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

Make Your Smart Home Pet Friendly

Make Your Smart Home Pet Friendly

Anyone who's ever lived with a pet knows that they're creatures of habit. And really, smart home technology is really just way of teaching your own house a few good habits of its own.

Most versatile Z-Wave device goes to... Piper!

Most versatile Z-Wave device goes to... Piper!

If you've been searching for an affordable do-it-yourself home security solution that's simple to install, simple to operate, fee-free, and can even be used in a condo or apartment, you may be starting to think that no such thing exists. It does. It's called Piper, and you'd be amazed just how much this one little device can do.

FIBARO Smoke Sensor

Complete Home Energy Efficiency - Vivint

Top Tips to Getting Started with a Z-Wave Smart Home

Top Tips to Getting Started with a Z-Wave Smart Home

This month we're going back to basics with Josh from ZWaveZone.com, an awesome resource for everything Z-Wave home automation related. If you're new to the world of smart home, you may be wondering where to start and how using Z-Wave can benefit you and your home. Josh offers his top tips and tricks to getting started with a Z-Wave home and products he loves.

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!

Z-Wave Smart Home Lighting & Security

Home Security Bear - Vivint

Master the Elements with Your Z-Wave Smart Home

Master the Elements with Your Z-Wave Smart Home

Some of the most popular and sought after items for homeowners are things that protect and keep a home safe. Whether it's preventing burglaries and unwanted intruders or making sure your home is protected from the elements, these purchases are among the most important you can make for your family. But what about protecting your home from the elements?

Lower your homeowner's insurance with an investment in Z-Wave smart home gear

Lower your homeowner's insurance with an investment in Z-Wave smart home gear

You might already know ways that a Z-Wave smart home system can save you money: smart thermostats that only heat and cool your home when it needs it; smart dimmers that reduce the energy consumption of your lights

Two Things to Look For When Buying a Smart Switch or Outlet: Smart Home


Z-Wave and ZigBee are both radio protocols that require a hub of some sort to translate the language of the device to a language your phone can understand. These plugs are often more affordable if you already use a platform like SmartThings or Wink.

5 Quick Smart Home Updates to Revamp Your House


Smart homes may seem intimidating but here are a few quick summer projects you can do to reinvent your dumb home and bring it to life as a smart one.

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.

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.

What's New

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

Digital Trends

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 1: Paul's Smart Home Diary


I've decided to turn that boo into another woo-hoo by seizing the opportunity my new, falling-down, three bedroom house affords me. I want to make my home smart. As smart, efficient and as seamless as possible. And I'll be detailing that process in this weekly smart home diary.

6 Back to School Basics for your Smart Home


By adding a few pieces of technology to your home, you can ensure that your children, your house, and your belongings are safe, everyone gets out the door on time, and that after-school chores are handled promptly.

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.