5 Best Z-Wave Hubs (Smart Controllers) of 2019 – Smart Home Controllers

By Home Techie / December 4, 2018
Best Z-Wave Hub Controllers

Are you new to the Z-Wave world and looking for the best Z-Wave hub?

If yes, then a quality Z-Wave hub controller can be your entrance to this world. But how do you find a Z-Wave controller of top quality?

It’s certainly not an easy feat in this highly saturated market.
Good news is, I’m here to help. I’ll tell you exactly how to find your desired hub.

For this reason, here I’m going to review the top smart hubs available in the market, and also hand out an in-depth buying guide. Without further ado, let’s get the show on the road.

Top 5 Z Wave Hub Contenders of 2019

Options are great, but too many options can make you confused. That’s why I have done the hard work for you and trimmed the list down to only five. So, here are my recommendations for the best hub controller.

  1. Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation

Samsung 3rd generation hub makes its predecessors look antique. Made of plastic, it has a simple and elegant design. As is expected from a Samsung hub, this thing supports a wide range of products from hundreds of companies. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find a product that isn’t covered by this hub.

Not only this device is compatible with Z-Wave and ZigBee, but it also works with Wi-Fi, which wasn’t the case with the earlier version. This device can be controlled by the SmartThings app. You can even configure the device to alert you if any unnatural movement is detected inside the house.

Battery life is more than impressive. The included CR2 battery should easily last about two years. Though you can plug it in, this thing works wirelessly. Moreover, the new sensors work great, especially the water leak sensor. Due to having sensors on the top and bottom, it’s able to sense even drips.

The fact that this thing is compatible with Alexa and Cortana makes it more attractive. Keep in mind that, you will need at least Android 6.0 or IOS 11 to run the SmartThings app.

 

Pros

  • Great battery life.
  • Compatible with 3 home automation protocols.
  • Newer sensors work better than the earlier versions.
  • Works with Alexa and Cortana.

Cons

  • The software can’t be run by old IOS and Android versions.

 

  1. Wink Hub 2

The best thing about wink hub 2 is that it doesn’t lose connection like the previous generation devices. Also, unlike the first generation, the response time is much faster, almost instant. What’s also interesting is that it works with both the Alexa and google assistant enabling you to give voice commands.

You can monitor all the devices from anywhere with the Wink app. The app has an intuitive interface and some really attractive features. With this app, you can schedule things and set up robots for automatic actions. Like turning the lights off at sunrise or turning the light on if the sensor detects motion.

What makes this controller a bit special is that it supports a host of home automation protocols including ZigBee, Z-Wave, LCC, and Bluetooth LE. Also, over 400 devices from several reputed companies can be controlled by this device.

The fact that you can set the hub up with either Wi-Fi or Ethernet is really nice. Moreover, if you value aesthetics, then its slick design is bound to impress you. However, it doesn’t come with a backup battery which is a bit of a bummer.

 

Pros

  • Steady connection.
  • Quick response.
  • The app allows you to schedule tasks.
  • Compatible with all the major communication protocols.

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a backup battery.

 

  1. Vera Control VeraPlus

Vera control is one of the most popular and renowned companies in this industry. Keeping with their reputation, VeraPlus is another product of excellent quality that checks all the right boxes. According to the digital trend, VeraPlus is one of the best 6 smart home hubs.

The major selling point of this controller is that all the devices run on the hub instead of the internet. That means, if there’s a problem with the internet or it goes down, all the device will still work. And should the company go out of business overnight, it will still work perfectly well as the hub isn’t dependent on the cloud.

Nonetheless, the software fails to make a positive impression. If anything, the impression is negative. It doesn’t have a user-friendly interface and will give you a lot of error. One may feel that they haven’t even tested the software before the launch.

Though the device has some difficulty with ZigBee products, it works perfectly with the Z-Wave ones. Hundreds of Z-Wave devices can be controlled by the VeraPlus hub.

 

Pros

  • No internet required.
  • Ideal for Z-Wave devices.
  • Great customer support.

Cons

  • The software’s a let-down.

 

  1. HomeSeer HomeTroller-SEL Home Controller

Compared to the other products in this list, this one may seem a tad expensive. But trust me, when you take its performance and features into the account, the price seems very reasonable. In fact, I consider it as one of the best hub/controllers on the market.

Unlike most of the devices, it stores all the information locally. Due to not storing the data on the cloud, it makes the entire system hack-proof. This alone makes the device worth the investment. On top of that, it doesn’t require the internet to keep the smart home devices running.

Giving voice commands such as, “Alexa, turn the lights off” can be fun. And with this hub, you can have all the fun you want. That’s because this device is not only compatible with Alexa, but it also works well with google Home and IFTTT.

The only major issue with this hub is that there’s a limitation on the plug-ins. No more than 5 plug-ins can be used at the same time. If you want to add a new plug-in, you must remove one first.

 

Pros

  • Not reliant on the internet.
  • Stores data locally.
  • Able to work with Alexa and Google home.

Cons

  • Only 5 plug-ins are allowed.

 

  1. Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5


Disclaimer:
if you are a non-technical person and doesn’t like to google when a problem comes up before asking help, this device isn’t probably or you. It needs elbow-grease to get the device started.

The USP of this device is that you can make your own Z-Wave gateway with this thing. Windows, Mac, and even Raspberry Pi can be used for this purpose. A piece of advice to the Raspberry users: stick to the instructions provided on the home assistant site for installation.

In terms of price, it’s the least expensive device on this list. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. On the contrary, it offers ample value for the money. So, if you are looking for a low-cost way to get an entry into this world, this can be your go-to choice.

What’s really nice is that all the Z-Wave products are supported by this device. On top of that, it works with Z-Wave plus too.

 

Pros

  • Enables you to build your own Z-Wave gateway.
  • Really inexpensive.
  • Compatible with Z-Wave plus.

Cons

  • Isn’t very user-friendly.


Read more: 11 Best Z-Wave Thermostat for You in 2019

What Is a Z-Wave Hub/Controller?

A device that lets you remote control all the appliances running on your smart home automation protocol.

If I were to give an analogy, I would say that it’s like the relationship between our brain and the limbs.

Just like our body uses the brain to give commands to the limbs, you can use a hub to control the smart devices in your home.

Keep in mind that often hubs are designed to support a specific communication protocol such as ZigBee or Z-Wave.

However, controllers such as SmartThings and Wink 2 are compatible with several wireless protocols.

So, make sure you check if the hub supports the installed smart devices at home before you buy a product.

 

Z-Wave Smart Home Control

What Things Can You Do with Z-Wave?

Z-Wave makes use of the low-energy radio waves to build a mesh network, which allows devices to talk to each other and connect all of them to a hub/controller.

That way Z-Wave puts control of all the smart devices at your fingertips and allow you to give commands through the Z-Wave controllers.

Below are the few things you can do with a Z-Wave

  • Manage the lightings.
  • Control Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
  • Turn the fan off.
  • Take security measures.
  • Open/close garage door.
  • Prevent water leak.
  • Monitor the security cameras.

 

Z-Wave On the Top of the Mountain

Can you really tell the devices what to do from anywhere in the world?

The answer is yes.

To prove this point, the Z-Wave alliance financed a mountaineer named Mariusz Malkowski’s Himalayas trip a couple of years back.

From the top of the mountain, Mariusz Malkowski controlled his Z-Wave product at home, which was broadcasted live via Skype.

So, yes, you can control your Z-Wave devices from literally anywhere.

What to Know?

What to Know Before Buying a Z Wave Hub/Controller?

Knowing what features to look for while purchasing a smart hub or  Controller will come in handy to make a great choice. For this reason, here we will talk about which features you need to take into account before making a decision.

Compatibility

Suppose you buy a hub and later find out that it isn’t compatible with your smart device.

A terrible waste of money. Isn’t it?

To make sure the money doesn’t go down the toilet, you need to check if the hub works with the installed wireless protocol at your home.

One more thing, the more protocols the hub supports, the better it’s for you.

That way, if you ever decide to change the protocol, you won’t need to buy a new controller/hub.

The Number of Devices It Supports

You don’t want to purchase a hub that supports only a handful of the device or doesn’t cover all the categories.

Samsung SmartThings hub really shines in this department, as it supports more than a thousand smart devices.

 

Customization

The option to customize a hub is a must.

It allows you to schedule commands or create specific automatic tasks for the controller hub.

 

User-Friendly

Not all people are versed with programming or high-tech.

So, if the device and app interface is overly complicated, it can create problems for certain individuals.

If you are one of them, go for a turn-key smart controller.

 

Our Suggestion | Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation

To be honest, I was torn between SmartThings and HomeSeer controller.

But what eventually pushed me towards SmartThings is its extensive product range and competitive price. Though HomeSeer controller is by no means overpriced, it’s certainly a bit expensive.

Now, the SmartThings hub comes with plenty of perks.

It works equally well with ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi.

The new sensors are amazing and work far better than the previous version. However, you have to purchase the sensors separately.

Its C2 battery is easily available and should last a long time.

Moreover, being compatible with Alexa, and Cortana makes the hub a complete package.

So, if you ask my opinion, I’d say that that’s the option you should go for.

 

Z-Wave FAQs

  1. Will Wi-Fi interfere with Z-Wave technology?

No, it won’t. Z-Wave technology works on a different wireless frequency and won’t face any issues from your Wi-Fi router.

  1. Does Z-Wave work in huge houses?

No matter how big or small your house is, Z-Wave will work. It uses a mesh network, in which every nod acts as a signal repeater. Hence, the size of the house should cause no problem. Read: How Z-Wave Works?

  1. Is Z-Wave secure?

Yes, it’s secure. Not that it can’t be hacked, but its encryption system is as safe as it gets.

Know more: Z-wave Safety.

  1. Is Alexa Z Wave Controller?

Alexa isn’t a Z-Wave hub. It doesn’t contain a Z-Wave chip to control Z wave devices.

  1. Is SmartThings compatible with Z Wave?

Yes! 100%.

  1. What frequency is Z Wave?

In North America, Z-Wave operates at 908.42 MHz. However, in Europe, it works at 868.42 MHz.

  1. What frequency is ZigBee?

ZigBee operates at 2.4 GHz in the entire world.

  1. What does “smart home” mean?

It means a home which has devices that can communicate with each other and that can be monitored and controlled from a remote place.

  1. How do I reset SmartThings hub?

Press the red button located on the backside of the device for 30 seconds. Free the button once the LED has turned into dark yellow.

  1. How many devices can ZigBee support?

More than 65000 devices are supported by ZigBee.

 

Conclusion

Now that you know how to find the right controller for you, what are you still doing here?

Get the hub that fits your requirements and makes your beautiful home smart.

I hope my review will be of some help of you to find the best Z-Wave hub.

Let me know which one you’ve decided to go with by leaving a comment in the comments section.

Gracias.

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