Z-Wave smart home: Everything you need to know
With over 2,100 compatible products available, Z-Wave is one of the most prolific home automation solutions in the world.
What is Z-Wave?
Developed in 2001 by the Danish company Zensys, Z-Wave is a wireless protocol that enables communication between a wide range of smart home devices. Devices that implement the Z-Wave protocol can interact with each other through a Z-Wave central controller, which in turn can be controlled via your smartphone or PC. This allows you to remotely adjust the settings on your smart devices, turn lights on or off or change the temperature of your thermostat wirelessly even when you're not at home.
How does Z-Wave work?
Z-Wave uses low-power radio waves to communicate between devices. This reduces the likelihood of interference from other wireless technologies in your house, since Wi-Fi and Bluetooth operate on far higher frequencies. Z-Wave communications are also encrypted to prevent interference from other Z-Wave networks, and to ensure no one else can take control of your smart home.
Unlike some home automation technologies, Z-Wave uses a mesh network configuration to facilitate communication between devices. Essentially, this means messages can be forwarded from device to device instead of the central controller sending them to individual devices directly. This allows Z-Wave networks to operate over far greater distances than ordinary smart home networks.
Z-Wave also supports the creation of scenes, allowing you to group multiple actions under a single command. For example, you could create a scene that is triggered when you unlock your front door, causing your lights to come on automatically, your security system to deactivate and your coffee machine to start brewing. Scenes allow for deep, comprehensive home automation and are supported by all Z-Wave devices.
Z-Wave's smart home range
Over 600 companies worldwide have thrown their support behind Z-Wave, producing more than 2,100 devices compatible with the wireless protocol. These span everything from lights and thermostats to speakers and security systems. The official Z-Wave website maintains a list of all compatible products, but you'll find some of the more popular product lines below:
- Vera Edge controller
- Fibaro Home Center
- Samsung SmartThings Hub
- Aeotec LED bulbs
- DHS dimmer switches
- Fibaro in-wall switches
- DHS plug-in switches
- Aeotec plug-in switches
- Fibaro micro relays
- Foscam indoor/outdoor wireless cameras
- VistaCam HD indoor/outdoor cameras
- VBell video VoIP intercoms
- Fibaro motion sensors
- DHS multi-sensors
- Vision door/window sensors
- Lockwood digital deadbolts
- Vision deadbolt keypad
- KAS door locks
- Remotec thermostat
- Remotec A/C controller
- Fakro motorised window opener
Read more on this topic
Ring Stick Up Cam Review: Simple security anywhere you want it The Ring Stick Up Cam provides a simple way to expand your coverage either indoors or outdoors – as long as you're happy with Ring's cloud storage prices.
Anki Vector Review: A robot with personality and potential Anki's Vector robot is cute and nicely interactive, but it's the promise of future features that is the most exciting part of this digital companion.
Nest Cam IQ Review: A smarter security camera with a data downside The Nest Cam IQ has a host of smart features, but you'll need a hefty broadband data pipe to make the most of them.
Swann Smart Security Camera review: Too basic to be worthwhile Swann's Smart Security Camera hits the basics, but slow detection makes it less than smart.
Arlo Go Review: A fully mobile robust security camera Netgear sets its security cameras free with the 4G LTE-enabled Arlo Go, but that mobility comes with a very definite cost.
Reolink Argus 2 Review: A low-cost security solution Reolink's Argus 2 isn't the fanciest home security solution, but it offers simple security features at a highly appealing price point.
Arlo Pro 2 review: Full HD and simple install is a winning combination Netgear's latest wireless security camera adds 1080p video and exclusive wired modes, making it better than ever... at a price.
Ring Spotlight Cam Battery review: A bright and wide security solution If you don't have the desire for a permanently installed spotlight camera, Ring's Spotlight Cam Battery can keep you secure with minimal installation hassles.
Amazon Alexa Skills available in Australia A list of of things you can do with your new Amazon Echo smart speaker here in Australia.
Philips goes for the party crowd with Hue Entertainment at CES 2018 A free update to the Philips Hue app will create immersive lightscapes for gaming, music and movies.
Ask an Expert