Is there an industry standard for ZWave?

Hi. I'm new here. Tell me.
Is there an industry standard for ZWave?
If there is, why don't all of the many manufacturers comply with it?
If not, how on Earth do programmers code for it?

Just asking.

Yes, there is a specification, and all certified devices are supposed to follow it:

Also, (almost?) all devices I've seen are certified, likely because there is only one de facto chip vendor (the same company as the above, even though they recently opened this up). I know they're picky about who they sell chips for "hubs" to...possibly the same for devices themselves, too.

That being said, some devices still have quirks. But most work pretty well. From the "application" side, like a Hubitat driver, most are pretty easy to write drivers for using standard command classes and the expected data for each. What specific oddities are you seeing, and with what devices?

(I don't suppose you're thinking of Zigbee? :rofl: )


Just curious what I'm getting into.

I'm a retired engineer. Engineering is a world of standards. Looking at the ocean of ZWave product manufacturers, and reading their blurbs, I've not seen one reference to a standard. All I see is "Works with Alexa." I've not seen the word certified used before. Seeing at the HE install procedure for the various ZWave devices, it looks like anything is possible. Just imagine if everyone had a different implementation of a JPG file.

I learned, never mate electrical connectors from two different manufacturers, because if there's a problem, each manufacturer will blame the other. I think of that now as I combine Minoston, Sengled and Lutron.

I hope to minimize oddities by sticking with a single standard when I can, although I know it may not always be possible.


The beauty of Hubitat is that there's no need to stick to a single standard as the hub brings them together. You will find some devices aren't as available in one particular standard. I use mainly Z Wave; that's because one of the firsts things I decided to automate was curtains around the house. I found that there are plenty of Z Wave devices that will control the curtain motors but (at the time) no equivalent Zigbee models.

I've stuck with Z Wave as my preferred network now. As @bertabcd1234 mentions the Z Wave devices are made to standard set by the chip vendor SiLabs. Zigbee on the other hand is not so standardised. Just be sure that if you do use Z Wave that all devices are Z Wave Plus and preferably support S2 inclusion (you don't need S2 in most cases but it's presence ensures that your device can easily be added to the hub without security and without needing a secondary controller)

No Amazon Echo device has built-in Z-Wave, so these should all come with a caveat like "requires a compatible hub." In that case, yes, it's true, but it has so little to do with Z-Wave that I they were probably stretching pretty hard to make that a marketing point. But, I guess it does let consumers know it's possible!

You can find the conformance docs for all certified devices at (and will likely find that it includes any device you've seen, though there are couple oddball ones I've seen that I'm not sure about — it's possible they're just whitelabeled from another OEM). Technically, these are only certified for specific firmware versions, and manufacturers might provide updates that may or may not be retested. But in general, it's not a total Wild West. :slight_smile:

Sounds like you might be talking about procedures for putting devices into inclusion/exclusion mode or doing a factory reset. There is no standard for that, other than I think certification requires the procedure to be documented in the manual. This is likely because there many different kinds of Z-Wave devices that all have different form factors, physical features, etc., so a blanket requirement of something like "tap this small button three times" might not be do-able on every possible class of device (though that does seem to be pretty common across different brands I've used, FWIW!). Conformance deals more with the Z-Wave protocol itself and how it talks with the hub/controller.


Here in the desert, if you open your curtains, your AC bill will go through the roof. :slight_smile: My first goal is to duplicate everything X10 does. Following that, I have a motion detector project in mind.

I see the hand of Marketing everywhere. I despise what they've done with our language. I see a lot of marcom terminology in HE docs. I cope with it.

Unlike zigbee, ALL zwave devices follow the standard (at lest at some level), as it is required for them to be certified. And all zwave devices have to be certified in order to use the logo/marketing.

That said...

  • Is certification perfect? No.
  • Does certification guarantee that the firmware is bug free? No.
  • Are there times where manufacturers of "certified" devices still do weird things because the standard has some "should" instead of "shall" wordings, or optional capabilities? Yes.

There is no perfect world, but that doesn't mean the zwave certification process isn't still valuable.


You'd never know it from the product literature. You might think they would be proud of it.

As long as it has the z-wave logo, it's certified

1 Like

OK, I just spotted the ZWave logo on a couple of boxes.

So, just for my information, if we have an industry standard with a longer range than ZigBee, why would any manufacturer choose to build a Zigbee device?

zigbee is cheaper. It's also standard throughout the world, where as z-wave is regional. So US z-wave doesn't work on europeon, or asian, etc... those don't work on US... So for other countries zigbee is a better fit as it's more standard internationally. I have a mixture of z-wave, zigbee, wifi, and clear connect.

If you haven't read this post, I recommend reading this as you are new user. Will help with some gotchas.


That’s because consumers for the most part don’t actually care about standards and certifications when it comes to tech gadgets.

Is some level of standardization and certification necessary to meet the expectations of most consumers that their gadgets will “just work”? Sure.

But if you want to learn about the underlying zigbee and z-wave protocols you’ll have to look into it yourself, since most of what you’ll see in standard product literature or on the box is not for a technically inclined audience.

For example, want to learn more about zigbee? Read up on IEEE 802.15.4 or download one of several specification documents from the Connectivity Standards Alliance.

1 Like

My own idea of "standard" is a little more rigid than this.

I too will be be forced to incorporate non-ZWave devices.

My two hubs, HE and Lutron, will hang off the edge of a high shelf in my studio.

2 hubs

Z-Wave chips are available from a single manufacturer (Silicon Labs). In contrast, zigbee chips are available from at least 3 manufacturers (Silicon Labs, Texas Instruments, NXP Labs); competition makes them cheaper.

Design choices like this are made by non-technical Marketing people today. Perfectly good components go out of production in a year. Obvious choices for new products never come to pass. Lutron has 20 colors of switch plates.

Z-Wave isn't totally without disadvantages. Zigbee:

  • has historically been lower power, meaning battery devices can last longer or use smaller batteries (there's a reason you never saw coin cells in Z-Wave devices before the 700-series)
  • has higher theoretical bandwidth (250 Kpbs vs 100, though for the amount of data tossed around on a smart home network, it's probably inconsequential)
  • is "self healing," meaning devices will find a new route back to the hub on their own if the network changes (e.g., you move or unplug a repeater/router; Z-Wave Plus gained a similar feature)
  • allows more "hops" (through repeaters/routers) than Z-Wave, potentially allowing for networks that cover larger actual areas, even if a single Z-Wave hop is spec'd for longer range than the same for Zigbee
  • allows for larger networks (232 nodes in a mesh, theoretically over 65,000 for Zigbee -- though Z-Wave LR will increase this to 4000+)
  • uses the same frequency in all regions, as mentioned above -- though software-selectable frequency introduced in Z-Wave 700 may alleviate some of these concerns

Zigbee is also standardized, even though I joked about that above. There exists a certification process for it, too, and like Z-Wave, it's supposed to mean something. But there appear to be many non-certified devices on the market (or at least ones that still use manufacturer-specific "extensions" for even basic functionality, making generic drivers harder to write, even if technically in line with the spec). It is not as tightly controlled.

But it's important to keep in mind that neither protocol existed in the past in the same way as they do today. Z-Wave, in particular, has made lots of improvements, many of them just recently "catching up" to Zigbee. But luckily, lots of hubs support both protocols, so we don't have to worry about choosing one or the other. :smiley:


Yes indeed.
Then, if both protocols are actual standards, the confusion I see in the product market is due to the Product Managers. Egad.

The past was OK. It was nice to walk into Radio Shack, buy an X10 module and controller, take it home and just plug it in.
I'll be testing ZigBee soon.

This isn't the case on the 700 and up series anymore. They are multi-regional.

edlt: @bertabcd1234 beat me to it:

I find all this very interesting. I only took an interest in these "Son of WiFi" protocols this year.