Z-Wave vs ZigBee

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Z-Wave vs ZigBee – Overview

Home automation is becoming a large part of our lives. Once unthinkable, you can switch off your lights, start your AC, or automatically lock your doors at the command of your voice or with a single press of a button.

‘Alexa, turning on the TV has become a reality hard to ignore.

Home automation uses wireless communication technologies to function. Z-Wave and Zigbee are both popular wireless communication technologies that are used in home automation and the Internet of Things (IoT). The key difference between both is the way they transmit data.

At a glance: Home Automation

Home automation refers to the automatic control of electronic devices in your home. It connects devices to the internet via different communication protocols like Wifi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Z-wave, allowing them to be controlled remotely through voice or an app.

Home automation devices are IoT devices that can trigger one another. There are three levels involved in home automation to make it work seamlessly: monitoring, control, and finally, automation.

What Do You Mean by Wireless Communication Technology?

Any type of data communication that is done wirelessly i.e. without the use of cables, optical fibers, and or any other medium, falls under the category of wireless communication technology.

Under home automation, wireless communication is critical in providing stability, speed, and security to perform tasks on time and smoothly. You don’t want your home to look like a wire-making factory.

Hence, wireless technologies effortlessly perform automation tasks and give you all the control in a single click. They work by transmitting data through wireless signals i.e., electromagnetic waves present in space.

What Is Z-Wave and ZigBee?

Z-Wave vs ZigBee

Z-Wave vs ZigBee – What Is Z-Wave and ZigBee


A low-power wireless communication technology, Z-Wave runs on a mesh network. Z-Wave operates on a sub-1GB frequency band, allowing for a larger range and better penetration through obstacles.

Z-Wave allows a smaller number of devices to connect. Z-Wave can simply be defined as a radio technology that allows the devices in your home to communicate with each other.


On the other hand, ZigBee is an open-standard wireless communication technology that offers a faster connection and works just like Bluetooth. ZigBee operates on a 2.4 GHz frequency band. It allows a less complex and scalable network.

With the bandwidth to connect thousands of devices with each other, ZigBee offers services at low cost, low power, and effective speed and power.

Difference Between Z-Wave and ZigBee

Z-Wave and ZigBee are both used for wireless communication and automation, offer distinct features over each other, and support varied technological products of different brands. To better understand what you should use, you need to know the key differences and see what suits your requirements.

Key Differences Between Z-Wave and ZigBee:

Connects 232 devicesSupports 65,000+ devices
Run by Silicon LabsIs open-standard
Used for communication between the devicesUsed for transferring data in a wireless network
Expensive to useCheaper to use
Requires little knowledge of technologyRequires good knowledge of technology to operate
Communication up to 50m distanceCommunicates up to 100m distance
Has 700 members in the Z-wave allianceHas 400 members in the ZigBee alliance
9.6-100 Kbps40-250 Kbps

1. Connections

Z-Wave: The number of connections supported by Z-Wave is limited to 232 devices. Enough for a household or a small family.

ZigBee: The number of devices supported by ZigBee at a given point in time is huge. It can support 65,000+ devices at once. This makes it great for organizations, hospitals, big business houses, large buildings, and factories.

2. Type of Standard

Z-wave: It was run by Silicon Labs and had strict control and closed standards. The pre-requisite was ensuring that each Z-Wave controller and device worked together. However, starting in 2020, Z-Wave became an open and multi-source wireless connection standard.

ZigBee: From the start, ZigBee has been running as an open standard, allowing other companies to integrate and innovate easily.

3. Number of Hopping

Hops in networks refer to when a piece of data travels from one source to another. Z-Wave allows only 4 hops between the controller and the device, whereas ZigBee has no such limitation.

4. Security

Regarding security, both Z-Wave and ZigBee seem to be matching the steps. They both use AES-128 symmetric encryption and have claimed to be safe and secure.

5. Unifying Protocols

Z-Wave: It operates on a low frequency of 916/980 MHz band, which means you will face minimal intervals with Z-Wave.

ZigBee: It operates on the 915MHz frequency in the US and 2.4GHz in the UK. ZigBee 3.0 unifies all the protocols, including home automation, light link, digital health, etc, to make them work together effortlessly.

What Are Mesh Networks?

Z-Wave and ZigBee both run on a mesh network. A mesh network is a group of connectivity devices that act as a single network to provide multiple sources of connectivity in a concerned area, such as your home, thus replacing the need for a single router.

It eliminates non-accessible zones in your home and provides a network throughout your home. Mesh networks offer stable long-term connectivity, ease of set-up, and full control.

The Devices: Z-Wave vs ZigBee

  • Devices that work with ZigBee

Well-known brands and devices that support ZigBee are Lux Konoz, LG SmartThinq, Yale smart locks, ADT security hub, Ikea Tredfi, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo, Innr, to name a few.

  • Devices that work with Z-Wave

Well-known brands and devices that support Z-Wave are Honeywell Thermostats, August smart locks, Somfy, GE Appliances, Kwikset Smart locks, Hogar Milo, and Fibaro Smart sensors, to name a few.

Which One Is Better: Z-Wave or ZigBee?

As of now, Z-Wave and ZigBee both are on the same level. Both are open-standard, use international safety protocols, and can connect with the most available big brands. To choose amongst them, you will have to see what devices you already own and what you want to achieve.

If you need a faster connection, have good knowledge of technology to operate, and want to support many devices, ZigBee is your friend. Whereas, for a large range, better connectivity, and compatibility between the devices, you can definitely go for Z-Wave.


Z-Wave and ZigBee are both widely used wireless communication technologies that are being used for home automation. To choose, you should look for supported brands and devices, your budget, the devices you already have, and the amount of time you are ready to give to technological tasks.

After summing up, you can choose to go with any one of them and complete home automation. Ultimately, your goal is to get better safety, convenience, and time-saving technology.

See Also

Can Alexa Control Z Wave Devices?

How to Add Z Wave Device to Ring?

What is Z Wave Plus

How to Connect Alexa to Wifi?

Door Sensors That Work with Alexa

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