Tiny yet powerful. These three words sum up what we can say about Z-Wave USB stick or dongle.
If you already know about Z-Wave USB stick, then you might be directly looking for the best Z-Wave USB stick. If not, then you can continue to read on so you can learn more about Z-Wave USB sticks.
What is a Z-Wave USB stick?
Before we move forward, it would be important to know really is a Z-Wave USB stick.
The Z-Wave USB stick is a smart device which can make your computer become the control center of your Z-Wave network. This means you can make your computer become the controller or hub for your Z-Wave system.
The Z-Wave USB stick becomes the gateway between your Z-Wave devices and your computer.
This smart devices enables your computer to control your Z-Wave smart devices like the smart lights, smart sensors, Z-Wave thermostat and among others. With this device, you will have the capability of a Z-Wave controller using your own computer.
So, how does this work? Having a good Z-Wave USB stick is the first thing. Then you have your Z-Wave devices connected to your Z-Wave USB stick.
Then, you need to have your computer for where you’ll connect your Z-Wave USB stick.
Finally, you need to have the software in your computer to make the whole gateway system works. Some of these software system are OpenRemote and OpenZWave. We have a section about this later in this article if you want to know more about this.
Best Z-Wave USB Stick in 2021 – Top Picks & Choices
This is our list of the top choices for the best Z-Wave USB Stick. Hopefully, this will help you find the right one for you.
The Aeotec Z-Stick Gen 5 Z-Wave Plus USB stick is our top choice for the best Z-Wave USB stick.
This Z-Wave USB stick from Aeotec supports and is certified with the Z-Wave Plus protocol.
If you are not familiar with Z-Wave Plus and how it differs with Z-Wave, you can learn more in this article. The Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5 will enable your computer to become the controller of your Z-Wave network at home.
This USB stick is a self-powered Z-Wave USB dongle which has a push button for remote network creation.
This means it has own built-in and rechargeable info-lithium battery. Aside from that, it is also independent to the host or computer microprocessor because it can add or remove a Z-Wave device to it without requiring it to be connected with the host or computer.
But when it is connected to the computer, it becomes the gateway or communication medium between your computer and all other Z-Wave devices included in its Z-Wave network.
More on its features, this USB stick works with Windows, Mac, Linux and Raspberry Pi to become the Z-Wave gateway to control Z-Wave and Z-Wave plus devices.
Don’t mind its 1.1 x 0.4 x 3.5 inches size, what’s more important is that it is capable of controlling up to 232 different Z-Wave devices. Aside from that, it can also upgrade the firmware of Z-Wave devices which can accept OTA / wireless firmware upgrades.
This smart USB device is compatible with opensource software like Domoticz, Home Assistant, OpenHab and OpenHab2. It will also work with commercial software like Homeseer, Indigo for MacOS and Axial Control.
Next in line is the SmartStick+ Z-Wave Plus USB stick from HomeSeer. The HomeSeer SmartStick+ is Z-Wavce Plus certified interface which is for use for HomeSeer Software and Home Trollers.
It doesn’t only support Z-Wave Plus devices, it also works with older Z-Wave products. It also supports Network Wide Inclusion (NWI) you can easily pair with Z-Wave devices you intend to add in the Z-Wave network using this stick.
Aside from that, it provides easy upgrade process from Z-Trollers, Z-Sticks and other Z-Wave interfaces or USD sticks. Thus, this Z-Wave interface is a serious choice for the best Z-Wave USB stick out there.
For its other features, this USB stick uses the Sigma Serial API for the protocol. It has a built-in 500 Series Z-Wave module and includes the ZDK 6.5x Z-Wave library.
This has field-upgradable firmware also. This smart USB stick is compatible with HomeSeer HS3-based systems running under Linux or Windows 7 (or higher).
With these features, this USB stick works best if you have a HomeSeer based home automation system.
The Linear HUSBZB-1 is the QuickStick Combo of GoControl With Combo, it means that it can provide your PC or computer with interface for Z-Wave and Zigbee devices.
Let’s talk about Zigbee in another post since we are focusing our topic here about Z-Wave. You can plug in this smart USB stick into your PC’s USB port which allows you to control Z-Wave & Zigbee devices through its free smartphone application.
This smart stick comes in with free computer based software and a free mobile application. Therefore, you can control your Z-Wave smart devices through two ways.
First, through the use of the free PC-based software. And, you can also choose to use the free mobile application. You should remember to keep you host PC or computer to remain running and connected to the internet so that its remote capability to control smart devices will function.
If you want to use this Z-Wave USB stick, then if you be very much helpful to read on its documentation.
This will provide with good guidance and some more details about Linear HUSBZB-1.
Next in line is the Z-Wave USB stick from ZWave.Me. This USB stick allows a PC or Computing platform with a USB hub to allow it be connected to the wireless Z-Wave network of your smart devices.
This device needs a hub software which is compatible with Sigma Designs Serial API for it to function well.
As soon as you this device along with the right controller software, you can be able to connect to the network of your Z-Wave devices and control them.
It doesn’t matter what is the brand or vendor of your smart Z-Wave devices, it will still work as long as it’s a certified Z-Wave device.
This USB Stick is really small and you can just plug-in directly. Once you have the right controller software, then you can add and connect to Z-Wave devices and configure them for your control.
Here’s a short video you can watch about Z-Wave.Me USB Stick for WD My Cloud.
The Z-Wave USB Stick Guide
Z-Wave USB sticks can come in pretty handy if you want to manage control of your Z-Wave network through your personal computer.
Although, there are just a few choices for Z-Wave USB sticks but if you really want to use this, then you should be able to choose what’s best for your needs.
Let’s take some of the factors you need to consider when choosing for the best Z-Wave USB stick for your network.
The main reason you want to use this device is to control your Z-Wave devices through your computer.
Yes, you should consider is the compatibility of the USB stick to your existing Z-Wave devices such as Z-Wave sirens or Z-Wave door locks.
Make sure they’re compatible and that your USB stick and the software can control all of your smart devices in your Z-Wave network.
Controller Software & Setup
Aside from the USB stick itself, you will need to have the corresponding software from where you can connect and manage the Z-Wave devices you will control.
Aside from choosing the right software, the next tasks you will have to do is to familiarize with how to configure and use the software. This will require you to read through documentations and watch tutorial videos. Thus, it is important to prepare for some technical setup needed for this.
Unless you are a technical person and really wants to it this way, you should think about how convenient this one is for you. This is considering all the setup and configuration needed for the whole setup to be in place.
If you want to have an easier way of controlling your Z-Wave network, then consider looking for the best Z-Wave controller instead. It is an easier path to choose when it comes to having control over your Z-Wave network.
Product & User Reviews
It always comes handy and very helpful to read reviews on a product you wanted to buy.
This will help give you information you will never get from just reading product descriptions and specifications. Whether you realize it or not, there are a lot of helpful information you can get from reviews.
Look specifically or pay attention to those reviews which most likely has the same setup and devices that you are using, this way you will know if there are issues you need to know.
Operation, Maintenance & Support
Lastly, you should know how the whole Z-Wave network management with the use of a Z-Wave USB stick works.
This will help you in the creating an automation network. Maintenance and support should also be consider for anyone would want a long lasting operation for a smart home automation network.
The Features of A Good Z-Wave USB Stick
There are several features that you can consider in choosing a good Z-Wave USB stick.
This list can be just some of the features that a smart USB stick has. But, this is a good start for you to think about and examine what’s best for your needs.
The Number & Kind of Z-Wave Devices It Supports & Control
It is very important that you should know how many Z-Wave devices does a smart USB stick can support.
After all, this is the very purpose of the device which is to serve as a hub for you to control other smart devices.
Aside from that, it is also very important that you will know if the stick can support both Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus protocol.
You need to examine if the USB stick can support the kind of Z-Wave devices you currently have and you plan to purchase in the future. It all comes down to how flexible the smart USB device is.
Controller Software It Supports
You already know about this. But, it is essential to know which software does the Z-Wave USB stick can support.
This way you will have the chance to choose the software which provides you the best features you need to control your Z-Wave network. Different software have different features so you also consider this one.
Guides & Support
Lastly, the use and setup of a Z-Wave USB controller can be daunting and tricky. Most likely, there are some technical steps you must take for the setup and for the control as well.
So, it would come in handy if there is an extensive documentation and guides as well as support for the Z-Wave USB stick that you will have. And, how fast and easy can you get help and support in case you will encounter problems.
Wrapping It Up
The use of Z-Wave USB stick can be a good option for your Z-Wave home automation network.
But, you should expect a more complicated setup and configuration as compared to the use of a Z-Wave controller.
However, if you love to do some technical stuffs, and probably some experiments, then a Z-Wave USB stick can be your companion.
It would not that easy to choose what’s the best Z-Wave USB stick for you. Hopefully, this guide can help you provide some guidance and direction.
As long as you continue to read and know what you really need, you can really choose which Z-Wave USB stick is good for your Z-Wave network.