We are living in a world of home automation; as a matter of fact, you can currently control many of the lighting systems and appliances by way of Z Wave hubs. The best Z Wave hubs on the market will even allow you to control the temperature of your home; all from the screen of your Smartphone.
There is an increasing amount of these type of automation devices on the market today, so making a decision on which will work best in your home can be difficult. To make the decision process easier on you, we’ve compiled this guide, so that you’ll have an idea what to look for in the best Z Wave system.
Best Z-Wave Home Automation Control Hubs 2018
|Wink Hub 2.0|
|7.25 x 7.25 x 1.25|
|Zipabox by Zipato|
|3.4 x 3.4 x 1.9 |
|Wink Connected Home Hub||7.25 x 7.25 x 2|
|No||Yes / Yes|
|Universal Devices ISY994i ZW/IR PRO||4 x 4 x 2 |
|Ethernet, USB||Yes / No|
|Samsung SmartThings Hub||4.2 x 4.9 x 1.3 |
|Ethernet, USB||Yes / Yes|
|D-Link Staples Connect||5.6 x 5.6 x 1.2|
|Ethernet, USB||Yes / Yes|
|Securifi Almond+ Long Range||7.1 x 1.6 x 5.3|
|USB||Yes / Yes|
|VeraPlus Advanced Home Controller||7.7 x 5 x 1.3 |
|USB||Yes / Yes|
|HomeSeer HomeTroller Zee S2||6 x 4 x 4 |
|Ethernet, USB||Yes / Yes|
|Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Z-Stick||4.6 x 2 x 0.9 |
|No||Yes / No|
Each of the products that you’ll find in our guide provides some excellent functionality. Let’s break down how each of these devices ranks in terms of full functionality and how they measure up against each other when it comes to useful additional features.
1. Wink Hub 2.0 – TOP Wireless Smart Home Automation for 2018
One of the most popular z-wave hubs nowadays. So if you’re thinking about getting your first hub or upgrading from the original Wink, let’s go over and see what’s new in the 2.0. The Wink 2.0 is about 25% slimmer. In reality, this is a decrease from 1.75 inches to 1.25 inches, the other dimensions remain the same. The Gen One has the activity light on the front, so this also has been changed on the Gen Two.
Design and Upgrades
Overall design goal appears to make it look more suited for a bookshelf. It boasts a more powerful wifi. There is an Ethernet port which is not required for the connection. It may improve the reliability and speed up the response time as well as speed up the updates.
They’ve also added a Bluetooth Low Energy Radio for expanded device support. This may be one of the cooler features next to the five gigahertz wifi radio. The RAM has also been upgraded from 64 megabytes to 512 megabytes which should help improve the command processing speed. Enhanced local control is another item on the What’s New list.
Packaging and Installation
As usual, Wink does a nice job with the packaging. Inside the box you’ll find the hub, instruction pamphlet, power supply, and an ethernet cable. I’m always happy when I see a minimalist instruction manual. This usually means the company has worked hard on making the process very simple. So step one, plug in the hub. Step two, connect it to the internet. The easiest thing to do is to connect it into the ethernet cable. If you use this option the new hub will automatically bring over all over your settings.
There’s a couple of important things to know here. The first one is, it’s going to transfer everything over from the One to the Two, if you’re new to the Wink Two then you don’t have to worry about this. Now, let’s see if the Echo has automatically connected to the new hub. So everything’s good there. Just run couple of Alexa commands to test it. So, very impressive that it’s that easy to transfer everything from the Wink One to the Wink Two, get it connected into the Echo with really no hassle at all.
Overall impression of the Wink Hub 2.0 is very positive. A book-like shape is great but I do wish that there was a way to mount this on the wall. The smart home is essentially a centerpiece in a house, so having the ability to display this as an eye in the sky, if you will, will be pretty cool. But, that’s really not a big deal.
2. ZIPABOX by Zipato Smart House Zwave Controller – Modular and Convenient
Several years have passed while Zipato is still rising with it’s most successful product. In the bottom of the list, but never the least. Today’s Zipabox has many surprisingly strong hardware and software features to offers. Among them: modular system (you still won’t pay for what you don’t need), encrypting for all data transmissions, built-in Z-Wave devices support, online programming tool (for DIY enthusiasts), a home security solution with extra module.
Zipabox uses cloud technology to control home security and provide an access to other devices such as remote cameras to view live feed right from inside you home.
Apps and Network Connection
Zipato provides free Android and iOS apps as well as access through web portal. All you need is to create an account and log in. Also, Zipabox could save all settings from web and operate further without network connection. That comes handy when you need bulletproof full-time operation of remote camera or security monitoring.
3. Wink Connected Home Hub – Among The Best of 2018
Wink is one of the most well-known smart home hub options in the industry, launched as a spinoff of New York-based hardware crowdsourcer, Quirky. In addition to Z-Wave, the Wink can also connect to a bevy of other proprietary protocols including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, ZigBee, Lutron ClearConnect, and Kidde.
This hub comes complete with Wink’s own Wink app; a product can control thousands of different smart home devices and the company keeps releasing more firmware updates that cover more. The app itself will work on iOS, Android, and Windows phones and takes mere moments to set up.
The hub itself is a very small; it’s a square device that is eight inches on each side and is about an inch thick from front to back. This tiny form factor makes it perfect to add a bit of smart connectivity to your home without also contributing clutter.
Controls and Customization
This adds a layer of convenience to your home life. Can you Imagine a system that communicates to the point that when you turn your TV off to go to bed, the smart air conditioner in your bedroom turns on so that it’s cool in your bedroom as you turn in?
4. Universal Devices ISY994i ZW/IR PRO Z-Wave – A Universal Solution
This Z Wave hub has a bevy of great features that’ll control your devices from any mobile product as well as any computer that runs Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. This Z Wave hub clearly has security in mind; it’s designed to be robust and powerful, yet also has seamless control that delivers on user experience.
The most unique feature of this Z Wave hub is its ability to be accessed via universal remote. It has a infrared (RC5) Sensor on board, so that you can use a R5 TV remote to control your peripherals.
This unit has some very important additional features as well, the most interesting of which allows the device to set timers and monitor energy usage. This home based configurability will allow you to seamlessly control power usage and lower your monthly energy bill.
Since this Z Wave controller is network based, you’ll need to plug in directly to your internet connection to have full functionality. From a size and shape perspective, you might not even notice device; it has many of the same design cues that you’d find in a wireless network router.
HDTV Magazine has a great review of this product that covers all of its integrated features.
5. Samsung SmartThings Hub – Elegant Bestseller
The Samsung Smart Hub is an intelligent system for controlling your smart devices. The software for this device is constantly being updated by users so that you’ll be able to connect an every growing list of peripherals to your hub.
This hub also simplifies control. With some hubs, you’ll still have to access an application for your smart lighting, another app for your smart garage control system, and another application on your phone to control your home’s temperature.
With the SmartThings Hub, all of these apps can be removed, and you can simply use the SmartThings program to manage all of their duties. Don’t worry about compatibility issues, the hub is able to broadcast in both Z-wave and Zigbee protocols. So, you’ll still have access to your Zigbee devices.
The device itself is unobtrusive; put it in a corner and it won’t be notice because the case is so featureless and smooth. The one physical feature that you’ll notice is two USB connectors; this is reserved for future expansion.
6. D-Link Staples Connect – Coupling a Beautiful Design With Functionality
The Staples Connect—a hub that is powered by D-Link—is a superior, yet affordable way of automating various systems in your home from your PC or phone. Not only is the protocol easy to set up, but also allows you to connect with and operate an array of compatible devices in your home through the Staples Connect App.
The hub is uses a simple DIY installation process. To begin the installation process, you should either plug the hub to your Ethernet or Wi-Fi. After powering and connecting the device, it may take some time to download and install updates. You may then use the Staples Connect web site or App to interact with the hub; hence add your preferred devices. After adding the devices, you may configure them and change their names according to your preferences. Basically, you will not need a technician to set up this hub for you.
The D-Link Staples hub features an impressive design that can suit almost any home interior décor. The exterior design of the hub features USB and Ethernet ports as well as a WPS button. The hub is also flexible and may be positioned centrally or some distance from the router.
The Staples Connect hub was recently updated to include support for more devices by various manufacturers as well as more connectivity options. The new model also supports Bluetooth LE and ZigBee.
7. Securifi Almond+ Long Range Touchscreen Wireless AC Gigabit Router ALMP-BLK-US – The Multi-Purpose Hub
Not only is the Almond Long Range—a home automation hub by Securifi– a reliable router, but also serves as a communication hub for your home. This hub is packed with various features to enhance user experience and deliver faster as well as more convenient home automation capabilities.
If you are looking for a multi-purpose hub to automate and centralize the various systems in your home, the Almond Long Range is one of the best products in the market today.
The system couples the touch screen interface–found in the pioneering Almond—with an incredibly fast dual band Wi-Fi, 2 USB 3.0 ports and 4 Gigabit LAN. It also features a powerful processor, capable of handling almost any home automation task.
The VeraPlus advanced home controller is another magnificent Z-Wave home automation hub you can buy today. The product is manufactured by Vera Control Ltd. The smart home controller offers impressive software compatibility and boasts of a robust technical support.
The recent version of the VeraPlus smart home controller supports several Smart home radio protocols. Some of the supported protocols includes: Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Wi-Fi. Additionally, the device also supports WAN and USB connectivity.
The device features a new UI7 user interface. This interface offers an overhauled method of managing devices, creating scenes and working with various Android and iOS applications. If you would like to create more complicated scenes, you may also use the web interface offered by the manufacturer.
9. HomeSeer HomeTroller Zee S2 – An Affordable Home Automation System
The HomeTroller Zee S2 home automation hub is among the most affordable and highly effective hubs today. With this hub, you can automate the various systems in your home, including the cameras, thermostats, lighting, audio and video, energy monitors, garage doors as well as water valves.
The HSTouch is an app from HomeSeer. It may be used with either Android or Apple devices to control the various home systems through this hub.
This hub allows for faster event creation by its users. In this regard, the hub uses full bloomed logic as well as a more simplified workflow. This capability, coupled with its improved event organization make this hub a preferred model by many home owners today. With the HomeTroller Zee, you can create an unlimited number of groups and have an unlimited number of events for each of the groups you have created.
The status view allows you to create graphical views of the home automation system as well as monitor the status of various devices included in the system. You could always check hub status via web browser. Since the hub applies Z-Wave communications protocol, it can support several Z-Wave networks and interfaces. If you have many systems you would like to automate in your home, you should consider buying this hub because it can support multiple networks.
Featuring a swift installation process, the Z-Stick Gen5 is a USB adapter that is self-powered. The device is manufactured by Aeon Labs and offers a convenient way of adding as well as removing devices to the network in a faster and easier manner. The Z-Stick may be used as a secondary controller to the home automation hub.
This is for the home owners looking for a more portable controller for their home automation system. It’s a small lightweight device with good range and USB static controller.
It Is Convenient to Setup and Use. Once the device is attached to the host processor, it serves as a reliable communications device. In this case, the Z-Stick exposes the Zensys API through the USB connectivity option. The device is specifically designed to assist the host processor manage the various Z-Wave devices in your home automation system using Z-Wave communications protocol.
Why Would You Want a Z-Wave Hub – Buyer’s Guide
A home automation system offers a more reliable as well as an easier way of controlling the various systems in your home, such as the HVAC, lighting, home access control, pool controls, spa controls, automated window treatments, home cinema and security systems, from a central point. Owing to technological advancements in the home automation industry, it is now possible to control such aspects of your home wirelessly. Among the most innovative technologies, in this regard, is the Z-Wave protocol. In recent years, this wireless communications protocol has become a common feature in home automation controllers.
With many manufacturers and Z-Wave hub types to choose from, getting the best can be an overwhelming task. In this regard, you need to consider such aspects as the functionality, accessories, flexibility and support options offered by the various Z-Wave hubs. Based on such considerations, here are reviews of five of the best hubs using the Z-Wave communications protocol.
What Types of Devices Can Z -ave Control?
Z Wave has a list of connectable devices that will great improve the convenience in your life. These types of Z Wave devices can control your lighting arrangement; from on/off commands to picking from a plethora of available color options.
They can also add a bit of security through smart locking systems, car starting devices, and can even activate your anti-theft protocols. Air conditioning and smart thermostats can even be controlled by Z Wave devices, so that you can easily adjust the comfort of your living space from anywhere in your home via Smartphone. Let’s take a more in-depth look at some great product types and devices that are compatible with Z Wave devices.
- Smart Power Strips – This is type of device is a Z-Wave connected power strip that will allow you to set profiles and even control timers. This functionality is typically controlled via a mobile application.
Some of these types of power strips even have a really useful feature that will allow you to bend and pivot the product at different angles, so that you have access to a bevy of useful shapes for storage purposes.
- Z-Wave Compatible Bulbs – These devices provide unique lighting choices for your home. The coloration of each bulb is completely customizable through a Smartphone application. This system uses light emitting diodes (LED) to grant access to a veritable myriad of unique shades.
- Smart Air Conditioners/ Thermostats – It’s great to know that when it gets too hot or too cold in your home that you can quickly change the room’s temperature without leaving your couch. Many of these types of Z-Wave devices have a simple bar that will allow you to slide the temperature to your preference.
Like any modern invention/concept these devices make our lives easier, but there are considerations that you should make before purchasing a Z-Wave controller.
- The technology is still new. As with any nascent tech, Z-Wave isn’t quite perfected, so know that you can experience technical issues with your devices from time to time.
- Take a look at the device capacity of any Z-Wave controller. The best Z-Wave hubs will be able to control a bevy of smart devices. Some units can even control up to 300 unique products simultaneously. When searching for a new controller, take a look at device capacity first; this way you’ll know whether your controller can interface with all of your smart home products.
- Z-Wave Mesh Fragility: This is a problem that some uses have reported about Z-Wave devices. If the unfortunate happens and your Z-wave controller is accidentally unplugged, some devices can be negatively affected by the sudden loss of signal. When this happens, it can be difficult to reset your smart home devices.
Home automation is a great realm of an invention that will only expand as designers think of more everyday objects to automate. Z-wave hubs are here to make our lives more comfortable and convenient.
While these are the best Z-wave hubs on the market today, we feel that the best of the pack is the Wink unit. This Wink product has one of the best app packages that will allow you to manage timers and communicate between devices; a great feature for any interconnected home.