Does Z-Wave work with Alexa and voice commands?
- By: Ashley Saunders
- September 2021
Using Amazon’s Alexa is fun, convenient and helpful. It’s the perfect introduction to simple home automation. But if you want a more complex system, Z-Wave is ideal. You likely want to know does Z-Wave work with Alexa? And if you can control your Z-Wave device using voice commands.
Alexa is compatible with Z-Wave, offering yet another way to control smart devices and your home automation system. However, there is a catch, for Amazon Alexa to work, it needs to be connected with a Z-Wave home automation system.
Once the two systems are set up and communicating, you can use voice commands through Alexa to control any programmed Z-Wave smart home devices. So, if you’re thinking about does Z-Wave work with Alexa, the answer is yes.
Can Alexa control my smart devices without needing Z-Wave?
Amazon has designed Alexa to cover a lot of ground, it can read you the news, tell you today’s forecast, set reminders and far more. It can also control a few smart home devices such as a digital thermostat, door locks and lights. It’s unbelievably powerful.
However, it’s not designed to control a large array of smart home devices. It also doesn’t allow you to program complex scenes or sequences. Hence, after a certain point, we need a dedicated home automation system such as Z-Wave.
Z-wave is a control protocol used in thousands of devices, allowing you to build a smart home using several brands without getting a headache. That said, Z-Wave doesn’t offer voice control, making Amazon’s Alexa an ideal companion. Together, they can create a powerful smart home.
Why does Alexa and Z-Wave need a hub to work together?
Both systems use unique hardware and software to operate and as such aren’t compatible. It’s a bit like visiting a foreign country and being surprised they don’t speak English. Neither language is superior but you need someone or something to translate between the two.
Amazon wants to dominate the voice assistant market. Alexa is available as an app, on many of their branded items (Echo range, Fire TV sticks, etc), and is used by many 3rd party companies. However, how the software and cloud computing works is still a closely guarded secret.
The same is true for Z-Wave. They licence a chip to a select group of companies who in turn agree to abide by certain standards and requirements. The inner workings of Z-Wave is less secret but still well guarded.
Much like needing a translator when travelling aboard, for these different technologies to work together you need another device that can handle both communication protocols. So, we need a hub.
Which Z-Wave hubs work with Alexa?
There’s a solid range of Z-Wave hubs available, all of which can work with Alexa as well as a few workarounds.
Our favourites are the Fibaro Home Center 2 and Home Center 3. Both are a little pricey, but Fibaro is an excellent choice for building a smart home. Getting your Fibaro system to work with Alexa is simple.
If you’re a Samsung fan, then you’ll be glad to know that the SmartThings hub works with Alexa, Z-wave and Zigbee, not to mention an increasing range of Samsung products. SmartThings products are more affordable and widely available.
The entire Vera range of Z-Wave smart home hubs work with Alexa but the set up process is quite involved. So you might want to read their guide to the topic.
Another option is to use the Athom Homey Pro, which acts as a bridge between various automation protocols including Alexa, Google Assistant, Z-Wave, Zigbee and others. If you’re building a complex system then it’s worth investing in the Homey Pro as it will make life easier.
What voice commands can you use?
There are plenty of simple voice commands that you can use to control your smart home devices that are connected to Alexa.
- Turn on / off your smart home device: “Turn on / off [smart home device / group name].”
- Turn on / off a scene: “Turn on / off [scene / group name].”
- Set the brightness (for compatible lights): “Set [smart home device / group name] to [##]%.” or “Brighten / dim [smart home device / group name].”
- Set the colour and shades of white (for compatible lights): “Set the light to blue.” or “Make the light [warmer / cooler].”
- Control a thermostat: “Set [smart home device / group name] temperature to [##] degrees.” or “[Increase / decrease] the [smart home device / group name] temperature.”
- Check your thermostat: “What’s the temperature in here?”
- “What’s my thermostat set to?”
- Control a door lock: “Is the [back / front] door locked?” or “Lock the [back / front] door.” or “Unlock the [back / front] door.”
- Show your smart home device camera feed: “Show [camera name].”
- Check your contact sensor: “Is the [smart home device] open?” or “Did I close my [smart home device]?”
Will Alexa replace my remotes and apps?
There’s a big misconception about using a voice assistant. Some believe it magically replaces the need for remote, control pads and apps as you can simply tell the system what you want to happen, then it reacts to your command.
Using Alexa to control your Z-Wave home automation system will speed up activating certain elements, but it works differently than the app or a remote.
For example, imagine setting up a welcome home scene, which turns on the hall light, adjusts the heating to the ideal temperature and raises the downstairs blinds.
Having to unlock your phone, find the app and click the button is far too many steps! Instead, as you walk through the door, you can tell Alexa to start the welcome home scene. Far easier!
Now imagine, you’re snuggling with a loved one on the sofa. You want to dim the lights, but don’t know by how much. Unless you love asking Alexa to show you all of the different brightness levels, using an app is far easier.
So, use Alexa for short commands and other control options for more complex adjustments or building scenes that use multiple devices.
So, does Z-Wave work with Alexa?
Building a smarter home will make your life easier. Both Z-Wave and Alexa are affordable, DIY friendly and easy to program, making them an ideal solution for homeowners. But you might want to know does Z-Wave work with Alexa? Yes, they do work together, but you need a hub.
A smart home hub such as the ones from Fibaro, Vera or Samsung SmartThings will allow you to control your smart device using voice commands. Together Z-Wave and Alexa are a winning combination.