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  • Z-Wave vs. Insteon

    When I had HS2 some years back, Insteon was all the rage. Somewhere along the way you guys seem to have gone in the Z-Wave direction. What did I miss? What's so great about Z-Wave vs. Insteon?


    Jim Speiser
    30-year veteran of Home Automation
    Still don't know squat

  • #2
    I'm moving away from Insteon towards z-wave due to the lack of availability of product in the UK.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by JimSpy View Post
      When I had HS2 some years back, Insteon was all the rage. Somewhere along the way you guys seem to have gone in the Z-Wave direction. What did I miss? What's so great about Z-Wave vs. Insteon?
      Both work equally as well with HS3 and can be used together so purchase the hardware that each protocol offers that you need and integrate.
      -Rupp
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Running a hybrid environment and both platforms are solid. Z wave is cheaper and it doesn't require mains power to operate so I've been using it more for sensors. Insteon does have a leg up since the devices repeat over the power lines as well so it's easier to extend range. Also z wave has much more third party support

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Rupp View Post
          Both work equally as well with HS3 and can be used together so purchase the hardware that each protocol offers that you need and integrate.
          Yes, I realize that HS3 speaks both reasonably well, and I thank the HomeSeer gods for that...I was just curious why your documentation and some of your implementation seems to be Z-wave-centric, like that is THE preferred standard or something.


          Jim Speiser
          30-year veteran of Home Automation
          Still don't know squat

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kideon View Post
            Running a hybrid environment and both platforms are solid. Z wave is cheaper and it doesn't require mains power to operate so I've been using it more for sensors. Insteon does have a leg up since the devices repeat over the power lines as well so it's easier to extend range. Also z wave has much more third party support
            So plusses and minuses to both. Does Z-wave have a larger product line?


            Jim Speiser
            30-year veteran of Home Automation
            Still don't know squat

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JimSpy View Post
              Yes, I realize that HS3 speaks both reasonably well, and I thank the HomeSeer gods for that...I was just curious why your documentation and some of your implementation seems to be Z-wave-centric, like that is THE preferred standard or something.
              There are many manufactures of Z-Wave devices and only one for Insteon so it gets more coverage typically. UPB is available as well but it seems to not be gaining any momentum especially with new devices.
              -Rupp
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JimSpy View Post
                I was just curious why your documentation and some of your implementation seems to be Z-wave-centric, like that is THE preferred standard or something.
                I think it is preferred from HST's perspective. HST has been actively engaged in improving (realizing?) standards for Z wave, and they're also expending considerable development resources on expanding and maintaining Z wave capability in HS - to the point that all other technologies have been left to third party developers. They also appear to have incorporated Z wave hardware sales in their business model.

                From this outsider's perspective, Z wave owes a great deal to the support it has obtained from HST. It is clearly getting better, more reliable and more diverse in the functions in can handle, but it still seems to create headaches for some users, and has a ways to go before it's as easy to use as UPB, X10, or Insteon. But, for most users it's much less prone to problems (and faster) than X10 PLC, and it is much more versatile than UPB or Insteon. Personally, I've found that combining wireless X10 with UPB is an extremely powerful and reliable combination in HS, but given HST's evident commitment to it, Z wave is probably the most sure future path for (US) HS users to adopt.
                Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

                HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Uncle Michael View Post
                  I think it is preferred from HST's perspective. HST has been actively engaged in improving (realizing?) standards for Z wave, and they're also expending considerable development resources on expanding and maintaining Z wave capability in HS - to the point that all other technologies have been left to third party developers. They also appear to have incorporated Z wave hardware sales in their business model.

                  From this outsider's perspective, Z wave owes a great deal to the support it has obtained from HST. It is clearly getting better, more reliable and more diverse in the functions in can handle, but it still seems to create headaches for some users, and has a ways to go before it's as easy to use as UPB, X10, or Insteon. But, for most users it's much less prone to problems (and faster) than X10 PLC, and it is much more versatile than UPB or Insteon. Personally, I've found that combining wireless X10 with UPB is an extremely powerful and reliable combination in HS, but given HST's evident commitment to it, Z wave is probably the most sure future path for (US) HS users to adopt.
                  Thanks for that insightful response, it confirms my suspicions.


                  Jim Speiser
                  30-year veteran of Home Automation
                  Still don't know squat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have both, but I'm moving to Z-wave, slowly but surely. One of the biggest reasons is that I can go to Lowe's or Home Depot & get a switch.

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                    • #11
                      FWIW, I started with a different controller with Insteon, and the Insteon "modem" (the serial version) died on me. Twice (two different units). I've never had a Z-wave controller die on me -- in one house, I replaced a Z-Stick with a Z-Net, and in the other, am still running two Z-Sticks.

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                      • #12
                        One of the things I like best about Homeseer is the broad support of multiple technologies and "standards". Like many, I have a mix of Insteon and Z-Wave. I have an ISY controller, so managing the Insteon stuff is a breeze, and it's still available if my Homeseer server is unavailable.

                        Both Insteon and Z-wave have their idiosyncracies, strengths and shortcomings. Since it supports both (and many more) I select the best device for any given need. Motions sensors, light controls, leak detection, temperature etc. So why choose? Run both!!!! HS just ties them all together. And a lot more.

                        I'm currently at 2025 "devices" and counting. The majority are Insteon, but added Z-wave for door locks, some sensors and a few other odds and ends.
                        My home is smarter than your honor roll student.

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                        • #13
                          I started to switch from Z-wave to Insteon because I liked the appearance of the 6 and 8 button keypads, but I discovered Insteon doesn't have a switch or dimmer that supports LEDs so I have paused working on my lighting controls...hoping someone will come out with reasonably priced Z-wave controllers that support LED. When troubleshooting problems with Insteon Tech Support, the first question is why type of bulb is connected. If your reply is LED, they tell you to change to incandescent bulbs and call back if it still doesn't work. Although they do sell an Insteon LED bulb, but using them would increase my install cost significantly.
                          Last edited by kesterf; February 4th, 2016, 10:47 PM.

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                          • #14
                            This is an interesting discussion. Glad this discussion is positive and not like what I hear in the Chevy vs. Ford conversations, LOL. My father worked for Ford for over 40 years at the Glass plant in Nashville, TN. I have been lucky to be able to buy cars using the Ford A plan (before he retired) and now the Z plan (after retirement) for years. It is a great benefit that my father has to purchase new vehicles at a reduced cost. I recently bought a 2013 Ford F150, traded in my 1985 Ford Ranger, it had 350,000 miles on it. Man that was a great vehicle, however I sure do like my new F150, so does my wife, she drives it everywhere... sorry I digress...

                            On the Z-wave vs. Insteon discussion... I have a mixture of Z-wave and Insteon at my home, partially due to me giving my wife a choice on the style and look of switches. She liked the look of the Insteon switches better than anything else.

                            I have a version 1 hub and 60+ Insteon devices, made up of switches (on/off and dimmers), on/off modules, dimmer modules, keypads, in wall receptacles (in and outside) and one motion sensor. I have around 10 Z-wave on/off modules, some in wall receptacles, and 2 thermostats. I also had a Insteon PLM and it worked well for many years.

                            I provided a picture of one of the 4gang Insteon switches that has labels and a keypad. My wife really likes the keypads, we have 4+ of the keypads. Most Insteon on/off and dimmer switches are 3+ years old, the hub is almost 3 years old, a few of the keypads are 6+ years old. My oldest Insteon switches are 7+ years, a few are going on 10 years. I have a few newer switches year or less... Some of the older switches are in high traffic areas, garage, back door, master bedroom. I have been pleased with the lifespan of the Insteon devices, and have not had to replace but just three switches over the years. Smarthome has been great when replacing any items under warranty. Two that I replaced was the old style switches (Icon I believe), the paddle could just not handle the traffic. The other was a togglelinc and was at the front door and controlled our eve lights. At Christmas time I would use this switch to turn on our outside icicle lights (before I switched to LED lights), the switch could just not handle the current required for all those lights strung together. We have three kids, and our house has always been full with family and friends turning things off and on (LOL)... In the last year our two oldest have moved out, getting a little quieter.

                            On Z-wave, I have 2 thermostats (Trane, almost 7 years old), they work very well. Some minor problems (communication) at the start, but all appears to be well now. There are 10 or so of the Z-wave on/off modules (Intermatic HA01), some are 6+ years old. These on/off modules work very well and the lifespan has been great. I have also had a number of Intermatic wall modules (dimming and on/off), as well as outside on/off modules they also worked well unless there was a problem with one unit. As Randy has mentioned before there is no rhyme or reason to the havoc a misbehaving Z-wave module can cause on a network. I can say it has been a very long time since I have had a Z-wave issue. With that said, I bought the Intermatic Z-wave modules really cheap years ago, also on sale, so maybe I got what I paid for... During the life of the plugin modules, several (more than 6) were returned to Intermatic for replacement. The last wall module dimmer that was replaced under warranty was substituted for a on/off module, because Intermatic did not make them anymore. I recently purchased 4 Z-wave First Alert Battery-Powered Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors with Photoelectric Sensor. Since they had them a Lowes, it was a easy decision. I replaced our 4 AC smoke detectors in our home. At first I was disappointed that these new Z-wave detectors were battery only, however the lifespan appears to be great. Setup into HomeSeer was easy and no issues since the initial installation. I have setup a number of events to notify us in case of an issue and a battery report is sent via email every week. I installed all 4 units in early December and the lowest battery is at 95% right now.

                            All in all, I plan to stay with both Z-wave and Insteon, both have their strengths and opportunities. I am little wiser now and seem to know what to do, if a problem does happen. Z-wave seems to have more development and new items on the market due to multiple manufacturers. Smarthome also seems to be actively developing new items. Both have their positives and negatives, in the end it is what works for you.

                            If I had it all to do over again, I would probably buy some cheap Z-wave stuff to get my feet wet, then my wife would see the (as she says) cool keypad link switches... then I would buy some of those, since she was interested... LOL, so basically not much would change.
                            Attached Files
                            Billy Draper

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                            • #15
                              Z-Wave and Insteon are both major protocols that require a lot of engineering resources to maintain. Mark Sandler does a great job of supporting Insteon, so there's not much point in us duplicating that effort. Simple as that...

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