Home automation is trending upwards and more and more people starting the journey every day. If you are one of them then you may like our Smart Home beginner's primer. One of the key questions you might have is what is the best Zwave switch I can add to my repertoire. If you’re interested in home automation – particularly automating the lights in your home – a Z-wave wall switch is a must-have. Smart switches can automate almost anything that can be controlled by a traditional switch: lights and fans being the most common ones. While more expensive than smart bulbs, Switches offer more flexibility and in my opinion are better investments in the long-run compared to bulbs. In this article, we’ll discuss the top 10 choices you have for a Z-wave wall switch in 2018, and we’ll help you find the best Zwave switch for your home. Let’s get started!
Note that you will need a compatible smart home hub (aka Z-wave controller) such as Samsung Smartthings, Wink or one of the USB Z-wave sticks (eg. HUSBZ-1, Aeotec Z-Stick, etc.) to take advantage of the top Z-wave wall switches listed below. [Read: Samsung SmartThings vs Wink Hub – Which one is better for whom?]
Table of Contents
- How Does Z-Wave Work?
- What is a Z-Wave Switch – And why do I need a Z-Wave compatible switch for my home?
- The Best ZWave Switch Options For 2018 – Our Top 10 Picks
- 1. GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control Smart Switch
- 2. LINEAR GoControl, WS15Z-1
- 3. Zooz Z-Wave Plus Toggle Dimmer Light Switch ZEN24
- 4. Leviton DZ6HD-1BZ Decora Smart 600W Dimmer with Z-Wave Plus Technology
- 5. GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control Outdoor Module
- 6. HomeSeer HS-WD200+ Z-Wave Plus Scene-Capable Wall Dimmer
- 7. Honeywell Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control Smart Switch
- 8. GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control Appliance Module
- 9. GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control Motion Switch
- 10. ZWP Z-Wave Plus In Wall Smart Light Dimmer Switch
- Final thoughts on Z-wave In-Wall Switches
How Does Z-Wave Work?
Z-wave is a type of specialized radio frequency technology. In a way, it’s similar to your home’s WiFi network. However, it is not built to connect computers and other high-bandwidth devices.
Instead, it is specialized to allow low-power home automation sensors to “talk” with one another through a specialized Z-wave hub. This hub can be modified and programmed to change the functionality of your Z-wave devices. This is what allows Zwave switches to function. [Read: 5 interesting and must-know facts about Z-Wave automation protocol]
Potential uses of Z-wave include automating your lights, automatically locking doors at night, detecting temperature and humidity to automate HVAC systems, and much more.
What is a Z-Wave Switch – And why do I need a Z-Wave compatible switch for my home?
A Z-wave smart switch or Z-wave dimmer switch allows you to control your lights, both wirelessly and by interacting with the switch physically.
Some of the best Zwave wall switches can also be used to automate a variety of different tasks: turn lights off and on at particular times, to dim the lights automatically, or to work in concert with motion sensors to turn lights on when motion is detected.
Investing in the best Zwave wall switch is critical to the success of any home automation project. So without further ado, let’s dive into our top 10 picks for Z-wave light switches in 2018.
The Best ZWave Switch Options For 2018 – Our Top 10 Picks
Now that you understand the basics about Zwave, it's time to look for the best Zwave switch list in 2018. Here is a list of our top picks. Take a look, and consider which Z-Wave product may be right for your home automation setup. [Read: We have previously covered the list of best Zwave Motion Sensors]
This switch uses a paddle-style design that’s quite attractive, and it’s easy to install. It’s compatible with Alexa, as well as other Z-Wave certified gateways. It can be controlled both wirelessly and physically and supports lights of all types.
- Easy setup
- Seamless in-wall installation
- Compatible with nearly a dozen Z-wave hubs
- Does not include wall plate
- Requires neutral wire for setup (not included)
- PIR sensors are not very sensitive
This is one of the best Zwave switch options available in the market today.
This switch also uses a streamlined paddle design. It’s a 3-way wall switch and fits in a standard J-box. Unlike the GE Z-Wave Plus sensor, it also comes with a wall plate, though this may not be a good thing if you do not have standard white wall plates in your home.
- Included wall plate at no extra cost
- Three way design allows multiple-switch support
- Compatible with all Z-wave devices
- Warranty is unreliable according to customers
- Hard to configure 3-way switch
- Status updates take a few seconds to reach master controller
Note that this product is a Z-Wave switch, not the newer Z-Wave Plus switch. However, if you have a good network of Z-wave devices, it should not matter.
This Z-wave Plus light switch has both a toggle and a dimmer. This makes it ideal for areas like bedrooms or dining rooms, where low light may be desired. It can even dim some LED light bulbs. It’s also a 3-way switch, so it can be used in rooms where more than one switch controls a light.
- Dimmer can be triggered manually or automatically
- 3-way design
- Compatible with most Z-Wave hubs
- Range is only 100 feet line-of-sight
- Some users report build quality issues
- Does not come with a wall plate
This product from Leviton is another 3-way switch that includes a built-in dimmer. It also supports Alexa, and most Z-wave hubs. With a long range and an attractive design, it uses a Decora form factor that allows for easy customization and application of new wall plates.
- Easy-to-use dimmer
- Works with Alexa and popular Z-wave hubs like Wink/SmartThings
- Low 600w/300w capacity for CFL and LED/incandescent bulbs, respectively.
- Poor setup instructions
- Difficult to configure
If you’re looking to control your outdoor lights – or even appliances – this outdoor control module by GE is a perfect choice. It comes with a weatherproof Z-Wave Plus outlet, which can be controlled by Alexa and Amazon Echo devices. It connects with hubs like Trane, Wink, Honeywell, and more.
- Easy to set up automated on/off timers for outdoor lighting and decorations
- Weather and impact-resistant with durable design
- Functions as a range extender for Z-wave plus devices
- Only 1 Z-wave enabled outlet
- Ugly and outdated design
If you like to know the status of your different Z-Wave plus devices at a glance, this switch is perfect for you. It includes 7 notification LEDs which can be programmed to show different indicators – for example, if a door in your home is unlocked, or motion is detected in the garage.
- Works as a dimmer
- Notification LEDs are useful for tracking changes in home status
- Attractive paddle-style design
- Setup can be difficult
- Trim plate is sold separately
- Somewhat expensive
This is the best Z-wave light switch to consider if you have other sensors that you would like to monitor with the built in LED indicators.
This switch is available in a few different styles. You can purchase a standard light switch, a dimmer switch, or even a fan control switch. This makes it easy to find the right switch for your particular needs.
- Includes both white and almond-colored paddles
- Compatible with a dozen different Z-Wave Plus hubs
- Includes blue LED indicator light
- Does not come with wall plate
- Very plain design
- Requires neutral wire (not included)
This product may not be a wall switch but is ideal if you have lighting that is not connected directly to your home’s wiring, such as desk lamps or uplights. You can use this wireless control module, and attach up to 2 devices. Then, these lamps or other devices can be controlled directly from your Z-Wave hub.
- Does not require any installation
- Design does not block any other outlets
- Simple to use, compatible with most Z-Wave Plus hubs
- Design is somewhat bulky
- Does not include motion sensor
This switch from GE is quite expensive, compared to our other picks, but includes some unique functionality. First, the IR sensor can easily be configured for low, medium, or high sensitivity, depending on your needs.
- Ambient lighting function can stop switch from turning on during the day when sensing motion
- Stylish and sleek, 3-button design
- Almond and white switch included
- Initial pairing and setup can be difficult
- PIR is not very sensitive
- Users have reported some issues using the product with Samsung SmartThings
This package of 2 Z-wave Plus wall switches is ideal if you are setting up a 3-way lighting system in your home. This switch can use Amazon Alexa if used with Vera, Wink, Homeseer, or SmartThings.
- Comes in a cost-effective 2 pack
- Includes status indicator LEDs on main switch
- Simple, OTA firmware updates
- Supports multi-tap inputs (three taps to turn on all lights, etc)
- Plates not included
- Multi-tap inputs require specialized setup
- Some users report build quality issues
Final thoughts on Z-wave In-Wall Switches
Home automation expenses can get out of control quickly and so proper planning is required. For example, in many cases, a $5 to $10 smart bulb may be the answer instead of a $30 wall switch. However, one should keep in mind that for most smart bulbs, the wall switch must always be on. This can be challenging in some households, especially those with many people/children. Furthermore, Z-wave Plus switches also function as repeaters, thereby amplifying your Z-wave network and improving response times. So despite the higher cost, Z-wave switches may be better investments in strategic locations. Whether you’re automating outdoor lights, looking to automate a desk lamp, or replacing all of your light switches, look through our top picks, choose the best z-wave light switch for you, and get your next project started today.