Top 4 Z-Wave Controllers (No.1 will surprise you)

The market for Z-Wave controllers can be a bit overwhelming at first glance but we compiled a comprehensive list of the most suitable controllers for being the central component of a majority of home automation systems. We created a short review of every product to summarize the most important key points. We will also guide you through the process of pairing different protocols in another tutorial soon. Most of these controllers already support multiple automation protocols which are the foundation for pairing a vast number of various devices and brands.

Our friends from are now providing us with a state-of-the-art dynamic list of the best products. Below this iframe you will find our old blog post, but we now recommend this new list as it represents the current market more accurately.


Choosing the right Z-Wave Controller is not an easy decision. There are three main questions you should ask yourself:

1. How many devices do or will I need to control?
2. How many different Home Automation Protocols do or will I need to combine?
3. How much freedom do I want to have in terms of customization and orchestration

If you only have Zwave devices in your possession and don’t need complex scenarios you will be happy to hear that any controller in this list will suffice. You should have a look at the design and the user interface of the corresponding apps to narrow down your decision.

If you have a lot of different devices that are using various protocols you will need to resort to a controller that supports multiple protocols and therefore will be the glue to hold your complete infrastructure together.

Anyway, feel free to have a detailed look at the reviews of our candidates below.

Our Winner: Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation – Now Compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home

This thing is indeed smart and supports ZigBee, Z-Wave and WiFi devices. The combination of these 3 protocols is absolutely future proof since we consider them as the three technologies that will play the most important role for the Home Automation market in the upcoming years.

3rd generation is updated in terms of connectivity as it is now a wireless version. This means you will no longer have to plug the Hub into your router via an Ethernet cable to be able to control it with other devices connected to the same network. You can just connect via WiFi.

The Samsung SmartThings Hub improved its sensitivity as it implemented upgrades into the motion sensor, multipurpose sensor, smart outlet and even added a water leak sensor.

On the top of its improvement, it is now compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home. 

The Samsung SmartThings Hub will present you with a very well designed web interface that is very easy to use. The nice clean and minimalistic device should seamlessly fit into any home.
The fact that it is currently the Nr.1 Best Seller for Home Automation Controllers at Amazon speaks for itself.


  • Very simple to install
  • Nice design
  • Nice and modern interface
  • Beautiful smartphone apps
  • Supports ZigBee, Z-Wave and WiFi
  • Compatible with Amazon Echo and Google Home
  • Doesn’t need Ethernet cable for connection
  • Very low price tag

The New Top Contender: Wink Hub 2

Wink Hub 2

Tested in 2018: The Wink Hub 2 in 2018 works even better than in 2018. After a range of new software updates and tweaks, the Wink Hub 2 is an extremely easy to use customer product that also allows for a touch more professional control and functionality compared to its top contender the Samsung SmartThings. 

The Wink Hub 2 is the second iteration of the smart hub of the same name. Released in the fourth quarter of 2016, the device offers impressive specs and is a huge improvement over its predecessor. The Wink Hub 2 comes at an affordable price and is packed with both wired Ethernet and dual-band Wi-Fi support. The sleek and stylish new design is enough to catch the eye, what makes the hub worthwhile in the eyes of a common user. Yet, the biggest strength of the device lies in its user-friendly app and the ease of installation. Another huge selling point of the hub is its support of all major protocols, including Z-Wave and Zigbee. The Wink Hub 2 also supports a few more obscure protocols, such as Kiddie, Lutron and Clear Connect. Another great feature of the device is its Amazon Alexa and IFTTT support.


  • Supports All Major Protocols (and a few obscure ones)
  • Clean and Sleek Design
  • User-Friendly App
  • Easy to Install
  • Very Affordable Price Tag


  • Doesn’t come with Battery Backup

(Still) The Cool Kid: VeraPlus Z-Wave Controller

VeraPlus Controller

Throughout the previous two years, Vera Control made further efforts to become a market leader in smart home tech. One of our previous top contenders on the top Z-Wave controller list, the first generation of VeraEdge quickly became obsolete with the release of the more secure Z-Wave Plus protocol, prompting the innovative brand to release a new product. Yet, also answering to the different needs on the market, Vera Control released not one, but three successive product in the face of the Vera Edge, the Vera Plus and the Vera Secure. The three options come at different price points, depending on the specific needs of the potential market. The Edge is a second iteration of the product with the same name with the most notable change being the design. For the most part, it works for most smart home enthusiasts, who are dedicated to the Z-Wave protocol. Allowing for ZigBee and Bluetooth connectivity, making the total number of communication protocols up to 4, the VeraPlus is the most obvious choice for buyers as it combines a decent price with functionality. The VeraSecure is the premium option, allowing for up to 5 communication protocols and more than 200 connected devices, while also increasing the security via VeraLink, Alarm System and adding a Siren, Microphone and speaker for 2-way communication.

Unfortunately, all three devices require quite the deeper understanding of hardware, for those who want to use their functionality at full capacity. While with the latest software updates and throughout their respective ecosystems both the Wink Hub 2 and the Samsung SmartThings are extremely intuitive and rather stable devices to use, this can’t really be seen withe the VeraEdge line of products. Yet, there is a lot of potential there and we would love to see some tweaks and fixes implemented in a future generation of the product.


  • Z-Wave Plus
  • Rather Simple to Install
  • Modern design
  • A Great line of Buyer’s Choice


  • Stability Issues
  • Not as easy to use

Pro Tip: HomeSeer HomeTroller S6


Tested in 2018: The HomeSeer is much like the Ferrari of Z-Wave controllers. Not to irritate “Ferarri” brand owners, but things come down to the fact that the HomeSeer is an extremely functional device that still kicks capacitors around, but unfortunately at this point it is in a major need of an update. 

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Last but not least, the Ferrari of Z-Wave controllers. The HomeSeer HomeTroller S6 does come with a high price tag but for a reason. Apart from Z-Wave this controller can be upgraded with interfaces for ALL major protocols like Insteon, UPB, X10 and more. Attention: By default the controller is not shipped with a Z-Wave hardware interface. You will need to purchase it separately. But the good news is , its not very expensive:

The S6 is the ideal device if you have a bunch of different devices and want to streamline that fragmentation with one single access point. It also supports all kinds of Android and iOS devices which means you can control everything with your phone. And by everything we mean Lighting, Thermostats, Door Locks, Audio/Video, Security, Irrigation and more. Home owners can access the HomeTroller S6 at home or via the cloud with just about any smartphone, tablet or table-top touchscreen. The free standard cloud-based “myHomeSeer Remote” service provides easy remote access without storing your sensitive data in the cloud.
Needless to say that the HomeTroller also supports complete voice control, turning your home into the command & control center of Tony Stark. And to be honest , this is why we are looking into home automation anyway, right? Jarvis , one coffee please.


  • Supports all major protocols
  • Z-Wave Plus
  • Voice Control
  • Very good support
  • No monthly fees
  • HomeSeer is the market leader in Home Automation


  • High price tag
  • Hardware interfaces for the protocols are sold separately

The Verdict

In most cases the SmartThings Hub is the right choice. It struggles a bit when it comes to customization and the ability to create complex scenarios. However, the Plug & Play nature of the beautifully designed device will appeal to a majority of users.

For those of you who need a bit more freedom and like to tinker a bit with technology will be very happy with the VeraLite. It allows for scripting and the creation of complex event triggered scenarios.

Who is still not happy with the features of the VeraLite might need the Hometroller S6, which is a device for people who only want the best of the best. It is based on years of experience of the leader in Home Automation – HomeSeer. It will give you even more possibilities in terms of orchestration and the combination of different home automation protocols and devices.

Previous candidates for top Z-Wave controller (older generation products) 

We have significantly updated our list and tried to represent the general consent of the majority of home automation users and what they think of the different controllers. However, there are still other devices that are worth to be mentioned here , although they might didn’t get much attention yet from the consumer base. Be aware that this is just a personal opinion and perhaps the Zipabox for example is exactly what you want. That’s why we kept the links to in place in case you want to have a look at the product in detail.

VeraEdge Z-Wave Controller

VeraEdge Home Controller

We already wrote about the newest product release from Vera Control in one of our news articles. The new VeraEdge is available for purchase and succeeds the “old” VeraLite.  It uses the newest Z-Wave technology called “Z-Wave Plus” which offers a lot of advancements including longer battery life, faster operation, better RF coverage and easier installation. Moreover it supports up to 220 devices on one network which is 4 times the number of devices the VeraLite supports. A Smartphone app lets you monitor every connected device on the go. Vera Control has also tweaked the hardware specs of the controller but still kept the price relatively low. Incase you have any problems the support community at the micasaverde forums always offers valuable help and can answer frequently asked questions. October, 2017 Update: This hub handles extremely well a few years after its release. In fact, it has become one of the top contenders in the industry.


  • Z-Wave Plus
  • Very simple to install
  • Simple design
  • Nice and modern interface


  • Supports only Z-Wave

Nexia Z-Wave Bridge

Nexia Z-Wave Smart Home Bridge
Nexia Z-Wave Smart Home Bridge

Nexia is another great hardware option, that would be wonderful, if it wasn’t for the cost. Released under the Nexia brand, the Z-Wave Smart Home Bridge is extremely easy to install and serves as the central hub for your system. All you have to do is plug it in, connected with the app and you’d be good to go. With energy management and security being the two top priorities of the brand, it is one of the best choices for remote home control, perfect for vacation homes. In addition, it’s mesh network support allows you to connect up to 200 devices in the same network. The only true downside is that while the hardware is relatively affordable, the costs can quickly accumulate up, as using the device requires a monthly subscription.


  • Supports Connection of up to 200 Z-Wave Devices
  • Easy mesh network setup
  • User-Friendly App
  • Easy to Install
  • Very Affordable Price Tag (of the hardware)


  • Requires a Monthly Subscription

Zipato Zipabox

Zipabox Z-Wave Home Automation Controller

This Z Wave Controller has a very unique design but also very sophisticated technology. It has been created by the Romanian Company Zipato which is not yet very well known amongst home automation users yet but this could probabaly change with this product.  Like the VeraLite controller the Zipabox also uses a Cloud Interface to store configuration data,schedules and timers. In order to function properly the controller therefore needs constant internet access and connectivity to the Zipato servers. Btw, after several complaints about the network connectivity of their own managed servers Zipato has switched to Amazon based Cloud Servers which has hugely improved the stability of the service resulting in an overall quality jump of the ZipaBox. The cloud based web interface makes it also possible to connect with every device that has internet access and a modern browser. Nowadays this should include all smartphones and tables making it possible to manage your home automation on the go. If the web interface doesn’t feel really appealing you can also switch to the iOS or Android Apps that have been developed for the Zipabox. It also supports other protocols than Z-Wave with the help of extension modules.


  • Very simple to install
  • Nice and modern interface
  • Can be extended to support multiple protocs


  • Higher price tag
  • Design looks a bit cheap

Mi Casa Verde VeraLite

VeraLite Z Wave Controller
MiCasa Verde Veralite

October 2017 Update: This device is no longer officially supported. Although available for purchase through Vera’s official website, the company has shifted its focus towards its newest products. Nevertheless, we still decided to retain it as a honorable mention, due to its usability in 2017. 

Note 01-12-2014: Due to the release of the new VeraEdge the price of its predecessor VeraLite has dropped.  It is still a very viable option for people who don’t need the new features of its successor including Z Wave Plus and the support for more nodes. But we guess the 50 devices that the VeraLite supports are more than enough for most home automation use cases.

The Vera Product Range is well known amongst Z-Wave users. This very sophisticated controller also adds the possibility to control all connected devices with your smartphone provided they are connected to the same network. The energy monitor supports you in optimizing your monthly costs and cutting your energy bill. Moreover the Mi Casa Verde community has become quite big which makes it easier to find questions for your problems in their support forums.


  • Very simple to install
  • Nice design
  • Nice and modern interface
  • Very low price tag


  • Supports only Z-Wave

Revolv Smart Home Automation Solution

Revolv Smart Home Automation Solution

Update January 2015: This device was once the most promising Home Automation controller in our list with both offering state-of-the-art smartphone and desktop apps as well as providing the support for 7 (3) major protocols. But as we already mentioned in our introduction, things went a different way. Nest bought this company and the Smart Home Hub is basically abandoned right now. There is no support from the manufacturer anymore and the activation of the 4 additional radios will most likely never happen. We are very sure that Nest will release a beast of a controller in the near future with the acquired technology, but for now they have left an angry customer base behind, which is reflected by the most recent reviews for the Smart Home Hub on amazon. Perhaps they will even continue support for it in a couple of months. No one knows for sure right now, and if you are willing to take the risk and are happy with the features the Hub offers right now, you can still purchase used ones on amazon for a reasonable price.

This nice little gadget was designed to bring order to the home automation jungle. The Revolv Hub is currently able to talk not only to Z-Wave devices but also to Insteon and Wi-Fi devices. An upcoming firmware update will add ZigBee to the club while Revolv promises that this won’t be the last protocol supported by the Smart Home Automation Solution since the controller already has 7 different radios built inside which just need to be activated by the aforementioned software updates. Ever dreamt of pairing your Philips Hue Wireless Lighting with your Nest Smart Thermostat by only using one controller? Revolv’s solution will make your dream come true. It is also one of the very few devices that support Z-Wave and Insteon.


  • Very simple to install
  • Nice and modern interface
  • Supports Z-Wave, Insteon and WiFi


  • Higher Price Tag

Update October 2018: Samsung SmartThings Hub 2nd Generation is replaced by Samsung SmartThings Hub 3rd Generation in the table and in the article. Note: Updates are underlined for easier traceability.

Update June 2018: Added two categories (New Generation Products, Old Generation Products) to better reflect the Z-Wave controller market conditions of 2018. The list was also updated with to feature the newest generations of some products on the list. 

22 Replies to “Top 4 Z-Wave Controllers (No.1 will surprise you)”

  1. Major diff between smarthings hub and Vera Lite is smarthings you have to pay monthly fee to get the features you may really want, where as the vera lite there is no monthly fee to use it.

    1. Sorry no monthly fee, but yes you have to have your hub connected to the internet, if their server goes down or your internet goes down.. well yah hello problems. One of the reasons i did not go with their hub was due to this, I told them at no point should my hub need to have a hole in my firewall to connect to them to make it work, that is dumb dumb dumb. This sounds like a get them hooked charge them for additional cool things later type of switch gimmick. What if the company goes bankrupt they close website and now your 99 dollar hub is useless.

      1. Hello Iowa,

        yes I think the Cloud technology is what divides the customer base. Some love it – the others hate it. Always depends on your personal preference, if you want to have access to all features from everywhere (perhaps suited for people who travel a lot) , or if you want to shield your home automation network from the outside.

        Thanks for your comment.

      2. Dude, you don’t need to connect to them, just build your vpn and get into your network without going over their website. You can even block your vera from going to the internet completely.

        1. Charles,

          I’m interested in finding integrating vpn into a smart home security and automation system. Any suggestions on where I could find this kind of information?

          1. Darren, just in case you haven’t received an update yet, several routers will allow you to make a VPN connection. The setup can be tricky, but it’s worth it. Another, much simpler option is to use something like Chrome Remote Desktop or TeamViewer. These two pieces of software will actually give you full remote control of your computer. Windows also has its own Remote desktop feature, but Chrome is the easiest to use.

  2. Martin – Many thanks for including us in the article. As you’ve indicated, our controllers tend to be a bit more expensive than those from many competing companies. This is due, in large part, to fundamental differences in design. HomeTrollers are powerful stand-alone controllers that leverage the internet for remote access only. Most competing “smart hubs” are internet-dependent devices that store your sensitive data in the cloud and rely on the cloud for all automation and access. With these systems, an internet outage results in a “brain-dead” home!

    A couple quick product comments

    1 – HomeTroller S4 (and S5) have been discontinued and were replaced by the S6 last fall. This new unit includes a faster dual-core processor, twice the RAM, embedded Windows 7 and comes in at just $899.95 for the standard version (PRO version is also less expensive at $1,199.95. The S6 includes a full complement of USB and Serial ports for using with scores of technologies and interfaces.

    2 – HomeTroller-SEL was also introduced last Fall, retailing for $399.95 (699.95 for PRO version). This compact unit also includes a dual core processor, 3 USB ports and runs on Linux. As with the S6, SEL units are compatible with a wide range of technologies.

    3 – HomeTroller Zee S2 is slated for release this quarter and compared to the original version, will have a faster processor, double the RAM and include a built-in 500 series (Z-Wave Plus) interface. Pricing will remain $199.95.

    For more information about these, please check out our website – Thanks!

    1. Hello Mark,

      thanks for this official statement from Homeseer. We will incorporate this information in one of the next updates of this article! Thanks again.

    2. Mark,

      The HomeTroller Zee S2 looks like a great device! Is it free to access remotely via the Android app? I am building a vacation beach cottage and would like to be able to access cameras, thermostat, etc. remotely. I would also like to receive motion sensor alerts via text message. Is this all really free – no monthly service charge?

      Thank you.

  3. New to automation but interested in the wireless remote home door locks.
    While reviewing a couple of installtion & setup manuals, anti-theft enabled controller was mentioned that would enhance the locks security.
    Searching the internet resulted in very poor results including inadequate definition of this reature & manufacturers defining this function in their devices.
    Any ideas on this topic?

    1. Thanks for your comment Cabrio. It is true that Smart Door Locks gain more and more momentum in the world of the Smart Home. We plan to dig deeper into the security details of these Door Locks and want to publish a very comprehensive guide soon. Currently what comes closest to being a nice guideline is this article from gizmodo : . Hope this helps for now.

  4. I would like to point out that the vera lite does support zigbee and insteon making it compatible with all major protocols.

    for the person with the door lock security question I have read a lot about the door locks and actually have 2 of the quickset zwave locks. They work great and are easy to setup but one thing is the batteries only last about 6-months to a year in them which is disappointing but when you think about it is a motorized lock so I guess that is bad. On security I feel in my opinion that they are good because I look at the them as keeping people from just walking into the house if someone wants to get in they will break the side light glass next to the door and unlock it.

    The nice thing about the door locks is I have my Vera-lite setup to notify me of the door being unlocked if I am away from the house which in my mind is better than anything because if the door unlocks and no one is in the house I can call the police from anywhere and have them check it out.

  5. Sebastien Tardif says: Reply

    As of May 2017 you can still not add devices using Vera Android app.

  6. Your reviews of the hubs need to include the android/ios app. The smartThings app is a disaster waiting to happen.

    I just need to be able to turn on lights when I come home after dark. Every time they silently up date the app, I loose everything. I don’t find out until I try to turn the lights on so I can park safely.

  7. Hi Ahmad,

    Thank you for taking the time to write a comment on our article. Although, we are not exactly fond of your phrasing and definitions, we appreciate the feedback.

    We understand that some readers skim through the articles, but did you manage to check out our statement of the HomeSeer? We specifically addressed the issue that the Z-Wave module is sold separately.

    It is a ‘pro tip’ not a winner for that exact purpose and the reason it is included is that it is still one of the most powerful hubs that support Z-Wave currently on the market.

    Granted, we would have to update our article further to note further changes in the market in the recent months, but we try to do our best to keep our audience informed.

    Thank you again for your comment and we appreciate the feedback.

  8. As an IT pro and having tried the Vera years ago – it was clear then that this was bleeding edge tech – simply not worth trying as the end result far too unreliable.

    Having looked at the responses for the sales of these new devices – it seems that we ares still in bleeding edge tech – if these devices are not reliable and do not have an auto-reset to fix drop out issues – then the whole point of them is, well pointless. This is a shame as there are real reasons to use these systems – but reliability is absolutely essential.

  9. Stefanie Gubler says: Reply

    I have a Kwikset deadbolt, Dimmer module, 2 door contacts, Appliance module and a micro module. I did have a few days there when my dead bolt had the error “Can’t Detect” but after a few days it went away and it’s been fine since then. No other problems come to mind right now. All has been good. I have been reading here that their has been a lot of problems. Why do some have more problems than others? Could the number of devices or type of devices on the Vera Plus causing issues for some and not others?

    1. We are not certain why this is the case. The type of device can definitely cause some issues, as currently the biggest hurdle in making everything “connect” is device support from the manufacturer side. (This PC hardware drivers, a few years back, if I plugged in a non-standard keyboard, Windows might have had trouble detecting and utilizing it properly) … Even though a far-stretch of a comparison, sometimes issues can arise from incompatibility and lack of support of particular devices (despite all of them supporting the same wireless protocol) …

      Alawys make sure that you have the latest firmware installed … and make sure that you are actually connecting the devices via Z-Wave and not via Wi-Fi … some devices have a “default” setting of connecting over Wi-Fi and this can cause an “overload” so to speak to the WiFi signals causing you issues within the smart devices in your home and their connectivity.

      Anyways, we’re glad you have managed to sort out your issues. Thanks for the comment!


  10. Our reviews are not perfect. We try to update them as soon as something new hits the radar, but at this point, we believe the list is quite informative. Sorry to hear you feel like we’ve ignored some of the features of the Vera Plus … In fact, the reason why we went with VeraEdge, instead of the Plus is because the only notable difference between the two is that the Plus supports ZigBee and Bluetooth, yet costs twice as much. I’ll update the article to clarify the now inacurate information about the number of supported devices (the manufacturer have switched their controller strategy and now offer three different options at a different price range). The truth is, we feel Wink and SmartThings are better, due to the ecosystem of devices they create. While it is true that whomever is interested in Z-Wave probably doesn’t care about having to do additional tweaks and optimization, but for the purpose of our review/list, we do strongly feel that the Vera (while a top choice) does have some ground to catch up with SmartThings and Wink 2. Yet, as with anything, it sometimes comes down to personal preference and particular use case. Thanks for your comment! We’ll try to improve for the better!

  11. Hi,

    Thanks for your interest in our work. We are a small team of smart home enthusiasts and we try to bring genuine content to our audience. With that in mind, we didn’t have the ability to test the newest offerings of Vera, despite being aware of their existence. Please do note that we are trying our best to deliver the most up-to-date content, hence why we often update our pieces. We just updated this one, but we know there are still items to check.

    Also note that we comment on products such as Amazon Alexa in our other articles and reviews. This one is primarily focused on Z-Wave hubs in general and not smart speakers.

    Thanks for your comment and your interest and just know that we are constantly trying to improve. 🙂

  12. Excellent article! I would LOVE an update to this, to compare the upcoming HomeSeer software update against Hubitat. Intrigued by both due to their local-processing (for privacy, speed, and reliability when internet goes down). Having trouble finding info about Hubitat but it seems to be cheaper and perhaps a better UI than HomeSeer. Thank you,

  13. No mention of the very very old fibaro home centre 2 whos company budget is 90% marketing 10% product dev?

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