A locally operated Z-Wave Security system makes perfect sense in security challenged world
Z-Wave Home Security Devices
Z-Wave security devices are a good choice for a z-wave home security system, especially DIY home security as they have the ability to communicate and operate exclusive of an internet connection. It’s important to note that some Z-Wave hubs, even home security z-wave hubs require WiFi connectivity based on how they have been designed.
While some of these provide cellular back up it might not meet your need of being off the grid, if that is your goal. Any z-wave security system should give you that offline security as well as online.
The Abode Z-Wave Hub is designed for security first and is born from ex ADT employees. Packed with Z-Wave, Zigbee, Cellular backup, Battery backups and it’s own internal RF communication frequency. This DIY home security system will still sound the alarm even if the internet is down.
Z-Wave devices are considered secure as they can communicate locally, have a short range of reach and are not directly connected to the internet. They operate and share commands by passing them to one another – it is a mesh network.
Z-Wave hubs can either be connected to the internet or not – depending on the hub.
While Z-Wave security devices can operate offline, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself when going down this route:
- Do I need a z-wave security hub that connects to a back-to-base service like ADT so they dispatch the police if needed?
- Do I need a security system that notifies my smartphone if the alarm goes off or there is a problem?
- Do I want a Z-Wave security system that works completely off the grid?
- Am I technical enough to maintain my own Z-Wave security system? (Spoiler alert, if you want off the grid DIY then you will need to have some technical skills or learn them as you go).
You’ll need a Z-Wave Hub to control your Z-Wave home security system
Z-Wave security devices can, and do, technically operate offline but they need a Hub to operate. How far you want to go offline will depend on the Z-Wave hub you choose to work with. We’ve already written about the Best Z-Wave Hubs but here are a few examples of hubs and how they operate:
All these listed Z-Wave Security Hubs are Z-Wave Plus.
Z-Wave Home Security Systems
The first two on this list work offline and don’t need internet access or WiFi. When I say ‘offline’ I mean the alarm will still sound if a door or window sensor (or any other devices you have) get triggered by an intruder or similar. So if the internet goes does and someone tries to break into your house by entering a window, or door or triggering a z-wave motion sensor then the alarm will still sound.
1. Abode Z-Wave Home Security System
The abode Security System prefers internet connectivity but can operate offline if the internet is down. Also offers a built-in SIM card option if you want it to stay connected for back-to-base monitoring. It has a battery back up and if it goes offline you can still arm it and disarm it from a key fob or their pin-pad for the device. I have a pin-pad on the garage wall to arm and disarm and a fob close at hand in the house if needed to arm and disarm.
An early spoiler – we think the Abode System is the best Z-Wave security hub on the market as it offers benefits like smart home capabilities but it’s a DIY Z-Wave security system first and foremost. If it is offline you can’t use your phone to control it, same for all these hubs except for Home Assistant when you’re on the same WiFi network. They have back to base plans if you need it. Their branded door sensors actually use an RF but you can add Z-Wave devices like those from Aeotec.
This is built for US / North America Z-Wave frequencies only. See the abode website for more.
2. Home Assistant for Z-Wave Home Security System
Home Assistant is free smart home software that works off your local network (no outside internet connection needed). Using your local WiFi (it doesn’t connect to the outside world unless you want it to) it can help you control your local devices. I can also use Zigbee and Z-Wave.
It will need a Z-Wave controller like the Aeotec Z-Wave stick to control Z-Wave devices. This needs some technical skills to work and I’ve tried and failed many times trying to set up Home Assistant. There are some professional services to help you if you need it but having an offline system can make it hard for them to work on your system, kind of a catch 22.
You can buy the Aeotec Z-Wave stick in a Z-Wave frequency to suit your location.
3. ADT SmartThings Home Security with Z-Wave
ADT SmartThings is a modification to the SmartThings Hub with ADT powered goodness. It has Z-Wave but requires WIFi but switches over to a built-in SIM card for cellular if it can’t connect to the internet (it beeps at you to let you know it’s lost connectivity). If you have back to base monitoring, which is the point of partnering with a back to base security company like ADT, then this is kind of important.
The control panel does log events when offline and there is a keypad.
This is designed for US / North America Z-Wave frequencies.
4. Ring Security System with Z-Wave
The Ring home security system is quite well feature-packed and includes Z-Wave and a battery back up. It has a cellular backup which is free in the USA via AT&T just in case the WiFi drops out. Other than that, if it goes offline you are no longer able to control your devices from your smartphone.
You can also add things like the First Alert Z-Wave Smoke Alarm to this.
This is designed for US / North America Z-Wave frequencies.
Z-Wave Home Security Devices – The Full List
So, now we’ve established a few Z-Wave smart home security systems you can use with your Z-Wave security devices its time to look at the devices themselves.
Z-wave home security devices (not necessarily the hub) will still work even if the internet is down, or especially when the internet is down.
A Z-Wave device always communicates back to the hub. It might have to hop through another Z-Wave device but the range is very limited – think less than 20 meters depending on your house layout. e.g if you run Home Assistant on a tablet or phone and you press on ‘Unlock front door’ and the front door is a long way from the hub, the hub might pass the request to a smart switch in the hallway which will then pass it to the smart lock. See the Z-Wave Range Extender link in the next paragraph for a video that explains more.
For this part, I’m going to run you through some Z-Wave security devices that can operate locally (don’t need an internet connection) and work with the above home security Z-Wave hubs, that will give you different degrees of home security also without needing the internet. If you have a large home you might also want to consider a Z-Wave range extender (see review).
In brief, these are the z-wave home security devices you can consider for making your home safe. The bonus is, these are all DIY solutions, meaning you can install them and connect them to your hub with very little effort and no wiring is required!
Important Note: You will need to check if these devices are compatible with your hub before purchasing. We’ve found that brands like Aeotec are quite universally accepted.
Bestselling Sales Data
The bestselling Z-Wave devices lists below were calculated by looking at the previous 30 days sales data on the largest US marketplace. The data is for the number of units sold over the 30 day period not total revenue for the same period. This will be updated over time to reflect changes and the addition of new products as they are available.
1. Z-Wave Door Locks
All the lock manufacturers have been quick to jump into this space especially when they saw August come to market with their Bluetooth lock. Since then Yale, Kwikset, Schlage, Epic, Kogan and even Samsung have rushed to market with Z-Wave smart locks. Here are a few models that are recommended:
Top 5 Bestselling Z-Wave Smart Locks
- August Smart Lock Pro
- Kwikset SmartCode 888 Smart Lock with Z-Wave Plus – the kwikset obsidian z-wave lock is also stunning.
- Schlage BE469ZP CAM 716 Connect Smart Deadbolt with Alarm and Z-Wave Plus
- Yale Assure Lock SL with Z-Wave - Smart Lock Key-Free Touchscreen
- Yale Security Real Living Keyless Push Button – own this and love it.
2. Z-Wave Lights and Smart Bulbs
Yes, you can scare intruders away with lights too. Z-wave lights are a great home security addition.
You might think that a Z-Wave light is not a Z-Wave security device but, it is. When asking inmates if lights were a deterrent the general consensus is that if the blinds are closed and the outside light is on it looks like a potential target. The great thing about Z-Wave bulbs is that you can have them turn on and off on a schedule or better still, have a motion sensor turn lights on in the house or even better still – do both! e.g. I have a setting that says if motion is detected at the front door and it’s night time, turn on garage light. It’s irregular for intruders when they see an inside light turn on all of a sudden (my garage windows are obvious to the front door). You could even have outside lights turn on.
If my alarm goes off I have all my Z-Wave lights turn on and change to the colour Red. If the sound isn’t enough to scare them, the red lights should do the trick.
Top 5 Bestselling Z-Wave Smart Bulbs
- Ilumin RGBW Z-Wave Plus Light Bulb
- Monoprice Z-Wave Plus RGB Smart Bulb
- Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart LED Bulb
- GoControl Z-Wave Smart LED Recessed Retrofit Light Kit – recessed Z-Wave light
- Aeotec by Aeon Labs ZW121-A LED Z-Wave Plus Strip – who doesn’t love the idea of an LED strip, not just a bulb.
3. Z-Wave Motion Sensors for home security
These are a mini-miracle and open up all sorts of opportunities for your Z-Wave security set up. You can program anything you want.
e.g. Use them to trigger the alarm if there is motion (like a normal alarm sensor). Perhaps in the hallway, entranceway or where ever someone might enter the house and move around (best to be set this way if you are not home e.g. on holiday or just out with the alarm set. Don’t set your alarm to the Home mode and also have the internal sensors looking for movement.)
Another example is stacking events through your Z-Wave Hub. Like I mentioned I have all my Z-Wave smart bulbs turn on and go Red and the Alarm siren sounds. You could say ‘If there is motion in the garden AND it’s after 9 pm AND the alarm is set to AWAY THEN turn on the back porch light and the garage light’.
Z-Wave Plus Motion Sensors sometimes include the ability to also measure temperature, humidity and light, not just motion.
Top 5 Bestselling Z-Wave Motion Sensors
- Ecolink Z-Wave PIR Motion Detector
- ZOOZ Z-Wave Plus 4-in-1 Sensor ZSE40
- GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Portable Smart Motion Sensor
- Aeotec TriSensor - Z-Wave Plus
- FIBARO Motion Sensor Z-Wave Plus Multisensor
4. Z-Wave Door / Window Sensors
These are the bread and butter of any Z-Wave security system. If a door or window opens, sound the alarm. You can also stack events here too. e.g If a door or window sensor opens THEN turn on the lights AND sound the alarm. You can also put these sensors on garage doors so if they open they trigger the alarm.
Top 5 Bestselling Z-Wave Door / Window Home security devices
- GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Door Sensor
- Aeotec Door/Window Sensor 7 Z-Wave Plus
- NEO Z-Wave Plus Door/Window Sensor
- KAIPULE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Door and Window Sensor – Compatible hubs listed at link
- Ring Alarm Contact Sensor 2-Pack Z-Wave – only works with Ring Home Security
5. Z-Wave Breaking Glass Sensors
Z-Wave glass sensors listen for the sound of breaking glass. I’ve heard differing stories but they do offer an additional layer of protection. If intruders are smart the may know they can smash a window and then climb through without triggering a door or window sensor. These sensors should pick up the sound of that smashing glass (you can also have motion sensors so you KNOW that you’ll still catch them even if they do climb in a broken window.)
Worth noting that Amazon echo boast a similar talent these days but that’s a long way from Z-Wave.
Bestselling Z-Wave Breaking Glass Sensors
- GOCONTROL GB00Z-2 Z-Wave Glass Break Sensor
- Aeotec Multisensor 6 - 6 in 1 Z-Wave Plus Sensor – technically not a glass break sensor but it does detect vibrations
If you go with abode as your Z-Wave Security Hub then they have a unit that works offline or online with their hub using their proprietary Radio Frequency on 433 Mhz. It’s the Acoustic Glass Break Sensor
6. Z-Wave Security Cameras for Home Security
It’s hard to recommend options here. There are plenty of WiFi cameras that work with Z-Wave hubs but they require the internet. Arlo Pro Cameras announced they will soon support Z-Wave and if they do, they’ll sell a lot of units to Z-Wave fans. There are also a lot of IP cameras that will work but they are not inherently Z-Wave.
The challenge is that Z-Wave cannot carry large amounts of data, that a camera requires, so the best we can hope for is something like the Arlo that has it’s own local Hub to operate it and a connection to a Z-Wave hub to allow for motion notifications to trigger alarms.
If you are happy to use cloud connectivity then Ring, Blink and Arlo are better-known cameras. We’ve got a write up on the best solar-powered home security video cameras.
7. Z-Wave Alarm or Siren
If you have a hub like the Abode security system it comes with a built-in siren alarm. If you don’t have that one you’re going to need to add something loud and proud to let everyone know if your alarm is going off.
You could connect more than one too. One outside the house and one inside the house as an example. There are ones that include a flashing light if you decide that’s important. You can also get a flashing alarm light separately.
Top 3 Bestselling Z-Wave Alarm Sirens
- Aeotec Siren 6 - Z-Wave Plus S2 Alarm
- Ecolink Zwave Plus Network Security Siren
- NEO Z-Wave Plus Siren Alarm
8. Z-Wave Smoke & CO2 Sensors
These might not technically be for repelling intruders and burglars but in terms of Home Security they do work to keep your home secure. The confidence of knowing if there is smoke or co2 build up in your house that you will get notified – either in your home or remotely on your phone (if you take advantage of cloud connectivity).
If you have a back to base Z-Wave alarm system then you can have them dispatch the fire department as required.
Top 4 Bestselling Z-Wave Smoke & CO2 Sensors
- First Alert ZCOMBO 2-in-1 Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- HEIMAN Smoke Sensor – check for Z-Wave frequency compatibility in your area
- Fibaro Z-Wave Smoke Detector – check for Z-Wave frequency compatibility in your area
- Ecolink Zwave Plus Wireless Audio Detector for existing Smoke/CO sensors – this one listens for your normal smoke alarm to sound and then it tells your Z-Wave Hub
Connecting home security devices that don’t have Z-Wave
If you have a Ring Doorbell, Ring Cameras, Nest cameras, Arlo cameras, August locks, LIFX bulbs or any other WiFI enabled smart device AND you have an abode security system, ring system or Smartthings system then you can connect all of your devices via WiFi to the hubs and control them that way.
This means you have to have a Hub that operates online with an internet connection (Ethernet to hub or Wifi like the vs SmartThings Hub) but it does give you many more options for your security.
So, what is the best Z-Wave Security System?
Our recommendation for the best starting point for a Z-Wave Home Security System?
Abode Z-Wave Security System
The abode z-wave security hub is designed for security first but it is also a Z-Wave smart home hub as well. The latest generation includes Z-Wave Plus, Zigbee and it can connect to a lot more devices than the previous version.
Available in two different formats, one being the iota Security System which has a built-in HD video camera and one being the Abode Security Hub which operates more as a hub for controlling all other things.
While the abode security system does use the internet for firmware updates, smart home and home automation features its solid as a security system that will protect your home, even if the internet goes down.
You can get the Abode System direct from abode or from Amazon.com
This post was last updated on 2021-05-06 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.