Top 2023 Picks for Z-Wave and Zigbee Sensors

Z-Wave network for home automation

Why I Migrated My Smart Home from SmartThings to Hubitat Elevation

HomeKit support is available on Hubitat Elevation smart home hubs (as of January 2023)! Finally a seamless solution to connecting your Z-Wave, Zigbee, and WiFi devices to Apple's HomeKit network and controllable from the Apple Home app. Learn more After many years of satisfied SmartThings automation, I started wanting more from my IoT hub and began looking for better solutions. I was so invested in SmartThings at that point, with over 100 Z-Wave and Zigbee...

Z-Wave & Zigbee Motion/Contact Sensors

Motion Sensors

Motion sensors, using Infrared (IR) technology, are a core component is any home security strategy. When motion detectors first came out, and many years after, the biggest flaw (and customer complaint) was false-alarms caused by pets – primarily large dogs. When an owner arms the system and leave, the sensor would immediately trigger when the pet walked into its field of view.

Our Pick: Ecolink Z-Wave Pet-Immune Motion Sensor

Many modern-day motion sensors (including my favorite, the Ecolink Z-Wave Plus) are capable of identifying pets and dismissing the alarm. The technology is simple – IR beams used to detect motion report back the size of the object in motion – so, the “pet-immune” sensors simply set a ‘size requirement’ (“60lbs” for example) to trigger.

These pet-immune motion sensors are effective in alleviating 90% of false-alarms; from my experience, there are still edge cases where pets will trigger the alarm, although few!

Popular Z-Wave Motion Sensors

A motion sensor can be used to tun on lights, trigger alerts and notifications, lock/unlock doors, and much more with the Samsung SmartThings Hub.

Contact Sensors

Our Pick: Visionic Zigbee Contact Sensor

Contact sensors can be used in a wide variety of applications. A contact sensor consists of two parts: the core module w/ battery, and a detachable magnetic piece. The smaller magnet is placed on the movable portion of the object being monitored: the edge of a door, the bottom of a window, etc.

Contact sensors can also be placed in a mailbox to detect when the door/lid has been opened. I use a contact sensor to monitor the movement of the backyard doggy door. As you can see, there are many uses for contact sensors.

Popular Contact Sensors for SmartThings

Contact sensors are usually a part of home security, and integrated into SmartThings Smart Home Monitor — but there are other uses too. We have contact sensors in the mailbox to notify when the mail arrives; contact sensors inside medicine cabinets to notify when opened, and even a contact sensor on the dog door to monitor Sparky’s activity.

Temperature Sensors

Our Pick: Aeotec Multisensor 6

The Multisensor from Aeotec is packed with SIX different monitors: motion, temperature, humidity, UV meansurement, luminosity (lux), and tamper. With both battery-powered and 5v Micro-USB power supply options (both included in box), this sensor is packed with functionality.

Read our full review of the Aeotec Multisensor 6.

Temperature sensors report the current temperature to the smart home hub on a recurring basis. The reporting time can vary from five minutes, up to once every 12 hours. The higher in frequency the reporting time is set, power consumption increases and battery-life decreases.

Temperature sensors can be used to monitor the temperature in detached rooms, garages, basement, pantries, and more. You can also use contact sensors as second or third thermometers for Nast or other smart home thermostats.

Water/Moisture Sensors

Water and Moisture Sensors

Water and moisture sensors are most commonly used to monitor pipes in attics and basements for leaks. They can also be used for air conditioning drip-pan monitoring.

There are many mission-specific use cases that are unique to the home, such as – monitoring a jacuzzi bathtub for excess moisture beneath the tile.

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Most buttons offer at least 2 trigger types: push and hold. This allows 2 different SmartThings scenes/automations to be programmed for each button. Some buttons are not natively compatible with SmartThings, and will require a custom device handler – they’ll be labeled appropriately so you can easily gauge setup difficulty.

The Best Zigbee Push Button from ThirdReality

The ThirdReality Zigbee smart button device is a reliable, simple, and powerful Zigbee push button device. Powered by 2x AAA batteries, featuring a large single button with 3 supported interaction types (tap, double tap, hold), this button is out top pick for single-button devices to integrate with Hubitat or SmartThings.
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The Ultimate Guide to Buttons for Hubitat & SmartThings

After reviewing over 25 smart buttons for SmartThings and other smart home hubs, we thought it'd be helpful to single-out the top 3 buttons to date. The buttons we link to below are natively compatible with SmartThings, and utilize Z-wave, Zigbee, and sometimes both.
Aeotech NanoMote on AverageTech: Review

Aeotec NanoMote Quad: Multi-function Z-Wave Controller

Released in early 2019, the new Aeotec NanoMote (Available on Amazon) comes natively compatible with Samsung SmartThings, in addition to other Z-Wave Smart Home Hubs. Offering 4 physical buttons, each with 2 touch-modes (short press & long press), the NanoMote is an upgrade to the Aeotec WallMote Dual and Quad button controllers. Comparatively, the NanoMote is significantly smaller; measuring about 2-inches by 2/3-inch.
Fibaro Z-Wave "The Button"

Fibaro Z-Wave Button: Big & Simple

This stand-out push button for Z-Wave smart homes (including Samsung SmartThings), developed by Fibaro, can function as a standalone panic button or a scene controller. Depending on your configuration, a single push can trigger any number of devices and automations.
Aeotec WallMote product overview

Aeotec WallMote

The WallMote from Aeotec is a sleek and simple dual-button remote control with Z-Wave Plus radio and native SmartThings compatibility. Available on Amazon, the Aeotec WallMote is an essential smart device for high-end smart homes.
SmartThings Button Featured Image Product ATB

Samsung SmartThings Push Button

Manufactured directly from the makers of the Samsung SmartThings Hub, this simple, elegant, and affordable push button enables unlimited possibilities for smart home automation. With native device compatibility, this button takes about 30 seconds to pair to your hub. Simply open the app, tap "+Add Device" and select "Samsung SmartThings Button".

Sylvania Smart+ Zigbee Wall Outlet

Automating lamps and other plug-in appliances in a smart home has never been easier than the SYLVANIA SMART+ 'Lightify' Zigbee power outlet. Natively compatible with Samsung SmartThings, simple design, and 30-second installation and pairing make this outlet out #1 pick for SmartThings wall plug control.
Flic Button for SmartThings

Flic Mini Buttons for Smart Home Automation (Released 2023)

The Logi Pop smart button is, by far, the most aesthetically pleasing IoT push button. However, this beautifully designed smart button requires an additional hub for basic remote operation. To achieve an experience comparable to a native SmartThings device, you'll need to use a custom device handler & smart app, on top of IFTTT web hooks.
Remotec Z-Wave Scene Master Controller

Remotec Z-Wave Scene Master Controller

Once you've built your initial home automation network, you need to be able to control it! The default (and simplest) way to control Z-Wave and Zigbee devices is with a Samsung SmartThings hub. The SmartThings mobile app offers all of the basic functionality - like toggling power, checking status, changing modes, etc. If you need push-button control of multiple devices, the Remotec Z-Wave Scene Master is the perfect solution. Important: You will need custom device handlers to...

Whether you need to control a simple lamp, or a 110v air conditioning unit, there’s a Z-wave or Zigbee product to suit your needs. It’s important to know whether your application will be for a high voltage device, or not. If not, any of the outlets below will work. Otherwise, look for the “high voltage” labeled products.

Aeotec Smart Dimmer 6 - product-package

Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Dimmer Outlet Plug

The basic operation is to toggle power on and off using the SmartThings mobile app, but you can also dim the brightness of the plugged-in device using a fully customizable sliding scale. This feature enables homeowners to achieve the perfect dimmer level for table and floor lamps, and other lighting applications.
GE Z-Wave Outdoor Switch Product Image ATB

GE Outdoor Z-Wave Plus Appliance Control Switch

The Z-Wave Plus outdoor smart switch from GE is a reliable, heavy duty controller for lighting and appliances exposed to weather and the elements. Natively compatible with SmartThings, its compact, all-black enclosure and short 7.5-inch power cord can easily be concealed behind foliage and rocks, or mounted to an exterior surface.

Sylvania Smart+ Zigbee Wall Outlet

Automating lamps and other plug-in appliances in a smart home has never been easier than the SYLVANIA SMART+ 'Lightify' Zigbee power outlet. Natively compatible with Samsung SmartThings, simple design, and 30-second installation and pairing make this outlet out #1 pick for SmartThings wall plug control.
Zooz Appliance Outlet Switch

Zooz Heavy Duty Z-Wave Power Switch

This outlet controller from Zooz is natively compatible with SmartThings, which means no custom device handlers or coding is needed to get setup. Be sure to stand near your hub when pairing, otherwise installation is a breeze and takes less than 60 seconds!