Home automation is older than you think. At the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, there was an exhibit called “Homes of Tomorrow.” This expo featured modern homes built with new materials and techniques but also the very first home automation gadgets.
We’ve come a long way since then, all the way from pushing a button to open a garage door to remotely shutting off our home's water while on vacation. The innovations we have today just keep getting better, too, and you can see the culmination of all this with the best Z-Wave controller around; the VeraPlus.
Why Do You Need a Z-Wave Controller?
Some homeowners will replace existing "dumb" devices with these smart devices and call it good, but that just means you have to open a different app on your tablet or phone every time you want to turn off a light or change the temperature in a room.
If you’re as smart as your home, you can control all these things from a central device, called a hub or controller. This device takes input from all the devices in the home and lets you program settings for everything in one app.
Getting the right controller is crucial to having a truly smart home, because it's the brain of your operation. If you choose the wrong hub, things can go awry. We’ve already established that Z-Wave is the best protocol for the Internet of Things in your smart home, so now we just need to find the best Z-Wave controller.
The best controllers use several different protocols since all your devices might not speak the same language, but you want to make sure Z-Wave is included because it will give you the strongest and most versatile network. Now of the Z-Wave smart home hubs, which is the best you ask? The VeraPlus Advanced Home Controller of course!
But first! Let’s look at the VeraEdge Z-Wave Home Controller (VeraPlus' little brother).
The VeraEdge smart home controller replaced the VeraLite. At a lower price point than the VeraPlus, the Edge is a great starter Z-Wave controller for someone new to home automation. However, that lower price also means it has a lower processing speed and memory at 600 MHz and 128MB, respectively.
That being said, the VeraEdge does its job as a smart home controller very well. This hub connects with hundreds of Z-Wave devices, offers an app for mobile devices, allows programmable scenes, has push notifications, manages PINs for access, and supports geofencing.
Despite these admittedly great features, the catch with the VeraEdge is that this smart home controller only supports Z-Wave and wifi devices. That’s it. So a newbie who unwittingly bought a Zigbee device or two would be better off getting a device that supports more than one protocol... like the VeraPlus.
And The Best Z-Wave Controller is...
The VeraPlus Advanced Home Controller
Let’s get into the technical nitty gritty of the VeraPlus smart home hub by looking at various features in depth.
The VeraPlus Z-Wave controller has a lightning fast CPU speed of 800MHz MIPS SoC with tons of memory (for a Z-Wave controller), DDR3 256MB RAM and 128MB DDR3 flash memory. This is a vast improvement over the VeraEdge’s 600MHz and 128MB DDR2 RAM.
It also has a USB port and a 1 Gigabit Ethernet WAN port so you can hook it into your home network (or it can create it's own wireless network if you choose). This faster speed may not seem like a justification for the higher price, but a stronger CPU means that you can connect more devices and program more automation scenes without bogging down your system.
The VeraPlus Advanced Home Controller supports many different IoT protocols: Z-Wave Plus, ZigBee, Bluetooth LE, and 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi. This means it’s compatible with tons of smart home brands like Fibaro, Nest, Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, Aeon Labs, First Alert, and more. Yes, you read that right. You don’t have to have all Z-Wave products. You can mix and match and still control everything from one smart home hub!
...Of course, the nature of Z-Wave means that the more of those products you have, the stronger your network will be.
This Z-Wave controller has apps for both Android, iOS, and Windows platforms, so you can control your home on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can even connect it to Amazon Echo and control it via voice (forum link for reference)!
The VeraPlus also supports plugins for certain devices, functions, and features. The app is very easy to use on all platforms, with a dashboard and various pages for cameras, lights and other types of devices, as well as programmable scenes!
You can set scenes for Home, Away, Vacation, and Night, which are accessible through shortcuts on the app. You can also program your VeraPlus Z-Wave controller to get your home to react to events like the doorbell ringing or the sunrise. To deter thieves, you can also program random events while you’re away from home.
Many of these types of scenes can be created in the Vera Scene system, but for more complex automation rules, many people use PLEG, which is a Third Party Vera Plugin.
As many online reviewers agree, the thing that really sets Vera apart is their outstanding tech support. If you have issues with your home automation system, Vera can help you work it out and get your smart home working smoothly again.
They’re available on the phone, via email, or even live chat, and there are a ton of online resources (such as their forum) if you’d prefer to troubleshoot your Z-Wave network on your own. Their apps are fully supported too; they were developed by Mios Limited, who are responsive to software issues.
With the VeraPlus Advanced Home Controller, you can monitor and control all your smart cameras, motion detectors, locks, thermostat, lights, fans, water, and more! Using this smart home hub, you can control all these devices remotely, too, and program pretty much anything you can think of.
The VeraPlus also has a great price point for all this functionality, and you can count on their tech support if something goes awry. Considering all this, it’s clear that the VeraPlus is the best Z-Wave controller out there!
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