On our most recent episode of the IoT Podcast, Gareth called in to our voicemail hotline with a question about his older Z-Wave switches. He’s using a Vera hub with about 30 devices and some of his switches are failing. Gareth also uses Google Home and is wondering if he should replace all of the switches with something more compatible.
While Vera’s smart home controllers are excellent, our recommendation is to swap out the switches with different radio technology. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Z-Wave in the smart home. However, we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel for Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), which we expect to bring scores of industry brands under common smart home standards. And for now, Project CHIP is using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Thread radio protocols.
So the recommendation is more a matter of future-proofing and less of saying one radio protocol is better than another in this case. And if possible, we recommend waiting if you can: The first Project CHIP products are due out in 2021.
Stacey is a big fan of Lutron’s line of switches and I can see why. They have a pleasing design and for lack of a better description, they just work. The downside is that you can expect to pay roughly $45 to $50 per switch if you go with Lutron, and you need a hub. That adds up for someone like Gareth who has 30 switches to replace.
That’s why I suggested going with less expensive Wi-Fi switches.
Clearly, Wi-Fi isn’t going away and we know Project CHIP will support them. They may not look as nice as the Lutron option but they’re a solid option for less. I’d consider switches from the C by GE line priced around $40 or from TP-Link, where a three-pack of basic switches will cost you $37.
To hear Gareth’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: