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

A Neat Way To Do More With Your Z-Wave Alarm Siren

A Neat Way To Do More With Your Z-Wave Alarm Siren

Z-Wave alarm sirens are incredibly versatile – the sky is the limit for what you can do with them. Standard alarms have one sound setting: loud and annoying. So what can you do with your siren in the meantime? Try hooking it up with Z-Wave sensors!

Eco-friendly Smart Home Gadgets to Green Your Spring

Eco-friendly Smart Home Gadgets to Green Your Spring

Spring is here, and that has all of us feeling a lot greener. After all, it's hard not to think at least a little bit about the environment when you've just watched nature call forth all of her bud-tipped bounty! Green devices offer plenty of ways to celebrate the springtime renewal from the safety of the porch—while cutting the Earth a break at the same time.

GE Z-Wave Plug-in Outdoor Smart Switch

Linear - Z-Wave Wall Mount Switch

Stay Warm, Keep Cool and Save Energy with Z-Wave

Stay Warm, Keep Cool and Save Energy with Z-Wave

There's an old saying that goes something like this: "If you want to experience all four seasons in one day, come to Alabama." Mind you, that's true of many other places beside the Yellowhammer State, especially this time of year. With the seasons changing, chances are you need the heat in the morning, AC at lunch, and heat again by bedtime.

Work from Home? Make Your Home Office Work for You with Connected Tech

Work from Home? Make Your Home Office Work for You with Connected Tech

Working from home can be both challenging and rewarding, depending on your working style. Distractions around the home or loud outside noises can all stand as hurdles when you're trying to buckle down and churn out work.

GE Z-Wave - On/Off Switch

FIBARO Home Automation System

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

Deck the Halls with a Z-Wave Smart Home!

Deck the Halls with a Z-Wave Smart Home!

Holiday decorating – whether you have a small set up or a full blown light show in your front yard – is part of getting in the holiday spirit. But it doesn't have to be hard – some quick smart home gear can be you started!

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.

Get Smart With Stacey: How Do I Set Up Automatic Blinds?

PC Mag

I have Somfy motorized blinds, and I ended up buying a Z-wave controller that translates Somfy's proprietary protocol to Z-wave so I could control it with the Echo, $179.99 at Amazon using a hub like SmartThings or Wink, $60.28 at Amazon for voice control.

15 Gadgets To Make Your Home Smarter


The Fibaro Smart Z-Wave detects temperature, light, and more. It alerts you on your smart device when it detects activity.

Best Smart Locks of 2016

Tom's Guide

Of all the different types of smart home products — lights, thermostats and cameras, to name a few — smart door locks are among the most popular. Going beyond the simple key, these locks can be operated using your smartphone, and can be connected to a larger smart home system to make your life easier.

What's New

How to Build Your Smart Home: A Beginner's Guide

PC Magazine

Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities, like setting up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, are simple and relatively inexpensive.

Three Smart Security Features for Your Front Porch


The traditional American front porch isn't just a timeless scene. It's also a functional part of your home, where safety, security and convenience are paramount. A few subtle 21st century additions can really enhance your porch, making it an even more enjoyable area to use.

3 Practical Benefits of Turning Your Ordinary Home into a Smart Home

Realty Today

It is good to realize that a smart home is not just mere product of a person whims and caprices. Like your smart phones and watches, a smart home may also serve you beyond convenience. And here below are some of the benefits of turning your home into a smart home.

Three of the Best Uses for Smart Home Technology

House O Matic

Smart home technology is still shiny and new, and people are adapting to it more and more every day.