We all know that setting up a complete Home Automation system can be quite expensive. Most people want to test out things first before they spend a big amount of money only to realize later that the gadgets don’t properly work in their environment . You might have noticed the price tags of some devices in our review of the best z wave controllers. Of course these home automation controllers are a must have if you want to do some serious automation with a wide range of different devices and protocols. Moreover they provide a huge amount of different functionalities and features that justify the costs. But if you don’t know what home automation protocol to choose yet and want to dive deeper into the intricacies of orchestrating your home – buying a cheap Z-Wave USB adapter might be the perfect option for you. These sticks turn your ordinary pc into a fully customizable Z-Wave controller. You have full control of what it does and when to execute which function. Provided you are at least a bit tech savvy and know some basic coding – but if you are surfing this site chances are high that you are probably a tech enthusiast living the Tony Stark Life.
Tips: How to get started with a Z-Wave USB Stick/Adapter
Of course, having the hardware is only one side of the story because you will need some corresponding software, too. One option is to resort to a feature rich commercial product like the HomeSeer HS3 which starts at a price of $250 for the regular version and $600 for the professional version. But chances are that you first want to try something inexpensive before spending too much on high end software and hardware. Luckily there are two open source projects that we recommend to try out with your Z-Wave USB Stick (provided you are going to buy it).
A complete home automation software that works with all major protocols and is very similar to the software developed by Homeseer. You can cover a lot of different use cases and create your own scenarios. Moreover user control interfaces are available for iOS and Android devices as well as a web interface that works with any devices using modern web browsers.
2. Open ZWave
A more technical project aimed at people who like to program. It provides C++ wrappers for the Z-Wave protocol and allows for low-level interaction with it. A deeper technical understanding is required compared to OpenRemote.
Below you will find a list of short reviews of the best Z-Wave USB sticks based on experiences from other users and forum reviews.
Our Winner: AEON Labs Z Stick Vers 2
As always we begin with the product that it is in our eyes the most complete one and therefore a good candidate for being the best z wave usb stick. If you look at the recent customer reviews of this stick at amazon.com you will almost only find five star ratings giving you a good guess at the quality. There is not much you can do wrong in buying the AEON Labs Z Stick to get your feet wet in home automation.
- Works with Open Z-Wave
- Certified for OpenRemote
- Very reliable
TrickleStar 300ZW-US-W USB
Tricklestar is mostly known for their advanced power strips and energy monitors. They recently started to gain some momentum in the ZWave scene by producing a USB adapter although their marketing of the product isn’t very good. It is actually pretty hard to find this product not to mention the absence of the stick on the Tricklestar website.
Please note that there are different models for the US and EU market due to the different frequencies Z-Wave operates on. Our link brings you directly to the US version.
- Works with Open Z-Wave
- Nice minimalistic design
- Virtually non-existant documentation