The best Z-Wave Motion Sensors: Compared

June 08, 2017 13 Comments

Detailed Guide to the best Z-Wave Motion Sensors: Compared

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!

Zooz Z-Wave Plus Motion, Humidity, Temperature, and Light 4-in-1 Sensor ZSE40

Zooz Z-Wave Plus Motion, Humidity, Temperature, and Light 4-in-1 Sensor ZSE40 is the easiest to mount

What I like about it:

  • There are configuration parameters for motion sensitivity, re-trigger interval, LED, and reporting thresholds for light, temperature, and humidity.
  • The shape of the device allows you to easily mount it on the wall, ceiling, and in corners, but it also comes with a mounting bracket. This is the only one that can detect motion directly below it when mounted on a wall angled down. 

What I don't like about it:

  • The bracket is a little bulky, but it allows you to mount the device in difficult locations and at precise angles. The device slides off of the mount which makes it easy to replace the batteries without having to re-adjust the alignment or angle afterward.
  • It goes through batteries faster than most other motion sensors, but it takes 2 AAA batteries which are cheaper to replace. The higher you set the thresholds, the longer the battery will last so only use low values when you really need to know about small changes. You can also extend the battery life by disabling the LED or setting it to just flash on motion instead of using the pulsing or color temperature options. 

Ecolink Z-Wave Plus PIR Motion Detector PIRZWAVE2.5-ECO

Ecolink Z-Wave Plus PIR Motion Detector PIRZWAVE2.5-ECO is the quickest to detect motion

What I like about it:

  • It's great at quickly detecting motion that crosses it perpendicularly at close range.
  • It comes with a bracket it slides into which allows you to easily mount it flat against a wall or in a corner.

What I don't like about it:

  • The pet immunity setting is configured by opening the device and changing the position of a jumper or removing. The PET 1 and PET 2 positions are supposed to prevent false motion events for small and medium animals, but you'll most likely find that they only reduce the false events.
  • The detection angle seems narrow because even with the PET Immune feature off I'm able to hug the walls and walk right up to it when it's mounted in the corner.
  • The device has a fixed re-trigger wait time of 4 minutes which is too long for most users. There is a TEST jumper position that changes the re-trigger interval to 5 seconds, but you can't use it with the pet immunity feature and having it set so low will drain the batteries.

Everspring Z-Wave Motion and Light Sensor HSP02

Everspring Z-Wave Motion and Light Sensor HSP02 has adjustable motion detection range

What I like about it:

  • Inside the device there are 5 PCB positions which allow you to change the detection range from 3 meters to 9 meters. It's the thing I like most about this device. I'd prefer it to be a configuration parameter instead of a physical change inside the device, but it works great. On the lowest setting it only detected motion 3/4 of the way across my room (about the same as the Ecolink Motion Sensor), but on the highest setting it detected motion on the other side of a room that's across the hall from the room the sensor was located in.
  • When you open the device it goes into test mode which shortens the re-trigger wait time and flashes a red LED when motion is detected. That can be a really useful feature while trying to find the best place to mount the sensor.

What I don't like about it:

  • The device can't be used as a light sensor because it doesn't report the light level, but through association you can do things like turn on a light or set dimming level when motion is detected and the room is dark.
  • You have to drill through the back cover in order to mount it using screws, but using adhesive tape to mount it flat against a wall or in a corner works fine.

Dome Z-Wave Plus Motion Detector with Light Sensor DMMS1

Dome Z-Wave Plus Motion Detector with Light Sensor DMMS1 is the best pet immune sensor

What I like about it:

  • It detects motion and light changes faster than most of the other devices. The sensor accepts a wide range of values for the sensitivity, but small changes aren't noticeable so it probably only has 5-10 noticeable sensitivity levels.
  • The magnetic base allows you to angle it in almost any direction. It can also be placed on a counter or shelf. That flexibility along with the sensitivity setting allows you to make it pet safe, but the magnetic base doesn't lock it in place so it's easy to knock it out of alignment.
  • The range is listed as 21', but based on my testing it's a lot more than that. It really depends on how high you have it mounted and whether or not you have it angled down.

What I don't like about it:

  • I like the base because it looks nice and it provides more mounting options then most of the other devices, but it's inability to fix the position is extremely frustrating. I often make a lot of changes to the settings while positioning a device so I'm frequently waking it up, but to do that I have to open the device and re-align it again. It can also be a little bit difficult to mount in corners and the base is so small that I can't hide the tab on the velcro strips I use to mount it.

Fibaro Z‑Wave Plus Motion Sensor FGMS‑001 ZW5

Fibaro Z‑Wave Plus Motion Sensor FGMS‑001 ZW5 has the best configurable settings

What I like about it:

  • I think this is the most configurable device I've ever worked with which is useful if you know what you're doing, but probably really confusing for most users.
  • Another feature I really like is the ability to test your Z-Wave network strength with it. The only downside is that Fibaro devices tend to have a stronger signal than a lot of other devices so just because it shows that it's able to connect directly to the controller doesn't mean that my other devices will be able to.
  • The ability to use it outdoors is another great feature, but due to the low operating temperature being 32°F it can't be used outside during the winter. If you use it outside you need to keep it out of the elements, but it's basically a sealed ball so it would probably be fine if it got a little bit wet.
  • The device doesn't seem that durable, but mine detached from the wall and fell 9' onto a hardwood floor and it's still working fine.

What I don't like about it:

  • I really don't like the base because the mounting area is really small and it's feels cheap. Since the device doesn't have indents like the dome sensor it can't sit on a table without the base because it will roll off.

Aeotec by Aeon Labs Gen5 Z-Wave Plus Multisensor 6 ZW100-A

Aeotec by Aeon Labs Gen5 Z-Wave Plus Multisensor 6 ZW100-A can be powered with USB and installed outdoors

What I like about it:

  • The ability to power it off of USB is probably it's most useful feature, but it's going to go through batteries twice as fast as the others. That's an assumption based on it having using 2 batteries and having the same 2 year lifespan as the others that only take 1 battery.
  • This device can also be used outside, but it doesn't seem as weather resistant as the Fibaro. The minimum operating temperature of 32°F is due to the batteries so you might be able to user it during the winter if you're powering it by USB.

What I don't like about it:

  • It only has 5 motion detection levels and I was trying to get it to turn on a light when I walked into a room, but setting it to 5 which is the most sensitive level caused it to detect motion in another room and level 4 didn't detect motion until I was half way across the room.
  • I skimmed through the manual and I didn't see any options for changing the LED behavior/color.
  • The mount doesn't provide much flexibility.

We're pretty sure you have plenty to add from your own experience so feel free to use the Comments section below and share!

Comparison of key features in the best Z-Wave Motion Sensors

Zooz Z-Wave Plus 4-in-1 Sensor ZSE40

Zooz Z-Wave Plus Motion/Humidity/Temp/ Light Sensor ZSE40

Ecolink Z-Wave Plus PIR Motion Detector, Pet Immune PIRZWAVE2.5-ECO

Ecolink Z-Wave Plus PIR Motion Detector PIRZWAVE2.5-ECO

Everspring Z-Wave Motion and Light Sensor HSP02

Everspring Z-Wave Motion and Light Sensor HSP02

Dome Z-Wave Plus Motion Detector with Light Sensor DMMS1

Dome Z-Wave Plus Motion Detector with Light Sensor DMMS1

Fibaro Z‑Wave Plus Motion Sensor FGMS‑001 ZW5

Fibaro Z‑Wave Plus Motion Sensor FGMS‑001 ZW5

 Aeotec by Aeon Labs Gen5 Z-Wave Plus 6-in-1 Multisensor 6 ZW100-A

Aeotec by Aeon Labs Gen5 Z-Wave Plus Multisensor 6 ZW100-A

Motion Detection Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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 Coverage 125° 90° 110° 110° 110° 120°
Motion Range 40' 6' – 39' 9' – 27' 21' 23' 15'
Reports Temperature Yes No No No Yes Yes
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)
Reports Light Yes No No Yes Yes Yes
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
Reports Humidity Yes No No No No Yes
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)
Indoor/Outdoor Indoor Indoor Indoor Indoor Indoor/Outdoor Indoor/Outdoor
Battery 2 AAA CR123A CR2 CR123A CR123A USB or CR123A (1 or 2)
Z-Wave Plus Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Secure Yes No No No Yes Yes
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



13 Responses

Ben
Ben

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.

Jan (The Smartest House)
Jan (The Smartest House)

May 01, 2018

Hi Dee,

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.

Dee
Dee

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?

B Buckland
B Buckland

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.

Jan (The Smartest House)
Jan (The Smartest House)

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!

Jan (The Smartest House)
Jan (The Smartest House)

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!

Eric Ryherd
Eric Ryherd

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!

https://www.ExpressControls.com

Curt
Curt

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.

Jan (The Smartest House)
Jan (The Smartest House)

February 27, 2018

Hi Curt!
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.

curt
curt

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?

Nate Hales
Nate Hales

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.

Jan (The Smartest House)
Jan (The Smartest House)

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!

JD Roberts
JD Roberts

December 20, 2017

Great article!

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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