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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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Z-Wave Relay modules allow you to turn lights On and Off. They must have neutral.
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.
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).
Z-Wave wall plugs simply plug into the wall socket and quickly give you Z-Wave control of lamps or other appliances. Wall plugs are available in Switch (On/Off), Dimmer and Power monitoring versions.
We have a wide range of Z-Wave Wall Plugs available, be sure to check out our Choosing a Z-Wave Wall Plug guide.
The Inline switches can be wired into any lamp cable, giving you quick and easy wireless control.
We have a huge range of Z-Wave sensors, way too many to many to list here, but all can be used to automatically control your lighting.
Take a look at the full range of Z-Wave Sensors.
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.
For more information take a look at our How to Choose a Z-Wave Controller Guide.
These guides and videos show how these various systems can be integrated with Vesternet's home automation products.