LightwaveRF is a UK based company specialising in home automation / smart home products. In comparison to other smart home companies, LightwaveRF seems to sit a bit in the middle ground of products they offer. There are a lot fewer sensors than Smartthings but a lot more sockets and switches to fully integrate home automation features into your home. It appears to be a less thorough system than Z wave but also easier and cheaper to implement.
The LightwaveRF focusses on 3 main areas Lighting, Power and Heating, and then you will obviously need a control unit. LightwaveRF was kind enough to provide a couple solutions from each section plus a control unit so we can test their system.
The control unit, called the LightwaveRF Link is the brains of the operation and is essential to any Lightwave setup you may be considering. Luckily it is quite cheap at just £65.50 on Amazon, in comparison, the SmartThings hub is £100 and the Z Wave Home Center Lite by Fibaro is £225.
The Link attaches to any standard wireless router with broadband access and allows you instant control of your lighting, electrical and heating devices anywhere in the world that you have an internet signal!
Some of the features of the link that are advertised by LightwaveRF are:
- Control your Lighting, Power and Heating from anywhere with your Smartphone, Tablet or another Web-enabled device
- Set heating and lighting routines that fit in seamlessly with your lifestyle
- Set lights to switch on to appear at home when you're out or away
- Monitor Energy from anywhere using your Smartphone, Tablet or any other Web-enabled device with LightwaveRF's Energy Monitor.
Set up is very easy you simply plug it in and connect it to your modem using an Ethernet cable.
Setting up the App is quite easy, I had no major issues with it and everything worked for me. It is worth noting the Android App doesn’t have the best reviews so it is possible other people’s experiences won’t be as good as mine. In comparison, setting up a Z-Wave system seems a lot more complex, while SmartThings has reasonable reviews for their app and the overall look of it is more polished.
The lighting range is basically a range of dimming switches that can either be controlled via the App or manually on the switch themselves. The retrofit dimmers utilise existing wiring circuits and back boxes (35mm minimum recommended) allowing for quick and easy installation.
You have a few colour options, a plain plastic white version or a chrome finished option which comes in stainless steel, white, chrome, and black.
The switches I was supplied look fantastic and they are easy to install. A 1 gang Wireless Controller will set you back around £20, in comparison a Z Wave complete unit will cost from £32 for an ugly white switch, or £72 for a glass switch 2 button. Other Z wave products are even more expensive, and SmartThings does not have a switch solution (as it is Plug and Play).
You can also buy LightwaveRF enabled bulbs which allow you to control the bulb directly (if the switch is on), which will obviously make implementation even easier. Without the various sensors, LightwaveRF does have reduced functionality compared to Z Wave.
This seems to be where LightwaveRF shines in comparison to other products, which is probably due to the fact they are a UK based company.
The LightwaveRF sockets are proper sockets that you can install into your wall giving a seamless appearance to the installation. Every other solution required ugly adapters that plug into the existing socket itself. Granted adapters will be easier to install, but changing a plug socket is already quite easy, and you will have fewer issues with bulky adapter blocking the way of the socket, or getting knocked out, or just generally not looking attractive. Also, SmartThings charge £44.99 for a single socket adapter vs £27.50 for a dual socket with LightwaveRF, this would make SmartThings very expensive to implement if you plan to use its sockets throughout your house.
The smart heating system by LightwaveRF is quite thorough. There is a boiler switch, thermostat, radiator valves, magnetic triggers and electric switches which are used for electric radiators.
As you might imagine the boiler switch is used to directly control the boiler with the thermostat providing the smart temperature control and then the TRVs being attached to the radiator for direct radiator control. All pretty standard. The magnetic triggers are an interesting addition, which can be attached to window or door frames and when they are open, they will automatically instruct LightwaveRF TRVs to turn down the radiator temperature.