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Zigbee vs. Z-Wave Protocols (Which One to Choose?)

Zigbee vs. Z-Wave Protocols (Which One to Choose?)

Zigbee and Z-Wave are wireless mesh networking technologies that are used for smart home devices such as light bulbs, smart plugs and switches, thermostats, and other devices.

Zigbee is faster, has a higher range of signals, claims an open protocol standard, and has a substantially larger market share in the field of smart home goods. Z Wave has a superior track record of product compatibility and never interferes with your WiFi network.

Either option is a fantastic way to add locally controlled smarts to your house without clogging up your WiFi network with a ton of devices. The devices you already have in your house, and the services you use to integrate them will determine whether you should choose Z-Wave or Zigbee.

What exactly are Zigbee and Z Wave?The protocols Z Wave and Zigbee allow your smart home gadgets to communicate with one another. Both establish a mesh network of interconnected devices using low-energy radio waves.
FrequencyIn the US and the UK, the Zigbee protocol uses frequencies of 915MHz and 2.4GHz, respectively. The Z-Wave protocol, on the other hand, uses the low-frequency 868.42 MHz bands in Europe and the 908.42 MHz bands in the United States.
SpeedZigbee moves much more quickly than Z-Wave.
InteroperabilityOnly updated Zigbee 3.0 items that have been certified by the manufacturer can interact with one another. Z-Wave products are always compatible with one another.
ConnectivityUsing the Zigbee protocol, mesh networks may connect more than 65,000 devices at once. The Z-Wave protocol allows for a maximum of 232 units per mesh connection.
SecurityThe AES128 encryption protocol is used by both the Zigbee and Z-Wave technologies.
Power usageBoth the Z-Wave and the Zigbee protocols consume very little electricity, however, Zigbee is more energy-efficient.
PriceCompared to Z-Wave, Zigbee products cost less.
An overview of the article

What exactly are Zigbee and Z Wave?


The protocols Z Wave and Zigbee allow your smart home devices to interact with one another.

They’re, more precisely, “wireless radio frequency communication” protocols that are mainly utilized for home automation.

Both use low-energy radio waves to connect their respective devices together in a mesh network. Devices can connect to one another through branching or hopping off of one another in mesh networks. As a result, the signal and network can disseminate more widely and dependably.


The Zigbee protocol operates on frequencies of 915MHz in the US and 2.4GHz in the UK.

The sending of signals to a device operating at this frequency may result in dropped or erroneous signals. This results from any WiFi, microwave, or equipment operating at a high frequency in that vicinity, which causes interference and congestion.

On the other hand, the Z-Wave protocol operates on the low-frequency 908.42 bands in the U.S. and the 868.42 MHz bands in Europe.

Additionally, there’s a chance of interference with equipment that operates at 900 MHz, such as landline telephones. However, this interference is limited.


The best option for you is Zigbee if speed is a deal-breaker. Z-Wave moves much more slowly.

When it operates at 2.4 GHz, Zigbee is clearly quicker. The issue is that speed comes at the expense of power consumption. The batteries in your smart devices may therefore need to be changed more frequently.

Wave is only half as quick, but at least you have more time to wait between battery changes.


Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols have significant differences in interoperability because of different certification requirements.

Zigbee is kept up by the Zigbee Alliance. This alliance is made up of 400 member firms that produce half a billion chipsets and 2500 Zigbee devices.

Zigbee’s certification procedure, however, is complicated because certain devices with software that doesn’t adhere to the protocol can be certified by Zigbee. This promotes the sale of non-interoperable products branded as Zigbee.

Prior to Zigbee 3.0, there were several separate Zigbee protocols, and Zigbee devices using these protocols couldn’t communicate with one another. Every Zigbee protocol is unified by Zigbee 3.0, enabling interoperability between Zigbee products.

Z-Wave is owned by Sigma Design and is kept up by the Z-Wave Alliance. Z-Wave devices are certified by a body called the Z-Wave Alliance.

Interoperability is put into practice by the organization by ensuring that each authorized Z-Wave device is compatible with each Z-Wave controller. This suggests that both the devices and the protocol can communicate with them.

Therefore, Zigbee products can only communicate with one another if they were updated prior to certification and are Zigbee 3.0. Through the Z-Wave controller, Z-Wave products are always compatible with one another.


This feature highlights how many devices are linked together by a protocol. Although Zigbee connectivity provides an advantage, it is still dependent on other aspects.

With the Zigbee protocol, mesh networks may connect more than 65,000 devices at once. This extensive connectivity would be essential for businesses, hospitals, and offices.

Mesh connections with a maximum of 232 units are supported by the Z-Wave protocol. Smaller businesses, medium-sized enterprises, smart households, and other small- or medium-scale IoT use cases may benefit from this connectivity range.



Both Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols use the AES128 encryption standard, which makes it a requirement for certification and opens a new window for information security. Online banks and governmental organizations employ the dependable security standard AES128.

The Z-Wave protocol adds an additional layer of protection, though. Every device that requires Z-Wave certification is also marked as requiring the Security 2 (S2) layer.

This added protection does not make Zigbee any less safe because it also employs AES128 symmetric encryption.

Power Usage

Power usage
Power Usage

Both the Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols have minimal power requirements, although Zigbee performs better in terms of energy efficiency.

The IEEE 802.15.4 protocol standard is the foundation of the Zigbee technology. This protocol standard gives Zigbee an advantage in reducing power consumption in smart devices, among other benefits.

New Z-Wave devices, however, are making an effort to close this gap by consuming less power than the earlier models. Despite this, the Zigbee protocol uses very little power and provides superior battery life.


Zigbee goods are less expensive compared to Z-Wave. Building on the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol standard has this benefit as well. This standard makes it simple for Zigbee to use its products to demonstrate the majority of its goals, which include cost-effectiveness.

The best option may rely on the protocol’s other features because the price difference between the two protocols is not that great.

ZigBee vs Z-Wave vs WiFi vs Thread vs Bluetooth vs Matter (CHIP)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three types of ZigBee?

Answer: ZigBee specifies three different device types: the ZigBee Coordinator (ZC), the ZigBee Router (ZR), and the ZigBee End Device (ZED).

Does Z-Wave work without WiFi?

Answer: Z-Wave is a low-energy, mesh network that allows devices to communicate with each other without using WiFi or Bluetooth.

Can I control Z-Wave devices from my phone?

Answer: You can remotely control a T6 Pro Z-Wave Thermostat from an Android or iOS Phone by using the mobile app for an interactive service platform. One of the best features of Z-Wave devices is the ability to control them remotely from an interactive platform like or Total Connect 2.0.


  • Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols enable your smart home devices to connect with one another. Both use low-energy radio waves to create a mesh network of connected devices.
  • The Zigbee protocol operates at frequencies of 915MHz and 2.4GHz in the US and the UK, respectively. Contrarily, the Z-Wave protocol operates in low-frequency bands at 868.42 MHz in Europe and 908.42 MHz in the US.
  • Only updated Zigbee 3.0 products that have received manufacturer certification can communicate with one another. All Z-Wave products are always interoperable.
  • Mesh networks may simultaneously connect more than 65,000 devices using the Zigbee protocol. A mesh connection can support a maximum of 232 units under the Z-Wave protocol.
  • Both Zigbee and Z-Wave employ the AES128 encryption standard for security purposes.
  • Both the Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols consume very little power, while Zigbee performs better in terms of energy efficiency.
  • Zigbee products are less expensive than Z-Wave products.

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