

Technically, communication is the key to where smart hubs interact with other smart devices. And, several communication technologies enable 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 were built around the purpose of home automation.

The best features are interoperability, low power, and 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 doorknobs, even if they have different brands and versions. With Z-Wave, the smart controller is compatible with many other smart devices. Thanks to the certification by the Z-Wave Alliance. 

Multiple Devices Connection – Z-Wave controller can connect with various smart devices. You can combine 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 Do Z-Wave Controllers Work?

The Z-Wave controller connects all smart devices in your home. These devices could be smart lights, smart doorknobs, 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.

For example, a smart light sensor can tell the smart controller that the room is dark to 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 are 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 several devices at home. You’ll receive notifications and check the status through the application. This is where the smart controller act as the brain of a smart home. 

The Buying Guide for the Best Z-Wave Hub

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.

  1. 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 that power smart devices. But, one good thing with Z-Wave is that plenty of smart devices are already certified with it. You may earn the fullest of the benefits with efficient new appliances.
  1. 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 processes or tasks you want to automate. These are important so you can check if the features support the things you want to do.
  1. Compatibility – Ensure the smart controller you will buy is compatible with the existing smart devices you already have. But if you are just starting with a smart home, choose a smart hub that supports smart devices you plan to have, like smart sensors or smart switches.
  1. Supported Smart Devices – Check the number of different smart devices to connect the smart hub. This comes down to the same communication technology, like Z-Wave, the smart devices support. Fortunately, there are plenty of smart devices now which support or use Z-Wave.
  1. Read Reviews: Always take time to read reviews about the product. Read reviews from verified users and know their pain points. This will greatly help you see how the product will fit your needs.

FAQS About Z-Wave Hubs 

What is a Smart Hub?

A Smart Hub functions as a nerve center of your smart home. The inclusion of a smart hub allows the smart devices to communicate with one other and enables you to manage them from wherever you are.  

What is a Z-Wave Hub?

A Z-Wave Hub offers remote access to the Z-Wave network via computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones through an internet connection. It manages as well as controls all kinds of different Z-Wave devices.

How is Z-Wave Useful?

Z-Wave enables the devices and the sensor-enabled products to communicate and retort amongst them. You can control fans, lights, security systems, door locks, window blinds, thermostats, valve controllers, and much more. 

How does Z-Wave work?

The Z-Wave network forms a wireless web network to ensure easy communication among the smart devices and other products connected in your home.

Should I Buy a Z-Wave Hub?

A smart home hub provides you an in-app solution to monitor, control, and access all of your smart home devices directly from your smartphone.

It eliminates the requirement for multiple manufacturing apps for each smart device. It even lets you arrange widgets together based on precise senses, like temperature, motion sensor, or the time of day.  

What’s the major difference between WeMo, Thread, Zigbee, and Z-Wave?

Zigbee & Z-Wave are wireless systems that run in a web network. The difference being Z-Wave is slower compared to Zigbee and needs a smaller amount of energy to cover as much range as Zigbee.

Whereas, Thread & WeMo are wireless networking systems that function via IP data transfer.

Build Your Smart Home With Z-Wave Hub

A smart controller is important if you want to build a home automation system. Even if you start with just a few processes 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 this article brings you helpful information on the most efficient Z-Wave hubs and their importance. And, we hope that this list helps you find one to centralize your home automation system.