5 best Z-wave hubs: ultimate reviews and buying tips
Having a smart home with voice-activated lights, smart thermostats, and even locks is the latest trend in home design. If you want to upgrade your home and still keep things as simple as possible, you will need a Z-Wave hub.
This device will allow you to control all of the smart items from one single interface. Have a look in the next sections to check out the best Z-Wave Hubs of this year and find out more information about these devices!
1. Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation
- Compatible with more than 40 brands
- Easy to use and setup
- Samsung is reliable and frequently updates its products
- Affordable price range
REASONS TO AVOID
- The app could have more features
Samsung SmartThings is a bestseller that comes at an attractive price and embeds quite some features. It can connect wirelessly and is compatible with more than 40 brands of smart devices, including cameras, voice assistants, sensors, lights, switches, and many others.
You can teach the hub your routines when you wake up, leave home, or go to sleep in order to turn the devices automatically on and off throughout the day. If there is any unexpected activity registered in your home, Samsung SmartThings will send alerts to your phone.
The hub can be voice-controlled and is extremely easy to set up, primarily due to the enhanced onboard guide for a quick DIY set up. A great feature of this hub over many other models is that it supports wireless connection; thus, you can position it centrally; the previous generation of Samsung SmartThings could only be connected via Ethernet cable.
The Samsung SmartThings might be the best choice you could make since it can be connected to more than 40 brands of smart devices, including thermostats, doorbells, cameras, lights and switches, door locks and many others.
However, like any new, work-in-progress product, the hub’s app for smartphones might not be fully developed to add plenty of functionality. Still, Samsung is well-known for its reliability regarding frequent updates to devices.
2. Wink Hub 2
- User-friendly interface and easy to use the app
- Both wired and wireless connectivity
- Supports Z-Wave and other protocols
- More than 400 devices supported
REASONS TO AVOID
- Does not have a battery backup
- Quite pricey compared to other models
Wink Hub 2 is a smart hub compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, but also with more than 400 smart home devices. The hub can be controlled via a smartphone app, in which you can establish shortcuts that allow you to turn off all the lights and even link different functions, such as turning up the thermostat when the door is unlocked.
If you are looking for a smart hub that supports the most protocols, Wink Hub 2 is a perfect choice. It can be used with Z-Wave, Bluetooth LE, Zigbee, Kidde, and Lutron Clear Connect. What is more, you can either use 5Ghz Wi-Fi or Ethernet port.
The product has a sleek design, and it is incredibly user-friendly. For instance, it automatically pairs up with new items. The Wink Hub 2 is a comprehensive hub, and it can easily control multiple devices from the easy-to-use smartphone app, wherever you are.
3. Hubitat Elevation Home Automation Hub
- Can be used without an internet connection
- Compatible with numerous devices
- Frequent updates ensure continuous development of features
- Supports both Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols
- Easy to use and reliable
REASONS TO AVOID
- Local access only means that you can manage the system only from the LAN
Hubitat is one of the breakthroughs on the market as it minimizes the dependency on the cloud by combining local automation processing and cloud connectivity. This employs that the product does not require an internet connection to function, so it minimizes the latency and delays often associated with unstable connections.
The hub is compatible with numerous devices, including smoke and water detectors, lights, speakers, locks, sensors, and many more. It supports both Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols, and it has excellent management of automation, devices, and rules that allow you to customize your smart home to your liking.
It also comes with a mobile app for Android and iOS that allows easy setup and control of the hub. One drawback, however, is that it only connects to the local area network (LAN) via Ethernet cable. Thus, all the management needs to be done locally.
4. Universal Devices Home Automation Controller Smart Hub
- Endless programming abilities
- Works straight out of the box
- Can add extra modules
- A thriving community that offers support and information
REASONS TO AVOID
- Might be too complicated for someone
If you are looking for ultimate versatility, the Universal Devices Home Automation controller smart hub needs to go straight to your shortlist. It is an intelligent system for home automation with a built-in event-based system and other characteristics that secure your data and configurations even in case of internet downtimes. It is perhaps the most powerful and flexible system that allows for endless tweaking and customization; this is certainly not the regular hub for casual use.
It is compatible with Amazon Echo, and it can control numerous devices and applications. Some of the most popular features of this model include the ability to turn lights on and off, brighten or dim the lights, check whether the front door is locked, increase/decrease the thermostat temperature, and adjust devices by variables.
It is controlled through a smartphone app available for both iPhone and Android. The interface is straightforward, simple, and can be used from any location. Its best feature is the endless programming and tweaking that allows for plenty of settings, even controlling your pool pump or irrigation system according to the weather.
On the other hand, some of the software modules need to be purchased additionally; they incur one-time costs, such as the weather/climate module, while Alexa integration and full remote access have yearly expenses. These extra charges are supplementary, and the hub works right out of the box.
5. Vera Control VeraSecure Advanced Smart Home Security Controller Hub
- Highly reliable as it does not work on cloud services
- Controls more than 200 sensors and devices
- Easy, one-touch controls for lights, door, thermostat and more
- Backup battery included
REASONS TO AVOID
- Quite pricey
Vera Control is ideal for anyone who wants simplicity and one-touch control settings. It is compatible with most brands and models, and it can turn off and on the lights, lock the door, change the temperature, and many more. It can control over 200 sensors in your home with one single touch. It embeds user-friendly wizards to get you started in no time.
Despite the simplicity of this system, it can also be customized to add as many features as you’d like. For instance, you can check on your home when you are away on vacation, see your pets when you are not home, receive a text when your child comes back home, and much more. It supports four different protocols, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Bluetooth BLE, and Zigbee.
This product has all it takes to become the brain of your house, offering quick and easy control of your dimmers, alarms, sprinklers, cameras, lights, and more than 200 other devices.
Another great feature is that it has no reliance on cloud services, which can be proven unstable from time to time. All the operations run on the hub, which means that your system works even through internet downtimes.
Z-Wave hubs are innovative devices that control your smart home. They can bring together the controls for lights, door locks, pool controls, even window controls, and security systems.
This is one of the most innovative technologies up-to-date, but there is no need to worry if you do not know your way around it for now.
We put together critical pieces of information to help you choose the best model of the Z-Wave hub for your home and your needs.
What types of devices can you control with Z-Wave?
First of all, it is necessary to understand what Z-Wave is–for a short breakdown of this topic, and you could check out this short YouTube Video that discusses the basics of home automation.
Among others, Z-wave is a protocol that allows you to connect and control devices regarding lighting, smart locking systems, and can even come with anti-theft systems.
Other examples of compatible commands include air conditioning and intelligent thermostats. Most people agree that Z-Wave is an excellent technology that improves our lives.
What should you consider when buying a Z-Wave controller?
That being said, the concept of Z-wave hubs seems easy to grasp, in that it will help you automate your home and control many processes. Here is a short breakdown of what you should look for when buying a Z-Wave controller:
When you consider purchasing the Z-Wave hub, make sure that you own or plan to purchase devices that also use the same protocol. If you have multiple devices that use different communication protocols, your hub also needs to run with different ones, not only Z-Wave. Our review section above considers hubs that support different protocols for your convenience.
This is another excellent feature that you should look for in your new Z-Wave hub. Integration refers to the technology integration between Z-Wave and other systems, such as the voice-controlled Amazon Echo. This will help you control the smart devices across the house by telling Alexa to sort them out on your behalf.
Cloud or Local?
The first thing we think of when we say ‘smart home’ is the internet. But, how about a model that functions even when the internet is down? There are proponents of both sides, but it is still a new concept that has yet to be improved.
If you are concerned with the privacy of your home, a model such as the Hubitat reviewed in the section above might be a great option. One the other hand, if you want more complex features, an Internet connection will be able to support more intricate functions.
What should I keep in mind before buying a Z-Wave hub?
Z-Wave hubs and the technology itself is relatively new. While a smart home boosts convenience and makes our life much more comfortable, there are some considerations to keep in mind before making the investment.
For instance, you should expect some technical issues with your system now and then, considering that the technology is not perfect for now – and, for some, technical support also lacks.
What is more, most users tend to report that the mesh is quite fragile. In case you unplug your Z-wave by mistake, your devices can be affected by this loss of signal. In this scenario, it can be difficult to reset the devices and get the system back up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will Z-Wave slow down my Wi-Fi connection?
Z-Wave operates on a different frequency compared to Wi-Fi; thus, it will not interfere with it. Even though you might be required to plug in the smart hub into the Wi-Fi router, it will control your other devices using a different frequency.
Q. Is it expensive to have a smart home?
Depending on your preferences and expectations, you can turn your home into a smart one with any budget.
The cost depends on how many devices you want to install and use; it is recommended to start with only a few of them and, as you get used to their functionality, add more devices.
For instance, investing in the devices for a smart lock and smart lights will not be a few hundred dollars; extend this system at your own pace, whenever you are ready.
Q. Are Z-Wave devices secure?
Each device comes with a unique ID, which means that your neighbors’ hub will not control your devices. What is more, when it comes to enhanced security, such as for door locks, Z-Wave hubs usually employ AES128 encryption, a security measure that is also used by major banks to secure financial information.
All in all, home automation is the next technological step that brings us a life of comfort and convenience. Most everyday objects are ready to be turned into smart devices that will come to life as soon as you say the words.
If you still have a hard time deciding which one is the best, we recommend Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation as the best choice for now.
As the technology has yet to be perfected, Samsung might come with a fantastic community ready to help, a user-friendly interface, and they are highly likely to develop their devices through frequent updates. Already on their third generation of this hub, the company has a reputation in creating and developing their devices to provide the users with the best experiences.