Z-wave smart home tech

What Is Z-Wave and How Can I Use It?

When it comes to wireless technology, you’ve probably know all about Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but what about Z-Wave? Since hitting the market more than a decade ago, Z-Wave has become an increasingly popular wireless technology for connecting smart home products, including things like smart lights, smart thermostats and home security systems.

Here, we take a look a look at how Z-Wave works, how it differs from other similar technologies and why it might be the right choice for your home automation needs.

What is Z-Wave?

Z-Wave helps various smart devices communicate with one another wirelessly over a mesh network instead of via a single router. Whether you’ve noticed it or not, many of the smart home products on shelves and even in your home are Z-Wave enabled. In fact, there are more than 2,400 Z-Wave products available on the market today. They’re produced by various manufacturers, but they all work together seamlessly.

It all starts with a Z-Wave hub. Once you have one, you can then add a wide variety of Z-Wave devices to that network, and they can all be controlled remotely via an app. You can also control them directly through the hub in some cases.

While it functions much like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, there are some things that set Z-Wave apart and make it the first choice for many consumers and manufacturers. For example, instead of the signal being weakened when additional Z-Wave devices are added to a network, the network actually gets stronger as more devices are added. More than 200 Z-Wave products can be supported on one network, making it ideal for large smart homes, and it also uses less energy than other wireless technologies. Additionally, Z-Wave is touted as being more reliable than other wireless technologies and more secure, as it uses the same encryption that online banking sites use.

What home security companies use Z-Wave technology?

Because of the robust security it offers, more and more home security companies are turning to Z-Wave products. In fact, according to the Z-Wave Alliance, more than 90% of home security systems in North America are powered by Z-Wave. A few examples of leading home security companies that utilize Z-Wave include the following:

  • ADTADT Pulse uses Z-Wave technology to allow customers to integrate their smart home devices into their ADT system and then control them through the ADT Pulse app.
  • Vivint: Vivint’s SkyControl panel acts as a Z-wave hub or “Z-Wave mothership,” as the company dubs it. It allows you to connect all your Z-Wave devices and control them and your security system from anywhere with their app.
  • Ring: Ring Alarm home security system also acts as a hub for Z-Wave products. You can manage your smart doorbell as well as your smart thermostat, smart lock and a host of other smart products, all within the Ring app.
  • Honeywell Home: Many of Honeywell’s products are Z-Wave compatible, including their Smart Home Security Starter Kit, which can act as a hub for its cameras, window sensors and other products in the kit as well as for other Z-Wave smart home products.

What smart home products use Z-Wave technology?

One of the great things about Z-Wave technology is that it can handle both home security and home automation products, allowing you to connect and control them all through one hub. Here are some Z-Wave smart home products to consider.

Smart hub

A smart hub (also referred to as a controller) is necessary to connect and control your Z-Wave products. Once you have one in place, adding more products to it is simple, and they can all be controlled via an app or, in some cases, via the hub. If you currently have a home security system, the control panel may act as a Z-Wave hub, or you can purchase one separately. For example, the Samsung GP-U999SJVLGDA 3rd Generation SmartThings Hub allows you to connect and control lights, speakers, cameras, sensors, and voice assistants, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and more.

SAMSUNG GP-U999SJVLGDA 3rd Generation SmartThings Hub, White, 720p ,Motion Only
  • Connectivity: Wirelessly connect and control a wide range of compatible smart devices from 40+ partner brands, including voice assistants,...
  • Home Automation: Teach the hub your Good Morning, Goodbye, Goodnight, and other routines to automatically turn devices on or off throughout...
  • 24/7 Monitoring: Receive app alerts from connected devices when there’s unexpected activity in your home. Material: Plastic. Range (feet)...
  • Voice Controls: Use voice commands to control connected devices using SmartThings and the Google Assistant
  • Improved DIY Solution: Improved guided on boarding for easier setup. Hub connects with Wi-Fi so does not need to be connected to an Ethernet...

Smart thermostat

Smart thermostats can not only make your home more comfortable by allowing you to control the temperature remotely and set schedules according to the time of day, season and your coming and going, but they can also help save money on energy costs. The GoControl Z-Wave Battery-Powered Smart Thermostat gets strong reviews from customers who say it’s easy to install and easy to use.

Smart Thermostat
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (hub required, Alexa device and hub sold separately).
  • Z-Wave compatible - Ver. 4.5.5
  • Supports Z-wave Flirs Functionality. The GC-TBZ48 works with most contemporary Central HVAC systems whether standard or heat pump which...
  • Works On Standard Hvac Systems With 2-stage Heat & 2-stage Cool. USB firmware upgrade ability
  • Works On Heat Pump Hvac Systems With 3-stage Heat & 2-stage Cool

Smart Lock

The Kwikset 888 SmartCode lets you lock and unlock your door from anywhere using your phone or wireless device. You can also program a variety of access codes to provide to friends, family members or others to whom you want to grant access and receive notifications as people come and go.

Kwikset 98880-004 SmartCode 888 Smart Lock Touchpad Electronic Deadbolt Door Lock with Z-Wave Plus Featuring SmartKey Security in Satin Nickel, Medium
  • Lock or unlock your door from anywhere with a supporting smart home system using your phone.Note: Measure your door's backset, cross bore...
  • Expanding your security system solution with home connect technology, your key less entry lock will now communicate wirelessly to security...
  • Up to 30 programmable user access codes for family and guests to use at the door; Automatically turn on your heat or AC when you arrive
  • Get notifications when someone locks or unlocks your door or check if your lock is locked. Fits standard doors (1-3/8 inch – 2 inch)
  • Featuring Smart Key re key technology; Re key the lock yourself in seconds in 3 easy steps

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector

The First Alert Z-Wave Enabled Battery Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Combo Alarm ($51.40, FirstAlertStore.com), uses Z-Wave technology to send alerts to your phone if either smoke or carbon monoxide is detected in your home.

Smart lighting

Once you connect this smart light switch from Honeywell UltraPro Z-Wave Plus Smart Light Switch to your hub, you can turn the lights in the room off and on remotely from anywhere in the world. Like a smart thermostat, it lets you schedule them to save money, and it’s also a good crime deterrent when used to make it appear you’re home when traveling.

UltraPro Z-Wave Smart Light Switch, Smart Rocker Light Switch, QuickFit & SimpleWire, 3-Way Ready, Google Assistant, ZWave Hub Required, Repeater/Range Extender, White, 39348
  • Revolutionary, patent-pending design – QuickFit and SimpleWire technologies offer groundbreaking home automation features. Unique...
  • QuickFit – Improved components reduced the housing depth by up to 20% compared to previous Z-Wave models and eliminated the need for heat...
  • SimpleWire – Auto-detecting line/load terminals support fast installation by identifying line and load wires and configuring the switch...
  • Voice control – Enjoy the convenience of voice control with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa when connected through a compatible Z-Wave...
  • Switch upgrade – Easily replace any standard in-wall switch equipped with a neutral wire to remotely turn ON/OFF and create schedules for...

Final word about Z-Wave

Homes are getting smarter than ever these days, and Z-Wave is a great option to consider when choosing smart home and security products. There’s a wide selection of Z-Wave products available, and the technology provides security benefits and functionality that may beat out those powered by other wireless technologies. It just may be able to meet your home automation needs from A to Z.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.

Officer James Banta

Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.

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