Z-Wave is a wireless home automation technology that has products available from many vendors (50+ on Vesternet). This means that whatever type of device or thing you would like to do, there will be a Z-Wave device available.
Z-Wave Lighting Control
There are a huge range of Z-Wave devices available to control every aspect of your lighting. It can change the look and feel of your lighting at a single button click - bringing true automation to your home's lighting.
What Z-Wave Offers
Z-Wave has a number of features that make it ideal for wireless home automation and lighting control.
All Z-Wave devices work in a system (sometimes called a network), at the heart of the system is the Z-Wave controller. All devices are 'added' to the system so that the controller can see them. You're then able to control and monitor them from a computer, phone or tablet. Sensors allow your lights be automatically activated on motion, temperature, light level and the time of day.
Two-way wireless communication
All commands and message are automatically acknowledged, so you always know if the light actually turned on - even if you can't see the light or even at home. If a message is not acknowledged it is repeated up to four times to ensure the message is received correctly.
Every device reports its status, so you always know which lights are On or Off, and at what brightness they're set at - even if someone manually changes them.
Z-Wave automatically repeats signals through mains-powered devices and decides on the best route for the signals to take. This helps eliminate dead-spots and enables it to cover a wider area (range).
Smartphone and Remote Access
The Z-Wave controller connects to your Wi-Fi Router allowing you to control the lights from a smartphone or tablet while you're at home or even away.
Scenes allow you to control a number of Z-Wave devices all as one group. The scene can set dimmers to different brightness levels and some devices On and others Off. So a movie scene could change the lighting so the main room lights turn off and the table lamps dim down to 20% (as well as turning on the TV and Blu-Ray).
Extendable - Z-Wave works with other systems
Z-Wave can easily work with other home automation system such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, IFTTT, Philips Hue, Nest etc. All the Z-Wave controllers have plugins that enable other systems to be used together with Z-Wave.
Nest - Have your Z-Wave lighting work with Nest smoke sensors and Heating control.
Amazon Alexa - Have Alexa control your lighting from your voice commands.
Apple Homekit - Control your Z-Wave Lights easily within the iOS 'Home' app.
Google Home - Integrated control from Google Home
Adding Z-Wave control to your lighting is straightforward. It uses standard lighting wiring, so there is no need to rewire your home. However, before going ahead, there are a few things to consider or double check.
2-Wire Lighting System (No Neutral)
The majority of lighting systems do not have neutral available at the light switch, we call this a '2-wire' system. It's important to check which system you have, as many products such as Z-Wave switches and relays must have neutral. If in doubt we always recommend using dimmers, as they can work in a 2-wire system. Check these guides for more information - Understanding 2-wire and 3-wire Lighting Systems and Why Z-Wave Switches need Neutral.
Back Box Depth
The Z-Wave modules, switches and dimmers are slightly deeper than standard light switches. We recommend that you use 45mm deep back-boxes to accommodate the Z-Wave component plus all the wiring. More information is in our Installing a Module application note.
This is an important point when looking to use Dimmers - they must be used with dimmable bulbs such as Incandescent, Halogen and LED. They cannot be used with non-dimmable bulbs such as CFL (Energy saving), fluorescent, or non-dimmable LEDs. Using the dimmers with non-dimmable bulbs can damage the dimmer and bulb. Z-Wave switches, relays and wall plugs can be used with any bulb type.
2-way and Multi-way Light Circuits
Generally Z-Wave switches and dimmers can easily be used in 2-way light circuits - these have one light circuit controlled by two (or more light) switches, such as a landing light that can be controlled from upstairs and downstairs. If you are looking to use a Z-Wave dimmer or switch module, you only need one module as this is a single circuit. Some other systems, such as LightwaveRF, need additional slave dimmers to be installed to work in a 2-way circuit. This is not the case for Z-Wave. More information about 2-way lighting is available in our Lighting Circuits Wiring guide.
Components - what they do
To add Z-Wave home automation control of your lighting you can start with as few as two components and expand your system from there. These are the products we've tested and believe work very well for lighting control.
Modules - Dimmers
The Z-Wave dimmers modules can be fitted behind a light switch, in the ceiling space, or anywhere that you have access to the lighting wiring. They are incredibly flexible, allowing you to control every aspect of your lighting. And, some dimmer modules work in a 2-wire system, making them ideal to fit behind any light switch.
Fibaro Dimmer 2 Module
Allows you to control the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 250W and can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the dimmer module. Does not need Neutral.
Qubino Flush Dimmer Plus
Allows you to control the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 140W and can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the dimmer module. Must have Neutral.
Qubino DIN Dimmer Plus
Installed into main circuit breaker box, controls the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 200W and can be controlled via Z-Wave. Must have Neutral.
Aeotec Nano Dimmer
Allows you to control the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 144W and can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the dimmer module. Does not need Neutral.
Fibaro RGBW Controller
Low voltage module (12/24V) to control multi-coloured LED strips (RGBW) or four separate circuits up to a total of 12A. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from manual switches or sensors wired to the module's inputs.
Qubino RGBW Dimmer Plus
Low voltage module (12/24V) to control multi-coloured LED strips (RGBW) or four separate circuits up to a total of 13A. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from manual switches or sensors wired to the module's inputs.
As you can see there are a variety of Z-Wave modules to choose from. We have a very good guide that can help you select the most suitable devices for your application - take a look at our Choosing a Z-Wave Module guide.
Z-Wave LED Bulbs
These can replace existing light bulbs - simply change to a Z-Wave bulb and you have control of your lighting via Z-Wave.
These can replace existing wall switches. But be careful - they need neutral, which is not available at the switch in most light systems, this is why we always recommend looking at Dimmer modules first (see above).
Aeotec Smart Switch 6
Stylish small plus that controls the lamp as well as measuring its power consumption.
Popp Dimmer Wall Plug
Great all purpose dimmer plug that is suitable for all types of dimmable bulb, including LEDs.
Fibaro Wall Plug Gen5
Gives you On/Off control of the lamp and measures the power consumption. It also includes an LED bezel that changes colour based on how much power it's using - perfect for a quick check.
The controller, sometimes called the hub or gateway, controls your Z-Wave system. It enables you to add and configure devices and to create and run 'scenes' that enable the system to do things automatically, such as turn on lights based on motion or time. The controller also allows remote access via the Internet or smartphone even when you are away from home.
Top-end VERA controller supporting Z-Wave, ZigBee and Bluetooth technologies, as well as having integrated 3G communication, siren and back-up batteries.
Flexible controller with an easy to follow User Interface (UI), supports Z-Wave, ZigBee and Bluetooth technologies.
Low cost, very capable Z-Wave controller with an easy to follow User Interface (UI).
Fibaro Home Center 2 (HC2)
Flexible Z-Wave controller with an intuitive User Interface (UI), dedicated panels for heating, alarms etc and advanced LUA programming capabilities.
Fibaro Home Center Lite (HCL)
Based on the same UI as the Home Center 2, but has a restricted feature set to offer a lower cost entry-level controller (see feature table for more details).
Athom Homey Smart Hub
Homey is a versatile controller with a really easy-to-use interface (UI). It features 7 other wireless technologies (like ZigBee and LightwaveRF) next to Z-Wave, and has an open platform for extended capabilities.
Homeseer Gateways and Software
Homeseer offer the most advanced home automation software and gateways available. The HS3 software is available to run on a Windows PC and is also included in all the Homeseer hardware gateways.
Indigo is the advanced smart home Software for Mac OS X, compatible with hundreds of Z-Wave and other smart devices. Over 100 plugins to other devices make it the most powerful software solution available for Mac.
nCube Home Controller
Smart Home Controller and App integrates support for Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Sonos, Philips Hue, Nest and many more.
Piper Z-Wave Controllers
The Piper Z-Wave Controllers include a camera and integrated motion, temperature, humidity, sound and light sensors giving you an all-in-one smart home solution.
Cloud-based controllers featuring an intuitive user interface and 'rule-creator' scene builder and unique range of expansion modules.