June 08, 2017 14 Comments
You often ask us for recommendations: what are the best, most reliable Z-Wave motion sensors out there? The choice seems endless with new devices coming out every day. While we have our favorites, choosing the right sensor for YOU will depend on YOUR needs, lifestyle, and ideas on how to apply the product to your Z-Wave network and collection of devices. So we thought we should ask one of you to test and compare our best-selling smart home security sensors.
We wanted feedback from someone who has tested and programmed lots of Z-Wave devices but most importantly, from someone who has used them in real-life scenarios at home. The comments detailed below and the invaluable side-by-side comparison chart are by Kevin LaFramboise, an expert SmartThings user and the creator of some of the most advanced and stable custom device handlers for the popular platform.
Visit Kevin's SmartThings Repository on GitHub to check out his trailblazing work. And to thank him for his input to the community or to support future contributions, click here to donate.
If you're a SmartThings user, definitely check out this super informative video from DIY Smart Home Guy comparing all the options out there!
We're pretty sure you have plenty to add from your own experience so feel free to use the Comments section below and share!
|Motion Re-trigger Wait Time||15-60 Seconds||5 Seconds or 3 Minutes||5 Seconds – 1 Hour||5 Seconds – 10 Minutes||1 Second – 9 Hours||10 Seconds – 1 Hour|
|Motion Sensitivity Levels||7||3||10||247||247||5|
|Motion Range||40'||6' – 39'||9' – 27'||21'||23'||15'|
|Temp Threshold||0.1°F – 5.0°F||N/A||N/A||N/A||0.1°C – 25.5°C||0.1°F – 50°F|
|Temp Interval||3 Minutes||N/A||N/A||N/A||Disabled – 9 Hours||USB (10 Seconds) or Battery (4 Minutes – 8 Hours)|
|Light Interval||3 Minutes||N/A||N/A||1 Minute – 10 Hours||Disabled – 9 Hours||USB (10 Seconds) or Battery (4 Minutes – 8 Hourrs)|
|Max Light Level||100%||N/A||N/A||60,000 lux||32,000 lux||30,000 lux|
|Humidity Interval||3 Minutes||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||USB (10 Seconds) or Battery (4 Minutes – 8 Hourrs)|
|LED Indicator||Large Multicolor||Medium Green||Medium Red Test Mode/Battery Low Only||Large Red||Large Multicolor||Small Multicolor|
|LED Options||Disable/Motion/Temp (4 options)||None||None||Enable/Disable||Disabled, tamper options, temperature, motion, brightness||Enable/Disable|
|Tamper Alert||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes (Earthquake Magnitude or x,y,z position)||Yes (Earthquake)|
|Battery||2 AAA||CR123A||CR2||CR123A||CR123A||USB or CR123A (1 or 2)|
|Price||$30 - $40||$25 - $35||$25 - $35||$45 - $60||$55 - $65||$55 - $65|
|Dimensions||2.25 x 2.25 x 1 in||4.4 x 3.5 x 2.5 in||2.5 x 3.4 x 1.7 in||1.75" diameter||1.75" diameter||1.7” x 1.7”|
|Mounting Height||At least 7' or ceiling||6.5' – 7.5'||5'4” - 6'||As high as possible or on Table Top||7.9'||7.5', ceiling, or table top|
|Operating Temperature||5°F – 104°F||32°F – 120°F||32°F – 104°F||32°F – 104°F||32°F – 104°F||32°F – 104°F|
August 17, 2018
Just an FYI on a data point, I have Ecolinks that are over 3 years old in a high traffic area, still on the original batteries and on top of all that, have permanently been in test mode! I have no hesitation setting Ecolinks to test mode and not worrying about the battery life.
May 01, 2018
It’s hard to say what would work here since we don’t have enough details about why the Ecolink sensors failed. There may be a range problem or an outdoor use problem when extreme temperatures affect the battery inside of the sensor. If you get in touch with our support and tell them more about that location, they should be able to work with you to find a suitable product.
April 30, 2018
This is the only place that gives at least some specifications of the various units but still does not go far enough. Following is my sensor frustration:
I have Vera Lite z-wave system with about 30 z-wave devices of which 4 are PIR motion sensors. One is used at the entrance of my kitchen to turn on the over the sink LED light for a 3 minute duration. This is an Ecolink 2.5. No problem there. Another is part of a 20 watt flood light in my back yard
which turns on when deer and other critters trigger it. Also no problem. My problem arises in my covered carport. Where it adjoins my driveway, I needed a PIR sensor to turn on a carport light. I used an C’ for that which works satisfactorily, but takes about 4.5 minutes to reset before it can trigger again. At the other end of my carport, Where I have 3 doors (house, lanai and workshop) I have tried 3 of the Ecolink 2.5 sensors, of which none lasted more than 60 days. I was able to return one of those for a refund because it failed within 30 days.
Does anyone know of a battery powered PIR motion sensor which has a shorter reset time than 3 minutes and is reliable?
March 17, 2018
I now have several of the Dome, and it performs well, also sends notices pretty quickly (sensors based upon Z-Wave are inherently problematic, but the dome does very well). They are also well sealed, and I use one outside (yes visitors could pluck it from it’s base… ok). I had one of the Aeotec sensors, it failed, and stopped reporting motion. I also had an Aeotec dimmer plug which failed. But my Aeotec stick for my open zwave hub works great.
March 09, 2018
Thanks for the tip Eric, we haven’t had any inquiries about the EZMultiPli 3-in-1 yet but will definitely research the product and include it in the next sensor guide!
March 09, 2018
You’re right Curt, an outdoor motion sensor is definitely missing from the market and we’ve been looking into it so hopefully we’ll be able to recommend a new device for you in the coming months!
March 02, 2018
For the next comparison please include EZMultiPli 3-in-1 sensor which is unique by being the only wall powered motion sensor on the market – just plug it into any outlet – no wires, no batteries and it acts as a Z-Wave repeater too!
February 28, 2018
Hi – Thanks for the feedback. It’s crazy, there’s so many driveway sensor/chimes out there – just none that integrate zwave. As for the door issue – the door sensor would work great – if I’m coming in. It’s the going out that might be more of a question. We have a small closet/nook without a door there for storage and it would be ideal to have a motion sensor (or beam) that wouldn’t be subject to the heat changes.
February 27, 2018
Unfortunately we don’t have any recommendations for outdoor motion sensors that wouldn’t have to be sheltered from rain/snow and sunlight yet. But as for detecting activity at the door, have you thought of using a door sensor instead? You could program it to trigger a light whenever the door is opened at certain times of day and depending on the mode your z-wave hub is in.
February 24, 2018
This is a great comparison. I got into this as I have a need for a sensor in 2 different areas: 1. outside – driveway. As my driveway is sandwiched between my house and a fence, I’d love a sensor that tells me if someone has crossed an invisible line. It sounds like in this instance none of these would work due to the PIR weather/temp issue. Can anyone recommend one? 2. I also have a condo where I would love to be able to turn the lights on when there is motion inside the front door. I’ve tried this with light switches that include a PIR sensor but the building is designed to pull air up through the gap under the door and the change in temperature this caused was constantly turning the light on. Are there any sensors that might work in a different way and be immune to this issue?
January 02, 2018
I love the Zooz Z-Wave Plus. I have been testing the battery life for several months in a very high tragic area. It has shown 1% battery life for over 4 months and it is still reporting fine. I am going to finish my video on this as soon as it really runs out of battery. All 3 of mine work like champions and only one shows the low battery. Even with this these are may favorite motion sensors I have ever owned.
I may make an IFTTT that texts me as soon as the motion sensor goes off line.
December 22, 2017
Hi JD, thanks for the note!
We were also confused by the mention in the manual so we consulted Chris at Aeotec directly and this is what he came back with: "It can be used outdoor as a motion sensor, but the customer will need to direct the PIR sensor away from the sun depending on how strong the sun is in the area.
We add this as a strong recommendation as strong sunlight can trigger the motion sensor, so if the user wants to use it, it may take some trial and error to avoid this issue by twisting around the sensor away from the run, or decreasing sensitivity of some time."
We’ll suggest to Aeotec that this disclaimer is added to the documentation to clear things up. Thanks again for pointing this out!
December 20, 2017
One thing to note: although the Aeotec multi sensor is rated for outdoor use, the user manual specifically says that is only intended for its use as a temperature/light sensor. They recommend disabling the motion sensor feature if it will be used outside because of the high number of false alerts caused by weather changes. That’s true of pretty much all PIR motion sensors in this range, I just didn’t want anyone to feel confused and think that the Aeotec was rated for outdoor use as a motion sensor.
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March 22, 2023
Let’s take a closer look at the first Z-Wave focused hub for US and Canada. We will uncover its primary benefits, UI features, how to use the Z-Box mobile app, and what sets the system apart from other hubs available today.
As we often tell our customers, there isn’t one perfect smart home platform to solve it all. The Z-Box Hub is no exception. What makes it unique is its focus on easy access to advanced automation functionality while keeping the key data and processes off-cloud.
May 05, 2022 2 Comments
Insteon just became another smart home company to shut down their services. Overnight, the platform’s servers were disconnected, leaving their customers without a functional smart home. SmartLabs, Insteon’s mother company, claims to have sold over 5 million connected devices; that’s a lot of sensors, switches, and controllers that became orphaned. Does it mean that all of this hardware is now completely useless?
It turns out that there are ways to salvage your Insteon products and continue using them, at least to some extent, on other platforms who stepped up and provided integration for this protocol. However, these workarounds are less than user-friendly and will require more time and possible frustration around a system that’s no longer backed by any official support. What’s the alternative and is it even worth it to have a connected house these days?
August 06, 2020
If you already have Amazon Echo set up, you know how convenient it can be. There’s nothing like walking out the front door with full hands and telling Alexa to turn off your lights last minute. But these smart lights and plugs can be slow to react as you keep adding more smart home devices and clogging your network.
Alexa only “speaks” WiFi (and ZigBee if you have the EchoPlus). It currently doesn’t support Z-Wave, the protocol of choice for home automation thanks to its high speed and low interference with other connected devices in your home. That means you can’t have a Z-Wave switch or plug speak directly to your Echo. BUT you can use a smart home hub as a bridge between your Z-Wave devices and Amazon Alexa. Now that’s a whole other level of functionality to unlock!
And if you already have a Z-Wave hub but no smart speaker, you might be thinking how cool it would be to have voice control for your automations and smart home devices. It’s a step towards a more integrated, easy-to-use smart home with improved security, comfort, and convenience.
August 15, 2019
Would be nice if you added a field for “commonly carried locally in stock in hardware stores” to the comparison list.