Shopping for the best home automation system can be quite overwhelming. Z-wave controllers are becoming trendy because they’re easy to install and use. The good news is that you don’t have to be a geek to be able to monitor and control several devices in your house.
If you’re in the market for the best smart home hubs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll review 10 of the most remarkable Z-wave controllers that can make your life easier. We’ll also answer several questions that you need to ask yourself before going through your smart home transition.
Best Z-Wave Controller Reviews
As the products keep on evolving, manufacturers become more competent. These home automation hubs are becoming more user-friendly so you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use them successfully. Check our top smart home hub reviews.
- Clean and minimalist design.
- Compatible with most smart devices and protocols.
- Wireless version that doesn’t have to be plugged into a router.
- Sends alerts for maximum security and control.
- User-friendly interface.
- The initial Wi-Fi setup is a bit tricky.
- Limited mounting options.
Looking for a versatile smart home hub? Look no further because this hub is compatible with more than 40 brands and various protocols to work with all your appliances and smart devices. Using the hub, you can control smart light switches, speakers, voice assistants, cameras, locks, thermostats, and more.
Using it to control your home devices throughout the day is easy because you can customize it. Moreover, 24/7 monitoring has become straightforward as you’ll receive alerts whenever something suspicious happens.
It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, ZigBee, Z-Wave and Wi-Fi devices for the best smart home automation experience. Since it’s a wireless version, it’s more practical because you don’t have to plug it into the router to start enjoying your smart home experience.
There are several upgrades like the motion sensor, water leak sensor, smart outlet, and multipurpose sensor for maximum security. You can also detect all the connected devices. These features guarantee that you will have full control over your home whenever you like and wherever you are. Moreover, it’s still compatible with the earlier versions of sensors and outlets.
Thanks to its minimalist design and smart features, you won’t spend a long time before you can use it successfully. The interface is user-friendly and minimizes the learning curve for optimized smart home experience once you download the Samsung Connect app. It currently works with Google Home and Amazon Echo.
The initial setup of the Wi-Fi isn’t easy and the hub can become offline all of a sudden. The mounting options are limited because you can’t permanently mount it using screws. It only works with the double-faced foam tape.
- Supports most major brands and protocols.
- Plugged and wireless connection for maximum versatility.
- Allows you to control, automate, monitor, and schedule different tasks.
- Initial setup is extremely easy.
- More expensive.
- Some problems with the app.
At a higher price, comes this smart home hub to give you control over all the devices and appliances in the house. It’s compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, so you can start and enjoy your smart home transition.
Upgrading your smart home ecosystem is easy thanks to the Wink Hub 2. It’s compatible with most major smart home categories including doorbells, locks, cameras, thermostats, speakers, alarms, switches, and outlets. Just install the Wink app on your smartphone or any smart device and you’ll start experiencing a full smart home experience that will make your life different.
You can set up shortcuts to switch off all the devices when you lock the garage or automatically switch on the thermostat once the front door is unlocked. Program your smoke detector to work once the lights are on or see who is at the front door and unlock it while relaxing on the sofa; the options are unlimited. Customizing and personalizing the app is easy and straightforward.
This Z-Wave controller can be connected wirelessly or plugged via the Ethernet port. It’s designed to control, automate, monitor and schedule tasks so you can control your home wherever you are.
With more than 400 compatible devices and protocols, there is nothing that you can’t control and monitor once you install this smart hub. It supports Clear Connect, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Kidde, and Bluetooth LTE which is more than what you can get from other smart platforms.
Although this is a good base for a smart home system, it comes with a few limitations. The Z-Wave controller software interface sometimes malfunctions and the need for a reboot is necessary. Some of the functions aren’t intuitive, leaving some room for improvement.
- Works with most of the big brands that you can use at home.
- Supports up to 200 switches, locks, and devices at the same time.
- Sends alerts and automates tasks for more control.
- Can be connected to 3G.
- Supports an external battery.
- User interface isn’t intuitive and might feel outdated.
- Designed for more tech-savvy users.
Known as one of the most known brands, this Z-Wave controller is one of the simplest and best smart hubs to use. It works with most of the brands and protocols that you’re likely to use. It’s currently compatible with more than 600 devices so it’s good value for money.
You can access the platform and the Vera Network via any smartphone, tablet or computer to control and automate several functions at your home. It can control around 200 sensors, locks, switches, appliances, and devices at the same time, so it’s powerful enough to offer you a complete smart home experience in a single button click. Adding a smart device is easy thanks to the installation wizard.
This is a smart brain for your house that requires no monthly subscription or fees to keep you updated. It will send you an alarm if anything goes wrong so you can always keep an eye on your possessions, kids, and pets.
You can check on your elderly loved ones, receive a text when your child gets home or travel without worrying about your basement getting flooded. It has 4 built-in protocols; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Z-Wave, a fast processor and more memory than other smart hubs.
If you’re worried about your Wi-Fi disconnecting, you can hook it up to a 3G connection. You can also connect it to a backup battery so it will work even when the power is off. It’s designed for energy and video monitoring so it won’t disappoint you.
Beginners and first-timers might struggle a little to get this hub started. It’s designed for more tech-savvy users although the user interface looks a bit outdated.
- Affordable choice for a beginner.
- Can control and create simple schedules.
- Eliminates interference from other devices for a seamless experience.
- Sends alarms so you can take the right action.
- Can’t be programmed to take action on its own.
- Each device should be added manually.
Searching for the best home automation hub? You can have full control of a wide range of devices, switches, locks, and appliances from your smart device or laptop once you install this smart hub. Program it to recall your favorite settings so you don’t have to reprogram it every time you want to use a function.
The Insteon Central Hub is a good choice for a beginner who wants to enjoy the smart home experience because it’s easy to set up. It’s also affordable.
You can get instant alerts for suspicious motion, leaks, and other alarming events so you can take the right action.
Some users consider this to be the best smart hub for Alexa. It also works Google Assistant voice control. You can use it to control light switches, create schedules, and check your sensors wherever you are. Once you connect it to a power source, this hub will be good to go.
Downloading the Insteon smart app opens doors to multiple options so you can start controlling and customizing your devices. There’s a special guide that can help you during the initial setup if you’re not that experienced.
It uses wireless and power lines to eliminate interference from other devices like microwaves or routers. Thanks to the Dual-Band, the range of this Z-Wave controller extends over wireless and wired devices. It can work with up to 200 devices at the same time.
This hub is an excellent choice for control but doesn’t offer much automation as you can’t program it to take action on its own if it detects a leak for example. You can’t scan the network for devices and this means that you’ll have to add each device manually, which can be time-consuming.
- Local storage of data for more privacy.
- Eliminates latency and delays.
- Built-in features for better user experience.
- You can easily migrate data from an older system.
- Not suitable for a beginner.
- Mobile app is not intuitive.
Rest assured that your data is safe when using the Hubitat Elevation hub. It’s more reliable than other cloud-based smart home solutions and works with Android and iOS devices for more versatility once you install the app.
It supports Iris v1 devices, in addition to ZigBee, Lutron, and Z-Wave devices. It’s designed to eliminate latency and delays.
You can easily set it up and use it for smart home control and scheduling. All the automation processes are done in the hub for faster responses, guaranteeing that no one will have access to your private data. Your data is stored locally and not on the cloud.
It currently supports more than 100 smart devices, switches, locks, and cameras for your peace of mind. With the support of Z-Wave and ZigBee, you can actually talk to your hub and automate the functions of the compatible devices. It works with most of the popular brands and is currently compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google.
It comes with more than a dozen built-in features and programs including the Hubitat Safety Monitor, Mode Manager, and Rule Machine. You can easily migrate home automation systems from an older cloud-based system without losing data.
As a first-timer, you might find this smart hub a bit complicated. It’s more suitable for automation and needs to be connected to Wi-Fi while setting up new functions. It’s not suitable for a beginner and the mobile app isn’t that intuitive.
- Compact yet reliable Z-Wave controller.
- 250% more bandwidth.
- Compatible with several brands and can support up to 230 Z-Wave devices.
- Locally-based system for privacy.
- Not suitable for a big area.
- The LED light is a bit annoying.
In spite of the small size of this Z-Wave controller, it offers users an excellent smart home experience as you can control and monitor several devices. It’s designed to control more than 232 Z-Wave devices.
You can also upgrade your current home automation system as long as your Z-Wave devices can accept OTA. It covers a wireless range of 150 meters, so it’s not suitable for an extremely large space. However, it provides 250% more bandwidth so it’s an excellent and affordable choice for a beginner.
Initial setup is straightforward and will save time and effort. It supports encrypted communication to keep your data safe. The system is locally based and not cloud-based, for privacy.
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly cloud-free gateway, then this should be your top choice. It can support different brands without the technological hassle that you might face with other more complicated home automation hubs.
It comes with a user-friendly app, but it’s not always for free. It works with open source and commercially available software like Home Assistant and Indigo. Some users might find the LED indicator a bit annoying. You’ll spend some time to disable it but it’s doable.
- Creating complex automation schedules is possible.
- Can control and schedule several devices and appliances.
- Supports up to 1024 devices and 1000 programs.
- Locally-based system for privacy.
- Built-in logic system and real-time clock to prevent delays.
- Having basic programming skill is required.
- User interface needs improvement.
Control, monitor, and automate your home wherever you are with the help of this Z-Wave controller. You can manage several appliances with the help of MobiLinc or Amazon Echo for more versatility.
Creating complex automation schedules is easy so you can have total control over your house and all the appliances and devices in it. Using a simple mouse click, you can activate several complex triggers for seamless smart home experience.
You can customize up to 1024 switches, locks, and nodes using this controller. It supports up to 1000 different programs and each one has hundreds of conditions or actions. You can also utilize optional modules to expand the capabilities of this smart hub.
Unlike other smart home hubs, this one is an independent system with a built-in logic system, secure web server, and real-time clock to prevent lags and delays when there’s a problem with the internet connection. You can turn the lights on, control the light intensity, customize the thermostat temperature, and lock doors using a simple click.
Although it’s not cloud-based, you need to have some basic programming skills, so it’s not the best choice for a beginner. The user interface needs some work because it’s not intuitive.
- Affordable controller.
- Compatible with devices from various brands.
- Works with the Vera app and Amazon Alexa.
- Supports 3G network and an external battery.
- Supports 2 communication protocols and has limited memory.
- Can support a limited number of devices compared to other controllers.
For an affordable price, you can monitor your home and join thousands of satisfied users who find this controller reliable and practical. It doesn’t require any monthly fees so it’s good value for money.
Since it’s compatible with Wi-Fi and Z-Wave, it gives you the option to smartly check your home to guarantee the safety of your possessions and loved ones. The brain of this controller works with most of the brands in the home appliance market so it’s versatile and practical. It can control more than 200 devices in your home including your cameras, locks, motion detectors, dimmers, and switches.
You can either use it with the Vera app or Amazon Alexa to control different devices or create automated scenes like Alexa Bedtime or Alexa Movie time. To ensure connectivity, it can work with 3G networks. It can also support an optional external battery.
View several cameras on a single dashboard and control various settings using a single button. However, you must check the list of compatible devices to make sure that yours will work with this Z-Wave controller. It currently supports 2 communication protocols and has a limited memory compared to Vera Plus.
- Weather-proof body.
- Designed to control heavy-load devices and applications inside and outside the house.
- Fast processor and more memory.
- Security system to prevent data hacking.
- Can monitor and created automated scenes.
- Should be paired with a Z-Wave hub or smart home assistant.
- Pairing it the device might take some time.
For those looking for a robust controller, this weather-proof controller is the one you should pick for indoor and outdoor use. It keeps all the connections and wirings secure in any weather condition.
Have total control over your water heaters, landscape lights, pool, spa, and other large load devices inside and outside the house for a truly automated experience. Don’t worry about the wireless range, because this controller comes with a built-in antenna to overcome obstacles. It allows you to monitor the energy consumption as it remotely measures watt and kilowatt-hours.
The installation process is smart and trouble-free. It features the S2 technology to eliminate the risk of your device or data being hacked for maximum security.
With a faster processor and 4 times more memory, this is an excellent choice for a large area. It works with large-load devices up to 11,000 watts. You can easily control and automate scenes for hard-wired applications.
Pairing it with your Z-Wave smart hub might take some time. It needs a certified Z-Wave hub to work and can work with voice control if you buy Alexa or Google Assistant. These should be bought separately.
- Simple and out of the box option for beginners.
- Multi-purpose device that works as a router or extender.
- Can support several devices and brands.
- Allows you to activate automated scenes.
- Sleek design.
- Not suitable for advanced users.
- Doesn’t work well when there are lots of obstacles around.
Without the help of a laptop or a web browser, you can easily set up and customize this automation hub. The touch screen makes everything easy and effortless so you can enjoy a fully automated home with a simple click. It works out of the box and becomes fully functional in 3 minutes so you can start using it as a first-timer.
The long-range dual-band Wi-Fi makes it an excellent choice for larger areas so you can control several devices and appliances. It remotely accesses the router and connected sensors after you install the Almond app. This hub can support most of the popular brands.
It’s a multi-purpose device that can double as a primary router, extender, access point or wireless bridge. It’s the best smart hub for Alexa because using voice commands, you’ll be able to control all the switches and locks in your home. You can also activate automated scenes for maximum convenience.
There are multiple mounting options so you can hang it or place it on a table. It doesn’t have annoying blinking lights and seamlessly blends with your home décor. You’ll receive notifications when any device joins the network so you can block unknown devices. You can also set parental control over the Wi-Fi network.
It might not work very well when there are lots of obstacles around. It doesn’t support open VPN or Quality of Service which can be a bit problematic for more advanced users.
What is a Z-Wave Controller or Hub?
This is a device that allows you to control several Z-Wave devices and appliances connected to the same wireless network. These controllers give you full control over your home to create a smart home experience that allows you to monitor performance and schedule tasks for maximum convenience.
In the past, you used to have a separate remote control for every device. Z-Wave controllers combine all your devices in a single hub that you can monitor when you’re inside or outside the house. You can easily add new devices to your hub and expand your smart home experience as needed.
How to choose the best Z-Wave Controller?
Lots of users feel overwhelmed when they’re shopping for the best smart hubs. This is true, especially if this is your first experience with smart home applications. Here are a few questions that can help you decide on the hub that you should pick after checking several smart home hub reviews.
- Does it offer different communication protocols to facilitate use?
- It is cloud-based or locally-based?
- Does it offer monitoring or automation applications?
Each user has different needs and there are several models on the market that can work for you. The number of communication protocols guarantees that your controller will be practical to use with various devices.
Cloud-based hubs offer more memory and storage. These systems usually have some security features to detect and block unknown devices. Local storage guarantees that your data will be safe. Your needs as a user should be the primary factor to consider while evaluating various models.
What to look for before buying a Z-Wave controller?
Buying the best home automation system is an excellent idea. However, since there are several good options on the market, finding the right one can be a bit tricky. Here are a few factors to take into consideration while checking several smart hub reviews.
Number of Devices
You should ask yourself about the number of devices that you wish to control and monitor using your Z-Wave controller. Most models are currently compatible with hundreds of switches, cameras, locks, and thermostats so you can totally control and monitor your home. However, some controllers offer more options.
Check the list of compatible devices to make sure that you’re using a suitable controller that will work. These practical controllers also give you the opportunity to add more devices in the future.
Control and Automation
Ask yourself about what you expect the device to do. Do you need simple monitoring? Do you need to receive alerts? Or do you expect the system to take action with a built-in logic system?
Z-Wave controllers can offer users the opportunity to create and schedule tasks. Some are also designed so you can activate automated scenes that you’ve previously set on the device.
The amount of time you will spend before your device is ready for use should also be taken into consideration. Most Z-Wave controllers are designed to be user-friendly. You should check the device’s specifications to make sure that you can start using it right away as some models require an additional purchase of a supporting app or assistant.
The user interface should be intuitive and easy to understand, especially if you’re not an experienced programmer. This will guarantee that you’ll receive the best value for your purchase.
Some controllers are designed for novice users. These are straightforward to use and are perfect for monitoring. However, these might not offer full automation experience.
More complicated devices allow users to customize automated scenes. These require some programming and might be difficult to use if you’re a first-timer.
Home automation opens doors to safety and control wherever you are to guarantee that your loved ones and possessions are always safe. It also gives you the chance to customize every device and appliance in your house to suit your specific needs.
We chose the Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation as the best Z-Wave controller because it’s simple to set up and use. It features a modern interface that suits beginner and experienced users and supports several apps and devices. Moreover, it comes with a decent price tag.
Luckily, there are several other models that you can browse if you’re looking for different features. According to our smart hub reviews, the products on our list offer different levels of freedom and control, so you can always find the one that suits you.