As I stated in my last post, trying to understand and control Z-Wave and Zigbee devices sure is confusing.
Having looked at several different controllers and hubs, and used both Zigbee and Z-Wave lights, I’ve come to understand the major differences. But it is indeed confusing.
So here is my simplified, high level understanding and comparison of these two:
- Zigbee devices are cheaper than Z-Wave.
- For example, the cheapest light bulbs today are about $9 for Zigbee, and $17 for Z-Wave. That’s no big deal if you only need one or two. It is a big deal if you’re replacing a whole house full.
- Zigbee is natively supported by the new Echo Plus; no extra hub required.
- But if like me you already have Alexa, Dots, and Shows, you’ll still need a hub.
- Z-Wave devices are certified.
- What this means is that they should inter-operate more reliably, but that is probably why they’re more expensive.
- Zigbee and Z-Wave are not interchangeable.
- You cannot control a Zigbee light with a Z-Wave controller, and vs. a vs.
- The SmartThings hub supports both, but Echo Plus supports only Zigbee, etc.
- Light bulb advertisements on Amazon don’t always say which one is supported.
- I was searching for Z-Wave light bulbs, and kept getting Zigbee bulbs that do not say “Zigbee”. It would be very easy to purchase the wrong type.
So caveat emptor.