Z- Wave is one of the most sought-after technologies used in home automation. With the huge number of automation products and protocols being implemented on a regular basis, choosing the one for your house is a tricky matter.
Regarding controllers, you have multiple options available in the market today. But the primary question is, “Which is the best Z-wave controller?”.
Although we suggest you to go through the entire article, if you’re looking for a quick answer, just go for the Samsung SmartThings Hub. It has maintained its position as the most premium hub for a long time, and will most probably do so in the near future. You can find a detailed review here.
A good alternative you could consider is the Mi Casa Verde VeraLite. It is quite affordable and has also simplified its system in the recent past.
To help you make the best buying decision, we shall also provide you with details on what Z-wave technology is, what they are capable of, and also the features to look for when buying a controller.
New to the concept of home automation? No worries, refer to this one:
What is Z-Wave technology?
- 1 How to choose the best Z-Wave Controller
- 2 What is a Z-Wave Controller capable of?
- 3 Pros and Cons of Top 5 Z-Wave Controllers
- 4 The Best Z-Wave Controller
Developed by Zensys in 2004, Z-Wave technology is a protocol widely used for home automation. This protocol is the language with which similarly interconnected devices exchange information and perform specified tasks. Z-Wave uses RF (Radio Frequency) technology to wirelessly signal and control devices connected with it.
Z-Wave operates at different frequencies in different countries. It uses the Part 15 unlicensed industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band for its operation. In Europe, it operates at a frequency of 868.42 MHz. In USA and Canada, it’s 908.42, and different frequencies in different countries depending on their regulations.
Wanna get more information on Z-Wave? Watch the video below (you’ll love the background music!):
How to choose the best Z-Wave Controller
Each controller provides different options for home automation. Depending on the complexity and extent to which you plan to automate your home, basic home automation is achievable with usually every product available. But, if you require specific functions then you need to plan beforehand and buy one which offers exactly what you require.
Factors to keep in mind before buying a Z-Wave controller:
This is the primary detail which is essential before choosing a controller. Different devices use different protocols for their functioning. Checking out what are the protocols that your devices support helps in complete home automation. A central hub with access to all your smart devices simplifies the process big time.
2. Specific Requirements:
Deciding on the extent to which you plan to automate your house will help in deciding on the controller. Basic automation is achievable with almost all automation products available. If you have specific requirements like support for third-party devices and software platforms like IFTTT, then you will have to consider appropriate research. Check the same before deciding on a Z-Wave controller.
3. Local vs. Cloud Control:
Many Controllers communicate with the connected devices through a local network. Other devices communicate with the devices centrally through the cloud. Though each of these has its advantages, consider the regularity of power and internet connectivity for efficient control.
Wireless control is highly dependent on the distance at which each of the devices is operating. For regular home-based automation, extensions are not required. But, as the distance increases so does its complexity and the need for devices to extend the reach.
The cost of the product is also one of the necessary criteria for choosing a Z-Wave controller. Some controllers require you to just buy the product and you get lifetime access to it. But, many companies charge a monthly or yearly membership fee along with the cost of the product. You have to renew it periodically. Checking for this is a must before deciding on the best Z-Wave controller.
What is a Z-Wave Controller capable of?
Z-Wave is an incredible technology facilitating home automation; here are some of the impressive capabilities of Z-Wave controllers:
- The wireless capability of Z-Wave is the first one worth mentioning. It uses a low-frequency channel with a higher range of 100 meters.
- Compared to other wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Z- wave uses a lot less energy for its operation.
- The use of low-frequency channels enables the Z-wave controllers to operate without interference from other household devices.
- There is no loss of wireless signals over Z-Wave as its devices act as a part of a mesh network, which amplifies and repeats the Z-Wave signals.
- Z-Wave controllers provide an amazing DIY capability which enables the users to implement and understand their automated homes on a deeper level. Troubleshooting and calling for support becomes increasingly rare.
- Cross-compatibility of the devices paves the path for the use of an increased number of devices resulting in more automation options. This is what is important in a Z-Wave controller.
Pros and Cons of Top 5 Z-Wave Controllers
1. Mi Casa Verde Vera Control VeraLite
In addition to the affordability, the Vera Control VeraLite has the ability to control and manage up to 70 devices. This product is one of the best Z-Wave controllers available. Partnered with many renowned companies like Honeywell, this device is definitely an impressive option for home automation.
- Plug and Play: The device plugs in directly to your home internet router and uses the Z-Wave protocol for its functioning. This makes the installation and set-up of VeraLite pretty simple.
- Multiple Device Control: The use of Z-Wave technology provides this product the ability to integrate with a wide array of devices. Support for third-party devices is also possible.
- Affordability: In terms of the cost price of the product, VeraLite provides the most value when you take into consideration all the quality factors available.
- MiOS App store: The company provides Android and iPhone based apps for easy access. Vera also administers a separate marketplace called the MiOS marketplace. This includes a wide array of apps for different devices and functions.
- Technical knowledge required. In spite of the simplification of processes in recent times, this product still requires a lot of technical know-how for operating it efficiently.
- There is still a considerable amount of security vulnerabilities.
2. ISY994i ZW/IR PRO
Providing the ability to control your home automation with a universal remote, this is one of the best available controllers using Z-Wave for home automation. It also has a home-based configurability setting. Seamless maintenance of your power usage is also possible.
- Plug and play capabilities are inherent because of the use of Z-wave.
- Has an impressive web interface which works well with any phone or computer.
- Great hardware performance by a reasonably priced device.
- The speed of the process is commendable and reliable in the long run.
- The installation procedure is tricky. People with less or no experience in home automation may find the initial set up to be a bit difficult.
- The Web-based interface provided, though impressive at first, has been left behind with no updates and no app availability.
- The control of your devices through the web interface is not possible if your computer does not run JAVA.
3. Nexia Z-Wave Bridge
For anyone starting with home automation with no previous experience, Nexia Z-Wave Bridge is the best option available. The simplicity of the bridge along with the interconnect-ability of its devices make it a worthwhile option as one of the best Z-Wave controllers.
Whether it is your lights, appliances or a complex security system this device gives you one-touch control with incredible ease.
- Nexia’s website boasts plenty of additional features with a cool interface. It also provides you with all the necessary options for automation you would need.
- The low cost of the device is definitely a plus.
- An automated relationship between your devices, rivaling the open source options available.
- Plug and play simplicity
- An impressive range of 100 meters in all directions, giving you an overall radius of 8000 feet which is more than impressive.
- Incredibly easy maintenance. Once the device is setup, it doesn’t demand a lot of attention from the user.
- The bridge requires a monthly membership fee of 9.99$ to use its automation services. Many subscription free alternatives are available.
- No support for IFTTT and other third-party services.
- Unimpressive app design. Lacks control over the system, you cannot add or remove devices using the app.
4. Vera Control VeraEdge
As an improvisation over the VeraLite, the VeraEdge provides all the functionality of the VeraLite. This device provides much more functionality required for automating on a deeper level.
It is useful for homeowners who require the functionality with impressive precision and range. If you have no problem in shelling out a little more money, this is the best option available.
- Has better device capabilities facilitating the support of a wider range of devices. Ideal for homes with a large number of smart devices and requiring automation at a fundamental level.
- The automatic triggers available for automation are increased. Making devices react to natural triggers with more efficiency is a necessary requirement for a Z-Wave controller.
- The single app control of all its functions is impressive in contrary to the options available with apps with limited functionality.
- The online community is huge and responsive, providing easy fixes to each and every issue that might arise.
- Vera also provides easy portability options from the previous version for users looking for an upgrade.
- The most widely experienced issue with this particular device is the instability of Geofencing.
- The increased number of options naturally increases the complexity of usage of the device. Users with no experience might find it a bit overwhelming questioning the fact that it could be one of the best controllers available.
- The cost is also high compared to other devices. But the options available do justify the high cost.
5. Zipato ZIPABOX
The ZIPABOX smart home controller is an innovative home automation option available, with a special focus on home security systems. It is a powerful gateway controller for Z-Wave devices.
It is a powerful gateway controller for Z-Wave devices. Using cloud control technology, customization and control over a central gateway are made easy. Energy saving and timely notification of events transpiring make this a viable option for home automation.
- Impressive connectivity option available, just download the app for Android or Apple Store and you’re good to go. The app enables all the connectivity options, unlike many competitors.
- The customization of the device and its connected system to user specification is possible. It also provides the stage for multiple users where the primary member can share selected functionality with family or guests.
- Impressive DIY options, eliminating the need for specialty technicians to automate your house. This could make the same considered as one of the best Z-Wave controllers.
- The controller lacks operability over certain widely used devices like Nest and Phillips.
- Limited third-party device support.
- The initial cost of the device is quite high and the company seems to have ignored the aesthetical aspect of designing the box.
- No pre-designed rules, hence you will have to build the automation processes from scratch.
The Best Z-Wave Controller
When it comes to the best Z-wave Hub, the Mi Casa Verde VeraLite takes away the trophy. The reason is pretty simple, this device provides an impressive array of automation processes possible with the least amount of complications.
If you’re looking forward to getting your home automated, you need to consider the unparalleled affordability and the simplicity of this controller. The device succeeds in serving all your basic necessities of home automation.
When the number of smart devices increases and the need for further automation arises, you can easily move on to the VeraEdge version. This provides all the functionality the other version lacks. The transfer of all the settings from its previous version can be easily achieved using the company’s pre-built process.
Hence, this makes sense over a longer span of time as the best Z-Wave controller.
Is there any other Z-Wave Controller that you think we missed? Do let us know in the comments what you think about our review on the top-rated Z-Wave Controllers.