On this week’s episode of the IoT Podcast, we received a voicemail from Monty, who is just getting started with his smart home and is looking for a hub that supports Z-Wave devices. There are several options available, ranging from simple plug-and-play choices to others that require a little more know-how and effort.
For starters though, we suggest that Monty make sure he really needs Z-Wave radio support at all. Why? There’s a growing trend for hubless devices that only work with “the big two” radios: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That’s mainly because these are the most widely known and used, and because they don’t need a traditional hub. Additionally, smart home devices with these radios typically work with Google Home and Amazon Echo devices.
If Z-Wave is a must though, your first look should probably be either a Samsung SmartThings or a Wink Hub 2. Both of these support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Z-Wave, not to mention Zigbee too. They’re also relatively easy to use for both controlling and automating smart home devices. We’re fans of Wink but there are plenty of positive recommendations for SmartThings.
Hubitat makes a local hub but it only natively supports Zigbee and Z-Wave radios,
providing you with the widest range of support smart home devices. You can use it with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices but it doesn’t connect directly to devices with them. It also differs from SmartThings and Wink in two ways: All data and automation actions are handled locally on the hub so none of your data goes to the cloud, and it’s better suited for those who don’t mind spending more time and effort to set up automation rules. For that reason, if this is your first foray into smart home hubs, we’d stick with Wink or SmartThings.
Another option if you only want Z-Wave support is Fibaro’s Home Center 2. I wouldn’t think this particular case is what Monty is looking for because it’s limited solely to a single radio, but it’s worth the mention. To hear Monty’s question and our discussion in full, tune in below to this week’s IoT Podcast Hotline segment.
Updated on 4/8/2019 to reflect that Hubitat does not speak directly to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices.