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zwave or Insteon

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  • zwave or Insteon

    Which one would you use for light switches

  • #2
    I will say after having tried both, I much prefer Insteon with an ISY controller. Although the new HS Zwave with controllable LEDs are DAMN SEXY.
    My home is smarter than your honor roll student.


    • #3
      I like both and they can be used together with HS3 seamlessly. Just buy the best devices that each protocol offers.


      • #4
        Originally posted by mworsnop View Post
        Which one would you use for light switches
        I use both in my setup. Included below are a few points on our setup and experience.

        Our home has a mixture of Insteon and Z-wave devices, partially due to the style and look of the switches. At the time we were deciding on switches, Z-wave was a newcomer to the market and had not developed an attractive and dependable switch. The Insteon switches were more attractive, functional and dependable, that has changed as time has passed. In some instances the devices are equal in others Z-wave has surpassed Insteon.

        Our setup contains a version 2 Insteon hub and 60+ Insteon devices, made up of switches (on/off and dimmers), on/off modules, dimmer modules, keypads, and in wall receptacles (in and outside). For Z-wave a HomeSeer Z-NET Network-Enabled Z-Wave Plus Interface is used and roughly 10 Z-wave on/off modules, some in wall receptacles, and 2 thermostats.

        The Insteon keypads are very attractive and functional, currently we have 4 of the keypads. Most of the Insteon devices are a number of years old and have excellent longevity, 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. We have replaced only a few of the old style switches, the paddle failed to handle the traffic.

        On Z-wave, our home contains 2 thermostats (Trane, purchased in November of 2009), they work very well. Some minor problems (communication) at the beginning of Z-wave, however they are 100% now. There are 10 or so of the Z-wave on/off modules (Intermatic HA01), most purchased in 2009. These on/off modules work very well and the lifespan has been excellent. We 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 a single unit. With that said, there is no rhyme or reason to the havoc a misbehaving Z-wave module can cause on a network. However, I can say it has been a very long time since I have had a Z-wave issue, I suspect that is due to the maturity of the protocol over the years. We recently purchased 4 of the Z-wave First Alert Battery-Powered Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors at Lowes. These new units replaced our original aging AC smoke detectors. At first I was disappointed that these new Z-wave detectors were battery only, however the lifespan appears to be great at least 8 to 12 months. 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.

        All in all, I plan to stay with both Z-wave and Insteon, both have their strengths and opportunities. We understand the technology and seem to know what to do, if a problem does happen. A user can purchase Z-wave devices at Home Depot and Lowes. Smarthome also seems to be actively developing new Insteon items. Both have their positives and negatives, in the end, it is what works for you.

        This is a picture of one of our 4 gang boxes with Insteon switches and one 8 button keypad. My wife liked being able to label the switches, so that was our direction at the time.

        Click image for larger version

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        Billy Draper


        • #5
          How did you label those switches? They look great!



          • #6
            Originally posted by MarkHargrove View Post
            How did you label those switches? They look great!

            Smarthome provides this as a service when you order the switch. My wife really liked the option and we ordered one as a trial and that was it... she really like the personalization and identification of large switch boxes. As for the keypad, rather then order the 50 or 100 prebuilt options we just identified the ones we needed and put blanks on the others for the time being.

            Update... I just did a search on the custom etching for Insteon paddles and it looks like they no longer offer this option... see It is a real shame that they do not offer it anymore, hopefully it will be back. I did find this link, but it points back to the Smarthome site, see

            This is a link to the 8 button custom etched option for keypads, see

            We also use LED color change kits to bring identification to certain squares, see
            Billy Draper


            • #7
              Sometime this fall I'll give laser etching them a shot with the laser cutter. I think with the right settings it could work. If I have any success, I'll post my findings and instructions how to do it (then you can find your local makerspace or somewhere with laser cutter access)
              Joe (zimmer62)

              BLSecurtiy, AC-RF2, RCS Serial Thermostats, RFXCOM SMarthome SwitchLinc, mcsXap, Global Cache GC100, SqueezeBox, TWA_ONKYOINTEGRA, BLLogMonitor, BLPlugins, BLRadar, BLSpeech, BLZLog.aspx, HSTouch (Windows, iPhone, iPod), USB Mimo touchscreens, VMWare Server, Vortexbox, Windows Home Server, MyMovies, Windows Media Center, X10, ZWave, and much much much more.