Z-Wave Smart Home Blog

Z-Wave vs. Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth: A Breakdown

Z-Wave vs. Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth: A Breakdown

One of the easiest ways of explaining an unfamiliar technology is to compare it with something people already understand. That's why you might hear things like: "It's like Wi-Fi, but…" or "It's similar to Bluetooth, but…" when talking about Z-Wave. And it's true that all three technologies have a lot in common. They're all wireless, and each has its role to play in the future development of the smart home. But that's where the similarities end.

Like Wi-Fi, Z-Wave relies on wireless technology to send information through the air in and around your home, from one point to another. Like Wi-Fi, it relies on advanced security to make sure that those bits and bytes aren't intercepted bad actors. And like Wi-Fi, it ties together a larger network of devices, so that each can communicate with the other.


While your Wi-Fi network probably sends and receives large chunks of data around your home—giant email attachments, streaming audio and video, and all of the two-way data sent and received by multiplayer video games—Z-Wave doesn't have to carry quite so heavy a load. The information sent back and forth over a Z-Wave network consists mostly of tiny commands, like "turn on this light" or "adjust thermostat to 74°," along with small status updates, such as "this light is current at 45% brightness" or "this door is locked."

As such, Z-Wave can operate at much lower frequencies, and with much less power. What's more, whereas every new device added to your Wi-Fi network makes it weaker and less responsive, the mesh-network capabilities of Z-Wave means that every new device added to your smart home actually makes your Z-Wave network more robust and further-reaching.

All of which makes Z-Wave sound a lot more similar to Bluetooth, right? Well, not quite. It's true that the two share a good bit in common. Simpler pairing than Wi-Fi, for example. Z-Wave and Bluetooth also require less power and have lower bandwidth.


Unlike Z-Wave, most Bluetooth devices don't yet support mesh networking. And although that will certainly change in the future, it's uncertain right now how many Bluetooth devices you'll be able to connect to a single smart home control system. Z-Wave, meanwhile, is capable of supporting dozens of connected devices. Hundreds, in fact, as Z-Wave is inside the most robust controllers available in the marketplace today.

It's for those reasons, and many others, that Z-Wave remains the best wireless technology for reliable, far-reaching, energy efficient smart home control. But committing to one doesn't necessarily mean you're locked out of other wireless options. Some Z-Wave hubs, like SmartThings and Wink, include built-in support for Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth (although the full potential of the latter may not be unlocked just yet). The point remains that different technologies have different purposes – so don't let the this OR that story get you down.


Z-Wave, learn about, smart home, smart hub, SmartThings, Wink

Grow your Nexia System

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Like most smart home systems, Nexia's backbone is a central hub that not only communicates with and coordinates all of your smart devices, but also serves as a gateway between your connected home and the outside world.

5 Benefits of Being an Early Adopter

5 Benefits of Being an Early Adopter

Smart homes are slowly making their way into the mainstream, with more and more people wanting to raise the IQ of their house. But what about those already in the know? Are there any benefits to being an early adopter beyond those bragging rights? We break down 5 reasons why you should be amongst those getting a head start on their smart homes

Dawn Of The Smart Home - Vivint

GE Z-Wave Plug-in Outdoor Smart Switch

A Z-Wave hub, a gateway, a controller - what's the difference?

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If you've been thinking about adding some smarts to your home, you may have already researched light and dimmers, door locks and thermostats—all of the various bits and pieces that go into creating a connected home experience. But how do you get all of this stuff to talk to each other and create a completely integrated smart home system? Do you need a hub, gateway, or controller?

Z-Wave to the Rescue: Prevent Water Damage

Z-Wave to the Rescue: Prevent Water Damage

Whether your winters are frozen over or soggy and gloomy, the end of winter means one thing for most of us: a greater risk of water damage. Whether it's frozen pipes that have burst, or spring rains that bring flooding, or drainage systems that are clogged, water in the home is a real issue in the spring. Either way, early detection can make all the difference.

GE Z-Wave Products Overview by Jasco

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These 3 Devices Are All You Need to Start a Smart Home

These 3 Devices Are All You Need to Start a Smart Home

Many times people hear the words "smart home" and imagine something super cool, but also extremely expensive! Fortunately, only the former is true.

Make Your Yard Awesome & Automatic with these Z-Wave tricks

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By integrating Z-Wave devices throughout your home and yard, you can have smart home products from a variety of manufacturers all work together to make your grass greener and your outdoor space worry-free.

What Are 'ZigBee' and 'Z-Wave' Smarthome Products?


ZigBee and Z-Wave are the two wireless protocols that pretty much all hub-based smarthome products use. There are a small handful of smarthome accessory makers that use their own standard (like Insteon, for instance), but ZigBee and Z-Wave are the two biggest open protocols out there.

What's hot in new homes for 2017: Brighter, cleaner, smarter, greener


"The Z-Wave protocol lets you turn on lights from your phone before you get home or open and close a garage door to take a delivery," says Stephanie Miller, Sales Manager for Drees Homes.

Expert: Apps, video doorbells improve safety

Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

For example, if someone needs to be let into my house when I’m not there, I can let someone in, and can even join with a thermostat or some Z-Wave lights. Z-Wave is a wireless technology that lets smart devices communicate with one another. Household products are made "smart" when Z-Wave connectivity is added inside the product’s design.

4 Smart Home Technologies That Can Reduce Your Electricity Bills

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Thankfully, smart home technologies can help with the turning off of lights, as well as other habits that can drive up your energy bills.

What's New

It may look retro, but this Airstream is probably smarter than your house

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One benefit of a connected home is that it should (asuming the system is working) let you know when there's a problem, even if you're not there. It's one reason those with vacation homes are installing smart leak detectors, Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, and so on. And just because your second home is on wheels, it doesn't mean having devices that keep an eye on things is any less helpful.

Week 2: Paul's Smart Home Diary


For while this diary is going to be all about the latest and greatest smart home tech – an area I consider myself at least mildly authoritative on – getting that tech connected and playing nicely is a different beast entirely.

Decorate Your Home With These 7 Stylish Security Cameras


With live and recorded video, instant mobile alerts, Z-Wave home automation and an extensive list of environmental sensors, Piper nv is an excellent choice for a home or office.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Smart Home for the Winter Months

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Here are 7 things homeowners should consider as they prepare for seasonal adjustments to optimize home performance.