I have previously reviewed the Lightwave Generation 2, but Lightwave has been kind enough to send me one of the radiator valves to review so I thought it would be worth redoing the review of the system and see how it has improved since its first launch.
For UK users Lightwave is one of the most appealing home automation systems on the market as they have dedicated light switches, plug sockets and radiator valves.
The light switches replace your existing light switch and allow you to convert dumb lights into smart. This allows for a cleaner installation and quite likely a much cheaper way of automating your lighting if you use a large number of drop lights.
As much as I love Philips Hue, you end up with two light switches, and each bulb costs a fortune, it is also worth noting that Philips hue can only support 50 bulbs whereas this system has no limits.
This segment of the smart home market has become more competitive in recent months, not only are there a couple of Z-Wave options but there are a growing number of Wi-Fi enabled switches on Amazon from companies like Sonoff and other new companies.
The plug sockets that Lightwave do completely replace your plug socket avoiding the need of adaptors such as TP-Link Kasa. From a quick bit of research, there is only Lightwave and Energenie that have this solution on the market.
The radiator valve market is also growing this allows you to do zoned control of your heating rather than just switching all the radiators on in one go. This can potentially save you a lot of money with home heating, and it is something I have covered extensively with the Heat Genius system. Z-Wave has had TRVs on the market for a while, this is what Heat Genius uses, Tado introduced them last year, and there is a growing number of other companies that also do it.
Overall though, from what I can gather, Lightwave has the most complete solution for seamless integration for smart homes. While the alternative options have increased it does mean that you could end up with several apps that control your home which can be frustrating and confusing.
The physical set up is more involved than a lot of other systems because you have to replace sockets that are wired into your mains. I am poor at DIY and certainly no electrician, but if you are replacing like for like it is a straightforward process. Just make sure the electricity is switched off at the mains before you try to install anything. The instructions are helpful, and it uses a two-wire system which makes it more compatible with older home wiring (from my basic understanding).
The light switches include a spacer as the switch itself is reasonably deep so if you have a very shallow cavity, you may need this to fit it comfortably.
With the lights system, you should be aware that not all LED bulbs are compatible with the system, some brands are prone to flickering. Lightwave does have a compatibility page and thanks to the low cost of dumb LED bulbs it shouldn’t be too expensive to fix if you have compatibility issues.
The radiator valves are also simple to swap over, the package does include two adaptors which I think are used for none standard valves, but in my case, you unscrew the valve and screw the new one in place.
Setting everything up in the app is also straightforward, once you have downloaded the app and registered you will need to pair the hub, this requires you to input its serial number and hit the button on the hub. It takes a couple of seconds to pair up and then you are ready to add new devices to the system.
Adding devices is equally as easy, the app gives you a guide and it generally just requires you to select the device you want to add in the app then hit the pairing button on the device.
I do have an issue with the light switch design. It has an LED for state notification, it glows white for off and blue for on, or red if there is no connection. The LED is quite bright, and I installed it in a bedroom at first. It is far too bright for normal use in a bedroom, when I tried to go to sleep, I realised it would cause too much disturbance so had to get up and swap back to the main switch.