What is the Best Home Automation Technology?

What is the best home automation technology, lighting control, X10 lighting control, UPB, Insteon, Z-Wave, ZigBee, RadioRA 2, The first step in getting started with home automation and lighting control is choosing a networking technology. Popular technologies for home automation include X-10, UPB, INSTEON, Z-Wave, and ZigBee. The one you select determines the direction of your future home automation system.


X10 has long been the standard by which other home automation technologies are measured. X10 works via home’s power line wiring and may experience problems related to wiring distances, phase differences, and line noise. Many enthusiasts believe

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X10 technology has become obsolete , replaced by the newer and more versatile wireless technologies. If you’re new to home automation it’s probably a good idea to start with some other technology, because X10 devices can be more difficult to configure and performance is sometimes erratic.


Universal Powerline Bus (UPB) is similar to X10, using the home’s built in wiring to transmit home automation control signals. Developed to overcome many of the shortcoming that X10 experiences, UPB is a superior powerline technology to X10. UPB is not X10 compatible. If you have X10 compatible products and you want your UPB and X10 compatible products to work together you will need a controller that talks to both.


Designed to bridge wireless home automation to powerline automation, INSTEON devices communicate over both power lines and via wireless. INSTEON is also X10 compatible, thereby adding wireless capability to an existing X10 network. Finally, INSTEON technology supports even home automation novices: even non-technical individuals can set up and add devices to the network.

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The original wireless home automationtechnology, Z-Wave set standards for wireless home automation. Z-Wave extended the usable range of home automation by making all devices double as repeaters. Its increased network reliability also enabled commercial applications. Z-Wave devices are designed for ease of setup and use, and come about as close to turnkey as the home automation industry allows, especially helpful for beginning enthusiasts.


Similar to Z-Wave, ZigBee is strictly a wireless home automation technology. The technology has been slow to gain acceptance with home automation enthusiasts largely because Zigbee devices frequently have difficulty communicating with those made by different manufacturers. Zigbee is not recommended for those new to home automation, unless they intend to use only devices made by the same manufacturer.

Source: http://compnetworking.about.com/od/homeautomationbuildingblocks/a/which-home-automation-technology-is-best.htm

8 comments on “What is the Best Home Automation Technology?

  1. Stan Minter on said:

    been in the home automation business for more than 20 years, technologies come and go, zwave and zigbee were hot a few years ago, zwave used by Leviton, my understanding has not been successful, very complicated to install, insteon for a low end home install, I’ve found upb to be the most reliable technology yesterday and today.

  2. agree,have a two person electrian company in dallas, used all technologys, always go with automated outlet in Lewisville and simply automated upb, great product, value, flexibility

  3. Lincoln F. on said:

    im a lutron deaeler, lutron owns the market, top choice for my customers, no lutron radiora = biased review, not trustworthy. lutron not for everybody, i also use simply automated upb when cost is a consideration.

  4. Dom Ryan on said:

    I’m a home automation geek.
    X10 real cheap low end powerline stuff.
    Insteon a step up, combines x10 and wireless, Smarthome quality poor.
    I’ve had good experience with Simply Automated upb, good technology, high quality products.
    Very disappointed with Leviton zwave, anywhere switch uses batteries, batteries!!! stuff looks like suited for my 4 year old play time.

  5. automated student UNLV on said:

    I’m a student at UNLV, doing market investigation for a paper, this site is great, providing good info. Thank you.

  6. Into Automation on said:

    I’ve tried all the technologies listed, X10 is the low end granddaddy, been around forever, technology very basic. Insteon a step up, as I understand X10 plus rf, lots of issues problems. Zwave and Zigbee were the new fad craze a few years ago, Leviton sort of blew Zwave with poor quality products that didn’t work. Reason I have to admit the best technology I’ve used in the past 5 years is upb, Simply Automated products have been bullet proof, company has a great website for reference, outstanding support via 800 line.

  7. BC student on said:


  8. Thanks very nice blog!

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