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Zwave Motion Sensor: The Top 5 Best Choices In 2018

smart home automation motion sensors 2018 best choices top picks

written by Eric Liston March 17, 2018

When it comes to home automation, a Zwave motion sensor can be used for a large variety of tasks. From turning lights on and off, to the automation of appliances such as TVs, their applications are limitless. If you have not heard of Z-wave yet, it is one of the most commonly used communication protocols for smart home automation and beyond. With a compatible smart home hub such as Samsung Smartthings, Wink or one of the USB Z-wave sticks (eg. HUSBZ-1, Aeotec Z-Stick, etc.), you can use these motion sensors as triggers for automating actions. [Read: Samsung SmartThings vs Wink Hub – Which one is better for whom?]

There are several great Z-wave motion sensors out there, some with just motion sensing capabilities and others with multiple sensors built into one. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 5 choices you have for the best Zwave motion sensor for 2018.

What is Z-wave and How Does Z-Wave Work?

Z-Wave is a specialized wireless radio frequency technology. In a way, it’s similar to your Wi-Fi connection, except it’s designed to allow different devices to “talk” with each other – without interfering with your home network signals. A z-wave network is a mesh network, which means the more z-wave devices you have the better the communications speed and signal will be. As mentioned above, you will need a Z-wave controller (aka hub) that brings all your devices together.

What Can I Use A Motion Sensor For?

The applications of a motion sensor are quite numerous. Here are some examples:

  • Automate lights – turn on/off lights in garage, closets, exterior, etc. when motion is detected
  • Presence detection – sense the presence of people in the house/room to automatically adjust climate
  • Security – Sound an alarm when motion is detected where/when there shouldn’t be any
  • Energy Savings – turn on/off smart plugs/outlets that power various devices (eg. basement media cabinet)
  • Control devices – turn on devices (eg. TV) in the media room when motion is detection

Possibilities are endless and are only limited by your imagination.

Best ZWave Motion Sensor Options in 2018

Z-wave motion sensors are key components to consider in your home automation setup. If you are planning to do smart home automation upgrades then here are some of the best z-wave motion sensors to consider.

1. EcoLink Z-Wave Plus Motion Detector

Ecolink is a trusted brand in the world of home automation. This alarm is priced reasonably and is the current Amazon top choice for motion detectors.

One of the primary benefits of this Zwave motion sensor is that it’s designed to mitigate false alarms. For those of us with large pets, this is a great feature. No more home alarms going off when Rex decides to run past the front door!

It’s discreet design and 5-year battery life, as well as flush and corner-mount brackets, make it very subtle.

Pros:
  • Pet immune (up to 55lbs)
  • Easy to install
  • Long battery life
  • Durable, with robust build quality
  • Compatible with Samsung SmartThings
Cons:
  • Long motion “reset” timer (up to 5 minutes)
  • On the expensive side
  • Takes a few seconds to react to movement
  • Some users report occasional “false detections”

2. Aotec Multisensor 6

The Aeotec Multisensor 6 is built to be a top Z-wave Plus motion sensor for those who want a lot of data about their home – in a small package. This tiny sensor measures only about 1.8 inches, but packs quite a few features into the durable, robust body. This sensor can measure temperature, humidity, light level, vibration, motion, and UV light levels.

It’s powered by either 2 CR123A batteries, and Aeotec says it can run for about 2 years. Alternatively, the unit can be connected to a USB power source for uninterrupted operation. This sensor is supported natively by most Z-Wave Plus controllers, such as Samsung SmartThings, Homeseer, Aeotech Z-Stick, and the Vera-3 home controller, so setup is quite easy.

If you are looking for the best z-wave motion sensor that incorporates multifunctional data metrics, this device from Aeotec should be at the top of your list.

Pros:
  • Small, unobtrusive design
  • Easy to mount and install
  • Can run from batteries or USB power
  • 6-in-1 design
  • Compatible with most Zwave motion sensor hubs
Cons:
  • Motion sensor is shorter-range than comparable products
  • Bright LED turns on when activated, cannot be disabled
  • Battery life is only about 6 months with heavy use
  • UV reader is difficult to calibrate

3. GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Sensor

If you’re just taking your first steps into the world of home automation, and don’t yet want to drill holes in your ceiling or walls, this Zwave motion sensor from GE is a good place to start.

It’s built with an attractive design and can be placed on a shelf, counter, or other flat surfaces, as well as mounted to a wall or ceiling. By default, it runs on battery power, but can also use USB power, which is recommended in high-traffic areas.

It’s also compatible with almost all of the best Z-wave controller hubs from Samsung, LG, Wink, USB Controllers, and more.

Pros:
  • Compatible with SmartThings, Wink, Nexia, Iris, Trane/LG Smart Security
  • Range of 150 feet
  • Can be set on a desk/counter or mounted to a wall or ceiling
  • Battery and USB power both supported
  • 180-degree, 45ft motion sensing range
Cons:
  • Heavy use drains batteries very quickly
  • 4-minute motion sensor delay when using battery power
  • Some users report hypersensitivity to motion

4. Monoprice Z-Wave Plus PIR Motion Detector with Temperature Sensor

This Zwave motion sensor from Monoprice is our top pick for bargain-hunters. For the price, it’s certainly a great value, and it’s the most cost-effective choice on our list. The unit can detect motion as well as temperature. It has no logo, which makes it a good choice for any minimalist home automators out there!

One unique feature is the tamper-proof switch. The Monoprice PIR Motion Detector will send a Z-Wave signal to the network if the cover is removed, allowing you to keep an eye on your systems, and ensure they are not tampered with.

Pros:
  • Very reasonable price
  • Integrated temperature sensor
  • Unobtrusive, minimalist design
  • 32 foot, 120-degree range
Cons:
  • Runs on battery power only
  • Somewhat laggy
  • Inaccurate when recording near or sub-zero temperatures
  • “Sleep” functionality can interfere with some Z-Wave networks

In terms of value, this one from Monoprice is the best motion sensor. For a few dollars more there is a Monoprice multisensor that includes motion, light, temperature and humidity. This might be a better value for some folks as it has multiple sensors in one. Most complaints about this sensor are the difficulty in pairing / connecting. However, I did not have any issues connecting them to my Z-wave network.

5. Dome Home Automation Motion Detector

This mid-range Z-Wave motion sensor is compatible with Wink, SmartThings, Nexia, Home Seer, Z-Wave USB Sticks and most other Z-Wave Plus hubs. It senses both motion and ambient light, making it perfect for use as a light automation motion detector.

If you need your sensors to react quickly to motion, this is the best motion sensor for you. While most other motion sensors take 1-2 seconds to respond to motion, this Zwave motion sensor from Dome typically responds within 100-200 milliseconds.

You can also configure just about every aspect of its performance. From time-until-off, to repeat sending of data, dead time after detection, and more.

Pros:
  • Instant reaction to motion
  • Highly configurable
  • Low-key and attractive design
  • Angle and direction can be changed after mounting, thanks to the magnetic design
  • Works with over a dozen Z-Wave plus hubs, including SmartThings and Wink
Cons:
  • Runs on battery power only
  • Not easy to remove or re-mount
  • Ambient light sensor requires configuration to work properly

In terms of speed of reaction, this is the best z-wave motion sensor. If you home assistant, you will have to add the Z-wave config files for Dome products manually for the sensors to not appears as “unknown”.

Take A Look At Our Top Picks – And Start Automating Your Home Today!

Two of the key features to look at in a motion sensor is the speed of reaction and range. In my opinion, multisensors from Aeotec, Monoprice, and Dome bring nice features and a great price. For home automation projects, motion sensors are a necessity and today Z-wave sensors are the most commonly used types for such purposes. Whether you’re a rookie home automator, or a seasoned veteran, this roundup of the best motion detectors is sure to be helpful. Take another look, browse our top picks, and make the choice that’s right for your needs. If you have others that worked great for you please share with us in the comments section.

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